Originally published Jul 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM, updated June 13 2021
Today small business owners face a competitive marketplace. As a small business owner, you’re well aware that staying competitive, relevant and profitable requires that your business be extraordinary at attracting new customers and keeping existing customers happy.
And even then—as great as you may be at customer retention, customer attrition is inevitable.
When considering these issues, it’s clear that having an effective customer acquisition strategy is much more critical than ever for sustained, long-term business growth. Offering an amazing product that users like and that drives referrals will definitely get you started. However, once the organic growth plateaus, you need to identify other ways (or channels) besides word of mouth to keep customers flowing in.
Unfortunately, many of these channels—with paid media being the biggest one—can put a huge strain on your small business budget. Not to mention that they don’t scale very well, meaning that the return they give you is just enough to offset the added expenses.
This means that what you need isn’t just a customer acquisition strategy. Your small business needs a scalable acquisition strategy—a strategy that results in a steady increase in new customers and revenue, while requiring relatively smaller and smaller operating costs.
If your business is having a difficult time gaining new customers in a cost-effective manner, here are some areas to start when creating a scalable customer acquisition strategy.
Always Define Your Target Market
Having a clear understanding of the customers you are marketing to is critical to your customer acquisition strategy. Everything starts with identifying your ideal customer profile—from finding who they are and how to reach them, to how to talk and sell to them.
Where to start:
Knowing the basics about your customer’s demographics including age, gender, income, and marital status are important, but really getting know your customers actually means drilling down to more telling, personal information—such as interests, preferences, and most importantly—buying habits. This knowledge will help you gain a clearer picture of what your target market actually looks like. From that vantage point you can tailor your product or service to better meet your prospective customer’s needs and wants. Knowing your target market will also help you craft and deliver a more personalized marketing message!
Your Leads Deserve High Quality Response Every Time
Personalized and targeted messages tend to result in better B2C and B2B lead generation. In fact, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. With email being the most popular communication channel for businesses to reach out to prospects, how well you craft your emails plays a huge role in attracting and holding your prospect’s attention.
The quality of your response to those prospects matter a lot. After all, they have taken the time to contact you.
How you respond back and when you respond back are two critical factors when converting them to customers. In the theme of “the sooner the better,” a Lead Simple study have shown that calling a lead within five hours is 40% more effective than calling after 24 hours. Whether it’s a “I’m busy” or operational problem, your leads deserve high quality responses (fast) every time to help solidify that close.
Where to start:
The key is to get to the point (pinpoint their problem), spell out exactly how your product or service can solve your prospect’s problem, and include a simple “call to action” to move your prospect to the next step in the sales funnel. Crisp, concise emails with compelling subject lines are much more effective than confused communications that require more effort to decipher. It also goes without saying that your emails shouldn’t have any spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors as this can decrease your brand’s credibility.
Leverage Social Media Channels
In today’s time and age, you’ll notice that most of your customers are connected, informed, and engaged in social media. So why not start scaling your customer acquisition strategy by building a social media presence?
Where to start:
Provide quality content (i.e. blog posts, webinars, videos, case studies, white papers, etc.) that is received by prospective customers as relevant, engaging, entertaining, and useful. Content that comes off self-promoting can do damage to your social marketing campaign and your brand credibility. Focus instead on creating social content that is simple, helpful, and easily digestible by your prospect customers.
Here are some ways to get started:
Leverage Video Content
Tik Tok has been blowing up the social media community since the pandemic began, With its advanced algorithm, Tik Tok pushes your content out to millions based on interest and “likes”. Not only does the Tik Tok algorithm make your brand more “discoverable” through the For You Page, but it also compounds your following as a result in a way that traditionally, Instagram feeds alone, could not at the same pace.
In response to Tik Tok, Facebook also introduced Instagram Reels. An addition to the existing Instagram Platform, Reels allows you to record, edit and share 15-second video content that gets added to Instagram’s Explore Feed. When used correctly and with well-planned content, both platforms are a fantastic tool to engage your audience with.
Giveaways are a fun way to show your brand’s personality, share its products, and most importantly, engage with your audience. The best part about conducting giveaways is the reach that it gives your brand. Both existing and prospective customers can enter a giveaway, and the more shares and comments, the more new faces meet your brand.
Giveaways are most successful when it’s well thought-out.
Be sure to:
- Set your goals and budget beforehand (e.g. to grow following by X with a budget of X)
- Choose a product or a package of product(s) that’s exciting and makes the most sense in terms of timing (e.g. is there a new product release that you want to feature?)
- Choose your social media platform—the one where majority of your audience is tends to surface
- Identify the contest entry structure (e.g. follow your account, tag X amount of people, repost on your story)
- Determine the length of your giveaway
- Promote and engage (ongoing)
The competitive marketplace can be an intimidating realm to navigate, but utilizing the above tips will help you scale your customer acquisition strategy for sustained, long-term growth, and profitability—giving you a healthy, competitive edge. Check out the rest of our blogposts for more small business tips to give you a head start—and to save time!