Customers are the base of any business. If you are planning on scaling up your business, then widening your existing customer base becomes essential. However, customer acquisition isn’t always a simple, linear process. In the same way that leadership roles in companies have changed, end-customers have also evolved. As customers and their habits are constantly changing, customer acquisition strategies need to keep up as well.
But before delving into the top customer acquisition techniques, there’s one step companies need to do first: identify what kind of customer they want.
As a company, you don’t just want to attract customers, you want to attract the right customer. There are two ways you can do this. If you already have a customer base that you are happy with, then all you need to do is find customers with similar characteristics. But if you’re looking to diversify your customer base, then there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before identifying your ideal customer:
These questions will also depend upon your organisation’s profile and goals. Answering them will help you understand exactly what you’re looking for, which in turn will make it easier to find them.
Identifying prospects is only half the challenge. After this comes the long, intensive process of converting them into actual paying customers.
Customer acquisition strategies can be broadly classified into online and offline techniques.
Traditional customer acquisition strategies have always focused on finding new customers. But through Search Engine Optimisation, you can also make it easy for your customers to find you. SEO is one of the most effective ways to find new customers as it makes your brand visible when a customer already has an expressed need. For example, if a user searches for ‘health insurance providers’ and your brand comes up, they are more likely to enquire. While SEO can bring in high-quality organic leads for your company, it does take a few months to show results.
Content marketing is a long-term client acquisition strategy, but one that has enduring results and can generate high-quality leads. Through content marketing, you can help your audience learn more about your products and services, establish your brand as an expert in the field and in the long run, gain customers organically. Your content marketing strategy can include various forms of content such as blog posts, infographics, videos and even guest posts. Content marketing needs to work in tandem with your SEO efforts for maximum effectiveness.
Unlike SEO and content that can take a few months to show results, pay-per-click campaigns are a relatively faster way to acquire customers. Since you only have to pay when a user clicks on your ad, they are also very cost-efficient. You can run digital ads on various platforms such as Google Search and Display, LinkedIn and Facebook to generate leads. Digital advertising has a clear advantage over traditional forms of advertising because it allows you to reach your specific target audience through a number of advanced filters.
If you are running PPC campaigns, then you are also going to need a landing page for customers who click on the ads. The landing page design and communication need to be compelling enough for people to actually make an enquiry. It should give them a clear picture of what your company can do for them and what your key USPs are.
Email marketing is a classic yet effective customer acquisition techniques. Email marketing isn’t so much about lead generation as it is about lead nurturing. Since you most likely already have their contact details if you are emailing them, the focus is on converting them into actual customers. You can use emails to keep your database informed about any updates or new services being launched. You can also use them as a part of your content marketing strategy to send informative emails that your subscribers will find interesting This will help build your reputation as a trusted domain expert, making it more likely that your leads convert.
Bonus tip: 48 hours after an email campaign, resend the same email with a different subject line to subscribers who haven’t opened your first email. This can help increase the total number of email opens for a particular campaign.
Do you work with a company that complements your own and has a strong network? You can consider tapping into it and gaining customers through these partner companies. There are many ways to cross-promote your brand for greater awareness. Most companies allow you to email their database, the cost of which will depend upon its size and quality. You can also partner with them to create promotional campaigns that will mutually benefit both of your brands.
Social media has evolved from just a platform to keep in touch with family and friends to one of the best ways to acquire new customers. There are a number of social media platforms available today, but the right one for your brand will depend upon your services and target audience. For example, LinkedIn works best for B2B companies while Facebook can be more effective if you have a larger target audience. Staying active on social media can help keep your audiences informed of your offerings while at the same time developing a personal bond with them. Strengthening that relationship can convert your audience into customers.
Your existing customers can be an excellent resource to help you gain new ones. If you are a smaller firm and have a close relationship with your customers, you can directly request them to recommend your company to any contacts they might have. If your customer base is too large for this, you can create special incentives for customer referrals. For example, you can introduce a special discount on your services if customers refer others to your company. Customer referrals are also effective because audiences are more likely to trust recommendations made by their peers than marketing done by a company.
Cold calling has been a fixture in client acquisition for decades, but its efficacy has been hotly debated. Cold calling with the same script for every potential customer is unlikely to produce successful results. However, this doesn’t mean that this technique doesn’t work. The secret to effective cold calls is doing as much research on a customer before making the call. With the information you have on hand, you will be able to have a more personal conversation and get to know their requirements instead of just marketing your brand.
For companies with a very niche audience, building a strong network is the key to acquiring customers. Attending industry-related events like seminars, guest talks and trade shows are very important because they are the perfect way to meet your target audience and interact with them. Even with the growing popularity of digital media, face-to-face interactions are still hard to replace. While simply being present at these events can help you make contacts, actively participating in them as a speaker can help you gain more visibility for your brand.
Even with the advent of digital media, print media can still be a very useful customer acquisition tool. Guides, books and brochures can be very informative for potential customers and can help increase awareness of your brand. You can even connect your print ads with your digital marketing efforts by including a QR code or URL that can take a reader to your website or landing page.
If your goal is to increase revenue and not to diversify your client base, you don’t have to find new customers to achieve it. When your existing customers are using a competitor for certain products or services, you can try convincing them to switch to yours instead. However, just making a marketing pitch won’t work. You need to offer them clear benefits of using your company and how your products and services have a clear edge over the competitors. Since you need to have a good rapport with your customers to convince them to scale up, delivering excellent customer service throughout their history with your company is imperative.
Today, with customers increasingly spending more time online than ever before, companies need to ensure that they have an omnichannel customer acquisition strategy for maximum effectiveness. With these steps, you will be able to identify new clients for your company through a successful mix of both offline and online tactics.
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