The number one concern of every startup is – customer acquisition.
“How to acquire customers?” It’s THE question – asked or thought about, in the conference room, when discussing with potential investors, developing a business model canvas, or brainstorming ideas and plans with co-founders, team, and/or talking to yourself.
Your ultimate goal is to have a breakthrough product, million and billion dollars of funding, breaking-the-internet kind of success as a startup. But you cannot achieve it all without having a solid customer base.
What Is Customer Acquisition?
Customer acquisition refers to the process a company takes to bring new customers to their brand. A successful strategy helps brands win new customers, retain loyal customers, and in the end, improve profits. The customer acquisition process starts from the first contact with a customer or a lead and works into the retention strategy.
The customer acquisition process covers every single aspect of a buyer’s journey. It starts with the lead generation section, moves to conversion, customer loyalty, and finally to retention.
Customers are a catalyst to your startup success.
So, how to go about getting your customer? It’s not impossible, but it is an arduous process.
Let’s face it – the competition is severe. You either cut through it or become relieved of the fate of Pluto (the forgotten planet).
The key is to create and stick to an agile growth plan.
So, let’s look at some best practices to consider when building your customer acquisition strategy:
11 Tips To Creating A Customer Acquisition Strategy For a Startup
1) Identify Your Target Customers
The first step in customer acquisition is understanding who your target customer base is – both the ones you plan to target and the current ones. Learning how your product fits with your ideal customers is a great way to set your marketing goals.
But, how do you find out who your target customers are?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do your customers accomplish by using your products or services?
- What are your customer struggles?
- What demographics are your customers?
- Where can you find your ideal customer information?
- Why should they buy your product or service?
- What time does your perfect customer buy your product or service?
As your brand grows, you can keep track of your created customer profiles and help you analyze and expand your customer base. You need to identify your highest-value customers’ traits and behaviors. This will help you in the next stage of your customer acquisition process.
2) Define your brand goals
When you know who your customer is, you can set clear goals and objectives to cater to them. By setting up your end goals, you can guide your efforts into achieving them. But to meet your revenue expectations, you need to set the right goals for your customer acquisitions.
To make sure that you achieve your revenue goals, set goals for each strategy that you use. It is not hard to see if your marketing efforts are working or not by measuring customer acquisition metrics like customer lifetime value (CLV), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), customer acquisition costs (CAC), and others. This will help you choose your customer acquisition channels.
3) Choose your customer acquisition channels well
By identifying who your customers are and setting up your goals, you now need to set up the proper channels to help you move forward in the customer acquisition process. But, it has to be based on your research and your customer demographics.
Now, we know that a customer acquisition channel is any place your target audience meets your customer for the first time. It can be through organic search, paid ads, or social media. Whatever the channel, it must bring in new customers to be considered as a customer acquisition channel.
Some of the most popular channels include:
- Facebook: Ads, direct messaging, live-streaming videos
- Instagram: Visually attractive images and short videos to grab attention
- YouTube: More informative and entertaining video content
- Paid Social media content: Short ads with engaging visuals
- Referrals: Loyalty programs and reward systems
- SEO: Long-form written content that is optimized for search engines
You need to know that every channel is different and that each channel requires different strategies to work.
4) Develop unique strategies for each channel
To achieve your customer acquisition goals, you need to develop unique strategies that are built for each channel. So, focus more on factors such as:
- What content your audience likes
- What your competitors are doing
- What your data tells you
Let’ say your brand caters to customers in their 20s. So, you need to market your brand on TikTok or Instagram to connect better rather than on Facebook. Based on who your customers are and where they spend most of their time, you need to develop content that will connect with them.
Research is an integral part of building your brand’s unique strategies – see what your customers are doing, find out what attracts your target audience, check for information regarding where your segment spends their time on social media. All this information will help you create unique marketing content for customer acquisition.
5) Communicate with your customers
When creating a product or marketing your brand, you need to understand what your customers want. The best way to do that is by collecting information from the source itself – your customers. Conduct customer surveys, ask for feedback on social media, add customer interviews to your pages, customer unboxing of products – these are all great ways to find out what your customers want.
Create an open channel of communication with your customers and keep the conversation flowing regularly. This will help you understand what your customers want and how to market the products/services to them.
6) Measure and improve your strategies
You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, right?
Then why would you build an eCommerce business without utilizing your analytics?
In all honestly, if you jump into building your brand without checking who your customers are, what works for your brand, where people see your brand, and how your pages are doing – then you are setting yourself up for failure.
It is important to measure customer acquisition and to analyze results, as they can help you figure out:
- Where customers first saw or heard about your brand
- Where they buy products from
- Their location and other identifying factors
But, before you start tracking and analyzing data, you need to know which data you should look into for customer acquisition. Some standard metrics to look into include:
- CAC or Customer Acquisition Costs
- LTV or Lifetime Value of the Customer
- New Customer growth rate
- Ratio of Lifetime Value of Customer to Customer Acquisition Cost (LTV : CAC)
7) Get Your Brand Name Out There using Guest Blogging
When starting your own business, you need to get your brand name out there. Focus your time on areas where you can market your business. Guest Blogging is one such area. It allows you to connect with the top industry bloggers that are related to your brand. Get them to write about your business or products in a way that is relevant to your customers.
You could also check what your competitors are writing about and build your own blogs. But for this, you would need to do your own keyword research and write content that suits your style.
8) Incorporate Videos into your Marketing Strategy
According to a study done by WordStream, 45% of people report watching more than one hour of videos every week on sites like Facebook and Twitter. It just goes to show, videos are viral.
With the recent upgrades in phones, you really do not need to buy a webcam or a camera. Just get a steady phone holder and an excellent video-editing app, and you can create high-quality video content yourself.
But, make sure that you create content that is informative, educative, and, most importantly, highlights why your products need to be used.
So, where can you use video content?
- Create how-to videos and upload them on YouTube
- Host a Q&A session on Instagram Live to answer questions related to your products
- Host interviews with popular industry figure to add on Facebook Live
- Create short animated films that tell you brands story or customer testimonials
Remember when creating videos that you have endless possibilities to connect with your customers often have powerful results.
9) Create Dedicated Landing Page that Target Different Markets
Dedicated landing pages are a great way to not only close deals with new customers but are also perfect for upselling opportunities. They are developed and created to target a niche market, specific customer, or grouping similar marketing targets.
But, you may think, why not create a standard landing page and showcase the different features?
This will not work because each market, customer, or segment has different goals and pain points. Creating one standard landing page means you miss out on that personal touch. Also, the copies would not make sense. Instead of building innovative and compelling content, you would have to stick to the same generic ones that most visitors are bored of looking at.
10) Networking is critical
When creating your own startup, you need to network your brand. Generate that buzz around your store by connecting with major names in your industry. Connect with bloggers to see if they will review your products, or connect with some major brands to have your website featured on popular sites.
You could also connect with popular influencers to get them to post reviews or unboxings or even retweet a picture of your products.
Another great way to network is by connecting with communities. Get active with the community around you, let them know that your brand supports them, and give them the support you need.
11) Look into Paid Marketing
In most cases, you will have a certain amount of money saved up for a marketing budget. So, then you need to consider including paid campaigns in your marketing strategy.
But, which ones do you pick?
There are many options to choose from – PPC, social media, podcasts, and more.
So, choose paid options like retargeting ads on the Facebook page or following on Twitter. You could also connect with customers through email marketing or display ads.
Like your startup, your customer acquisition plan will grow too. But remember, the tactic that didn’t work today might work tomorrow. Strategies that got the bull’s eye will be a sore eye for your business tomorrow. Also, what works for one of your competitors, might prove to be a disaster for you. You need to discover effective growth channels for your company and start busting it out through them.
Build a dynamic plan and process that defines the customer acquisition plan.
As a startup, you have the talent, resources, and time. So, make the most of these components and determine what clicks with your customers.