20 Proven Keys to Customer Acquisition
Whether your organization has been in business for a while now or you have just recently started up and opened your doors, you know that you can only grow when you have a system in place to acquire new customers on an ongoing basis. We’ve culled 20 Proven Keys to Customer Acquisition to help you launch—or sharpen up—your own system.
Some business owners seem to have an instinct for driving new customers and clients their way, but most need a little assistance. We’re sharing this advice that marketing experts and other companies have found successful and that you can begin using today.
1. Create New, Relevant Content to Communicate with Prospects
Search engines like Google and Bing put a premium on content that is fresh and useful to searchers. By developing novel content that speaks to your prospects’ fears and desires, you will appear more authoritative and relevant. This helps bring you up higher in search engine results.
2. Watch Changing Patterns of Media Popularity
Don’t stick with one particular form of media just because it has brought you success in the past. Short-form videos posted through social media might have been great for reaching prospects during the previous year, for example, but now your target customers are starting to spend more time being entertained in virtual reality or through a new online portal. It’s essential to focus on media appropriate to your target audience and meet them where they are.
3. Know Your Audience and Understand Your Target Market
If you don’t have a solid idea of who your audience is, it will be hard to communicate with them, let alone tailor your message to their particular motivations. Conduct market research and analyze how your competitors approach the targets that you share in common.
4. Gather Data and Crunch the Customer Acquisition Numbers
Collect information and use analytics to see how your marketing tools are performing and which ones work best with which audiences. Failure to measure the effect of your campaign is almost like having no marketing campaign at all.
5. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
Your prospects will be more inclined to do business with you when they perceive that you are an expert in their industry, noted NGDATA. Publish articles that will help customers do their jobs better. Offer coverage and commentary on news developments to show that you are in the loop.
6. Discover the Cost of Acquiring Customers
When you have a firm idea of how much it currently costs to acquire each customer, you can establish goals to lower this expense. This figure is also needed so you can calculate their lifetime value to your organization.
7. Determine the Lifetime Value of Customers
If customers cost more in the long run to acquire and nurture than they are spending on your goods or services, something is wrong with your business plan. Increasing their average value paves the way toward bigger recruitment numbers.
8. Become a Part of the Local Community
When you demonstrate support for the community where you do business, it can go a long way toward drumming up new customers. For example, you sponsor a local sports team with your organization’s name on the back of each player’s shirt. Fans of the sport and team can become fans of your business when they notice your support.
9. Try Direct Mail
Depending on the demographics you’re targeting, direct mail may be one of the more effective means to customer acquisition. You could begin by sending B2B mailers to other companies from a mailing list that you buy from an agency. Or, experiment by sending different versions of your postcard to different ZIP codes to test response rates.
10. Pay for Advertising
Print media, billboards, radio and TV spots are all proven, traditional channels to get your message across to a mass audience. A billboard may be the most direct line available to you for reaching out to busy commuters in a narrow geographic segment, who care little for reading tweets or checking out product demos on YouTube. Strategically combine a campaign with digital messaging to gain repeat impressions and make your message familiar to your audience. Use a totally digital approach with a well-constructed paid search campaign.
11. Try Telemarketing
Of course, people often detest receiving cold calls at work or at home. Those who really have a gripe will have already put their names on the Do Not Call List, so you won’t need to worry about offending them. Telemarketing often works best when done with direct mail efforts, noted Marketing Wizdom.
12. Get in the News
Cultivate members of the news media (or hire a PR rep to do this). A well-crafted press release emailed to your local papers, magazines, TV, radio and bloggers can wind up getting you quoted in free media. Being in the news will lend you an aura of authority.
13. Cross-Promote with Local Businesses
If you run a business that has natural alliances with other local companies, you can do some joint marketing efforts to help you both acquire new customers. For example, a wedding planner sends leads to cake bakers and dress shops or a limousine company leaves brochures at a nearby hotel for tourists.
14. Publish a Newsletter
A newsletter filled with useful industry news, helpful tips or even a summary of your recent blog posts and social media postings will do wonders for establishing you as a useful source of information. Offer leads a discount in exchange for their email address when they sign up for a subscription. Savvy entrepreneurs build email lists to distribute newsletters to first-time visitors to their site with great success, noted Help Scout.
15. Include Your Social Media Details in Emails
A lead that gives you an email address may eventually stop reading your email blasts or newsletters. But if the prospect clicks on the social media links at the end of one of your messages, chances are he or she will continue following you on Facebook even after unsubscribing from the email list. It gives you another opening.
16. Pick the Right Platform
Different audiences will tend to congregate on different platforms, noted a report from Kissmetrics. For example, post on Tumblr to reach a younger audience, use Facebook for a general audience and use iAds when reaching out to a mobile audience. It’s natural for the user experience of one platform to be more appealing to some people than others, so research the best medium for your message accordingly.
17. Host Webinars
Your potential customers are hungry for new information that will help them do their jobs better, or learn more about a particular aspect of the industry. If they see that your webinar truly provides valuable, relevant new information, they’ll sign up. Lead a webinar that includes invited experts to drum up more interest and then promote it heavily through all your marketing channels.
Business owners should measure the number of people who sign up for the webinar and compare it to the number of those that actually show up. Then, see how many of those become customers so you can gauge your webinars’ effectiveness.
18. Offer Something of Value to Download
Write an eBook, a white paper or a compelling case study and then offer it to potential customers. If writing isn’t your strong suit, you can hire a freelancer or turn this over to your marketing team. A document like this will establish you as a serious entity and can wind up turning leads into paying customers.
19. Take Social Media Seriously 7 Days a Week
Assign at least one member of your team to stay on top of social media platforms. It’s not enough to tweet about your latest product rollout or to announce a new service to customers via Facebook. You need someone to actively monitor each account every day, even on holidays. Otherwise, you may fail to hear from a potential customer with a question, losing a valuable prospect.
20. Implement a Customer Loyalty Rewards Program
When you convert a lead into a customer who winds up doing a lot of business with you, consider adding him or her to your rewards program. Offer your best customers a benefit, such as a coupon or a discount in exchange for referring new prospects your way.
There is no single approach to follow when it comes to acquiring new customers. Establish criteria that you want to meet with your marketing and branding efforts. Then test some or all of these 20 proven keys and see which ones resonate the most with your business objectives.
If you keep an open mind, are willing to test new methods and abandon those that clearly do not work, you’ll be well ahead of competitors who try a random, scattershot approach toward developing leads. In the meantime, you can encourage new customers to refer more business your way, with a rewards program that gives them a discount or other gift in exchange for a good referral. For help choosing and building your best acquisition strategies, or more ideas on growing your business, contact us here.
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