Customer acquisition strategies change with every company, but the goal is generally the same: capture the attention of your target demographic, and convert that attention to sales.
Decades ago, these strategies played out in real life, in newspaper ads, billboards, events, socials, and word-of-mouth. Now we have to consider organic search traffic, “customer acquisition funnels”, appropriate blogs, SEO, UX, social media, and all the rest.
When it comes to numbers, customer acquisition can be a complicated game, but a better way to think of it is community building; which has been around for centuries. It doesn’t have to be complicated to acquire new customers: just make sure your user experience is top-notch, and engage with your community on a human level.
Here are a few ways to do just that:
1. Audit & Update Frequently
Companies are always changing - especially in the early stages - so it’s important to be on the same page with the people you’re trying to attract. This is why we advise constantly auditing your stats, and updating your goals. Gearing up for your next milestone, you might want to pull out your stats - see where you’re getting the most traffic, and where you’re getting the most conversions, as well as the campaigns that have yielded the best results.
You might find some unexpected results, like subtle shifts in demographic, new ways people are using your product, and where you have hidden weaknesses.
If you’re a B2B company, consider your customer acquisition funnel, and see if you’re experiencing blockages. Are you experiencing recurring points of tension that is preventing new customers from coming back? Try to pinpoint where they are and adjust as necessary.
2. Become an Expert in Your Field
The best way to gain credibility for not just your current endeavors, but your future ones, is by establishing yourself as thought leader in your field. This is the sort of project that requires time, dedication, and upkeep, but there are tools available to help experts build and sustain their reputation.
Becoming an expert in your niche involves at least some, or all, of the following: finding a specific niche (which has something to do with your business), compiling a list of the influencers in the field, engaging with them regularly on Twitter, building a blog and guest blogging for trade websites and other blogs, and taking diligent advantage of LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites where your potential clientele/colleagues might be. Enhancing your own personal brand will naturally connect you with potential customers who work in your field, and build a pre-existing demographic when you start your next venture.
3. Up Your Landing Page Game
It takes weeks of building a website, social networking, and getting your brand out to reach the target demo you want, and less than a second of lag time for potential customers to turn away. It’s like having a potential client go out of their way to come to your house, and ring the doorbell only to have to wait an unforgivable amount of time to be greeted.
So first things first: make sure the user experience on your landing page is as good as possible. This includes implementing responsive design, having a clear and tightly edited value proposition and call to action, and giving people clear directions on where to go to find out more information about your company. There are also a few tricks to employ when appropriate: integrating videos into your website can boost your conversion rate up to 30%, crafting a perfect headline will gain you longer visits (only 2 of 10 people will read past the headline on any given page), and include customer testimonials if you can (research has shown that 63% of visitors are more likely to make purchases after reading social recommendations).
4. Double Down on Social Media Efforts
To maintain customer retention, you have to engage in a way that has never been possible before. A lot of companies will slip social media into their To Do list, but often that just involves scheduled tweets in Hootsuite. And this is a shame, because social media lets you get into the pockets of your customers, ask them pointedly about their feelings on your product, keep them informed of software updates, and do it all in a way that is best suited to them.
While your company should already be on Facebook and Twitter, think about where your demographic spends their time. If your market trends young, like high school or college students, then make a fun blog on Tumblr; if you’re selling a well-designed wearable product, or the image of an aspirational lifestyle, try Instagram or Pinterest. If you’re targeting a mostly mobile audience, then consider Snapchat. Consider using an SEO and content marketing analysis platform like Searchmetrics, which provides market insight specific to your website to help you target and optimize your content and social media channels. And don’t forget: with social media, a little charm goes a long way.
5. Use a Human Incentive to Increase Engagement on Your Turf & Find Visibility IRL
Dive deep into the community you’re trying to tap with your project through all of the networks which already exist (mothers, fashion-conscious bloggers, gamers, freelancers, other entrepreneurs, avid sports fans, pop culture enthusiasts, business travelers, etc.) and try to gauge the language and rhetoric used by members of those communities, as well as their concerns and priorities.
Try to apply that knowledge to your social media presence and website’s blog by creating engaging original content about issues that affect the community, and tweet your posts to key influencers within those communities. Find out which events and conferences they show up to, and partner with organizers of those conferences. People are more likely to remember your name once they’ve seen you in person, so take advantage of that fact! One way to extend your brand awareness is by using social referral software like ReferralCandy, which sends out referral links and emails to your company through your customers.
6. Call in PR Help When Necessary
If you’ve been around for a while and your product has developed a strong, if not small, base of supporters that you’re ready to expand, it might be time to call in the big guns. PR reps can help your brand by getting your name out into larger news platforms by pitching the right journalists, build hype for possible launches, plan events that can get the best possible people into the same room as you, and tailor your product and message to suit the different kinds of people who might be interested in your product.
Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt,
specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free,
for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that
helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.