31 Ways to Acquire New Customers
Jul 29 2021|
Last Updated: August 18, 2021
What’s the one common aim of every business, no matter where they are, what they do or what they sell?
Acquire new customers!
All of us love to have a queue of customers standing outside our office waiting for their turn without us lifting a finger.
Unfortunately, that’s far from reality. Customers are spoilt for choices and we need to get heard above the noise to drive customers our way.
In this blog, we’ll talk all about what customer acquisition is about, how to calculate its cost and go through an exhaustive list of ways to acquire new customers for your business.
What is Custom Acquisition?
Simply put, customer acquisition is the process of bringing in new customers. While it may seem like a simple concept from the outside, every company has multiple departments working for this very cause.
A customer acquisition process contains all the strategies for:
● Lead generation
● Lead acquisition
● Lead conversion
At every stage, the team uses multiple strategies to convince the leads to move to the next one. This whole process of customer acquisition has to be carefully noted because everything — the functioning of the business, the calculation of profits and revenue and the proof needed to submit to investors and partners — starts with it.
How Do You Measure the Customer Acquisition Cost?
If you’ve sat through a marketing meeting, you would’ve heard the term CAC thrown around a lot. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the cost of bringing a new customer, as simple as that.
This value can differ greatly based on your industry. For example, if you’re in the retail sector, your CAC is much less when compared to a tech company.
Ideally, CAC = (marketing cost + sales cost)/number of new customers acquired through the current strategy
But it isn’t often as straightforward as we think to calculate this CAC.
The marketing costs and sales costs include wages of the employees, software costs, outsourcing services if any, and any other overhead costs to conduct the activity.
When you sum all of it up and divide it by the number of acquired customers, you’ll get the CAC.
So, you need to be aware of the best way to calculate CAC as well as other customer-related metrics to get a good grip on your business.
4 Customer Metrics You Need to be Aware Of
Apart from CAC, there are a few other metrics that you need to be aware of.
● Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the duration that a customer buys from your business and the amount of revenue brought in by that single customer. Typically, your CLV should be 2.5 to 3 times more than the CAC.
● Net Promoter Score (NPS) calculates how ready a customer is to recommend your product. You can calculate this score by asking your customers directly the same question on a scale of 1 to 10.
NPS = (number of customers who scored from 0 to 6) – (number of customers who scored 8 to 10)
If your score is zero or above, then it’s a good one. If it’s negative, then you need to work on it.
● Customer Retention Rate shows how many customers are returning back to your business again and again. A high customer retention rate means your customers are happy with you.
Why Should Customer Retention Be a Part of Your Acquisition Strategy?
Gone are the days when the customer journey was a straight line or a funnel. You go from discovery, awareness, interest to buy.
But in the current market, the customer journey is actually a circle. As a lead becomes a customer, the company provides the best experience to build their loyalty, win them back and convert them to repeat customers.
So as much as you’re looking to acquire new customers, you have to keep in mind that the old customers can also become your customers again. According to a paper published by the Harvard Business School, when you increase customer retention rates by 5%, there are chances to increase your profits by 25% to 95%.
With such a huge possibility of an increase in revenue, it’s vital to include your existing customers as part of your acquisition strategy.
31 Ways to Acquire New Customers
Anything you do to acquire a new customer is an acquisition strategy. That said, you need to adopt several different techniques to bring in new customers continuously from different channels. You cannot rely on only a few channels for your customers and need to spread out your dependency on multiple platforms. Here are some of the top ways for customer acquisition.
1. Offer Free or Sample Products
It’s a well-known fact that everyone loves a free product. But when you look at it from the business point of view, are you ready to spend money on the free product in the hopes of getting new customers?
Especially in startups and small businesses, when you can’t afford to spend extra money, it can be daunting to think about investing in a free or a sample product. But it isn’t as expensive as you may think.
First of all, if you’re offering a small product, you can limit it to a small size and quantity of the sample based on your budget. If you already have an existing customer base for another product, you can offer free samples of your new product to those customers.
If this is your first product, then you can offer free samples with another company’s product (which we will look at in detail further). Or, you can create simple free products that go along with your main product. It can be as simple as an ebook, a physical book or any other simple product that won’t take up a lot of your budget but, at the same time, will add value to your product.
2. Introduce Combo Offers
When you have more than two products, you can create various combo offers with them! People are always looking for the best value for their money and when they find something together in a package at least 10% to 20% less than the initial cost, it’s a great incentive!
Some businesses have permanent combo products with reduced rates, while some launch these combo offers only for a certain period. You can choose either model based on your customer acquisition costs and targeted ROI.
3. Partner with Complementary Businesses
When talking about offering free products and samples, we mentioned partnering with other businesses.
This is not just only for free items but also for your product. You can collaborate with a brand in your space that has a product that is adjacent to yours. When you offer both the value-packed products together at reduced costs, it can be a great way to acquire new customers.
For example, in 2016, Apple partnered with Nike to launch the Apple Watch Nike+ that had an app of Nike specially designed for runners. It generated a huge buzz and was an instant hit among both Apple and Nike customers.
Similarly, you can find a good partner to complement your product and create a win-win situation for both.
4. Build Co-Branded Content
Co-branded content is something that you create in partnership with another business. Essentially, two or more experts from both brands will work together on a piece of content — it can be a study, an analysis, a survey, a blog, or a joint-hosted webinar. At the end of this partnership, both the brands together will come up with one or two pieces of content that they’ll promote individually to their audiences.
It’s vital to find the right company to partner with. Make sure to choose a company whose target audience is almost the same as yours. This is the best way you can generate leads and customers from each others’ audience. Once you’ve created the content, you need to market it as much as possible. Publish it on your blogs, social media pages and repurpose it in different ways possible.
This would ensure that both get the best exposure and best leads out of the co-branded content.
5. Guest Post on External Sites
When you’re writing for external websites, it’s not just for increasing links to your website. It’s also a great lead-gen machine when used right.
You can target a few websites and publications in your niche and talk about your customers’ pain points and organically introduce your product, a few stats about your business to create interest around it. When you’re writing multiple guest posts often mentioning your business, you can create a strong customer acquisition channel and get a good word out.
6. Generate High-Quality Content Regularly
When you’re looking to acquire new customers, you need to be in a position to establish yourself as a friendly, informative and valuable brand.
For that to happen, you need to create high-quality content regularly — at least every week. You need to write blogs, case studies, social media content, update your FAQ pages and anything else that you think will appeal to your audience.
People appreciate businesses that go out of their way to help people even before they become customers. So, create content that helps your users, something that’s close to your business and not just focused on making sales. This is one of the smartest ways to acquire new customers — sell without coming across as selling.
7. Invest in Long-Term SEO
How can we talk about customer acquisition strategy without mentioning SEO?
SEO is one of the most important ways of generating leads and customers. With the right set of keywords targeted across your blogs, product pages, landing pages and service pages, you can attract the right audience with the potential to become your future customers.
There are several ways of doing SEO. We advise our clients to invest in long-term SEO that has exponential growth over the years. Long-term SEO can be a combination of content, link building, keyword research, technical SEO, internal linking, high-quality content & social media links.
At StepToInbound, SEO has been the top customer acquisition strategy. We wrote several high-value articles with targeted keywords that generated a ton of traffic and steadily increased our customer acquisition rate.
8. Republish Content to Other Platforms
Just regularly writing on your blogs isn’t enough to gain customers. Only a few percent of your audience will be reading your blogs. If you want to reach the majority of your audience as much as possible, you need to widen your net.
Analyze the possible platforms where your audience hang out. It can be popular social media platforms, forums, or websites. Make sure to republish your content to those platforms too.
By republishing, we don’t mean to just copy+paste on the other platform. You need to cut and trim the blogs to suit the platform’s content. This is the only way you can make your republished content work the best.
9. Build a Lead-Generating Landing Page
This is absolutely essential for any business, irrespective of whether it’s a physical or an online product and we provide this in Growth and Pro Plans.
A landing page is where your leads come to get more information on your product. Every product should have its own landing page. Typically, your landing page should talk about your product’s benefits, features, and results. You need images, videos and customer testimonials to support your claims and, most importantly, a call to action.
A call to action can be a direct buy link, an option to waitlist or wishlist, sign up to your website or contact you for more information. Through this call to action, you’ll be generating hot leads for your product and whose information you’ll save for future promotions and retargeting.
10. Introduce Giveaways
Who doesn’t love getting loads of goodies doing practically nothing?
Hosting a giveaway is the best way to create instant buzz about your product. To make that happen, your giveaway must be valuable enough for the audience. You can either offer your products together as a giveaway or partner with other businesses to offer a whole bundle of products. The latter way is often the best since you’ll be getting attention from other brands’ audiences too with their promotions.
You need to keep in mind that the only way giveaways will work to your advantage is when you promote them to the maximum. Talk about the giveaway as often as possible and ask your participants to retweet, share or tag as a condition to enter the giveaway contest.
You can even encourage them to talk about why they need it the most or share their previous experiences. This can further add to your product’s worth and get in more participants and, therefore, exposure.
11. Create an Affiliate Program
An affiliate program will give options for influencers and bloggers to promote your product through their own channels and get a percentage of the sales they drive.
It’s a pretty simple and straightforward program. You’ll need to work out the details like:
● The payout to affiliates,
● How you choose and decide the affiliates,
● The process of tracking affiliates, and
● The mode of compensation.
With an affiliate program, you don’t need to do anything at all. Your affiliates will keep bringing you revenue through their promotions in exchange for a small percentage of income.
12. Run Targeted Ads
When you have some budget spare or need some quick ways to acquire customers, then online ads are the best way. While online ads are much cheaper than offline ads, you need to be careful about targeting the right group of audience.
You can place ads on social media platforms, search engines or external websites. Since people spend only a few seconds looking at the ad, you need an attractive image and a few lines of catchy content to grab their attention. You may also need to retarget the ads for your leads from websites and previous ads for better conversions.
13. Repurpose Old Content
When you’ve been creating content for a long time, the ones you created a few years back would be dated by now.
But that doesn’t need to be the case. You can go through your blogs and look at their past analytics and performance. You can repurpose the old blogs into newly updated blogs, social media posts, infographics, images and videos. Choose the ones that are relevant even today and get a good response from the audience.
Update those blogs for SEO, add new images and videos and then release it as a brand-new updated blog and share it all over your marketing channels.
14. Create Simple Tools for Lead-Gen
This has become one of the underrated yet smart ways for lead generation.
Creating free tools that can be useful for your target audience is one of the best ways to get them on your website and talk about your product. You don’t need any fancy tools to make that happen. Just something simple enough, like a calculator.
For example, if you’re a fitness food company, you can have a BMI calculator or a calorie calculator application that anyone can use for free. On this page, you can introduce your product among the results, probably with an introduction offer, or get their email through a sign-up form and add it to your email list.
Royal Bank of Canada has a list of several simple calculators like this one that anyone can use to calculate their interest rates, budgets, debts, etc.
15. Target Long-Tail Keywords for SEO
When optimizing your landing page for SEO, make sure to target a few long-tail keywords that your audience will search for. Long-tail keywords have a high chance of getting your website ranking high on the search engine results. Further, you can also narrow your audience to those few who have high chances of converting.
16. Create Segmented Email Workflows
Emails are one of the powerful ways of converting your leads to customers. But not all of the leads will be at the same point in their journey. Some of them will be hot leads who are already contemplating buying from you, while some may have forgotten about your brand.
So, when you want to convert all of these leads to customers, sending the same generic email to all won’t make the cut. You need to segment the leads based on their behaviour and willingness to buy your products. You can also segment them based on several other traits like choices, pain points stopping them from buying, etc. Deep dive into your marketing data for segmenting the collected leads.
Now, with the lead segmentation ready, you can craft different emails that appeal to each of these segments. You can further create email workflows based on the email opens, CTA clicks, etc. Such email workflows can be used repeatedly with a few tweaks in the email for your new leads.
17. Retarget Unopened Emails
Apart from creating customer segmentation and workflows for promotions, you need to target your leads and customers who haven’t opened any other emails.
If the lead hasn’t opened the email in a very long time, say 2 years, it may be futile to target them now. But if a lead hasn’t opened the email for a few months, you can craft specific subject lines and emails to convert them before they get cold.
It’s often easier to convert a lead who was interested once and has given you their email than someone who hasn’t heard about your brand at all. So, invest time in coming up with strategies and offers to entice your cold leads to become your customers.
18. Sponsor Newsletters of Niche Influencers
Sponsoring newsletters is one of the new ways of promotion. While you won’t be spending a lot of money on it, you’ll be getting visibility in front of a bunch of new audiences.
Many newsletter writers are open to accepting sponsorships. It essentially means that you’ll be paying them a decent amount and in turn, you’ll be mentioned as a sponsor of the newsletter. Many newsletter writers even say a few good lines about your brand while further improving your position in the eyes of your target audience.
When choosing newsletters to sponsor, make sure to look for the ones with a high open-rate and interaction rate. Test out the response from the newsletter for the first few issues and if you see a good conversion, you can sponsor them more.
19. Cold Email Lookalike Audience
Cold emailing has often been getting hot and cold responses from the marketing community.
While some experts hail cold emailing as one of the top ways of customer acquisition, some downright don’t recommend it. However, cold emailing can be a great source of leads to your brand if you play it fair and right.
Cold emailing plays to the advantage of B2B companies. You can get the emails of the founders or marketing guys from LinkedIn (Reach out via Sales Navigator) and send in an introductory email or InMail about your company, your product and your offers and set up a call if needed.
For B2C companies, it can be hard to acquire emails. But in case you have, then you can send a simple, straightforward email to gauge the response. Make sure to not bombard the audience with more than 2 emails, or you run the risk of getting spammed by Gmail. Only filter those people who have shown a positive response and add them to your emailing list.
20. Generate Leads Through Quora
Answering questions on Quora can create a long-term funnel of customers. However, you need to be smart about inserting your brand links in Quora, else your answer may be spammed or your account disabled.
To be successful on Quora and to promote your business, the answers need to come from the account of a founder, CEO or a marketing person at the top level. Look for questions in your niche. Answer as many relevant questions as possible. And whenever you see a potential choice for talking about a brand, seize it.
When your answers are useful and your brand link feels organic enough, you’ll get some good leads from Quora.
21. Reach Out to Social Media Influencers
Influencer marketing is rising to become one of the prime strategies for B2C companies. And now, we’re seeing lots of B2B companies jumping on this bandwagon too.
Influencer marketing actually cuts down the amount of direct marketing you need and instead brings you customers through reliable customers, a.k.a the influencers.
To project your business in the best light, you need to be careful about the influencers you choose. The influencers should have great engagement on all of their social media posts. By engagement, we don’t just mean the likes but the shares and comments. Since there are many incidents of influencers using bots to increase following and to get likes, you have to closely watch the people who are engaging with their content.
If you’re a small business, you don’t need an influencer with 50k followers or more. Many micro-influencers have considerable influence over the community and with a close-knit following who can get you the results you require. Analyze these influencers and hire them first to try your product and then, promote it to their following.
If you see that an influencer is bringing in good revenue, you can ask them to promote your product for more weeks to get the best out of their followers.
22. Use Twitter for Organic Marketing
Twitter is becoming a prime source of brand interactions and organic social media marketing. Unlike most social media platforms where influencer marketing is heading the brand promotions, Twitter is where you can interact with your audience directly.
From the social media managers of the brands to the founders, everyone involved in the brand can make a deliberate effort to talk to the audience about the brand and multiple its exposure. And Twitter is a great platform to get the word out.
23. Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content is one of the evergreen forms of content. People trust the reviews of other people more than any brand’s claims.
When you get excellent responses from your customers, you need to promote it far and wide! It can be a simple tweet, an image of your product, a video or any other media form that shows your product in a positive light.
You can share them with your audience through different platforms and show off your brand.
24. Use Glowing Customer Reviews in Marketing Campaigns
Next to the user-generated content, reviews from customers can also be used as marketing material.
In fact, 88% of customers trust online reviews and 86% hesitate to buy from a brand with negative reviews. When you get such good reviews, you can share them on social media, tweet out to the customers to get the conversation going and also include them in your emails and landing pages.
You can also request your customers to leave positive reviews, which you can then use to market your products.
25. Interact One-on-One with Customers on Social
Interacting with your customers is second to no other marketing strategy.
As you grow on social media and get some regular engagement and loyal followers, you can start initiating conversations with your audience. If they’ve already bought your product, then steer the conversation towards it. If not, talk about the generic issues surrounding your market, understand the emotions of the audience, give them the space to talk and share some of the highlights on the social stories.
Such customer interactions will yield more traction and will build a genuine following. It can even create some word-of-mouth referrals that will add to your revenue.
26. Gather Video Testimonials
While written customer reviews are good for your business, video reviews are absolutely golden. With your customers raw on camera talking about your brand, there’s nothing more you need to scope out your new customers.
To gather these video testimonials, you can reach out to a few of your customers who you know are happy about your brand and ask them to send a short 1-minute video testimonial. Of course, you can compensate them by giving them store credits, free products or discounts on their next purchase.
Once you have a substantial set of video testimonials for your products, you can use them on your websites, social media and even for your ads.
27. Host Informative Events
The events can either be online or offline events suited to your customer preferences. If you’re a service-based business, you can conduct an event to answer customer queries and shed light on using your product for maximum benefits.
If you have a product-based company, you can conduct informational events that bring more awareness to the customers. You can bring in experts to share their opinion about some of the common issues faced by your target audience and make a genuine effort to help them.
Such events will bring attention to your brand and in time, you can promote your products through the events. When you bring in people from outside to participate in the events, you may also be invited to other events and webinars that can again work to your advantage to acquire more customers.
28. Participate in Forum Discussions
There is always some debate or discussion on every conceivable topic on the discussion forum. When people are so invested in these talks to actually spend their time, it’s crucial for brands to pay attention to them.
You can pick a few such forums with active discussions about your market with your target audience. You can contribute valuable thoughts and opinions regularly to this forum and participate in the discussions. As you cultivate your presence in these forums, you’ll grow to a reliable position where people believe what you say. This is when you can promote your product, talk about the process and get some new customers for your business.
29. Become a Part of Online Communities
There are several online communities that you can leverage to get your customers.
It’s particularly best for an early-stage business that needs to acquire some initial customers. You can join the right online community where your audience is. You shouldn’t just start spamming the community with your websites and landing pages. Instead, you need to become a useful member, someone your audience looks up to for help and then talk about your brand as casually as possible.
You can find several communities on Facebook, Twitter, Product Hunt, Hacker News, Quora, and many more.
30. Build Your Business in Public
#BuildInPublic is a new trend that’s been going on Twitter since the beginning of the year. And it’s been making great sounds for many new companies and startups to get their early-stage customers, beta testers and form a feedback group.
Often, people who participate in the build in public trend can create a market demand for their product even before it’s released.
Typically, in the build in public trend, you share your journey of building a company or a product. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the founders have to do it, although we can see a huge percentage of them sharing their journey in this hashtag. Even developers, marketers or anyone working on something new can share their step-by-step journey, trails, experiences, mistakes, growth and anything else they want.
It’s a way of letting the world know the raw details and happenings behind a finished product. So if you’re planning to launch a new product, grow your company, expand into a new market or adopt a new strategy, you can share your progress and experiences online. This could automatically get eyes on what you’re doing and your product, leading to an instant stream of customers the minute you release your product.
31. Introduce Referral Program
While affiliate programs are for bloggers and influencers, referral programs are for your customers. You can create a referral system that auto-generates unique referral links for your customers. And when someone new buys a product from you using the referral link or code, both the old and the new customer get a discount.
It’s a very simple program to introduce, which again incentivizes your existing customers to talk about your brand and bring more customers in.
How Can You Reduce Your Customer Acquisition Cost?
Customer acquisition cost has been increasing rapidly over the years. In fact, in the last 6 years, the CAC has grown by over 70%. And this is true for both B2B and B2C companies.
As CAC is increasing year over year, you’d probably be worrying about how to manage your CAC costs and get a good profit.
However, much we try, there will always be some basic cost to customer acquisition like wages, software usage and other miscellaneous activities. That said, there are ways to reduce the other costs with some smart strategies.
1. Retarget Old Customers
Your customers have already trusted you enough to buy from you. So, when you’re looking to increase your revenue without spending a lot, you can easily reach out to your existing customers to make a sale. In fact, customer retention is one of the essential strategies of acquisition.
2. Maximize Your Referrals
As we saw earlier, creating a referral program is a one-time investment, after which you can actively encourage your customers to bring in new ones!
3. A/B Test Your Landing Pages
There can be several things that drive a lead out. You need to be aware of what works on your website and what doesn’t. To get on top of that, you need to A/B test those elements that you’re doubtful about.
4. Automate Your Marketing Efforts
You don’t need to sit and send every single email to your customers. You can write a bunch of emails early on and automate it weeks ahead using any email marketing automation software based on the action of your leads and customers.
5. Create Memorable Moments with Your Audience
You never know who is listening and who is looking for just the product you offer. So be active on social media and keep talking about your brand. Engage with your customers, share useful information and position yourself in a way that your audience will remember your brand when someone is talking about your market.
Customer acquisition is the lifeline of any business. Without the right acquisition strategy, companies suffer. Your customer acquisition strategies can be revamped as your company grows and your audience grows. Always keep an eye out for what the customers are saying and what they want to tweak your acquisition plans.