Customer Acquisition: Everything You Need To Know For Your Online Business

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Whether you are a blogger, run an ecommerce store, or are a small business owner with an online presence, your success will be defined by the number of customers you attract to your website.

Customer acquisition is a vital part of the marketing mix for all businesses, and when you are operating online, there are a few things you need to know to ensure every chance of success.

In today’s guide, I’m going to shine a light on the various customer acquisition strategies that are available at your disposal. There are plenty of different channels to discuss, such as SEO, advertising, and social media marketing, so let’s dive in straight away with some of the basics.

The task at hand

It’s worth understanding that customer acquisition is not an easy task in this day and age, even if you feel your particular niche is currently undeserved. It takes a lot of technical knowledge, creativity, and hard work to start finding the right kind of customers online. Not only that, of course, but you need a sound strategy and a lot of planning to set the wheels in motion – and ensure they don’t come tumbling off at any stage of your journey. Prioritizing your investment can be a daunting task, however, but I hope that this guide will give you a few pointers on where to focus your efforts.

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The research stage

First of all, before looking at any other online marketing technique such as SEO or SEM, it’s important to have a think about what it is you are trying to achieve. Ultimately, online marketing needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy, and as such you need to develop your KPIs and plan before you start the heavy lifting, so to speak. So, the first step is to know who your customer is. Establish your unique selling point (USP), and work out who your ideal customer is. What are their pain points, interests, and demographic makeups? Where does your business fit into the wider marketplace, and what value do you bring to the customer? Once you have a concrete idea of who you are trying to attract, you can then start analysing the ideal channels for your acquisition strategy, and start reaching out to your perfect customers.

The basics of search

Search is vital to your online business, regardless of any other tactic. Ultimately, if no one can see you online, you won’t get any visitors other than from bots. Search engine optimization is the starting point for  search, and it is vital that you know what you are talking about, whether you are doing DIY SEO or hiring a consultant. With a little basic knowledge of SEO, you will be better placed to hire a reputable firm with confidence. As recommend, you should be looking for a company with good levels of experience and a track record that includes plenty of happy customers. You also need to be aware of search engine marketing – or SEM – which uses search advertising such as Google Adwords and many others. It’s important to understand that the top three ranking ads on Google account for over 40 percent of the clicks, so it is an area you don’t want to miss out.

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While search is vital to any customer acquisition strategy, you need those visitors to your site to take the right action. Whether that is buying products, contacting you by phone, or just signing up to your email list depends on your strategy, of course. But, to get those visitors taking the right action, you need to think about conversion rate optimization – or CRO. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on SEO if no one ever buys anything from your store, right? With this in mind, it is vital that you think long and hard about your conversion rates, and endeavor to improve them all the time.

Affiliate marketing

If you have products to sell, affiliate marketing – where other people use their websites to sell your products for a small slice of commission – are well worth thinking about. Affiliate marketing is huge these days, and is responsible for at least 1 percent of the country’s GDP – that’s more than farming and agriculture. As you can see, there is plenty of opportunities to get your name out there with affiliate marketing, so it should be part of your marketing strategy if relevant – i.e. if you sell products.

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Social media marketing

Forget what you might have heard about social media being the perfect place to advertise for free – those days are long gone. In fact, research suggests that fewer than 1 percent of your Facebook followers will ever see your posts, which means that you have to be incredibly lucky to develop a successful business page. But social media is far from a busted flush – as long as you are prepared to pay for advertising. Boosting posts and promoting your pages to targeted markets can have a significant impact on your engagement and following, but make sure that you know what you are doing before spending a cent.

Customer referrals

Of course, customer references are just as important online as they are in the real world. And given that more than two-thirds of all new business opportunities come from referrals, it’s worth your time investigating. Look at your local business directories as a starting point – like, for example – and ask your customers if they wouldn’t mind writing a review on completion of the job. You can incentive them with a small discount if they are reticent, but there is plenty more you can do to encourage your happy clients to refer you to others. ‘Refer a friend’ schemes work well, and you can also ask your customers to share your info on Facebook. Surveys are another great tool for finding happy customers, and once they are complete, you can send them to a landing page where they can check out your referral scheme. Finally, make sure you are keeping in touch with your past customers – you never know when they will be willing to a) buy again or b) recommend your business to others.