July 1, 2016
10 Low Cost, Actionable Customer Acquisition Tips
You now know what customer acquisition is. And you know how the math should work out (in theory). Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty details. Here’s how, starting first with generating demand for what you have to offer.
Demand generation acquisition channels & sources
We’ll start by focusing on effort-based tactics to drive traffic to your website when money is tight. (Besides, there are better uses of ad capital which we’ll explore in the last tip here.)
1. Low Hanging SEO Fruit
Gone are the days when you could swap a few crummy links or regurgitate nonsensical content to game search engines on your way to the top of the rankings. Believe it or not, that’s a good thing because it levels the playing field a bit. However as much as SEO has changed tremendously, there are still a few principles that stand the test of time, and a few tried-and-true tactics that will help how search engines (and users) experience your website. Here’s a checklist of quick wins:
Find mentions lacking links: Chances are, people are already talking about your brand online. Use Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer to find those who might be mentioning you, but not giving you a link.
Better keyphrase optimization: Do a quick audit to see which pages aren’t ranking at all because they (a) lack basic metadata or (b) are shooting for a keyphrase that’s too competitive.
2. Upgrade page two content
“Where’s the best place to bury a dead body? The second page of Google, according to an old joke retold by Annie Cushing recently at a conference. The good news is that you can simply find top-ranking Page 2 content in Google Search Console, and upgrade it by adding better images, video, new statistics or facts and more to improve the overall experience.
3. Proactive public relations
The best link building campaigns are marketing campaigns. That starts with good old-fashioned PR, which is always about getting your brand in front of the groups or communities of people who might become customers one day. You’ve probably already heard of Help a Reporter Out. But don’t stop there. Get proactive by creating your own media list including both journalists and bloggers (although you might want to keep these people separate, because they will have very different motivations). You can easily find these people by searching for your industry or niche topics with BuzzSumo or Follwerwonk (as most are active Twitter-ers). The LinkedIn Sales Prospector is also a pretty amazing tool for initial prospecting, allowing you to save prospects and receive targeted updates that make it easier to interact on their most recent stuff.
4. Cross promote with strategic partners
Cross-promotions have been around for ages because they work. Get started by looking up complementary (not competitive) companies to work with for straight offers like Moz Perks, co-branded contests, or even setting up revenue shares to financially motivate your partners. For example, I previously worked with a travel company to create a ‘package’ offering for a contest which included a free trip to Los Angeles. We got a hotel to donate a room, and a car rental agency to donate a car (since you have to drive EVERYWHERE in LA). Out of pocket cost was extremely low for all, while they gained tons of brand awareness in the form of social (vanity) metrics, site visits and pageviews. B2B? No problem. Look up different local associations to find potential partners. For example, create a ‘Small Business Startup’ seminar with an attorney, a tax person, and a branding person.
5. Consistent social publishing
Social publishing shouldn’t be a one-and-done activity. Instead, you should have a consistent publishing schedule similar to the excellent one that Buffer outlines in this post. Don’t forget to submit new content to all social voting sites like Hacker News, Inbound.Org, Growth Hackers, and more. To get even more leverage out of the same content, repurpose it to other places like Medium or LinkedIn posts that can sometimes get picked up by groups that you’re in, or even repurposing your content for Q&A sites like Quora.
Lead generation through nurturing & conversions
Implementing the tactics above should begin generating a steady-stream of interested prospects. So the next step is to begin nurturing these people to turn strangers into customers.
6. Segment offers by funnel stage
Split up your offers based on funnel stage. For example, cold traffic via paid search isn’t going to sign-up for high priced, consultative services. Instead you’ll need to try an offer that requires less commitment. It might be perfectly fine to ask an email subscriber that’s been on your list for 6 months for their address or the number of people in their company. However a stranger who’s never been to your site and is coming off a paid display ad? Better start small with a simple email address ask first and then work your way up.
7. Optimize your customer journey
Now that you’ve got different offers set up along the journey, it’s time to improve how people get from A to B. That means looking at the existing flow through your site, and navigating pages on your site until they convert. (Google Analytics has a simple tool that shows Behavior Flow for this.) Once you know the popular ‘paths’ through your website, optimize each step, including the landing page to the thank you page to the follow up confirmation email that they also receive. Once you’ve got the big picture ironed out, you can dive into the next step.
8. Landing page optimization
Start by testing big elements (like the value proposition for your offers) first before diving into the minutia like the hero image. Page optimization shouldn’t just stop at switching up your button color from orange to green either. Personalization and contextual marketing is on the rise, with some estimates showing a 20% increase in sales by personalizing web experiences. Pull in customer data from your database to display on landing pages to break through the noise, or just simply customize pages based on available information for new strangers (like Optimizely does with time of day below).
9. Automate follow-up with marketing automation campaigns
Marketing automation is one of the most promising, yet least understood tactics for scaling your efforts in a personalized, timely way. Even non-techy companies can utilize it, like Golden Gate Wine who increased sales 150%. You can setup automated campaigns to introduce thought leadership pieces to new leads, or nurture prospects with testimonials or case study data that proves the quantitative or qualitative value of your offering. These can (and should) also be used post conversion for onboarding during free trials. This also includes ongoing communication with existing customers or clients to keep them using your products or services (thereby reducing possible churn).
10. Never stop nurturing leads with retargeting & remarketing
You know when you search for “Las Vegas hotels”, check out a few sites before buying to check rates, then for the next 30 days all you see is the Wynn Las Vegas following you around the interwebs? Yeah, that’s retargeting or remarketing at play. You can use Google’s network (via AdWords) for display-based remarketing that places a cookie on people’s browsers to follow them around. Or you could also create custom audiences using Facebook to automatically target past visitors. Their new Facebook dynamic product ads also do this on steroids, pulling in the exact product information that people just looked at with a timely offer. By saving or limiting your advertising spend to focus on people who’ve already interacted with your key pages or products, you minimize costs and improve the effectiveness of your targeted messages.
Continually bringing in new customers involves a mix of increasing demand and nurturing new visitors over time until they become customers. The ten tactics listed here, while effective, don’t require much capital to get started. And they’re not especially sophisticated or too difficult to implement either. That should help keep your focus on action, instead of reading another blog post. What low cost, actionable customer acquisition tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.