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10 Customer Acquisition Strategies That You Must Use Today

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Executive Vice President

In the late-90s, a friend of mine joined a top-five consulting company. He was excited as he was among the few selected for that position from the country’s best campuses.

During the first few days of his induction, leaders took him through multiple sessions. The topics covered were:

  • How do you provide the best possible customer experience?
  • How do you retain customers?
  • Do’s and Dont’s in customer management.
  • What kind of escalation matrix is acceptable?
  • What kind of SLAs need to be followed?
  • Importantly, how do you bill your customers, and what process is followed?

He found all of it exciting and went through all of these sessions enthusiastically.

At the end of the first week, he had only one question in mind. He asked that question to his trainer, “You have spoken extensively about every facet of customer handling, but how do we acquire customers?”

His trainer responded, “We wait for the phone to ring.”

Can this be a customer acquisition strategy anymore?

Absolutely not.

There is no way an organization can wait for its customers to reach out to them on the phone.

Instead, you should provide ways and means by which your customers can reach you easily across multiple channels and be present where your customers are present.

Let us look at what customer acquisition is.  

What is Customer Acquisition Strategy?

Acquiring new customers is an essential aspect of business growth and success. The process of attracting and converting potential customers into paying customers is known as customer acquisition.

Every customer, before making a purchase, does their research. They read about the product they will buy, look for references and reviews, demonstrate the product, and then get to the buying stage.

This happens both in the B2B and B2C environments.

A company’s customer acquisition strategy encompasses the various ways it attracts and converts potential customers into paying customers. This can include marketing campaigns, promotions, partnerships, and advertising to reach and engage with a target audience and ultimately drive sales and revenue.

Customer acquisition experts do specific things that make the customers take action. For instance, when you syndicate your content on an industry site, people would read and download them. While downloading, they provide their basic information.

This becomes a lead, then. Once it becomes a lead, it has to be nurtured to make it sales-ready. Customer acquisition experts would nurture them by sharing additional information, getting on a call to explain how our service or product would help them, sharing case studies, and making them speak to existing customers.

Once the lead becomes sales-ready, they pass it to the sales for them to take it forward and close.

The entire process moves from lead to marketing qualified lead to sales qualified lead to opportunity and customer.

You can also check out our blog on: Inbound and Outbound Customer Service

10 Customer Acquisition Strategies

  1. SEO
  2. Paid Campaign
  3. Repurpose Content
  4. Focus On Outbound as Much as Inbound
  5. Social Media
  6. Events
  7. Referrals
  8. Industry Media
  9. Gated Content
  10. Webinar and Panel Discussion

Now, we will examine the customer acquisition strategy used to acquire customers.

1. You Want to Be Found – SEO

Organic search is the best way by which you can acquire customers. For instance, when a customer searches “CRM software on trial,” do you appear in the organic search on Google?

Figure out for what search criteria you want to show up. Make sure that you build content around the search criteria on your website. This has to be done organically.

When I search for ‘CRM software on trial,” I get directed to your website, but I don’t find that information quickly, which is a problem.

You can use tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush to find the best keywords for your business and create powerful content that attracts potential customers.

Ensure everything is built organically by structuring around different search strings and providing the correct information when people visit the website. Also, provide an easy call-to-action for customers to engage with you.

Have you used paid search for customer acquisition?

You can use Google Keyword Planner or Microsoft Advertising to identify the keywords for paid search.

You can optimize your bid value based on what others are bidding so that you can positively show up alongside organic results.

This would increase your chances of being found by people searching for specific keywords.

Once they find you through paid search, they will be redirected to your landing page, which should be loaded with benefits and why someone should look at you for their needs.

Your call to action must be robust for someone to become a qualified lead.

3. Repurpose Your Content

What do you do with the long copy you wrote for your whitepaper?

You publish, and it remains on your website. Search ranks it, and you get a few visitors who read that thought leadership content. You try to nurture them and convert them into qualified opportunities over 3 to 6 months. 

Are you doing the right thing?

I’d say no.

What else can you do with that content?

  • You can repurpose that whitepaper into at least 3 or 4 blog posts
  • Break them down further and put them up as LinkedIn posts or Twitter posts
  • Break them down into short videos and publish them on various platforms
  • Convert them into newsletters and share them with your subscribers
  • Use them as the nurture content for your existing leads
  • Convert them into short content pieces and push them out as carousels

This would increase the reach of your content, and the likelihood of someone seeing it is very high with content repurposing.

The advantage is unbeatable, as you don’t have to spend time recreating content, but you would have to spend time repurposing it.

Repurposing the content is the sure-shot way to attract your prospects, and this will have to be the go-to customer acquisition activity for any organization.

The most important aspect is patience, for results would take time.

4. Focus On Outbound as Much as Inbound

I have read thousands of posts that say outbound marketing is dead and inbound is the way to go.

I partially agree that inbound is the way to go, but I am unsure if outbound is dead.

I have seen outbound work like magic because it allows you to identify low-hanging fruits, which means they are high-intent leads. You don’t have to nurture them; they are opportunities you can immediately take to closure.

For instance, our team sent email marketing campaigns to our subscription list. For example, we would send an offer to provide them with a bunch of people at half the price for the first three months, stating that we want to invest in the learning process initially.

After which, the customers will have to pay the regular charges.

Guess what?

Most responses we got for such emails wanted additional details and skill levels of people. They interviewed and onboarded them with a contract for 12 to 36 months.

No inbound marketing can do this kind of customer acquisition.

I am not saying that you should embrace outbound and drop inbound. It should be a combination of both for customer acquisition, and I love the saying, “Why kill something that works?”

5. Social Media

You don’t have a subscriber list. You haven’t figured out how to create a list. You are dependent on organic search for all your marketing efforts.

Everything seems long-term.

What do you do in the short term?

Look at Social Media. You can start both organic and inorganic content dissemination through social media.

Organic will grow your followers slowly. While inorganic will put you in front of your target segments faster, you will have to pay for it.

Besides, social media would also allow you to gather your followers’ email and other contact information of people who engage with your content.

You can use this list for email marketing campaigns and other outreach programs.

Social will have to be a part of your customer acquisition strategy in the short and the long term because it provides you the reach, which isn’t possible through traditional methods.

6. Events

How often have you been at tradeshows, exhibitions, and conferences?

It helps you build the brand, create thought leadership around your offerings, and reach out to your target segments directly.

I would say that each of these forms a third of the reason why you should attend them. A third of your efforts would go towards customer acquisition.

This is a focused activity because you know what audience will be there and can prepare your laser pitch to attract them.

Most events would allow you to pitch for a speaker or a panelist slot. This would allow you to establish your brand as a thought leader.

Besides, you can reach out to the attendees in advance and set up business meetings with them during the event. These can turn out to be high-intent leads.

Events definitely make a massive difference to your customer acquisition strategy. However, they are more expensive than other activities.

So, choose the three or four events you want to participate in based on your budget.

7. Referrals

In the initial three years of our operations in India, all of our customers came through referrals, which in my opinion, is one of the best customer acquisition strategies.

  • How did you choose the hotel where you stayed for your last vacation?
  • How did you choose the insurance policy that you subscribed to?
  • How did you choose the restaurant or pub where you wanted to host a party?
  • How did you choose the interior designer for remodeling your home?

Most likely, all of these are through referrals. Because we trust people whom we know and we care about what they say.

The same is the case when it comes to business.

We often got referrals from our customers without us asking for them. I’d say that we turned out lucky.

However, there are ways by which you can encourage this behavior in your customers.

The easiest way is to ask them to refer you to people they know. How else can you encourage this behavior?

Referrals are a surefire way to acquire customers, and you can offer your existing customers incentives in the form of credit, physical gifts, or monetary rewards.

After all, a customer referral is crucial for your business as a customer acquisition strategy, then how you incentivize your customers should be equally rewarding for them.

The most important part of asking for referrals is to provide immense value to your existing customers. Provide them with an experience they’d never forget and are delighted about; they can’t help but share with their networks. 

8. Industry Media

Some magazines cover news and thought leadership specific to your industry.

Identifying and being a part of them is an excellent customer acquisition strategy. Your target segment and their decision-makers would naturally read these magazines.

Being a part of it makes it easy for you to be on the radar.

These magazines typically do interviews and opinion articles on your industry. This will allow you to project yourself as a leader in the space.

Besides, you can repurpose this content in multiple formats, which we covered earlier in this article.

Customer acquisition becomes easy because you are found where your customers are present.

9. Gated Content

Have you ever used gated content as a customer acquisition strategy?

When do you use gated content?

You spend a lot of time creating eBooks, white papers, guides, templates, and more. These are valuable content that people love and want to lay their hands on.

They won’t mind providing their email and contact information to download this information.

This can be syndicated through any customer acquisition channel, so your reach will also be high. We have had more success in running pay-per-click ads on Google for our white papers.

We have had more than 2000 downloads for some of our white papers.

This means you can build a massive list interested in what you have to offer. Then they can be retargeted through various means, like email marketing, before they are converted into qualified opportunities.

10. Webinars and Panel Discussions

We have successfully used webinars and panel discussions as a customer acquisition strategy.

We bring in customers and industry experts as a part of these discussions, and they provide immense value to the participant community.

We moderate these discussions and derive significant value for our community from the experts who participate.

This naturally triggers conversations from the participants, and they end up becoming our customers in the long run.

This is not a low-hanging fruit, but this can result in a value sale.

These customer acquisition strategies are only for you to get started. Not everything would work for every organization.

Some of these can be very expensive, and you must be mindful of them. The best way to figure out what works for you is to monitor and measure the customer acquisition cost using different customer acquisition strategies. It is the cost of acquiring a customer using a specific channel or campaign over a specified period.

If this works out favorably, then you should consider it. Else, you should move on and spend more time on what works for your organization.

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