“Build it, and they’ll show up…I hope?”
That’s how most entrepreneurs go about eCommerce customer acquisition.
You see, there’s a common pattern among entrepreneurs and small business owners. That there’s always a bundle of enthusiasm for the product, the service, the offering, the design, the technology, and whatnot. But there’s RARELY equal enthusiasm for how you will get the world to know about what you’re doing.
If you don’t get customers, even the greatest product or service won’t matter. So, how to balance customer acquisition with product management?
In this blog, I will talk about how to get more customers right off the bat and why this is vital to your eCommerce business.
But before we look into the top online customer acquisition strategies to win your customers, let’s understand the term “customer acquisition.”
- 1 What Is Customer Acquisition?
- 2 The Best Ways To Acquire New Customers
- 2.1 1. Utilize Content Marketing
- 2.2 2. Focus On User Generated Content
- 2.3 3. Create Interactive Website Experience
- 2.4 4. It’s Always Benefits Over Features
- 2.5 5. Optimized Landing Pages – A Must
- 2.6 6. Ignore SEO At Your Peril
- 2.7 7. PPC Advertising – A Quick Way To Attract Customers
- 2.8 8. Host Events, Webinars, Trade Shows, etc.
- 2.9 9. Automate Your Email Campaigns
- 2.10 10. “Freemium” Model – A Golden Marketing Nugget
- 2.11 11. Make Good Use of Referral Programs
- 2.12 12. Always Upgrade Your Content
- 3 Don’t Miss Out On Customers!
What Is Customer Acquisition?
Customer acquisition can be defined as the process of converting prospects or visitors into customers. Essentially customer acquisition involves the buyer’s journey on the whole. A buyer’s funnel or journey looks like –
- Awareness – where they get to know about your brand
- Consideration – After comparing different options, they are willing to consider your product or service
- Decision – Now they’ve made a choice and are eager to convert
But it’s also possible that customers back out from using your service at the consideration stage. This is where customer acquisition marketing comes into play.
What Is Customer Acquisition Marketing?
Customer Acquisition marketing involves dedicated strategies to market your products and services to convert visitors in the consideration stage into final buyers. In contrast to other forms of marketing, customer acquisition marketing targets a specific audience who already knows about your business.
A critical aspect of eCommerce customer acquisition marketing is to keep customers in the buyer’s funnel. To put it differently, customer acquisition marketing refers to using targeted strategies to maintain a direct line with your customers so that they make a purchase.
So, what are these dedicated customer acquisition techniques? Let’s have a look.
The Best Ways To Acquire New Customers
There is no surefire way to acquire customers, but each item on this list represents a commonly used method of growing your customer base today.
1. Utilize Content Marketing
Traditional marketing is down and out into fragments. TVs, newspapers, radios, etc., don’t work anymore. It’s all about content marketing now. It is cost-effective, increases organic traffic, increases market leadership, builds trust with customers, and whatnot.
But here’s the caveat — Only 43% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. What does it mean?
The rest are just riding the trend. You see, it’s tempting to stick your finger in every pie, but every product lends into a different kind of marketing.
An eCommerce Merchandise store would do well with visuals. But, on the other hand, if you create a new software tool, you’d be better off with informative blogs and tutorial videos.
Like Seth Godin’s book Meatball Sundae, content marketing is all about matching the market to the product. Not every market will suit your product.
2. Focus On User Generated Content
User-generated content is content created for or about a brand by anyone other than the brand itself. These content creators can be consumers, internal employees, contractors, vendors, or anyone familiar with the brand.
So, instead of the brand always talking about their brand, product, or service, it’s the customer, an influencer, the employer, or just a fan in general.
There are several ways to create User Generated Content – social media contests, campaign hashtags, photos, mentions from your employees which then act as word of mouth.
Heard of GoPro? If not, check out their Instagram and YouTube channels to see how they utilize user-generated content.
They give out $5 million every year for GoPro Awards. The customers upload videos in categories such as motorsports, travel, and animals. Winners receive up to $5,000, GoPro gadgets, and thousands of likes. No wonder they lead the global market!
3. Create Interactive Website Experience
You must also provide tools that are of value to customers while they are structuring their new business, in addition to your website. Here’s how some businesses have worked out interactive content:
Shopify – Custom Ideas Generator
Shopify has a custom-built generator called “Business Name Generator” that enables customers to come up with a business name and get a check to see if the name is available.
ASOS – Live Website Chatbot
The British mega-retailer ASOS impressively uses its live website chat. The visitors can inquire about fittings, sizes, colors and coordinate the best outfit with stylists available 24/7.
Beyond The Rack – Push Notifications
Beyond the Rack re-engages users on the mobile web, increasing revenue per visit by 26% with push notifications. Users can subscribe to receive timely updates from sites they enjoy, and customized content helps re-engage them.
4. It’s Always Benefits Over Features
Here’s a situation –
A high school kid wants to start a little tutoring business to make some money. He decides to make flyers and possibly do some Facebook ads. But he’s stuck with what he should put on the flyer to catch customers’ attention.
What should he do?
Start painting the know-it-all picture with all the School Olympiad trophies? Do you think people will buy into that? Never!
What if he highlights the results instead? Like he showcases exactly what students would want — which is better grades. He can even guarantee that the student’s grades will improve by a full letter or get their money back.
People only buy something when it’s useful. If you show the results, there are high chances that people will try.
5. Optimized Landing Pages – A Must
The landing page is an indispensable part of any marketer’s weaponry. An effective landing page provides consumers with specific and valuable information about your product or service or compels them to take action.
You can optimize your landing page by creating effective headlines and setting phrases that encourage clear action. A/B testing, for example, allows you to test different CTAs, fonts, and other elements to improve customer experience.
Elegant Themes is a perfect example here. Notice how they used the word “empower” to emphasize the customer’s specific goal and turned it into a headline.
6. Ignore SEO At Your Peril
Considering that 75 percent of people don’t go past the first page of results, you must optimize your page to get to the first page. For example, if you’re a car service in Charlotte, NC, you’d want your website to show up in the search results for “car services in Charlotte, NC.”
SEO optimization goes beyond using keywords. Among other factors, you need to improve your website’s performance, metadata, mobile compatibility, broken links, image alt descriptions, and transcripts.
The best part? SEO is not expensive. You don’t have to pay any third parties. Just do the work and wait for the results.
The only downside is that SEO takes time to show results. If you give SEO time to work, you’ll see results 13x faster than those who don’t adopt it.
But if you want quick results, try this next method.
7. PPC Advertising – A Quick Way To Attract Customers
Over half of marketers (68%) surveyed said they budgeted more for PPC ads this year compared to last, and they intend to invest in PPC advertising as an online customer acquisition strategy in the future too.
An excellent example of this strategy can be found while examining Eloqua. The design of this PPC advertisement is clear, with bullet lists of benefits and a strategically placed call-to-action that will appeal to top-of-the-funnel B2B readers like you and me. Also, the usage of the word “Find” shows how they utilized user-intent at its best.
If done strategically like Eloqua, pay-per-click advertising is an excellent option for boosting a campaign quickly and achieving a quick ROI.
8. Host Events, Webinars, Trade Shows, etc.
A standard marketing solution may help you take some big steps toward scaling up your business. But how about live events like webinars, conferences, and trade shows?
Live events help you put your company and brand on a blast for a very captive audience.
Check how WPMRR got the best out of the live events. The entry was free – they simply asked them for their email addresses and some work details.
In exchange, participants had the chance to network with other conference attendees, as well as to listen to live presentations from influential speakers.
Worth the effort!
9. Automate Your Email Campaigns
A free trip to Paris with friends and family sounds great. Isn’t it?
That’s how cosmetics company Sephora employed personalized emails to engage their mailer list subscribers and promote their sweepstakes offer.
An actionable subject line, a bold pink CTA, and playful visuals that match their brand messaging make this sweepstake irresistible.
Customer acquisition is all about making the customers feel smart and validated. And Sephora used this approach perfectly to drive customer acquisition with personalized triggers that would compel any buyer to take action.
10. “Freemium” Model – A Golden Marketing Nugget
The term “Freemium” refers to a business model that offers free basic services in addition to a tempting range of premium services. The goal is to lay a foundation for future conversions.
With the low entry barrier, freemium can be an excellent option for driving trials for new services. Freemium can generate higher recurring revenue and profit growth than a paid-only model.
This freemium business model is what has led to Spotify’s rise to fame. Spotify’s free basic version serves to acquire customers through ad-supported service. Those who want features like no ads, group sessions, and unlimited downloads have to upgrade to Spotify premium and become paid subscribers.
A fair deal, right?
11. Make Good Use of Referral Programs
A referral program is a proven way of bringing in new business by providing rewards, credits, and other incentives to your current customers.
With referral programs, you can not only reward existing users for their loyalty but also incentivize them to do free word-of-mouth marketing for you. But ensure you’re not too promotional.
Just the way Dropbox does with its referral system – Refer a friend, and Dropbox offers you 500MB of additional storage. Plus, your friend also gets 500MB of storage. It maximizes your chances of inviting a friend to Dropbox by offering both parties the opportunity to earn value from a referral. Customer acquisition at its truest!
12. Always Upgrade Your Content
It’s very likely that so many of your articles and posts have been put away in your website’s architecture and have most likely developed spiderwebs. It’s time to update them. But how?
A straightforward way is to add content and update the date of your article to your current date and republish it.
The second and more effective way is to repurpose your content. Consider converting your blog into a slide deck, eBook, or podcast.
Much like how Copyblogger gave new life to its most popular blog post, “The 3-Step Journey to a Remarkable Piece of Content“, as a slide deck that garnered more than 1,00,000 views on Slideshare.
This is a great example of how repurposed content can provide scalable returns with minimal effort.
Don’t Miss Out On Customers!
Hopefully, these 12 customer acquisition techniques will help you adapt to ever-changing consumer behavior.
The way to reach customers may have changed, but as long as you focus on delivering concise and valuable content, you will succeed.
You should also be very proactive in how quickly you acquire customers, what channels you use, and how you execute long-term strategies to minimize customer acquisition costs.
So, what are you waiting for? Implement these strategies now to see your business grow exponentially.