Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, if you want your company to grow, you need to continually add new customers. The best way to do this is through a repeatable, sustainable process that will predictably generate new revenue over time — a customer acquisition strategy.
What is a customer acquisition strategy?
A customer acquisition strategy is a well-defined plan to help prospects find your brand, helping them through their buying process until they become customers. It details your goals, a description of your ideal prospect, specific approaches you’ll employ, how you’ll measure success, timing of various tactics and who will be responsible for which elements. The idea is to educate and engage your ideal potential customers so they become leads that convert to prospects who buy your product or service.
Why do you need a customer acquisition strategy?
It’s important to develop a carefully considered customer acquisition marketing strategy. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time, money and resources. Although no plan is perfect, you need to start somewhere and then make adjustments over time. Having an acquisition strategy gives you an advantage over competitors who don’t, allowing your company to grow more consistently.
Steps needed to plan and execute your customer acquisition strategy
Wondering how to create a customer acquisition strategy? Here are the steps you’ll want to take to plan and execute yours:
1. Create your team
Involve all the appropriate members of your staff in the creation of your acquisition strategy. Ones to consider include those responsible for sales, marketing, product, customer service, and leadership. This ensures a more complete plan by incorporating more viewpoints and avoiding overlooking important details.
2. Define your target audience
It’s important to understand who your target audience is before expending time and effort on marketing. Yes, you want to get the word out about your company and offerings, but you need to be sure that you know who you’re talking to for maximum impact. Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted.
Some questions to answer include:
- Are they executives, housewives, or teenagers?
- What age are they?
- What are their likes and dislikes related to your product or service?
- What are their roles and responsibilities?
- How and where do they go to research products or services like yours?
- Which social media platform(s) do they frequent?
The more you know about your audience, the better, and the more success you will have when implementing your strategy.
Of course, if you already have customers, this step will be significantly easier. You can speak to or survey these people to learn more about them and their preferences. Whatever you do, do not proceed to the next step until you have completed this critical one. It could be the difference between success and failure.
3. Define your goals
Before selecting which tactics to include in your acquisition strategy, you need to define what you want to accomplish. Without goals, you won’t know which approaches to use. It’s like heading off on a road trip without a map or destination.
Your goals should include information like how many new customers you want to gain over what time period, for example. Start by setting yearly goals, then break them down to quarterly and monthly. Your revenue targets will help you establish these targets. If you have a defined sales process with metrics relating to how customers move through your sales funnel, goal-setting will be that much easier. Leverage this information to define goals for each stage in the customer acquisition process.
4. Select your methods and channels
There are a variety of different customer acquisition methods. They include paid or free as well as inbound or outbound options. Paid versus free is clear but inbound and outbound requires a bit more explanation. Inbound marketing is where you attract your audience by helping them find you. Outbound marketing involves going where your customer is, such as cold calling off a purchased list or having a booth at a trade show. The best methods for your business will be based on your ideal customer, resources, and the other approaches you employ in your overall strategy.
Content marketing is an excellent place to start. It drives traffic to your website, captures leads, nurtures them until they’re ready, and helps them make a buying decision. It’s an effective method for all types of businesses and is at the core of many customer acquisition strategies. This is particularly true because today’s buyers are 50-70% through their decision-making process before they engage with a salesperson. Plus, this approach is cost-effective so you don’t have to break the bank to implement it.
5. Create engaging content
Start by creating a library of unique, valuable, educational content that helps your ideal prospects answer their questions and solve their challenges throughout the buying process. You’ll need to decide which content options are best suited for each stage of your funnel. Some options include blog articles, e-books, case studies, white papers, videos, and webinars. Which ones you select will be based on which types your audience tends to prefer consuming.
6. Create conversion points
Next, you need to provide interested parties with the opportunity to convert to leads and enter your sales funnel. This happens through an appropriate call-to-action on various pages of your website, depending on where the prospect is in their buying process. You’ll want to create ones for each stage of your funnel to boost your overall conversion rates and gather more leads.
7. Drive qualified traffic to your site
Also called “demand generation,” you want to help qualified prospects find your site so you can add these leads to your sales funnel. Potential tactics to leverage here include SEO, social media, email marketing, trade shows, direct mail, PPC, and search advertising. Which options you select will vary based on what works best for your audience and budgetary considerations.
8. Nurture your leads
Using marketing automation technologies will simplify and streamline your customer acquisition efforts while helping you stay on track. An email newsletter, or any other method of staying in touch with your leads until they’re ready to buy, will increase your customer acquisition results.
9. Leverage a CRM
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform integrates with marketing automation to simplify the process further while garnering valuable insights, lead data and important metrics. It arms your sales team with a history of each lead’s interactions with content, your website and your brand, better preparing them to more effectively speak with prospects during each encounter. A CRM also makes it easier for you to determine where leads are getting stalled, helping you determine where to add more content to advance prospects through the process. It will also tell you which calls-to-actions are working best and which need to be adjusted. If you’re interested in learning more about CRM and Marketing Automation you can try Act! for free for 14 days.
10. Measure your results and refine your strategy
There are many ways to measure your customer acquisition success. These include conversion rate, rate of new customer acquisition and calculating your customer acquisition cost (CAC). Once you review these metrics, you’ll be better equipped to determine which strategies are working and which ones aren’t necessarily the best fit for your business. Be sure to routinely measure results so you stay current with ever-changing market conditions and buyer preferences. This will help you see consistent growth while receiving the best possible results for the time, money and resources invested.