How to Acquire New Customers for Your Startup
Acquiring customers is the primary goal of every company because, without customers, it cannot grow or, in the long term, even exist. At Heraldbee, we specialize in customer acquisition for startups. We know how to attract the attention of people who might be interested in a given product or service. We have tested many strategies and tools in this area, and we know which ones do bring tangible results. So we decided to share our experience. In this article, we explain:
- What is customer acquisition?
- How does the customer acquisition process look like?
- What are effective customer acquisition strategies?
We hope that our experience will turn out to be helpful to your businesses.
What is customer acquisition?
I guess the term “customer acquisition” sends a clear message – it is a whole set of activities that should lead to an increase in the number of customers and, consequently, in sales. Without a doubt, it is the foundation of every business.
There are three key concepts worth mentioning in the context of customer acquisition. These are customer acquisition strategies, customer acquisition process, and customer acquisition costs (CAC).
Customer acquisition strategies are a set of tools, ways, or techniques that are designed to attract the attention of people potentially interested in a product or service. They are described in more detail in the last part of the article.
The customer acquisition process is a set of steps that lead to the acquisition of new customers. Among them, the critical role is played by acquisition strategies, but the whole process is more complex. In the next part of the article, I explain exactly what it consists of.
The customer acquisition cost is simply the price the company pays to acquire new customers. It’s calculated by dividing the total cost of customer acquisition by the number of new customers in a given period.
It’s worth calculating this cost for each communication channel separately to find out which one brings the best results. For this to be possible, it’s necessary to track the origin of new customers, i.e., the source from which they found out about the product.
The customer acquisition process
Acquiring customers is a process that consists of many steps. Before you see any effects, it’s necessary to take time for thorough analysis and research, and then create a well-thought-out action plan.
The first step may seem irrelevant in the context of discussing the customer acquisition process, but it is actually the key element of the whole puzzle. Without a good product, no strategy will bring the desired results. Remember that it’s marketing that works for the product, not the other way around.
When you have a product or service, you want to sell, create a customer profile. You have to define a target audience. Think about:
- Who is the potential user,
- What does he/she do,
- What are his/her interests,
- In which situations he/she may need your product or service,
- How your product can make his/her life easier,
- Where can you find your target audience,
- What acquisition channels to use to reach him/her,
- What is his/her age and where does he/she live.
The target audience profile should be thought through and as detailed as possible. If you do it well, you’ll save a lot of time. You’ll also avoid spending money on customers that won’t convert.
Bearing in mind the overall costs associated with creating a product, estimate the customer acquisition cost, you can incur and still generate profit. Having in mind who you want to reach with your offer, choose the right tools, and develop a plan. Implement strategy (or strategies) and then monitor the effects. It may turn out that one tool works better than the other, or one of the acquisition channels doesn’t bring any customers. That’s why you have to evaluate the results and adjust your strategy accordingly.
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It’s worth looking at the process of customer acquisition also from the perspective of the sales funnel. This is the way a customer goes from a prospect to a loyal customer. The aim of customer acquisition strategies is, above all, to draw attention, develop interest and cause the desire to have a product.
Effective customer acquisition strategies
There are many ways to acquire customers. What you should remember about is that they are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, they are complementary. At Heraldbee, we always evaluate the characteristics and needs of each startup and then select a set of strategies that we believe will work best. Your company can gain many more clients if you choose the right strategies.
1. Engaged target audience
Having your customer’s profile in mind, build a relationship based on shared values. This is the first element in the customer acquisition process and an essential step to creating an engaged community. People are more likely to buy a product or service if they can identify with the brand’s mission and goals. Communicate them clearly. Then try to provide this community with platforms to share their opinions, thoughts, and learn more about your business.
Social media or a website with blog and forum work great for that. Brands that use this strategy are considered to be open and accessible by their audience.
2. Content marketing
The acquisition channels we mentioned earlier don’t have to be used only by your customers. They serve as powerful communication platforms for your brand too. Make the most of them. Create content regularly and use it to educate your prospects. Potential customers will not necessarily be immediately aware of the benefits of your product. Show them how you see the product, how they can use it, how it will change their lives, and what they can expect from it. Make them desire your product and show that it would solve their problems.
Make sure to use various forms of communication – articles, posts, videos, podcasts, white papers. Different customers prefer different ways of absorbing information.
At the same time, don’t let your educational materials be just advertisements. Be honest in your desire to help and share knowledge. It shows that you know what you are offering and are an expert in your field. It’s a key to gain customers’ trust.
Read more: 4 Simple Lessons to Improve Your Customer Acquisition Strategy
Optimize your content through all acquisition channels. Focus on making it search engine friendly. This will improve your position in their rankings. Read more about this in our article How to Use Content Marketing and SEO for Startups in the Most Effective Way [Case Study].
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4. Referral programs
With the referral program, your current customers can benefit from recommending your product to the new ones. Their “awards” may include, for example, promo codes, discounts on subsequent purchases, or free periods of use (if your product is software or app). It all depends on the specifics of the product and the capabilities of the company. The referral program is a great way to engage more customers in the process of acquiring new customers, and thus, exponentially increase their number.
5. Free stuff
It’s the best strategy to gain the most resistant customers. If content marketing is not enough to make them want to buy your product, let them test it. A good product can sell itself. If you offer a physical product, you can give away free samples. In the case of a service or an electronic product, such as software or application, you can offer a time-limited trial period. This way, customers can familiarize themselves with the tool and see how it works.
6. Email marketing
Email marketing, especially in the form of newsletters or product recommendations, is a classic method that is gaining popularity again. Content provided in this way is perceived as more refined, selected, and tailored to the needs of customers. And rightly so, because email marketing is based on information about the potential recipient, which the product developers already have. It allows them to assess their needs and adjust their advertising.
You should be aware though of the high risk associated with this strategy. Once sent, an email can no longer be improved. Therefore, higher effectiveness is associated with the need for even greater involvement in the creation of content delivered by email.
7. Landing page
A landing page is where a potential customer “lands” once redirected from various sources, such as an article, a blog post, an email, a video, or a referral link. Its content should contain essential information about the product or service and ultimately convince the person to buy it. It is, therefore, a tool that plays its role at a later stage of the sales funnel than, for example, articles on a blog, a referral program, or email marketing. Its purpose is to convert the prospect into a customer.
To achieve this goal, the page must be optimized. The key elements of the landing page are product description, convincing content, and a visible call to action. Learn more about landing page optimization methods in our article How to Create a Landing Page that Converts?
8. Budget control
Customer acquisition doesn’t have to be very expensive. If you’re a new startup, try to make the most of what you already have. Often the small size of a company at the beginning of its operation is an advantage because the owners can be more visible and create a bond with the customer. As a brand creator, try to connect with your customers, tell them about your product, get engaged in the PR activities.
On the other hand, don’t try to acquire all customers. Especially at the beginning of a marketing campaign, it is vital to control the budget. Focus on the lead with the highest probability of conversion. Knowing your target audience, choosing the right strategies, and monitoring their effects – the goal of all these efforts is to use the funds most effectively.
Business is not a constant competition. You can often gain a lot more by cooperating with other brands. The key to success is to put the customer’s interest first. Think about how you can increase your customers’ satisfaction by offering them products or services complementary to yours. Not only will you acquire new customers, but you will also gain additional human and perhaps financial resources. Working with partners allows you to get to know brands that are not necessarily related to your industry and thus learn about their perspective and see how they run a business. Joining forces is a benefit for both parties.
Read also: How to Leverage Partnerships for New Customers Acquisition
Customer acquisition is a complex process. The most important steps are to create a detailed target audience profile, choose effective strategies, and use the right acquisition channels. It’s crucial to treat the customer acquisition process seriously because the future of your company depends on its results.
Heraldbee offers a comprehensive package of customer acquisition services. We help create the optimal strategy for each startup, choose the best tools, implement them, optimize results, and ensure the highest possible conversion rate. If you are looking for someone to promote your product or software, don’t hesitate to contact us!
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