Obtaining new customers lies at the heart of any business, regardless of industry niche or payroll size. Cultivating existing customers for repeat business will only take you so far. You need to top up your customer base continually. But how? Here we discuss the 6 best ways for customer acquisition.
What you will learn in this article
- The 6 types of customer acquisition
- How each works and why you should use it
- Why you should challenge the status quo
- How CRM can help
- Getting started with CRM
6 top ways to win customers
The focus of this article is on acquiring new customers, not your existing customer base. Some of the five methods listed are common (e.g., telemarketing and email). Others are not so widely known, especially among the small business community. The hope is that you can use the following to:
- Challenge your company’s status quo
- Encourage experimentation with different strategies
- And win new customers
This is still a widespread form of customer acquisition. In this example, sales staff reach out to decision-makers to present their product or service over the phone.
However, since the enactment of the European Union’s Directive on Privacy (GDPR), this form of selling is much stricter than it was in the past. For instance, you are no longer allowed to call companies unless you have an existing business relationship. There is a whole raft of other restrictions which require a separate article. However, it is worth noting that almost all CRM systems today are GDPR-compliant.
Mailshots and mass emailing
The problem with this approach is the genuine risk of running a foul of the law in some countries. In some states, there is a differentiation in the law regarding postal mailing and mass emailing. The other concern is that you risk your messaging being branded as spam, whether it arrives by snail mail or electronically.
On balance, this form of communication is only suitable for keeping in touch with existing customers. For acquiring new customers, it’s a non-starter.
Have you considered subscribing to an existing newsletter in your niche? Whoever is producing the newsletter is probably always short of content. It’s worth scoping them out about using your content as well. You will raise your chances of success by ensuring your content adds value and is relevant. Contributing to a newsletter is a novel way to reach a new audience and build a reputation.
Marketing within search engines is an excellent ‘push’ tactic. When users see your ad, they are already searching for something relevant to your business. Most likely, it is a problem they need to fix. So targeted ads within Google and other search engines will push your solution towards them.
As the user is already part way invested, they are potentially more likely to click through to your website and get in touch to find out more. Targeted ads using the exact keywords as your potential customers are far more effective than cold calling will ever be. Prospects are pre-warmed and already in the mood to buy. The pro tip for online advertising is always to target your audience as much as possible. This way, you are not advertising to the ‘wrong traffic.’
Even though online marketing is billed on a pay-per-click basis, you still get some users clicking on ads out of idle curiosity. This leaves you paying for the click and Google filtering your ad as irrelevant to the search term.
Acquiring customers via partners
Going down this route has its pros and cons. If you don’t want to develop an extensive distribution channel, acquiring customers through partners is an attractive option. Often you can bundle many new products in with an existing product and benefit from that marketing.
While this sounds swell, there are drawbacks. Firstly, you are outsourcing your sales. If the partners don’t perform well, neither do you. Worse still, your partner could drop you if a more enticing product comes along. You will not lose customers; you will also lose a vital plank in your sales strategy. Partnerships require to be founded on mutual trust and strong relations. The stronger the bond between you and your partners, the better for everyone concerned.
Referrals and recommendations
Strong customer relations are crucial to winning referrals and recommendations from your existing customers. CRM systems help you foster superior relationships with your customers and ensure customer satisfaction. If your customer base has a positive customer experience, they are far more likely to recommend your product or service. If you have these fundamentals nailed down, it’s going to be much easier to ask customers for an introduction, review, or testimonial.
Getting started with CRM
When you are committing to move to CRM, you must not get into a trial-and-error scenario. For many small businesses implementing a CRM solution is probably one of the biggest decisions they will make in years. For that reason, you cannot afford to get it wrong. Whatever system you select, you have to ensure it will fit with your business. Not the other way around.
Winning customers is not an end itself. It’s about nurturing prospects, escorting them through their buying journey, and converting them into paying customers. There’s a lot to juggle in the process. This is why companies large and small are placing their future in the hands of CRM. A good CRM system removes the guesswork and ensures you can achieve the highest possible conversion rate. It does this by helping you manage all your customer interactions end-to-end in the sales funnel.
For small businesses, the best solution is unquestionably a cloud-based CRM system. So sign up for our free trial to get your hands on CRM yourself. We specialize in helping small businesses optimize their customer acquisition and retention efforts.