Customer Acquisition: Which Channels?

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A customer acquisition channel is where you ‘meet’ your customers for the first time, so it’s important that your business makes a good first impression - and that means using the correct channel(s) to attract the attention of your target audience.

Customer acquisition can occur both on and offline, and the channels you can leverage include:

  • Organic search
  • Direct traffic
  • Email marketing
  • Referrals
  • Paid search
  • Social media (organically)
  • Paid social
  • Events
  • Advertising (Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Google Ads…)
  • Partnerships with influencers
  • Content marketing as part of inbound marketing
  • Videos on YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram
  • The digital press (when you establish partnerships so that your brand appears online via the content of others)
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Cold outreach

But which customer acquisition channel will work best for your business?

How to find your customer acquisition channels

The most effective way to determine which customer acquisition channels will work best for your company is to run an experiment.

Develop a hypothesis about the channels you think will have the best ROI and make the biggest impact, and then use them to run your campaigns.

But you must measure their performance throughout your experiment so that you can appropriately adjust where you’ll allocate resources based on what you learn about the different channels - and their engagement.

Let the experiment run for long enough to see conclusive results, and be sure not to make any changes prematurely. Unless there are dramatic issues when leveraging a channel, give your campaigns an opportunity to succeed and reach a large enough audience before you do any major tweaking.

Tips for choosing the right acquisition channels

1) Assess what your competition is doing

Although your competition probably won’t have all the answers, it’s useful to see what others in your industry are doing well, and how you could take influence from - and improve upon that.

Start with your competitors’ social channels. Which content seems to get the most engagement? Which ads are people responding to the most? This may help you decide what might work for you as well.

2) And what they’re not doing so well

Once you’ve identified your target audience, and the channel(s) where your ideal customers are usually found, take a look at whether or not your competitor has a presence there. Because if they don’t, you may be able to maximise the opportunity by focusing your efforts in that area.

3) Consider your budget

Traditional acquisition channels like television, radio, and print media all still have power for the right audience today - but they’re far more expensive and less flexible than their digital counterparts.

As a scaleup, you may be on a tight budget, so experiment with affordable tactics like organic content marketing, affiliate marketing, social media, community events, and cold calling.

4) Consider your goals

If you are looking to attract a specific type of customer, spend time fostering deep relationships with consumers and clients rather than going wide with your efforts. 

However, if you want to scale your business aggressively, diversify your acquisition channels for the best results.

5) Consider your target audience

Knowing who your target audience is and what they want is key to customer acquisition success.

For example, even if your business is an expert in customer acquisitions within a specific channel, your efforts will inevitably fail if your audience doesn’t spend any time there.

Now is the time to do your research to find out which channels your customers are using - and boost your efforts there.

6) Start with a few channels only

Quality is much more important than quantity in the early stages of your customer acquisition strategy.

It can be hard to stay focused and make the right adjustments to your efforts when necessary if you are working through complex customer acquisition strategies at the beginning.

Discover the right channels for your customers and really nail them moving forward.

7) Test one new acquisition channel at a time

There’s a lot of data and noise to cut through while juggling lots of acquisition strategies and channels.

So, to make it simpler, trial new acquisition channels one at a time and compare them to what’s working for you. But be sure to give each channel time to play out and respond to your adjustments too, as it could take weeks for your PPC or Facebook campaign to result in conversions and clicks.

Lucrative customer acquisition channels

Although offline customer acquisition channels are still effective in today’s market, we thought it best to focus on digital acquisition channels (which could save you a pretty penny).

Content marketing

Did you know content marketing costs almost 41% less per lead than paid search?

Curating content is one of the most versatile and efficient channels which can support your entire acquisition funnel and also drive your conversion rate.

Contenting marketing - blogs, guides, podcasts, videos, product reviews, whitepapers, case studies, infographics and more - allows your brand to:

  • Establish your voice in the industry and create brand authority
  • Build credibility and win over your prospects’ trust 
  • Improve your discoverability and gain organic traffic

Not only will content marketing attract and convert more leads simultaneously; it can also position your brand as a reliable resource.

Tip: Create content to engage your customers rather than solely promoting your brand.

Social media

As social media usage continues to increase across the globe, marketers are getting more and more great lead generation results from focusing on curating their social media presence.

Whether your business chooses either paid or organic social media acquisition channels, there are a number of benefits for both.

Paid social media

If you have a budget to spare, and a clear idea of your target audience, paid social media is the right avenue for you.

Paid social media ads will put your business directly in front of your target audience across desired platforms, bringing exposure to kickstart your acquisition funnel, while sponsored posts can also help build brand awareness by getting more eyes on your content.

Organic social media

Although it can take a while to produce visible results, organic social media activity offers a cost-effective solution to attract new customers, and continue interacting with your existing customers. Meaning, this will supplement your content marketing efforts for acquisition.

To get the best results from social media acquisition channels, choose the right format according to your target audience, budget, and level of competition.

You won’t necessarily land on the perfect acquisition from the get-go - and that’s OK! Take your time, do your research, and get comfortable with the fact that trial and error may become your customer acquisition strategy's new best friend.

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