Customer Acquisition: A Quick Start Guide
In this quick start guide, you will learn the basics of acquiring customers through digital marketing. By following these 7 steps you should come to a better understanding of your competitors and customers, and learn how to effectively utilize social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and other digital channels to attract and engage new customers, build and promote your brand, and keep them coming back.
Step 1. Competitive Analysis
Locate your Competition
Before you start creating your social media accounts, blog content, ads and other marketing materials you need to take a look at your how your competitors are reaching out to their customers. First, locate your your competitors’ social media “channels”.
- Blogs (platforms like WordPress, blogger, Tumblr)
Once you’ve located all the ways your competitors are reaching out to customers, you can determine rather quickly where your potential customers tend to spend their time, and you can more effectively focus your efforts on those channels.
Step 2. Create Content
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
After you’ve discovered where your customers are spending their time online, you will need to start creating content that effectively promotes your brand on those channels. There are two strategies that you’re going to use when creating your content: inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is content produced by you, using either your website, or other social media, and is not a paid advertisement. Outbound marketing involves paying to place your advertisements or promotions online or in print media. A successful marketing campaign will involve using both of these strategies.
One of the advantages of inbound marketing is the sheer variety of ways to connect with potential customers. This doesn’t mean that you have to use every available channel, and you’ve done some competitive analysis you should have a sense of the best avenues to focus your efforts.
Here are some examples of inbound marketing:
- Social Media Contests
- Conference Speeches
- Informational Mp3s
- Deal Sites
Join the Conversation
In order to establish a connection with customers, see what your audience is talking about, and try to join the conversation in a useful way. Interacting with customers in a helpful and timely way will gain you credibility and give value to your brand and your company.
Don’t Spam Your Customers!
Generally, people will not take kindly to being spammed with promotions, sales, or advertisements on their social media channels. If you try selling to them too directly, you will risk alienating your current customers, and you definitely won’t attract new ones. No one likes their Facebook feed to be overrun with advertisements, so don’t spam your customers!
Tactics that Work
There are a variety of ways to reach out through social media. You may want to create a contest on Facebook or Twitter by, for example, offering a free product to the best comment on one of your posts. Whichever tactic you choose, you can measure its success by the level of user interaction it generates. On Facebook interaction will come in the form of comments, likes and shares; on Twitter it will be favorites, replies and retweets; and on Pinterest it will be pins and more.
While inbound marketing may drive traffic over time, using outbound marketing tools can be a great way to generate visibility for your brand, especially when you’re just starting out. Here are two tactics you can try:
The most common ad platform today is Google Adwords, offering a way to get you message spread across the Google Display Network on sites that are relevant to your brand and message.
Using sites like Commission Junction, you can set up a program to share a commission with sites that display your ad.
Step 3. Drive Action
Create a Home Base
Your home base will be the place you use to direct traffic from posts on social media or if someone wants to link to you on the web. This is mostly likely your webpage or blog, because you will have to most control over it.
Use Landing Pages
When you link someone to your website make sure their experience is guided and consistent from the moment they click a link to the action you want them to take. This includes using familiar logos, copy and even a reference to where they came from, so you do not confuse a potential customer.
Call-to-actions are basically the buttons, forms or other web site elements that you wish for your audience to take action on. The basic kinds of call-to-actions include a signup form, for something like a newsletter or request for information. Or a click-through, which takes the customer from a landing page, or other site page, to anything from a specific product page to the details for an event, and everything in-between!
When possible, use third-party sources such as real reviews, testimonials, customer stories and even the logos of media your company has been featured in to show that you are credible. For example, on a landing page you can include a feed of Facebook recommendations or show some of your best customer testimonials for instant validation.
Automating Future Contact
Automation can take a lot of different forms, but the idea’s the same: creating ways to communicate with customers with only an initial setup. For example, when someone subscribes to your newsletter in addition to receiving timed messages you can create and auto-responder campaign to deliver pre-formatted content.
Common tactics in marketing automation:
- Network invitations (Phone, Email & Social contacts)
- Social Sharing
- API Integrations
Step 4. Keeping Your Customers
Thank Your Customers
Make sure to thank people when they take the action you want them to take. Along with this thank you, you can offer other valuable products or services while they are in the mood of buying or signing up for something. This can also be asking for someone to share their experience through social media.
Reward Loyal Customers
If you have a certain segment of customers that have been with you since the beginning, usually referred to as evangelists, make sure to treat them well by offering incentives like discounts, free products or really anything you can think of. Just be sure to ask for something like a testimonial, review, social share or anything that can show their peers that they enjoy your product in a genuine way.
This is another way to use social proof.
Step 5. Test! Test! Test!
Use Inexpensive Testing Tools
Using tools like Optimizely, Unbounce or just changing elements on your pages to see what changes make a difference to your conversion rate, or the number of people who actually do what you want them to do from buying to signing up for a newsletter.