Customer Acquisition Strategy for Startups: 23 Techniques to Win New Customers

Do you have an awesome product or service many people would like to buy?

And do you need more customers?

If your answer is “yes” to the above questions, then this article is for you.

When marketing newbies hear the term “customer acquisition” they easily get confused.

Some ask “what does it mean?

The definition of customer acquisition is simple:

Any process of persuading a consumer to buy a company’s product is customer acquisition.

The definition isn’t complex. It tells something you’ve already know and must do to succeed in business.

Here comes another problem:

Most new startup founders tend to believe that customer acquisition comes down to these three:

  1. Setting up a website
  2. Collecting emails
  3. Maintaining an active presence on social media

most-used-customer-acquisition-channels

Wrong!

Customer acquisition is more than these three.

To see fast and massive growth, you should be willing to look beyond these three.

In this article, I will be sharing 23 smart ways to acquire more customers.

1. Publish an E-Book to Create Buzz

E-Books sell like hot cakes.

Why?

Because people seek knowledge online.

The digital world has created numerous ways to get knowledge.

For example, you are more likely to ask Google things you don’t know than the person sitting next to you.

Digital is the new way to read. It is also convenient.

You no longer have to carry a bunch of books around everywhere you go.

Books are stored in the digital format where you can access them anywhere and any time of the day.

The numbers don’t lie:

Amazon sells more eBooks than printed books.

You can publish on the Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform and take advantage of the Amazon’s marketplace to boost awareness for your company and establish yourself as a credible expert.

Converting the e-book into a hard copy, printed book is also easy.

Through Amazon’s CreateSpace, you can make your e-book available in printed form.

Amazon-CreateSpace-lets-you-convert-your-ebook-into-printed-book

People like Mark Schaefer, Tim Ferriss and Jay Baer used book publishing to acquire massive customers for their businesses.

2. Publish Comprehensive Guides That Targets Beginners

Don’t create content that only appeals to the advanced prospects.

Write for beginners too.

For example, Moz is a company that sells SEO tools.

If you are an SEO beginner and visit the Moz blog directly, you will become confused about how SEO works.

So they created a guide for SEO beginners.

Moz-creates-content-for-beginners

This helps them converts more customers for their product.

3. Create Content That Cite Unique Data

What is unique data?

Unique data are information or studies that haven’t been published by anyone in your niche.

The data are unique because only you have it.

Why do you need unique data?

Top publications in your niche are constantly looking for unique data to give their readers new information.

They need new, original data.

And because these top publications have a huge readership, you repeatedly get in front of their readers by publishing unique data.

Searchmetrics is a company that sells SEO and content marketing tools.

In 2014, the company published a study that shows the top 30 search ranking factors.

Searchmetrics-publish-unique-data

That is a perfect example of unique data.

This study has been cited and linked to almost from every top publication in the marketing industry.

Searchmetrics has received a lot of traffic, backlinks, press mentions and awards for their work.

The company continues to publish new unique data. They have a Knowledge Base page where you can find all their studies.

Searchmetrics-knowledge-base

Relay Media, Inc., a San Francisco-based AMP conversion and mobile distribution platform used this strategy recently.

One of their employees, Barb Palser is a columnist on Search Engine Land, a top digital marketing news website.

Barb-Palser-on-Search-Engine-Land

Here’s a recent study she published on the site:

unique-data-by-Relay-Media

Unique data like these get you attention and customers.

4. Check Keyword Conversion Rate Through Paid Advertising

Keywords are a very important part of search engine optimization (SEO).

Targeting the best keywords is crucial to the success of any SEO campaign.

Before you commit time, money and resources to actively target a keyword, you want to know if it’s worth it.

How do you know if a keyword is great?

You know that by measuring its conversion rate against other keywords.

Other factors such as competitiveness and the number of searches it receives each month should also be considered.

But, you want to make sure the conversion rate is good before considering other factors.

A good way to know is to run search pay per click (PPC) ads and track conversions.

If keyword A receives 1,000 searches per month but gives you 2% conversion rate for every 100 clicks.

And Keyword B receives 100 searches per month but gives you 50% conversion rate for every 5 clicks.

If the ROI is deemed good for Keyword B, it means it is a better keyword to target in your SEO campaign.

5. Verify Your Buyer Persona Via Facebook Advertising

What is a buyer persona?

HubSpot defines it as:

“A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

You need a buyer persona to create a focused marketing campaign and achieve maximum ROI.

Buyer personas help you attract the most valuable visitors who are more likely to convert.

You can be wrong sometimes. People who matched the description of your buyer persona may not be so interested in your product.

You want to remove this doubt by verifying the buyer’s personas.

How do you do that?

First, I’ll like to say that it’s better to always have two to three different buyer personas.

Facebook lets you target people that match the details in your buyer persona.

buyer-persona-for-Facebook-advertising

By running ads that target these personas and tracking the conversion rates, you get to know the hottest prospects who you should be targeting.

That means more customers by spending less on marketing.

6. Socialize

Just meeting and interacting with new and old friends can land you valuable customers.

Someone you know might know someone who knows someone that is an ideal client.

Keep in mind that when networking your primary purpose isn’t to sell. It’s to interact. To learn about the other party. And make them feel good about themselves.

You must give them something before you ask. That’s the key to building a successful network that gets you clients.

Set a time and budget each week when you just meet people face-to-face and have a nice chat.

You may think this is a waste of time, but it’ll be worth more down the road.

There’s a reason I like face-to-face communication:

It lets people connect deeper with you.

Just looking at your eyes tell people a lot more about you.

Body language adds to the verbal communication.

Unfortunately, technology is making it difficult to do more face-to-face meetings these days.

More people prefer communicating through email, instant messaging, texting and other groups of communication technology provide.

It’s important that you add face-to-face meetings to your list of customer acquisition tactics.

7. Target Long-tail Keywords

The lion’s share of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords.

long-tail-keywords-generate-the-most-traffic

Popular keywords like “vacation” and “dog food” are known as short-tail or head keywords. They get the most attention from businesses trying to rank on search engines.

Competition is fierce for head keywords.

Why not target long-tail keywords which have less competition?

With less work, you can easily crack the top positions for most long-tail keywords. That means you can quickly grow the number of customers you receive from search.

8. Build Free Tools Customers Want to Use

People like free things.

And because they like free things doesn’t mean they don’t buy.

People buy products too, especially online.

Creating products prospects can use for free get them into your customer acquisition funnel.

For example, Shopify helps you create a beautiful online store.

To make more prospects aware of their product, Shopify creates free tools they will want to use.

They built a free logo maker.

Shopify created a business name generator which also allows you to check the availability of the domain name.

Shopify-free-tools

9. Get Referrals from Existing Customers

According to Google, 2.4 billion brand-related conversations take place per day in the United States. And these conversations lead to over 3.3 billion brand impressions.

brand-related-conversations

92% of people rely on the opinions of their family and friends for purchasing decisions.

These studies show that your existing customers can be a very good source for new clients. Therefore, satisfying present customers is very important to the survival and existence of a business.

If you are truly fulfilling the needs of your current customers, you should not be afraid of reaching out to them and asking for referrals.

Just ask!

You’ll be amazed by the number of referrals you’ll get.

10. Speak at Events

Speaking at events makes you popular.

Before you know it, people start thanking you for the incredible speech you gave two years ago.

When your speech sinks into people’s brains, they will want to know who you are and what you do. That’s how they discover your business.

By discovering your business, they are likely to refer prospects and even become customers themselves.

Speaking is one of the most under-used but powerful customer acquisition techniques.

It’s worked for people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel and Chris Brogan.

Gary-Vaynerchuk-speaking

Speaking is even more effective when you are running a B2B startup.

Anyone can become a great public speaker as long as you are willing to practice hard.

Practice.

Prepare.

Research your audience.

Watch others speak.

Dress to impress.

Walk as you speak.

These are just some speaking tips I’ve learned over the years.

Be willing to speak at anywhere they will have you.

Speak at weddings, meetups, and conferences. These are good places to start from.

Speaking is effective for getting your name and business out there.

11. Host an Event

Struggling to find places to speak?

Host your own event.

The people who attend your event should be prospects.

Let’s say you sell a product for moms. You can start a local conference where moms meet and share ideas. This boosts awareness for your product.

Facebook makes it easy to advertise to local moms who may be interested in the event.

12. Provide A Free Service in Exchange for A Testimonial

In the corporate world, newcomers are willing to work for free or for little wages to get experience and boost their portfolio.

The same thing is true in the business world.

Customers are reluctant in switching suppliers or trying a new service.

You need testimonials.

Testimonials boost trust in your product or service.

Influencers are great sources of testimonials that work.

These influencers have invested years of work building their brand. They have huge following – people who trust them.

You can tap into their influence.

Think about the needs of these influencers.

How can you be useful to them?

Simply asking for a testimonial from an influencer won’t work.

You should offer something upfront before asking.

Maybe it’s letting them try your product for free or doing something entirely unrelated to your business – you have to help them first.

After you’ve helped them, it’s then you can ask for a testimonial.

The good news is that by knowing one influencer, you’ll find it easier to get on the radar of other influencers.

Existing customers are another good source of testimonials.

Most customers will definitely give you testimonials because they’ll like to have their face and brand on your website.

Shopify-testimonial

A testimonial like this increases trust in your brand which means more customers.

13. Create an Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing has been existing for years, and the industry is even stronger today.

Bluehost is one of the most successful web hosting companies. Their secret is their affiliate program.

For example, Pat Flynn is one of the top Bluehost affiliates.

In one month, he made over $40,000 as a Bluehost affiliate.

Pat-Flynn-affiliate-earnings

Pat Flynn promotes a variety of products as an affiliate on his blog, Smart Passive Income.

There are many bloggers on the web with a massive audience.

If you have the right product that matches their audience’s needs, you can persuade them to join your affiliate program.

You share the profit, and it’s win-win for both parties.

This strategy is very effective for acquiring customers.

Another perfect example is the Uber affiliate program.

Uber-affiliate-program

14. Buy an Established Blog

Marketers who prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.

And companies who blog also receive 97% more links to their website.

As you may already know, you need backlinks to rank on search engines.

The more links your website has, the better it performs on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Bl0gging only costs your time if you are a one-man show.

Blogging takes time.

It’s not something you start today and see results immediately.

It requires at least 6 months for your blog to start receiving any worthwhile traffic from search engines.

Why not buy a blog if you can’t wait that long?

Buying an established blog that ranks high on search engines for numerous keywords related to your business is a smart strategy.

But there are things you must watch out for when buying any blog.

  • The history of the website
  • How it generates revenue
  • The quality of the traffic
  • Can the website easily be replicated? If it can, avoid!
  • Time and expertise needed to maintain the website. The website should be easy to manage.
  • The backlink profile

Getting a blog with an established presence on search engines can quickly expose your business to a lot of prospects.

15. Create Location-Specific Pages

If the business is locally-based and serves people that live within a specific location, then you should be creating location-specific pages.

Creating location-specific pages is just a smart local SEO tactic that quickly gets customers in the door via search engines.

When customers use search engines, they mostly search for a business near them.

This is the secret of companies like HomeAdvisor, Houzz, TripAdvisor and Thrillist.

Houzz-location-specific-pages-for-local-SEO

Create pages for each location you serve, build some backlinks and social signals and watch customers come in.

16. Showcase Your Products on Instagram

Instagram has more than 500 million monthly active users.

It’s used by 31% American women and 24% of men.

Many businesses are still not taking advantage of the visual platform to acquire new customers.

Even a real estate agent like Ryan Serhant is using Instagram for customer acquisition.

Ryan-Serhant-using-Instagram-for-customer-acquisition

17. Ask Influential Bloggers to Review Your Product

Who are the top influential bloggers in your niche?

Create a list of bloggers in your niche and start reaching out to them.

These bloggers have a huge readership.

You can tap into their following to create demand for your product.

Bloggers won’t review your product because you asked.

They need to be some form of compensation they’ll get in return for writing about the product.

Get into their emails and start discussing with them.

Highlight the benefits – how your product will help their valuable readers. This is a good place to start from.

Getting reviews from the top influential bloggers in your industry can boost sales in no time.

18. Partner with A Company That Complements Your Product or Service

Katrina Razavi revealed on KISSmetrics that partnership increased the revenue of a company he led by 1,983%. That’s huge!

Partnerships work.

Getting access to a list of 10,000 from a partner can mean a business turnaround.

Imagine you can only convert 4% of the list, and each customer is worth $500.

Not every partnership will work. The Pareto Principle also applies to partnerships.

At least if 20% of your partnerships work, that can generate a lot of sales for your company.

Pareto-Principle-to-partnership

19. Maximize Word of Mouth Marketing

As I noted above, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other type of advertising.

You have to make sure people are constantly saying positive things about your business.

How do you maximize word-of-mouth marketing for your business?

Customer service.

If your business isn’t satisfying its current customers, there’s no way they will recommend it to their friends.

How your customer service representatives make your customers feel is very important.

Think about a company like Zappos. The company does everything to put smiles on the faces of its current customers.

No wonder these happy customers talk Zappos everywhere they go and even on the web.

20. Be Distinct

Being different is a critical part of marketing.

Your marketing will fail even before you start if customers have no reason to buy from your business.

Claiming that your product is the best doesn’t make you different. Your competitors are probably saying the same thing.

So what can you do to stand out?

Create offers that are too hard to ignore.

Think about something that can knock out what competitors are offering.

Customers want better offers.

It’s also important that you make the process of doing business with you easy.

If you offer customers a great experience, they’ll go out and talk about it. That means more customers.

21. Get A Decent Business Card

Giving out business cards may seem old-school, but I still hear about entrepreneurs winning six-figure deals through business cards they gave out.

Make your logo shine through in the business card.

If the card sucks, don’t expect to win any deals from it.

22. Start Prospecting

Today, we have incredible tools that make prospecting so easy.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of my favorite tools for prospecting.

LinkedIn-Sales-Navigator

For example, Akamai was able to cut their sales cycle from six months to one month using Sales Navigator.

Because of the detailed information LinkedIn provides, you already know everything you need to learn about a prospect before sending them an InMail (LinkedIn message).

HCL Technologies used LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to win contracts worth over $500 million.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is just one of the tools I use.

I also use:

  • BuiltWith
  • EmailHunter
  • Mention
  • Boomerang
  • Yesware
  • NinjaOutreach
  • CrunchBase

These sites and tools tell you everything you need to know about a prospect before reaching out.

23. Be Consistent

To win deals on the internet, you have to be consistent.

There’s no way around it.

You must regularly be putting your business out there to earn the trust of web users.

The web is a place where you can’t get complacent.

Look at successful companies like Copyblogger, Moz and HubSpot.

They continue to market their companies. They promote hard.

Most times, you don’t get customers on day one.

It takes patience and hard work to start seeing any results.

Consistency will help you get customers on a consistent basis.

I’ve shown you enough customer acquisition examples.

Now it’s the time to start applying them.

Thanks for reading and please share this article on social media.

Jabed Hasan

Jabed Hasan

Content Marketing Manager at CrazyEngage
Content Marketing Specialist at Mountnow. He is passionate about writing and love to write on SEO, CRO, Growth Hacking and Online Marketing Strategies.
Jabed Hasan

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About the author :Content Marketing Specialist at Mountnow. He is passionate about writing and love to write on SEO, CRO, Growth Hacking and Online Marketing Strategies.