When you want to create, develop, consolidate an activity, it is essential to define a strategy. For that, it is necessary to be methodical and to proceed in stages. 

The first step is customer acquisition. Without a customer, there is no income. Without income, no business.

However, to equip ourselves, design a customer’s journey, and structure his actions, either so that he becomes one or so that he remains so, we can rely on conversion tunnels.

Customer acquisition is needed to prevent deflation and recession in business. All companies have average turnover rates, even though the product is outstanding, and the customers are happy with it.

If you don’t acquire new customers, the company will ultimately fail to improve and succeed.

It is where excellent customer acquisition comes in – it can lead to tremendous growth for your company and make it easier for you to scale.

Customer acquisition

Customer Acquisition as a foundation

Customer Acquisition, in its broad sense, consists of developing a customer portfolio. Carefully crafting your strategy is necessary for a successful campaign to acquire new customers.

Acquiring new customers can be done in several ways. It requires the mobilization of techniques that make it possible to reach the targets and transform them into real customers.

Today, integrating digital marketing into its customer acquisition strategy is essential. Indeed, digital channels are those favored by customers to seek offers suited to their needs. Adopting a digital approach is, therefore, a way to comply with customer practices. 

Today, generating traffic on its site remains the basis of any marketing and commercial development strategy.

If you want new customers through digital marketing channels, it is necessary to optimize the company’s visibility and its products on the Web. 

Customer Acquisition encompasses all online and offline methods to find new customers and encourage purchase.

The question, therefore, arises of the means to be implemented to develop it. 

  • How to gain new market share? 
  • How is it possible to reach and attract qualified visitors? 
  • How to conduct a profitable customer acquisition campaign? 

And for that, which acquisition channels to favor?

The different Customer Acquisition channels

Acquisition channels are numerous and come in very different forms. We can consider two main types of customer acquisition channels. The so-called “digital” or online channels and the “conventional” so-called offline channels.

It can be tempting to reach the widest audience and have as full a funnel entry as possible. However, when you work on your acquisition channels, it is essential to define your target audience clearly. 

Moreover, having qualified traffic is fundamental for the following steps to be successful and for your acquisition cost to be controlled.

Digital channels – Online

Customer acquisition diferent people with websites

SEO – natural referencing

SEO consists of giving yourself visibility on the Web. 

To generate traffic on your website, it is essential to appear prominently in the results pages following a search by the Internet user. 

SEO is a crucial aspect of your customer acquisition strategy.

Several parameters must be taken into account to optimize natural referencing:

> Technical optimization: site speed (plugin + content optimization).

> Semantic optimization: keywords – titles – tags – meta descriptions.

> The architecture of the site (internal links – external links – tree structure) and the quality of the content (length of titles – paragraphs – pages).

The internet user searches on a search engine (natural search). How will he find you? How to meet the need and the offer? You have to be well-positioned.

Visibility naturally generates traffic. If it is well-targeted, the traffic brings qualified prospects that have yet to be converted into a customer and then into an ambassador of your brand.

SEO is a long process where results come with time. You have to be patient, and above all, have a long-term strategy.

89% of businesses use their website for customer acquisition *

Content Marketing

It is an essential gateway to make yourself known and strengthen your legitimacy. However, it is quite a demanding task and can be time-consuming without organization. Consider getting smart tools like Buffer.

Content marketing aims to offer your prospects or customers content that touches their interest. It is about creating and distributing content to guide Internet users towards your offer. 

Sharing content helps generate visits (leads), promote transformation, and promote your expertise or the quality of your products (brand content). 

It will also be an opportunity to strengthen the “customer support” dimension of your activity.

88% of companies use content marketing for b-to-b * customer acquisition & 94% of marketers use LinkedIn to deliver content and 84% on Facebook 

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to convert leads while retaining and monetizing existing customers. This technique involves sending personalized messages which can take the form of commercial offers.

Emailing must be highly personalized. Your messages should be distinguished from the many other emails received by your contacts. The email must be tailor-made for each client so that your communications are as relevant as possible. 

Targeting is fundamental here in order to be able to send offers that precisely correspond to the needs of the recipients.

Emailing allows you to generate traffic on your site, increase your prospects’ engagement, keep the link with your existing customers, and retain them.

To make your emailing strategy effective, it is essential to build, feed, and segment a prospect/customer database.

81% of companies use email in their customer acquisition strategy *

SEA: Paid SEO

Paid referencing or SEA (Search Engine Advertising) allows you to generate traffic to your offer by improving your visibility. 

It is an effective route to publicize your offer. The SEA consists of positioning oneself on keywords or expressions (“long-tail keywords”). 

This type of SEO is akin to sponsored links that you can find on search engines. Internet users who click on the link expect to see a commercial offer.

If I type “digital marketing” in the Google search engine, I see at the top of the page:

Digital marketing keyword

SEA allows you to generate targeted traffic, increase your visibility, build your notoriety and, consequently, make sales. 

This approach is commonly used in the context of online commerce. If the targeting is done accurately, the return on investment can be attractive.

The Google Ads model is based on the PPC (Cost Per Click), that is to say, that the advertiser takes a certain amount each time a (unique) visitor clicks on the sponsored link. It is possible to cap the budget so that it does not exceed a specific limit. 

A bit like on the stock market, all keywords do not have the same price (depending on their popularity), and the cost of a keyword can change over time (depending on demand).

Paid advertisements (Ads) make it possible to capture highly qualified traffic because Internet users have expressed an intention to purchase in their research.

Affiliation

An affiliate program consists of paying actors (people or companies) to carry out specific actions. Affiliation is based on a godfather-godchild relationship. It encourages people to forge a link to a third person in return for a profit.

Business partnerships

You can form strategic partnerships with companies in your sector or a related sector. There are several types of partnerships.

> Horizontal, when companies from the same sector work together to improve their positioning in the market.

> Vertical, where the company works with players in its own logistics chain (upstream or downstream).

> Intersectoral, when companies from different sectors share their know-how.

Offering your prospects partner offers can allow you to provide services with/solutions with higher added value.

Platforms & directories

Platforms and professional directories are places of high traffic.

You can register on directories to be listed as an actor in your sector. 

It especially makes sense if you have a specific profession or if your product has a distinctive character.

You can also make your service/application available to the public on a platform (the Appstore, for example). Platforms are websites, apps, social networks that have a considerable number of users. Being present on these channels is essential. 

These are powerful ways of generating significant traffic to your offer. It is still necessary to animate, monitor, share content to make the use of this channel effective. The use of platforms can indeed quickly be time-consuming.

It is why it is essential to thoroughly target your actions and select the platforms and directories (even if the implication is not the same) that you want to use. 

In any case, having a presence on these channels increases your presence on the Web and will necessarily have a positive impact on your SEO.

Traditional Channels of customer acquisition – Offline

customer acquisition offline channels

While digital channels have taken precedence over specific other physical channels, mainly because of their cost and their reach and ease of execution, traditional channels should not be abandoned. 

They remain essential ways for winning new customers. Because today, successful customer experience goes through the real and the human.

Telephone prospecting

Prospecting by telephone is an effective way of finding new sales leads. It allows you to get in touch with potential customers and identify their needs directly and quickly. Here too, it’s the targeting that makes the difference. 

If you do not want to devote considerable time resources (and have the feeling of preaching in the desert), define your research perimeter, have one (or more) precise script (s) (which evolve according to the meetings), quantify your actions and results to refine your technique as prospecting progresses.

Also, this is an excellent exercise to test the clarity of your marketing message. You can decline these remarks to improve your marketing positioning, in particular on your digital communication media.

Press relations

The press is a medium coveted by the general public. It ensures a reassuring “physical” presence. But as always, you have to target the “paper” in which you want to appear. Do readers match your target? How will you differentiate yourself?

The choice of format is essential. It may be appropriate unless you have internal skills to call on a professional who will give relief to your approach.

Making a press kit can be a good idea. You can reuse its content for various purposes. For example, you can feature it on your website, or broadcast it in a short format on social media.

Other offline ads

TV, billboards, sponsorship are relatively expensive channels and are aimed at companies that already have a specific financial capacity. 

Showing originality on the medium and its exposure can, however, make a real difference. Be creative!

Trade shows

While trade shows have a high cost for a growing business, they are nonetheless an effective way to ensure a presence in your industry. 

It is also an opportunity to watch, to keep informed of future trends. These events represent an opportunity to get in touch with potential customers or partners and to have their contact details. It is an excellent way to enrich your prospect database.

The objectives are different depending on the degree of maturity of the company. You want to create interest in a developing project. Or you arrive in a phase of growth, in full development, where exhibitions can be the opportunity to announce a special offer. To attract large customers, to forge strategic partnerships.

Other Events – Offline

“Events” are not necessarily expensive (like sponsorship or the organization of significant events). You can organize tailor-made events, micro-conferences, and even join forces with other people to simultaneously reach more people, bring into play the complementarities, strengthen your legitimacy, and considerably reduce costs. and the working time related to the organization of the event

This type of micro event works particularly well in support services, coaching, business creation, well-being, yoga, etc.

It is a powerful vector of capture and conversion because it places people at the center of the commercial relationship.

Conclusion

This list of acquisition channels is not intended to be exhaustive. Its objective is to draw up a descriptive listing of the main avenues available to you. The complementarity between digital and traditional techniques remains obvious.

Knowing the different customer acquisition channels is one thing; knowing how to use them to achieve the objectives set is another. We will see how to set up a paid acquisition strategy.

How to implement your customer acquisition strategy?

To conduct a successful acquisition campaign, you need to have a well-defined strategy. Let’s take a look at four steps that will allow you to set up an effective customer acquisition strategy.

Define your target customers

Defining your ideal client is a prerequisite for any marketing action. To attract a customer, you need to know their purchasing habits, interests, personal and professional goals, needs, etc.

To define your target, it may be necessary to develop personas. These personas are imaginary and stereotypical representations of the ideal customer. 

Developing them allows you to understand your customers’ motivations better and use the right techniques, the right channels to reach them.

Choose your tools

Choosing the right channels is essential to increase the opportunities to find and win new customers. The channels accepted must be those that make it possible to reach the targets and encourage their conversion into customers. Therefore, the choice of the channel must be made according to the profile of the ideal customer.

Depending on your activity and the resources (time & budget) you want to allocate to this process, you can test actions on different acquisition channels. It will allow you to assess the most effective means of communication as quickly as possible.

The Bull Eyes methodology is a tool that will allow you to make the first selection. It is based on a simple principle: what is possible – what is likely – what works.

In a digital marketing context, the practice of “test & learn” is particularly appropriate.

Activate the channel of customer acquisition

Once your target has been identified, and the channels are chosen, it is possible to launch your customer acquisition campaign. For each marketing channel, the objective will be to identify and generate qualified commercial contacts and then work on the connections to transform them into real customers.

Measure the impact of the actions implemented

The importance of measurement

The expression, well known to business managers, “You get what you measure,” takes on its full meaning in the deployment of your acquisition strategy. 

Regular monitoring of the actions implemented will allow you to measure your strategy’s overall performance, identify the most effective and profitable channel, and readjust your activities according to the achievement of your objectives.

For this, we will use customer acquisition costs as an indicator. It allows you to evaluate the impact of a campaign.

Definition of acquisition cost & calculation method

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) expresses the average amount spent by a company to acquire a new customer. Calculating it will allow you to estimate the expenses required in a campaign and, above all, assess its profitability. 

Customer acquisition costs can be calculated for each channel and each campaign. This calculation will be used to identify the most profitable channels. The company will invest these to reduce customer acquisition costs and increase its turnover (CA).

To obtain the customer acquisition cost, we divide the total sums invested in acquiring new customers by the number of customers at the end of the campaign.

CAC = Total investment in customer acquisition/number of customers acquired.

Let’s take an example. One company spent € 10,000 on marketing (content production & digital advertising) and € 7,000 on sales actions (telephone prospecting & trade fairs).

The campaign allowed him to gain 120 clients. The cost to acquire a new customer will be CAC = (€ 10,000 + € 7,000) / 120 = € 142

Customer acquisition costs must take into account all the sums invested for all the conversion actions. 

To know if your investment is profitable, you have to compare the acquisition cost with the customer lifetime value (total sum of the profits that he can generate throughout his “customer life”). 

The investment is profitable if the life value is greater than the customer acquisition cost. The return on investment (ROI) is thus evaluated.

The other measurement criteria

Other criteria allow you to classify and prioritize your acquisition channels:

  • The execution time required according to your profile. How long does it take me to write an article? Make a video?
  • Acquisition volume that can be delivered per channel.
  • Efficiency, i.e., the conversion rate of each channel.

Let us take a few examples of measurement criteria. For an application, we can use the download rate of people who arrive at the App store’s presentation page. 

For a service, this can be the number of visits and the number of registrations. And for an e-shop site, we can measure the Bounce rate on the pages. 

Conclusion: Acquisition vs. Loyalty

As we have seen, the acquisition is a foundation for any business development strategy.

Some would argue that it is much cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. However, this assertion must be taken with a certain measure if it is generally true.

Loyalty aims to generate profits through the repetition of purchases made by someone who is already a customer. However, the buyer’s life cycle comes to an end. As good as you are on the retention/loyalty stage, you will inevitably lose customers over time. 

Therefore, the company must bring water to its mill and continuously strive to conquer new market shares.

Also, the efforts made on loyalty and acquisition will depend on the company’s level of maturity. However,  when a business is in the midst of growth, it’s time to focus on customer acquisition. 

When a company has already reached a specific size and it has developed a customer portfolio, the efforts focused on loyalty prove to be much more profitable.