If you’ve opened this article hoping to find the “silver bullet” channel for your customer acquisition strategy, I have some bad news for you: it doesn’t exist. OK, I feel kind of bad luring you with clickbait, but I’m pretty sure the majority of you already know there isn’t one single channel that is the most effective for customer acquisition.
Developing a successful, one-to-one customer acquisition campaign requires a lot of hard work and planning. And there are a myriad of variables that must be taken into account when determining which channels—or combination of channels—you should deploy. Those variables include, but are not limited to, your target audience, your media/marketing budget, the category, the path to purchase, and last but certainly not least, your business objectives.
Your Business Objectives Should Drive Customer Acquisition Strategy and Tactics
Let’s start with that last one. Before you do anything else, you need to understand what your business objectives are. Grow brand awareness? Induce trial? Generate more leads? Increase the number of visitors to your website? Generate more revenue? Maybe it’s a combination—which is usually the case with acquisition—but whatever your business objectives are, you need to use that as the foundation from which to build your campaign.
From there, start building your strategy with your audience. You must first and foremost know the type of people with whom you’re trying to connect, and ultimately, what the shared truth that unifies both the prospect and your brand is. Of course, the shared truth is a communications solve (which is a completely separate blog topic), so for the purposes of this blog, let’s just stick to figuring out who these people are.
Not everyone on the planet is right for your brand and the products or services you’re trying to sell, but that’s a good thing, because I don’t think your marketing budget is large enough to be able to properly communicate to all 7.7 billion of them. Start with a simple segmentation exercise on your current customer base to understand where they live, how much money they make, how old they are, if they have children, what they’ve purchased in the past, the value of their purchases, and how valuable they are to your company as a customer.
Once that exercise is complete, you can segment your customers into groups based on similar profiles. Those profiles can certainly be enhanced with attitudinal data and media habits, which will help you determine your media budget so you can create your media plan in order to reach your target segments. Understanding your target’s media habits is absolutely crucial. Whether they are baby boomers or millennials, understanding how each demographic consumes media will help you determine which channels to use—or in some cases, which ones not to use—to reach them most effectively.
Just Like Every Market is Unique, So is Every Acquisition Campaign—Choose Customer Acquisition Channels to Match
Seems simple enough, right? Well, it also depends on the other variables such as the business dynamics of the category that your business is currently competing in. Is it in retail? Financial? Insurance? Is it a commodity category? How many competitors do you have? Are you the leader or one of the challengers? What is your current market share?
At this point you may be thinking: Why does all that matter if I’m only thinking about what channels I should leverage? It actually matters a lot. If you’re a regional brick and mortar retailer who is currently outside the top 10, you may consider creating a grand opening event for new customers that features a save-the-date direct mailpiece, followed by a more formal invitation, and then an email reminder. That communication stream probably wouldn’t be the right fit for the category leader that sells both online and in stores.
Once You’ve Found Your Prospects, Give Them Something Valuable Through the Channel They Prefer
That brings me to one of the other important variables: the path to purchase. Per the example above, your target segments’ purchasing habits will factor into which channels you use for your customer acquisition strategy. If you’re encouraging prospects to visit your store versus your website, you may want to provide them with something tangible such as a coupon, which of course is best delivered through the mail. An email can deliver the same coupon with an accompanying code, which the prospects can enter upon visiting your website. Both scenarios could also include other channels to help set the stage or remind the prospect—but again, it all depends on all the other variables in an omnichannel marketing campaign.
Determining which variables are most important to your organization will definitely help you create a solid foundation in building your successful customer acquisition campaign. As I stated at the beginning of this post, there isn’t one channel that is the most effective for customer acquisition. But while there isn’t a silver bullet, there is a silver lining: If you’ve done all of the hard work in building your campaign the right way, the results will be profitable in the end. For help finding your silver lining, contact us.
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