Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, if you want your company to grow, you need to continually add new customers and improve your customer retention. 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 customer acquisition?
In simple terms, customer acquisition is the process of acquiring new customers. It involves moving them through the customer journey or customer acquisition cycle from the brand awareness and lead generation stages to the point where they become a paying customer for your business.
What is a customer acquisition strategy?
A customer acquisition strategy is a well-defined plan to help prospects find your brand, guiding them through their buying process until they become customers.
It details acquisition tactics such as:
- Customer acquisition goals, like the desired number of customers
- A description of your ideal prospect and best customer
- Specific digital marketing efforts you’ll employ
- How you’ll measure successful customer acquisition
- The timing of various tactics
- Who will be responsible for which elements
The idea is to educate and engage your ideal potential customers so they become leads that eventually convert to loyal customers 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 risk wasting time, money, and resources. Additionally, having a user acquisition strategy shows other stakeholders that you’re going into business with a plan. It can help win the trust of investors and partners.
Although no plan is perfect, you need to start somewhere and make adjustments based on performance. Having a customer acquisition plan gives you an advantage over competitors who don’t, allowing your company to grow more consistently.
How 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 as you create your acquisition strategy. This should include those responsible for sales, marketing, product, customer service, and leadership.
These are the stakeholders who will work to attract and retain users. Involving them in the process helps keep your user acquisition strategies on point. By incorporating more viewpoints, you avoid overlooking important details to ensure you have a complete plan.
2. Define your target audience
It’s important to understand who your target audience is before spending time and effort on marketing. Although you want to get the word out about your company and offerings, you also need to be sure you know who you’re talking to for maximum impact. Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted.
Some questions to answer include:
- Are they executives, employees, or freelancers?
- What are their basic demographics, i.e. what age are they, etc.?
- 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? LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.?
- What issues are they likely facing that your product or service can solve?
The more you know about your audience, the better—and the more success you’ll have when implementing your strategy. That’s because you’ll be able to create content, such as blog posts, that are better targeted toward them.
Of course, this step will be significantly easier if you already have existing customers, as it takes the guesswork out of the equation. You can speak to or survey your customer base 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. This step could be the difference between success and failure, and it’s the only way to ensure that your marketing and ad spending are worth it.
3. Define your goals
Before selecting which tactics to include in your acquisition strategy, you need to define what you want to accomplish. Without customer acquisition 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 such as how many new customers you want to gain over what time period and how you define customer loyalty. Start by setting yearly goals, then break them down into quarterly and monthly targets.
It’s a good idea to set up your revenue goals first. Based on these goals, you’ll know exactly how many customers you need to acquire within a given time frame. 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.
With inbound marketing, you attract your audience by helping them find you. A good inbound acquisition strategy example is SEO-optimized landing pages. These pages are solely created to drive lead generation by convincing visitors to provide you with their contact information. The landing pages are optimized for SEO to ensure that they rank higher in the search engines, which can increase traffic.
Outbound marketing involves going where your customer is, such as cold-calling off a purchased list or having a booth at a trade show. Social media and search engine ads, like Facebook ads or Google ads are other popular outbound marketing methods for attracting first-time audiences.
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 organic search 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 lies 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.
If you already have a few customers, you can also launch a referral program to give a boost to your customer acquisition plan. Referrals help you leverage the influence of your existing customers to get new ones. For each successful referral, you can reward your customers with freebies. These incentives help to keep check customer churn in check.
5. Create engaging content
Start by creating a library of unique, valuable, and educational content that helps your ideal customers answer their questions and solve their challenges throughout the buying process. You’ll need to decide which content options best suit each stage of your funnel.
Some options include blog posts, e-books, case studies, white papers, videos, and webinars. The content format choices will depend upon what your customers prefer. For instance, if your customers are younger buyers, you can choose to leverage short-form videos. Meanwhile, if your audience consists of executives, they may choose to read e-books or case studies.
6. Create conversion points
Next, you need to provide interested parties with the opportunity to convert into leads and enter your sales funnel. This happens through appropriate calls to action (CTAs) on various pages of your website, depending on where the prospect is in their buying process.
You’ll want to create conversion points for each stage of your funnel to boost your overall conversion rates and gather more leads. Landing pages are great points for your customer acquisition strategy as their sole goal is to drive lead generation.
7. Drive qualified traffic to your site
Also called “demand generation,” you want to help your potential customers to find your site so you can convert them into leads and add them to your sales funnel. Potential tactics to leverage here include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, trade shows, direct mail, pay-per-click (PPC), and search advertising. The best digital marketing options will vary based on what works best for your audience and your budget.
8. Nurture your leads
Using marketing automation will simplify and streamline your customer acquisition efforts, improve your customer experience and reduce your marketing costs while helping you stay on track. An email newsletter—or any other cost-effective method of staying in touch with your leads until they’re ready to buy—will increase your customer acquisition results.
The idea is to keep leads engaged and show them what you have to offer. Providing them with middle-of-the-funnel content such as case studies, client testimonials, and e-books is a great way to accomplish this. Such content can help position your brand as an authority figure in the industry and build their trust in it, too.
9. Leverage a CRM
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is integral to any user acquisition strategy. Ideally, it integrates with marketing automation tools to simplify the lead generation and nurturing process while garnering valuable insights, lead data, and important metrics.
With a CRM, you can build high-converting landing pages with contact forms, enabling you to capture their contact information seamlessly.
It arms your sales team with a history of each lead’s interactions with your website and your brand, better preparing them to speak with prospects during each encounter.
A CRM also makes it easier for you to determine where leads are getting stalled so you can figure out where to add more content to advance prospects through the process. It will also tell you which CTAs are working best and what needs to be adjusted.
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 customer acquisition cost (CAC). Once you review these metrics, you’ll be better equipped to determine which user acquisition strategies are working and which ones aren’t the best fit for your business.
Be sure to measure results routinely to 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.
What’s your customer acquisition plan?
A customer acquisition strategy is a must-have for every business that intends to grow. Without it, you’re shooting arrows in the dark and likely wasting your marketing budget.
Along with this customer acquisition plan, it’s also necessary to have the right tech that can help you build landing pages, capture leads, and nurture them. Act! ticks all the right boxes. If you’re interested in seeing how an all-in-one CRM and Marketing Automation software can improve your customer acquisition, try Act! for free for 14 days. No credit card or download is required.