Managing Scaling

12 customer acquisition channels for startups

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If you want to retain customers, you have to acquire them first.

One problem with acquisition channels is that they are not a one size fits all affair. The acquisition channel you choose depends heavily on your type of business and on who you are targeting – corporations, SMEs, governments, individuals.

Even when you’ve found a good channel, they often get quickly saturated in your niche, leaving you to explore other channels.

Finding a consistently-rewarding customer acquisition channel is rare.  This leaves you with the option of trying out multiple channels, often simultaneously.

Here are 12 channels you could consider when trying to acquire new users for your product.

1. Search Engine Optimization

This is perfect if you have a lot of content. SEO is dependent on your content marketing chops.  If you are able to create a lot of content optimizing these pages for search  will let more people find you. The more people see you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Optimizing simply means making the content more accessible for search engine crawlers. That can be done by, using easy to understand hierarchy, relevant and well-placed keywords and captivating meta descriptions.

Check out this SEO guide from Moz.com on the best way to do your SEO.

2. Content Marketing

A large chunk of digital marketing relies on content. Creating compelling content that resonates with your audience will convince them that you are knowledgeable, helpful and are an authority in your vertical.

It’s not impossible that your vertical is already flooded with useful content.  To get people to notice you, therefore, you might need to devise new creative ways of presenting content.

Here is a good resource on understanding content marketing: Content Strategy 101 (The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide)

3. Landing Pages

Landing pages let you create pages with clear marketing goals. These pages direct visitors’ attention to a single idea on your website by removing non-essential components.

They are useful for when you are running promotions or a substantial amount of advertising. Or when you want to A/B test without affecting your website.

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Of course, you still need to drive traffic to the landing page. We’ll get to that presently.

The important thing to note is that when creating a landing page, it must focus on one goal.

Here is a good resource on creating effective landing pages: Create a Powerful Landing Page in Under an Hour

4. Copywriting

Without good copywriting, it’s like howling into the wind. Your content marketing play won’t return any valuable results. Effective copywriting makes sure your messages are optimized for your audience.

Your language needs to be precise, and you need to address concerns in your copies. Always pay attention to little details. Say, like email subject lines and meta descriptions.

Here is a useful resource on copywriting: 75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy that Converts

5. AdWords

If you want immediate traffic from people with purchase intent, Adwords is the way to go. Adwords may not return immediate results if people are not searching keywords related to your business. However, it’s a good channel to reach everyone looking for your kind of product, even those who are still exploring their options.

A big part of your success with Adwords is dependent on your Ad Rank. Your Ad Rank – where your ad shows up in the search engine affects its visibility and clickability.  Your Ad Rank is further dependent on your Quality Score and bid price. Making your keyword, ad copy and landing page consistent can improve your Ad Rank.

Here is a useful resource on Adwords: How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign (from Scratch)

6. Facebook Advertising

If your audience is not on Facebook then you should not explore this channel. An enterprise-focused business should probably not explore this channel.

Otherwise, Facebook is a great platform for building awareness for your product. With Facebook Advertising, you can target niche audiences with precision.

Here, the success of your campaign is also dependent on your ad quality and bids. People on Facebook are mostly on mobile, and with ADHD. So for the best results, make your copy concise and use powerful visuals.

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Here is a useful resource on Facebook Advertising: The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook

7. Conversion Rate Optimization

This acquisition strategy is to push visitors further down your conversion funnel. With traffic hitting your website, you need to start analyzing how people are interacting with it and improving some elements that will make visitors make a purchase decision. The strategy should stay consistent with your existing marketing messages and mental models.

Here is a useful resource on Conversion Rate Optimization: The Conversion Rate Optimization Rulebook

8. Content Distribution

Also an offshoot of content marketing, effective content distribution channels drive referral traffic and SEO traffic. And again, it drives traffic to your landing page where you are waiting to point them in whatever direction you have chosen.

The process begins with high-quality content. You should then start exploring networks where your audience is active.

A lot of this is done on social media. A more robust content distribution network involves building relations with influencers and sharing on online forums that your audience frequents, e.g. Product Hunt, Quora, Radar..etc

Here is a useful resource on Content Distribution: 40 Tips on Being a Genuine Social Media Rockstar

9. Email Marketing

Personalized emails with useful information keep you on your customers’ radar. More than any other marketing method, email marketing enables you to bring prospective customers back to your site over and over again without incurring direct marketing cost.

There are many things you can do with the e-mail; educate your existing customers, push conversions, drive traffic to your landing page and initiate re-engagement.

Here is a useful resource on Email Marketing: The Email Marketing Essentials

If you do not have the time or resources to make to write and manage your email marketing campaigns, we can help. Outsourcing your email campaign management to our hand-picked email specialist will enable you to focus on other core business tasks.

10. Direct sales / marketing

When you are just starting out, one of the best ways to acquire early users is to sell to them directly. It’s unscalable, but at the beginning, it’s okay to do things that don’t scale.

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You’ll learn a lot about what marketing messages work best and how to position your product in real time.

Meeting with people physically to share your product and its benefits has one of the best business outcomes attached to it.

Here is a useful resource for Direct Sales: 5 Strategies for Direct Sales Success

11. Display Ads and Affiliate marketing

If you have the budget, display ads are a good way to get people’s attention. This is especially perfect for e-commerce stores. There is also the option of Affiliate Marketing where blog owners create a storefront for you on their blogs or flavor their content with links to product pages on your website.

Here is a useful resource on Display Ads: 8 Steps to Creating Online Display Ads That Work

12. Public Relations

Public Relations is a great way to get press mentions, and of course, get on the radar of more people. It lets you reach an audience you wouldn’t see you otherwise.

However, it has to be done right. Some companies interpret public relations as sending out clumps of press releases to the media on everything going on their company. This is not wrong, but it soon gets overwhelming for the press who are left with the impression that you are a needy attention seek. The implication of this is that most of them end up ignoring your releases.

Make sure to send press releases only when something newsworthy happens. A new feature, partnership or a new milestone are all good reasons to send out a press release. Getting coverage in another news outlet, however, is not a reason enough to send out a press release.

Here is a useful resource on Public Relations: The 2015 Complete guide to Public Relations tools

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