Customer Acquisition: What it is and Why You’re Doing it Wrong

Customer acquisition refers to the various methods and techniques used to attract new customers who may be interested in what you have to offer. The particular set of steps a business uses to achieve this goal is known as acquisition marketing.

Anybody doing business online can benefit from a smart approach to customer acquisition. But it’s an especially important process for smaller businesses. If you’re trying to figure out where you should be focusing your lead generation and acquisition efforts, let’s take a moment to explore this topic.

5 Common Customer Acquisition Mistakes

Let’s face it, your business isn’t going to be in business too long if you’re not making an effort to boost lead generation and customer acquisition results. So, this means you need a steady flow of both new and returning customers.

Yet many businesses primarily focus their efforts on retaining existing customers because of concerns about the costs associated with getting new customers. Yes, acquisition marketing is going to be an investment – but it’s one that can easily pay off if it’s done right.

To give you a better idea of how to make acquisition marketing something that’s ultimately good for your ROI and bottom line; let’s start by looking at some customer acquisition missteps.

1. Not Making a Good First Impression

Some clichés are frequently repeated because they happen to be true. This is definitely the case when it comes to the one about never getting a second chance to make a good first impression.

If you don’t initially impress potential customers, your customer acquisition results aren’t going to be all that great. It’s surprisingly easy to make a bad first impression. Why? Because it’s often the “little things” that can dissuade people from taking the desired action.

Some of the more common ways that businesses fail to wow customers include:

• Having a low inventory of popular items
• Not delivering orders or providing services in a timely manner
• Customer service reps speaking rudely or harshly to customers
• Failing to respond to customer questions or complaints
• Making it very difficult to speak to an actual person
• Having a website that’s slow, outdated, or not mobile-friendly

2. Being Too Trendy and Not Being Yourself

Successful acquisition marketing doesn’t mean you have to follow trends and jump on bandwagons just to keep your business front and center online. Just because some other businesses within your niche or industry are having success with such tactics doesn’t mean you’ll reap the same rewards.

In some cases, being super trendy may simply not be what customers expect from you. They just might like the fact that you do some things differently than your competitors.

For example, if you have a customer base that’s not all that active on social media save for a few of the popular platforms; you’re not likely to benefit from trying to be active on every single type of social platform. The same thing is true with paid ads. There might be more effective ways to get the attention you want online from new customers.

Besides, if you’re making randomly trying trendy things in the hopes that something will work, you’ll just end up wasting your time and money. You’ll be better off if you make your customer acquisition decisions based on solid customer data.

3. Not Setting Aside Enough of a Budget for Customer Acquisition

Realistically, not every business can afford to have a huge customer acquisition budget. However, your budget for this purpose should still be based on what results you actually want to see with customer growt

In other words, intentionally saving acquisition of new customers as the last thing you budget for means you’ll be limited in what you can actually do. Instead, determine your budget by considering factors such as:

• What you can do yourself or in-house and what you’ll need some professional help with
• Your specific new customer goals
• How well-established you already are within your target market

On a related note, another common misstep businesses make is simply not knowing how much it costs to acquire new customers. This is also one of the top reasons why some businesses fail to set aside enough for their budget for this purpose.

One way to estimate acquisition costs is to subtract the amount you know you’ll be able to spend on steps to bring in new customers (e.g., content creation, paid ad campaigns) from the amount those customers could potentially bring to your business.

If you want to use real data to determine your costs, take a look at what you spent you’ve already spent to acquire new customers over the past month or two. Then divide that by the number of new customers you actually had during that same time period.

Once you get your cost per acquisition figured out, it should be easier to set aside the right amount for acquisitions in your budget.

4. Assuming First-Time Customers Will Be Repeat Customers

Getting new customers is great, but getting those same customers to come back again is even better. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

If you want your first-timers to become regulars, you need to think beyond that first sale. What can you do to keep customers interested in your brand?

Oftentimes, it’s the smaller things that inspire customers to return, like sending “thank you” emails after purchases. Some businesses also make the mistake of attracting new customers with nothing but discounts and sales.

The potential problem with this strategy is that after your sale is over, customers will likely go back to their normal shopping habits. But there are plenty of marketing tactics you can use to keep first-time customers coming back, some of which include:

• Segmenting your email lists based on known customer interests
• Really wowing them with your customer service
• Using geo-marketing tactics to send out social media messages when customers are in the vicinity of your business.

5. Constantly Trying to Sell

Yes, it’s important to take steps to get customers to actually convert by buying one of your products or using your services. However, businesses that constantly deliver sales pitches are ones that usually don’t connect well with their audience.

Millennials, in particular, tend to like brands that have an actual personality. So, the most effective way to attract new customers is to honestly make an effort to solve their problems and provide useful relevant information.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t actually do things to get people to buy your products. Just realize there’s a time and a place for salesy content.

The purchase journey has also changed, which means customers don’t just want to be hit over the head with sales pitches. Customers have a growing appetite for knowledge. So, take advantage of this fact by wooing over new ones with content that includes:

• How-to videos
• FAQ pages
• Replies to public forum articles

As you plan your acquisition strategy, don’t make the mistake of not being aware of what matters most to consumers today. While expectations will vary by industry, generally customers today want the following things:

• Personal relationships and not generic sales content
• Flexibility with options (e.g., being able to try something for 30 days, getting a free estimate first)
• To be able to get things done quickly – so, no slow websites or long forms when asking customers to complete a purchase or request additional information
• Top-notch customer service
• A seamless mobile experience – most customer “touchpoints” are mobile these days, meaning interaction with your business is likely to be done with some type of mobile device
• Brands that have a purpose beyond just raking in more profits – if your business is involved with various charities or community projects let your potential customers know about it!

So, How Do You Do Customer Acquisition Right?

Now that you know what not to do, let’s focus on how to do customer acquisition the right way. You just might be surprised at how many lead generation and acquisition opportunities are available to you!

Explore Your Options with Facebook Targeting

Remember earlier we were talking about sticking with the popular social platforms your intended customers actually use? Well, one of the biggies is Facebook.

In fact, there are more than 2 billion active monthly users on this platform alone. And if FB happens to be the right platform for your business, one smart way to leverage this platform’s power for lead generation purposes is with targeted ads.

Because of the abundance of data available, it’s surprisingly easy to precisely determine who sees your FB ads. You can target super specifically on Facebook based on factors that could include:

• Age and gender
• Occupation right down to job title (comes in handy if you’re a business that serves or sells to other businesses)
• Income range
• Geographic location

There’s a reason why many websites have convenient buttons that allow customers to share their purchase with their social media followers. When this is done on Facebook, this info can be used to zero in on your target based on purchasing behavior.

You can start with broad categories and break things down on subcategories. Facebook will then show you how many user profiles you can target based on your categories or subcategories.

Find the Right Mix of Organic and Paid Ads

It should come as no surprise that online advertising is a big part of acquisition marketing. Before we mentioned that paid ads aren’t right for every business – but the right paid ad strategy can still be a very effective way to acquire new customers.

Paid ads have amazing lead generation potential since you’ll have a lot of control over where your ads are displayed online. Specifically, it’s your choice of keywords that allow your ads to be seen by searchers more likely to be interested.

If your goal is to use paid ads to attract new customers, don’t assume everybody who sees your ad will be ready to make a decision. You’re more likely to see an uptick in new customers with ads that:

• Include incentives to check out your business (e.g., 10% off your first order)
• Have a compelling headline with equally powerful ad copy
• Present creative visuals that express your brand and make it clear what you have to offer
• Showcase your product and offers
• Include quizzes, polls, and other types of interactive content
• Go to a landing page that matches the purpose of the ad (e.g., an ad that’s meant to direct clickers to more info about your products should go to your products page and not your order page)

Organic advertising is akin to modern day word of mouth. Tactics involve presenting information about your products and services online. Organic advertising is also appealing because it’s inexpensive – and sometimes absolutely free!

With customer acquisition, you’re more likely to have success if you find the right mix of paid and organic advertising for your business. And because paid ads are pretty much an in-your-face sales pitch, some potential customers may respond better to a more subtle listing of your products or services that shows up when naturally searching online.

Collect Customer/Audience Data

Determining how your audience finds your website and what actions they take when choosing what you have to offer is a big part of the accusation process – and it should absolutely be on your to-do list.

The data collection phase of acquisition marketing can give you some very important info you can leverage for acquisition purposes. What’s great is that just about everything related to your business online can provide some valuable customer and audience data.

With your website alone, Google Analytics reports can show you what pages of your site are getting visited the most. You can even use your paid campaign data to see what products are generating the most interest and conversions.

Fine-tune your lead generation efforts even further and collect valuable customer/audience data by:

• Actively asking for reviews and feedback to see what existing customers already like about your business
• Using email or social media surveys – but keep them short
• Reaching out directly to customers who’ve shown an interest in your products/services but haven’t taken any further actions to find out what’s causing them to hesitate
• Tracking user activity to find out how your customers prefer to interact with you online so you’ll know where to focus your efforts

Don’t Overlook SEO Lead Generation

The right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics can also help with your lead generation and acquisition efforts big time. A good place to start is to use the Google Analytics Acquisition Report to see where you stand right now with SEO.

Pay particular attention to where your traffic is coming from and where most of your conversions are coming from. Assuming you’ve already gathered audience data, here’s what you can do SEO-wise to attract new customers:

• Find new keywords to use within your online content, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve explored your keyword possibilities
• Use keyword suggestion tools to find viable keyword variations
• Improve the overall customer experience on your website (e.g., responsive website design, fast page load times, relevant content, easy-to-use navigation features)
• Refresh or replace older content that’s no longer performing as well
• Interact on your social media platforms
• Go local with SEO if you have a business that’s focused on certain geographic areas

Present and Promote Video Content

More than 30 percent of marketers consider video content to be the most important and effective type of content for their business. Retention is also much better when text-based content is coupled with a relevant image.

The videos you present online for acquisition purposes should be both interesting and of value to your intended customer. It can sometimes be hard to find the right balance.

There are many options available with video content – and not all of them require a big budget. For instance, how-to or demonstration videos are fairly easy and inexpensive to produce yet they’re an effective way to introduce new customers to your business or products.

Consistently Produce Quality Content

Ultimately, a great customer acquisition strategy is all about establishing yourself as a trustworthy expert within your niche or industry. Yes, this can be a daunting task if you’re a startup company or a smaller business not very well known outside of your local market.

But one of the most effective and affordable ways to get your name out there and establish a solid reputation within your niche is to consistently produce quality, relevant content. There are many ways you can do this, with some of the more common options including:

• Using a content management system (CMS) to manage the creation and distribution of your digital content.
• Email newsletters and personalized emails.
• Blog and social media posts.
• White papers and PDFs (especially if you are in a more technical niche).
• Infographics that highlight facts related to your industry or business.
• Timing the distribution of your content based on when your customers are most active online.

Final Thoughts

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to acquisition marketing. What works really well for your competitors may not work for you. But if you do your homework and get to know what matters most to your customers, you should be able to get the right kind of attention from both new and returning customers.

Need some help with your acquisition marketing efforts? The SimplySearch Marketing team is here to help. From determining what customer acquisition strategies are working for you right now to identifying areas where there’s room for improvement so new and improved strategies can be implemented, we’ve got you covered.

How are you doing with your customer acquisition efforts? Are you making any of the common mistakes discussed above? Have you gained some important insights that could help you improve your lead generation and conversion efforts? Share your thoughts and pass this post along.