How to Bring New Customers to Your Online Business
One of the most challenging aspects of running an online business is finding a consistent and reliable flow of customers every single day. Every store is likely to see periods of growth, but they’re often met with a steep decline soon after.
For online business owners that want to defy the growing frustrations around customer acquisition, it’s important you change your mind set about what customer acquisition is. It’s not so much a goal or even an objective. Instead, it’s a process that must be respected and trusted.
It requires understanding more than just how many customers you have at any given time, but also how much money that customer is likely to spend when visiting your online store, how often they’re likely to return, and how much it’ll cost to maintain that relationship over time.
When it comes to customer acquisition, we have some tips that will help you find success -- whether you’re new to owning an online business or have been in the game for a while. Without further ado, let’s get started!
The Basics of Customer Acquisition
Before we get deeper into the depths of customer acquisition, let’s first make sure we’re all on the same page about what customer acquisition entails. In its essence, customer acquisition refers to the process of finding, developing, and nurturing customer relationships in a way that persuades them to support your business.
For the most part, business owners like to think of customer acquisition as if it’s a funnel. There are three parts of the funnel -- the top, the middle, and the bottom. Let’s take a closer look at each:
- The Top - this part of the funnel requires you to form leads from a wide target audience that consists of people that might be interested in your product or service, but that interest isn’t guaranteed. You’ll need to know your target audience, but it’s okay to not be too specific here.
- The Middle - once you garner interest from potential customers, they’ll fall into the middle of the funnel. This is typically when they’ve added something to their cart or signed up for a newsletter on your site. These are the leads you need to start persuading and nurturing a relationship with.
- The Bottom - this part of the funnel consists of potential customers that are ready to purchase a product or service with you. They’ve shown the interest, you’ve persuaded them, and all you have to do is close the deal.
Every business is going to have their own procedures and standards when dealing with each customer or lead throughout each process. For example, there are hundreds of different ways you can attract leads at the top of the funnel and they won’t all be feasible for your business. Instead, you’ll need to choose the one that works best for you.
How Much Does Customer Acquisition Cost?
Most business owners spend all day finding and interacting with potential customers, yet a majority of them have no idea how much it’s costing them to go through the customer acquisition funnel.
Enter the customer acquisition cost (CAC), a simple yet effective way to measure the cost of each new customer you bring on every month. In order to calculate this, divide your total cost of marketing for that month (or week, or year) by the total number of customers acquired during that month (or week, or year).
Once you determine the CAC, you can take it a step further and compare it to the average amount of money spent by each customer when they first visited. Ideally, this number will be greater than the CAC, which would mean you’re making a profit on that customer.
One of the few times it’s okay for the amount spent by the customer to fall below the CAC is if it’s highly likely for that customer to come back and spend more money at your business.
Don’t worry, there are certain tools that make it easy to track these numbers and actually do all the number-crunching for you automatically. Google Analytics and Shopify Reports are two of the most common tools used by online businesses today.
Having Difficulty Acquiring Customers Effectively?
When dealing with the customer acquisition funnel, many businesses struggle to make that initial contact with potential customers. This is imperative when you don’t have the proper strategies in place to attract them.
Let’s discuss some of the most prominent and effective customer acquisition strategies your business can benefit from.
Social Media Presence
One of the most powerful tools and strategies your business can implement when acquiring new potential customers is social media. It’s free (at its core) and is extremely fun when you use it to spread your message and core values.
With some companies boasting followers in the millions, there’s no telling what a stronger social media presence could mean for your company. It drives in organic traffic and it helps give others proof of your leadership in your industry.
Unfortunately, it’s also difficult to maintain, takes time to build a following, and the landscape for social media is always changing. The pros weigh the cons in most situations, though.
Focus on SEO
If you like free strategies, here’s another one -- search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of optimizing your website to make it easy for search engines to find your content. With the amount of purchases starting with a Google search these days, this is an important strategy to implement for any business with a website.
You’ll need to determine the keywords that best associate with your business and its customers, as well as blast those keywords strategically throughout the site. There are also a variety of other SEO strategies that could help you gain some respect with Google and improve your ranking in searches.
While it’s free and brings a good amount of organic traffic to your website, it isn’t always easy to implement and may require some assistance. It also takes time to see results and, of course, there's a lot of competition out there.
Wile digital marketing has certainly become the focus for many businesses, that doesn’t mean forms of traditional advertising are dead. In fact, they’re still very much in-use today and can have a very strong impact on your ability to attract leads.
The great thing about traditional advertising is it comes in many forms and they range from small-scale campaigns (like print advertising and direct-mail advertising) to large-scale campaigns (like radio and television ads).
Traditional advertising is a great way to build customer trust and gain widespread exposure the old way. Unfortunately, it often costs a pretty penny and is difficult to track how well it’s working for your business. Either way, it’s a good option to explore when searching for more ways to gain leads.
Introduce Referral Programs
There’s nothing better than having existing customers bring you new customers, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. It’s effective because others are more likely to trust a referral from someone they know and there’s a limited up-front cost since the incentive is rewarded after the new customer is brought to the bottom of the funnel.
A referral program helps encourage repeat purchases, it increases exposure in areas where your customers already live, and it helps add some excitement when customers interact with your business. For a lack of better words, it gives them a reason to do your marketing for you.
Of course, it also means you won’t get to engage with that lead until they reach the middle of the funnel. You’ll have to act fast in persuading them before they lose interest.
Utilize the Power of Emails
How often do you personally check your email every single day? For most people with a mobile device, this answer is likely by the hour -- if not more often. That means there’s a ton of opportunity to connect with potential customers via email.
Newsletters are one of the biggest ways of doing this. It allows you to be visual and creative with the content, opposed to the boring old text email we’re used to. Of course, this strategy only works if you have emails to connect with.
To collect emails, you need to ask for them. Your website and social media profiles are the two easiest ways to gain email leads. The best part is you get to keep those emails until they unsubscribe from the newsletter -- and let’s be honest, that rarely occurs.
Your lead generation list will continue to grow and you’ll always have a way of reaching out to potential customers. Eventually, it’ll be just as powerful as a popular social media page.
Take Advantage of Influencers
Speaking of popular social media pages, you don’t always have to use your own followers to gain potential customers and leads. In fact, there are a wide variety of influencers on the internet that are prepared to market your product for you to their followers.
Since some of these influencers have hundreds of thousands and even millions of followers, this can open you up to a wide range of followers. As long as you choose your influencer wisely, those followers could hold a strong interest in your own company.
Influencers help with brand awareness and niche targeting, but it also only works if you have a budget or something to offer the influencer (free membership, free samples, etc.). It’s also difficult to track how well it’s working.
Paid Ads Go a Long Way
The final strategy we’ll discuss when attracting customers to the top of your customer acquisition funnel is paid advertising. There are so many ways to advertise online when you have the budget to do so -- including social media ads, search engine ads, and even advertising your stuff on other websites.
When done properly, it can lead to a wide range of exposure on the internet and is pretty easy to target where the funds should go. At the same time, it can be rather expensive and there’s a steep learning curve when getting the most out of paid ads.
If you have the budget for it, it’s certainly worth a try -- especially if you have the right help in your corner.
Which Strategy Works Best for You?
With so many different strategies available to online business owners, it can be difficult to understand which one works best for you. You know your goal and you know you’re ready to do what needs to be done to achieve it, you just need that extra little push.
Don’t worry, we understand. At Consultants In-A-Box, we dedicate ourselves to making sure every business is implementing the right customer acquisition strategies to maximize their exposure and increase sales on a consistent basis.
If you need further assistance implementing these strategies or finding the one that will work best for you, contact us today. We can’t wait to discuss how we can help your business continue to grow and elevate it to heights you’ve always dreamed of.
- Jordan VanMaanen