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5 best client acquisition strategies

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Author photo: Christina Scannapiego

Christina Scannapiego

Director, Content Marketing

There are billions of potential customers out there looking for your solution. The hard part is finding the right marketing strategy that connects you with customers who want what you’re offering.

The problem with new customer acquisition? We live in a world overrun with competition where consumer confidence is lower than expected. This means you need to connect with customers and earn brand awareness in a way that builds trust. While Facebook Ads and influencer marketing will help you find more customers, a well-developed customer acquisition strategy is the best way to build trust with prospective customers.

A customer acquisition strategy is a playbook that helps you find more customers. It also helps your marketing, sales and customer service teams plan, execute, and optimize a better experience for each customer’s journey.

If you have limited marketing resources for brand awareness but you need to get tons of new customers, an acquisition strategy is for you. The right strategy will help you earn more money, become an industry authority, gain new customers, and build a sustainable business. Sound good? Well then, let’s dig into:

  • What a customer acquisition strategy is
  • The best tactics to include in your strategy
  • How to execute your strategy with a CRM
  • How everything comes together in an acquisition model

What are acquisition strategies?

User acquisition strategies are the methods you use to connect with customers. They’re the actions you take to persuade a shopper that your solution is the best. Put simply, a customer acquisition process is the handful of things you do to bring in new customers.

And no, an acquisition strategy isn’t the same thing as lead generation. A customer acquisition strategy includes tactics like lead generation; the acquisition strategy is the whole while lead generation is just one of its many parts to get potential customers.

While it’s tempting to focus on product development or training your team, you always need to focus on customer acquisition. Without a solid acquisition strategy in place, you risk:

  • Wasting time (and money) on the wrong marketing ideas for new customers and existing customers.
  • Earning less on every customer.
  • Angering your existing customers.

The stakes are high, and that’s why every business—no matter its size—needs some kind of acquisition strategy in place to get potential customers and keep existing customers.

How do you develop a customer acquisition strategy?

If you don’t have a customer acquisition strategy yet, don’t worry. You can brainstorm a strategy right now to make the most out of your digital marketing efforts.

While it’s tempting to borrow someone else’s playbook, every customer acquisition strategy is different. That’s because every business is different. So, you need to fine-tune your new customer acquisition strategy based on your:

  • Business goals
  • Audience needs
  • Product or service
  • Marketing and sales budget

But you don’t need to start a user acquisition strategy from scratch. Start with these 5 ideas to create your own client acquisition strategy.

1 - Find your target audience

Context is everything, including for your acquisition marketing strategy. You would speak differently to a priest than you would to your friend at a bar, right? You need to do the same thing in your marketing.

Every solid customer acquisition strategy starts with an understanding of your audience. Who are you speaking to? Where do they hang out online? How do they want to hear from you? This isn’t a fluffy exercise, either: 65% of businesses with buyer personas exceed their sales goals.

Now isn’t the time to make assumptions for an acquisition marketing strategy: do the research and create a solid buyer persona. You might need to source information through:

  • Paid surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Databases
  • Existing sales data

… to understand your buyer. It takes a little bit of time, but understanding your target audience will help you invest more strategically in digital marketing. Translation: you’ll spend less, save time, and get more customers for less work.

2 - Engage on the right channels

Sure, you have a lot of options for marketing your business. Email, social media, paid ads and content marketing are all valid options for acquiring new customers.

But here’s the thing: you can’t be everywhere online. A customer acquisition strategy zeroes in on the most effective mix of acquisition channels to connect with more shoppers for less effort.

Consult your customer personas to figure out which channels your customers prefer. For example, if you’re marketing to Gen Z college students, you should probably go all-in on TikTok and influencer marketing. But if you’re going after Boomer shoppers, a Facebook Ads campaign is probably a better bet.

At any rate, you don’t need to be everywhere online: all you need to do is go where your people want to hear from you. It’s that simple.

3 - Create awesome content

Want to acquire more customers without spending a lot of money? Content marketing will save your bacon: this customer acquisition strategy is low-cost and incredibly effective at acquiring new customers. Going all-in on organic content can cut marketing costs by 41%: it can even reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) by over 50%.

Achieving these kinds of results means creating valuable content for each buyer persona at every stage of the customer journey. Again, consult your buyer personas to see if your shoppers prefer to consume information via:

  • Video
  • Social media like TikTok
  • Blogs
  • YouTube
  • eBook
  • Email

Organic content creation not only gives your customers something persuasive and valuable, it’s also great for your search engine presence. Sure, SEO is a long-term strategy—but it’s cheap and effective, so be sure to include some form of organic content in your customer acquisition strategy.

4 - Deliver a freemium product

If you’re selling an app or offer SaaS products, it’s worth trying freemium as a customer acquisition strategy. Freemium gives people the chance to try your service without the commitment.

Most freemium products lock down more advanced features behind a paywall. That’s fine, but make sure you strike a balance between what you’re offering for free and what’s paid.

Oh, and don’t require credit card information for freemium accounts. It’s useful for your business, but customers see this as manipulative and it might discourage them from signing up.

5 - Try a referral program

We’ll let you in on a little secret: customer retention is part of the customer acquisition process. That’s because you’re never really done “acquiring” a customer’s business: you’re fighting for their loyalty for life.

Done well, referral programs are an ROI powerhouse for customer retention. Referred customers are 4X more likely to buy than non-referred customers and they have a 16% higher customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV).

Referral programs are a great way to reward your loyal customers while bringing in more new customers. Sure, it takes a little time to set up a referral program, but you’re essentially asking customers to act as your salesforce; that’s pretty good for the bottom line, especially if you’re a small business.

What is customer acquisition in CRM?

Once you have a strategy in place, it’s a good idea to give structure to that strategy with some kind of platform. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform like Copper wrangles your sales, marketing and customer service teams into one workflow so you know your customer acquisition methods are always working.

A CRM strengthens your customer acquisition strategies by:

  • Automating your business: A CRM is helpful because it helps you invest in customer relationships at scale. You can finally give your customers the engagement they expect—without the burnout.
  • Measuring engagement: Are your customers actually converting? What isn’t working? Use Copper’s engagement analytics to improve your acquisition strategies over time.
  • Calculating customer acquisition costs (CAC): Ideally, you want to shoot for a customer acquisition ratio that’s 3:1 ($3 generated for every $1 spent acquiring a customer). That sounds easy enough, but to calculate CAC accurately, you need a system to do the heavy lifting for your team. Copper helps businesses get a more accurate reading on their customer acquisition costs.

You can try to implement a customer acquisition strategy without a CRM, but it’s much more difficult. A CRM gives you a more holistic view of the customer journey so you can make informed marketing decisions. That means saving even more money and time because your strategy is working for you automatically. Nice, right?

What is a customer acquisition model?

Did you know that a customer acquisition strategy isn’t all you’ll need? Once you nail down your strategy, the customer acquisition model serves as the structure for your strategy. It should detail the steps that leads take to become customers, how you nurture those leads, and desired outcomes.

You’re free to use whatever customer acquisition model you like, but we like the HubSpot Flywheel Model. This customer acquisition model accounts for customer loyalty: in other words, the fact that you need to delight customers 24/7 to build a following of fanatical buyers.

A good model ensures everything happens automatically, including customer segmentation, email marketing and outreach. With a tool like Copper, you can plug your acquisition model into the system to personalize your customer acquisition at scale.

Invest in a client acquisition strategy now

There are best practices for client acquisition, but no one strategy is the best. It’s your job as a business leader to determine which customer acquisition strategies will get the most mileage for your business. Focusing on your target audience, engaging on the right channels, performing content marketing, developing freemium offerings, and implementing referral programs is a great start.

Remember that acquisition doesn’t end once you score a new client. It’s an ongoing process where you have to delight customers at every turn to earn their business.

But sometimes it feels downright impossible to execute a customer acquisition strategy on your own. When you need to make the most of your marketing resources, consider streamlining the acquisition process with Copper. Try us free for 14 days to see how our CRM makes client acquisition a breeze.

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Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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