12 Customer Acquisition Strategies (And How To Connect Them)
Jun 20, 2023|Read time: 10 min.
- Brands should consider multiple customer acquisition strategies to keep up in today’s marketplace.
- Brands also must unify their strategies, creating a coordinated approach that transcends the channel-centric marketing strategy.
- Unification creates consistency, unlocks better targeting and data-driven decision making, and builds the foundation of holistic marketing.
The importance of a unified customer acquisition strategy
Establishing a unified customer acquisition strategy — a coordinated approach to reaching new customers across your acquisition efforts — is imperative for marketers pursuing new, more authentic connections.
Some of the biggest benefits of focusing specifically on customer acquisition include:
- Consistency — Connected acquisition efforts empower brands to create consistent customer experiences, branding, content, narrative, and positioning across all channels and touchpoints.
- Better targeting — Aligning all your customer acquisition methods ties your marketing efforts closely to your ideal customer and what they want. As a result, these things aren’t mismatched and you can deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. It also unlocks the ability to better tailor the narrative as needed.
- Data-driven decision making — Unified CA also means that all the data a brand collects can be operationalized into valuable consumer insights, and disparate data (like demographics, ecommerce data, customer lifetime value, etc.) can be better integrated into all marketing efforts and campaigns.
- Holistic customer journey — A seamless customer journey, from the first engagement to a transaction, starts with connecting and integrating every customer acquisition process and element together. Only then can a brand realize how consumers are engaging, what they are seeking, and how to best deliver it across that journey. This optimization greatly impacts acquisition and organic search visibility.
To unify a customer acquisition strategy, brands should understand the different types of content assets across their digital landscape, and how those assets connect with each other. To do this, it’s helpful to break content assets and performance channels into three categories:
- Owned: assets and/or channels a brand has full control over (websites, blog posts, etc)
- Managed: assets and/or channels that a brand can influence on third-party websites (social media, bylines, etc.)
- Leveraged: assets and channels are user- or third-party generated (reviews, news, affiliates, etc.)
These categories are represented in the marketing asset framework, or the MACH-6. Through this framework, brands can see how all assets are interconnected and build upon each other to create a holistic customer acquisition strategy.
Owned customer acquisition strategies
A major opportunity for customer acquisition lies within the owned asset space, where you have total creative and technical control.
Here are a few ways to build and execute a customer acquisition strategy within owned channels:
1. Optimize pillar content
Your site’s pillar content should be optimized for your audience in several ways. Pillar content can help influence customer acquisition when it:
- Points to subtopic resources
- Is optimized for organic search visibility
- Offers a consistent customer experience
- Offers solutions to the audience’s problems
It’s a value delivery method that wins trust and impacts conversions as consumers conduct their research.
All of this content marketing optimization has to center the needs of the consumer in order to move the customer acquisition dial. This means knowing what your people want and building a hub with long-term assets that match those needs.
When you have a cohesive pillar strategy that provides value to your audience and builds trust, the likelihood of conversions increases.
2. Publish blog posts
Blog posts can quickly offer very targeted value to individual consumers. At scale, they create a quality content-based asset net, catching consumers at all research stages. Some even hit folks who are ready to make that purchase decision.
Starting with search intent data analysis to see what people want in a given topic space, create numerous relevant and diverse blog posts on that topic. Let your search intent-derived consumer insights guide ideation and dictate what’s covered within the blog. Each post should offer value first and act as one piece in the overall value puzzle.
Over time this strategy creates the trust and goodwill needed to make your blog an acquisition channel.
3. Create gated tools and downloadable assets
Another level downstream, insight about what your audience wants continues to create highly targeted downloadables like online tools, one pagers, white pages, infographics, studies, free and/or trial offerings, and more.
If your pillar content is the overall topic hub and blog posts are your high-value deep dives, downloadable content and tools get even deeper into the topic. They can reveal additional insight and provide yet another round of value to the audience.
Create these targeted (and often gated) resources and point CTAs to them. These incentives capture potential customer data like email addresses that can be used for additional lower funnel outreach. Together with optimized pillars and optimized blog posts, these resources further demonstrate that you truly understand your audience.
Acquiring customers becomes far more likely at the bottom of this search intent-powered value chain.
Managed customer acquisition strategies
Within the MACH-6 framework, above the “owned” category lies the “managed” asset tier.
The managed space, where brands have less control but additional reach, also offers opportunities to build the authentic connections that lead to higher conversion rates and resulting customer acquisition wins.
4. Engage customers through social media marketing
One of the few direct engagement opportunities brands have is to engage with future and current customers through a variety of social media platforms.
Not all engagement is the same, though. Communicating with your customers with robotic, pre-written language will prevent positive connections.
On the other hand, brands that engage on social media organically and naturally create memorable experiences that, later on, influence customer acquisition.
In addition, brands that build consistency across owned customer acquisition channels should bring that same consistency to social media and other channels within the managed asset space. This improves brand trust and empathy, and creates conversion opportunities when consumers approach a purchase decision.
5. Generate demand through email marketing
Email marketing is a saturated space. There are millions of newsletters, brand emails, and more dumped into our inboxes.
Brand email marketing must zero in on the unique desires and interests of the audience to stand out.
How many ‘unsubscribe’ buttons have you clicked this week?
Avoiding the dreaded unsubscribe means delivering something only available from your brand. Data, brief guides, work-in-progress projects, interesting insights, and more that align with your offering can provide free, relevant value across the buyer’s journey.
Truly engaging email marketing can activate your audience and turn into a source of lead generation and customer acquisition.
6. Run optimized dynamic search ads
With a strong content strategy built to deliver value across the buyer’s journey in place, brands should then consider running dynamic search ads (DSAs).
DSAs analyze a brand site, identify relevant target keywords based on your content and search trends, and create ads that are automatically generated to hit those targets. DSAs save time, offer substantial advertiser control, automate much of the complexity, and provide clear metrics around ROI.
DSAs allow advertisers to match up their offering with consumers already searching Google.
Finding those consumers and making a connection with the right offering generates conversions that translate into customer acquisitions.
Utilizing DSAs in concert with a strong overall customer acquisition strategy makes customer connection and customer acquisition that much easier and more likely.
7. Write bylines in key publications
The PR move of publishing regular bylines in audience and industry-relevant publications is a great tool for building credibility with your audience.
This credibility boost can influence customer acquisition lower in the funnel, setting your brand out as the definitive choice for that consumer.
Bylines, like blog articles, aren’t a one-and-done solution. Brands need to keep putting them out to develop a clear and consistent narrative. Bylines work when the message is compelling to your target audience, current, and avoids promotion of the brand.
- Create an owned asset that can be promoted through other channels
- Set the author (and brand, by extension) up as a thought expert in a given space
- Boost brand visibility
- Build credibility that influences acquisition later in the buyer’s journey
8. Book interviews on podcasts
The popularity of podcasts presents another opportunity for founders, execs, and ambassadors to tell the unique and compelling stories of their brands — stories that resonate with people and influence buying decisions.
With so many business, marketing, and startup podcasts out there, a strong appearance on a popular podcast earns massive reach and creates opportunities for future appearances.
A thought experiment: A brand founder appears on How I Built This with Guy Raz and tells an inspirational story about founding a major brand, discussing the wins and losses, and the big lessons learned.
You listen until the end, pulled in by the story and the potential of finding some unique nugget of actionable wisdom. At the end of this process, are you more or less likely to buy from the brand in question?
Tell the powerful stories that awaken empathy and influence consumer desire and you can create another customer acquisition engine.
9. Join relevant webinars
Webinars provide another opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership and provide actionable value to the audience. Webinars typically target smaller audiences in order to share more technical or specific information.
A brand ambassador can participate in a group webinar with others. If that representative delivers the right value to the right audience, webinars are a piece of the trust puzzle that, like podcasts, encourage further engagement with the represented brand.
Done consistently and in the right spaces, webinars reach a specialist crowd and deliver value that can impact customer acquisition when they adopt your offerings and recommend it to others.
Leveraged customer acquisition strategies
The top tiers of the MACH-6 house the leveraged assets. The leveraged space, where brands have influence but little-to-no control, provides additional avenues for customer acquisition.
Here’s how you can generate new customers despite the control limitations:
10. Establish relationships with industry influencers
Social media influencers in your industry space — especially on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram — are a great resource for reaching highly relevant audiences and building authentic consumer connections.
Aligning your brand’s offerings with popular influencers lets you plug into the flow of trust, empathy, and connection that the individual influencer probably spent years establishing.
Influencers not only offer brand visibility, but they can also influence purchase decisions, turning their audience members into new customers.
11. Ask customers to leave reviews
Brands with negative or uninfluenced reviews lose big in the credibility game. Reviews have become one of the most audience-trusted and powerful signals of legitimacy. How many of us go ahead with that Amazon purchase on a one-star item?
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews across platforms
- Engage with review aggregator platforms and establish verified profiles
- Reach out to customers when they are most likely to leave a positive review
- Respond to and courteously solve issues for customers who leave negative (but good faith) reviews
- Use your reviews as a free focus group to identify opportunities to improve your offering or develop new products
- Share positive reviews through social and paid marketing channels
A strong review strategy results in more control and better reviews, a signal that greatly impacts customer acquisition.
12. Develop and leverage media relationships
Media outreach including interviews and other content in news media, industry publications, and other, smaller media sources is another vital piece of any customer acquisition strategy.
Brands that regularly engage with the media can develop relationships in the most relevant media spaces. The reach offered by major media organizations is often massive and free, at least when your story is newsworthy.
The other side of that coin is the total lack of control over the narratives the media chooses to pursue. That’s why it’s important to engage carefully and with intention and to build authentic relationships with your audience across the more controllable customer acquisition channels and methods.
Unifying your customer acquisition strategies
Brands can leverage and dominate any given acquisition strategy, and while effectiveness is important, unifying those efforts under one broader strategy and goal is required for maximizing acquisition success.
Unifying customer acquisition also helps:
- Lower customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Generate brand awareness
- Influence customer retention and churn
- Develop loyal customers,
- Offer opportunities to put your customer base first and more
You can’t make your impact matter if you pursue digital marketing campaigns and other efforts in a siloed and disparate manner.
To unify your customer acquisition strategy:
- Put people before channel and focus on authentic consumer connections
- Understand what your audience wants with search intent data
- Use your owned, managed, and leveraged assets to create the infrastructure to deliver on audience needs
- Reap the value of those authentic consumer connections — boosted trust, added brand affinity, and an audience primed for purchase decisions
When developing any customer acquisition strategy, the best rule to follow is to put people first, regardless of the acquisition method or channel. Tie everything together under that one goal — to deliver meaningful value at each and every audience touchpoint.
Learn how owned asset optimization can bring clarity and alignment to your customer acquisition efforts, holistically guiding and creating the authentic connections that turn consumer audiences into loyal customers.