Customer Acquisition in Marketing - How Does it Work?

May 26th at 1:22pm by Susan Levermann

When thinking about self-employment, many people imagine the following scenario: all the background preparations in the store have been finished and you spend the first official day waiting anxiously by the phone for the first customer to call. But the device remains persistently silent. The e-mail mailbox also yawns with emptiness. What happened here? Where are the customers? They can be anywhere and nowhere, because many customers shop specifically from well-known brands and companies without even realising that there is an alternate, new company with an appealing offer. From an entrepreneurial perspective, it is, of course, fatal if customers do not know that your company exists. Those who are still at the very beginning of their career with their company rarely already have a permanent customer base or even regular customers. And those who are already established and have a customer base are dependent on quickly and effectively winning new customers. Therefore, newcomers, sales, management and marketing are wondering: how can I approach my new customer acquisition?

Many strategies are long outdated and it is often a good idea to draw on the multitude of current technical possibilities for your own concept. In the digital age, many new technologies are based on the internet and the networking of digital offerings. Therefore, it is a good place to start with the topic of online marketing, which is very suitable for customer acquisition. For customer acquisition in marketing, it is first and foremost important to understand online marketing as a whole before dealing with tips for attracting customers.

What Online Marketing Means

The term is self-explanatory, but many marketing issues raise new questions. That's why we're trying to start from scratch. Even the oldest hands in sales and marketing know the terms internet or web marketing, but nowadays online marketing is mainly used to summarize all the marketing measures carried out online. In terms of content, this results in a clear separation from offline marketing.

Typical measures in online marketing are well known and established, such as ads in Google search, banners or pop-ups, email marketing or activities related to search engine optimization. Such optimization measures are usually tailored to Google and take place, for example, on the website or on the company blog. In order to distinguish these individual sub-areas in online marketing, these are called e-mail marketing, SEO (search engine optimization) or SEA (search engine advertising). Another interesting area in online marketing is affiliate marketing. The term derives from 'to affiliate'. Here, third-party advertising links are placed on a website, and the operator of that site receives a commission if the link is used within a specified period for a predefined action (e.g. a purchase). How this payment is made depends on the agreement between the two parties. Cost-per-click, cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale are common.

In order to use online marketing in 2020 in a meaningful and targeted manner, a good look at the digital economy, the target group, the technical requirements as well as possible applications are all required. Here, it is important to be able to accurately assess the potential costs and profits so as not to economically overstretch oneself, especially as a newcomer to the industry. Online marketing is usually a sub-area of marketing, which is supplemented by others in order to develop a holistic marketing strategy. So it is by no means the case that a business relies exclusively on online marketing. With this accumulated knowledge in mind, one can directly deal with customer acquisition in general.

Customer Acquisition in General

Customer acquisition in sales and marketing means nothing more than winning customers for your own company, brand or product through the use of customized strategies. All such measures are part of customer acquisition, which are used to find customers and motivate them to buy. The goal is to continuously increase the number of customers. This makes customer acquisition in marketing not a project to complete and tick off, but an ongoing process in constant change. Keeping an eye on your own market is therefore essential for successful customer acquisition in order to be able to correctly target the right customer groups.

So that you do not get immediately frustrated as a newcomer, it is important to proceed step by step. The first task is to define the target group. This is followed by the distinction between B2B, where other companies are the chosen customers, or B2C, where everything revolves around end-users, i.e. private individuals. On the basis of this classification, it is possible to plan the concepts very selectively, because this allows you to get to know your target group and its needs precisely, to collect specific information and to successfully establish a network.

If you want to make it even more detailed, you do not define the target group, but actually the target person. Under the term Buyer Persona, you can create a representative, fictitious customer and design it with resume, face and all the other significant factors to give the anonymous target group a clear face. This includes important behaviors that influence a purchase, such as problems, desires, motives and the like. Once the buyers are defined, you can consider measures to appeal to the buyers. Sounds good in theory, but what does that mean in practice?

Customer Acquisition in Online Marketing

As mentioned above, Online Marketing in 2020 includes methods such as email marketing, social media, content marketing, SEO, display advertising or search engine marketing. Depending on where the potential buyers are on the web, you can try one, several or all methods to reach them.

Speaking of achieving: online reach is a decisive factor in attracting as many interested parties as possible. Reach indicates how many people can be touched by a particular method or medium. Therefore, when planning customer acquisition in marketing, reach must be considered as an important factor. So far so good, but what are the individual measures in practice? Good question! Since the answers are quite detailed and intricate, the next section is divided in two parts; one with tips regarding online channels and the other with tips on which methods to use to reach and attract customers.

Four Channels for Customer Acquisition in Marketing

Online marketing uses various web channels, which one can experiment seemingly without end. Sounds quite logical, but which channels can be used specifically for your company? A look at the following list will help:

  1. Your own website

It is the online flagship for every and is therefore fundamental to every web campaign, to make contact with consumers and as a tool for attracting new customers. To do this, it must be stylishly designed and clearly arranged, offering both fast loading times and added customer value. It’s message and purpose has to be understood within seconds, so the homepage must provide space for the most important information about the company. Headers and footers should also be used well. The subpages in the menu must be clearly structured. There are countless websites on the internet – no buyer will spend long on one whose usability or design does not appeal to him or which is completely outdated. Incidentally, this can be the case after only a few weeks, because the network is constantly changing. Therefore, it makes sense to regularly update the website and publish new content.

  1. Blog

Depending on the industry, operation and company philosophy, it makes sense to expand the website with a blog. A blog is a good platform to publish up-to-date content that adds value to readers, and thus potential customers, brings the company closer, demonstrates its expertise as an expert, and smartly integrates call-to-actions on the right products. Blogs are time-consuming media that need to be well-looked after and regularly provided with up-to-date content. Often it is worth starting a website first and then integrating a blog later - provided there is enough content to keep it alive.

  1. Social Media Accounts

There are many social media channels that would be eligible for business use. Basically, this includes all digital media and methods that enable users to network, exchange and share media content. Among the most well-known are certainly Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. But WhatsApp, Tumblr and Xing are also included. You're probably spoilt for choice here, because it makes no sense to create accounts on platforms indiscriminately and then have them orphaned. Those who have defined their target group know where they are and can use them to choose which social media services are useful for this contact. For these accounts: They must be maintained regularly, comments and reactions must be reacted to immediately and the company's internal netiquette must be followed without exception.

  1. Webinars

On the blog you can already show off your own know-how very well, but webinars offer an even better possibility. These are videos on a specific topic that can be used as training for interested parties. The advantage: You do them once and can have them posted and played on different channels as often as you like. In this way, entrepreneurs can demonstrate their knowledge and use expertise to boost the recruitment of new customers.

These four channels can be used individually or as bundles to pursue your own marketing strategy. This allows the topic of customer acquisition in marketing to be promoted online and on various platforms. In addition to the platforms, it is the measures themselves that interest many entrepreneurs. The next section shows what to use and how to use them.

Six Tips for Customer Acquisition in Marketing

Now it's time to get to the heart of the matter: what are you actually doing to attract customers? Here are both some concrete measures aimed at the existing customer, and strategies for attracting new customers that should influence company activity.

Three Measures to Attract Customers

  • Pop-up windows

These small visual elements that pop up in the browser are often perceived as annoying. However, this can be ruled out if they offer added value. To this end, they may:

  • only appear on certain menu pages of your website
  • not appear too often

They must also provide added value, such as a promotion, discounts or interesting information about the product.

Often pop-ups are used for the "Before you go...", i.e. before a user leaves the page, he or she gets this info including a further link to click. It can be that easy to keep customers on your website.

  • Email advertising

In marketing theory, it is assumed that you need seven contacts with a prospect before deciding to buy. E-mail is ideal for establishing this contact. E-mail marketing makes it possible to connect directly with customers and build trust through added value. In addition, customers can be contacted continuously. This helps you to stay in their memory. In addition, you can propose suitable products and offers. On top of that, e-mail is a good tool to personalize the customer relationship and give the customer the feeling of being addressed directly. In practical terms, customers can be offered the chance to subscribe to the website newsletter. This consent then allows you to send the customer mails – and this should be used to provide them with added value, customized offers and information about special promotions.

  • Couponing

When you use vouchers and discount brands as a marketing tool, it is called couponing. This strategy dates back to the 1960s. Who doesn't remember those little stamps we all used to collect? These can be used online in a similarly targeted manner - a customer bought something online? The perfect time to send him an after-sales coupon – this makes the repurchase of products even more attractive. Pre-sales coupons can be sent by e-mail to attract prospective customers and to promote online purchases.

Strategies for Customer Acquisition

  • Get customer references

A reference from a customer is an assessment of the company, the product; or, more specifically, a process, such as customer service. It is recommended to actively reach out to satisfied customers and get feedback. Studies show that customers rely on online reviews that seem authentic. If you want to take advantage of this knowledge, you must therefore seek contact with your own customers and publish this feedback or ask for feedback on relevant evaluation portals. Enthusiastic customers are so valuable that a whole strategy is dedicated to them: so-called recommendation marketing. An incentive makes posting valuations a little more attractive. How about, for example, a discount for each review – of course it must be stressed, it doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative! This must be made very clear at this point: Here, the focus is on the authentic customer experience, not the purchase of customer opinions.

  • Involve customers in optimization

Hardly anyone can optimize a product better than critical customers. It is therefore good to listen to these voices and actively incorporate proposals, criticism and the like into the optimization process. It also flatters customers when they realize that they really value their opinions and even include them in decisions.

  • Entering into co-operation

Nobody is an island – especially in business - because even if someone sets up their own business, they won’t be able to give up teamwork. Among like-minded people, you can quickly and effectively establish a network and cooperate with each other. This does not have to lead to a collaboration on a project, but can start with a simple but effective link exchange or reference to complementary products and services. Here, it's great to use creative strengths, complement each other and get a greater reach to reach customers.

The customer can therefore actively help to improve the service or the product. You can use its evaluation and feedback for this purpose. The question, however, is how to get reviews and whether you can use them elsewhere? The Net Promoter Score ® gives the following answer to both questions.

New Customer Acquisition with the Net Promoter Score®

The Net Promoter Score® is a metric that makes it possible to make a concrete statement about customer loyalty. This is obtained through targeted micro-surveys based on a question that is answered on a simple scale. In addition, there is the possibility to insert a field for comments.

This field is worth its weight in gold to get honest feedback from customers. Feedback from the so-called promoters, i.e. customers who are extremely satisfied with the company and see themselves as supporters, are especially valuable and offers great potential. These can have a positive impact on existing or potential customers and can also be integrated into internal processes, such as established feedback loopsfeedback loops. The feedback from promoters is ideal to publish as a review. As already mentioned, many customers value authentic online reviews. In order to make these usable, it is recommended to rely on a versatile software, which analyzes the data, processes it further and of course determines the NPS®. This way, you can easily and quickly get suitable reviews that will attract new customers.

How Customer Acquisition Works in Marketing

With all this knowledge, you can really get started in sales, management and marketing with customer acquisition on the internet. But one thing must be made very clear: no-one need be scared of marketing for themselves and trying to find customers! New start-ups are often especially afraid of the seemingly giant concept of marketing and either do not know where to start or see no point in it. These thoughts are absolute nonsense and only keep you from making progress. Therefore, everyone should tackle the topic of customer acquisition in marketing in an individual way and, if necessary, use online marketing to present themselves to their customers.

Those who have dared to start as entrepreneurs, who have had this courage and rely on their own professional knowledge, certainly still have enough energy to deal with the big topic of customer acquisition in marketing. And they certainly doesn't need one thing: permission to do whatever he thinks is right!


Susan Levermann

Content Marketing Manager