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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jul 28 , 2021

Digital marketing can get you in front of potential customers — the right strategy can get them to convert.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How search results affect customer acquisition
  • Organic ways to acquire new leads
  • Effective paid marketing strategies
  • How to set your website up for optimal acquisition

Marketing pros who aren’t new to the game likely know all about the customer journey. It comprises the stages we base our content, campaigns, and plans on: awareness, consideration, and decision. (With delight as the bonus step.) And the customer journey is a crucial element when it comes to acquisition.

Customer acquisition is the process of converting a generated lead into a customer. It’s basically the whole funnel (or journey) combined. At the end of the day, marketing is about attracting new customers, and keeping customer acquisition top of mind is how marketers can make that happen.

While there’s no one way to pinpoint and acquire qualified leads that are sure to become customers, there are a handful of digital marketing strategies you can implement with customer acquisition in mind. Here, we’ve mapped out six of our favorites.

line of people outside from aerial view

Companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Paid search

Also known as pay per click (PPC), paid search is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies when it comes to customer acquisition. That’s because it allows companies to target their specific audience with the right keywords at the right time.

Paid search ads appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) on sites like Google and Bing. If someone’s searching for “women’s black cycling shoes,” for example, and you’re an e-commerce brand selling cycling products (including women’s black cycling shoes), you want your targeted ad to be the one they see. The same goes for brands selling other products and services.

The companies that use paid search for successful customer acquisition know it’s not only about the ad, though. Rather, it’s crucial to pair eye-catching, appealing ad copy with an optimized landing page that boasts consistent verbiage, clean design, and a clear call to action (CTA).

2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Along with a paid search strategy, having a solid SEO strategy helps search engines more easily recognize your website. This helps improve your rankings and, ideally, grow your reach for better customer acquisition.

Proper SEO on your site means having elements including:

  • Unique title tags on your pages
  • High-quality content 
  • Internal links and external links (to authoritative sites)
  • A sitemap
  • Meta descriptions
  • Images with alt tags

Ensuring your site is optimized for search engines won’t guarantee that you’ll get in the first position (or even on the first page) of the SERPs. The search algorithm that determines the best content for each search query is constantly changing, and the details about how search engines determine the best content to show searchers isn’t always clear.

However, by keeping your site up to date, easy to navigate, and educational for prospects and clients, you can position your brand as a thought leader and your site as a valuable source of information.

3. Social media

When it comes to social media, you’ve got the option to leverage both organic and paid avenues. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that each path can be leveraged in the same way or achieve the same results.

Let’s start with organic social media. The practice of regularly creating social media posts can help spread the word about new business offerings or updates, increase your exposure, and even help you go viral (in a good way, ideally).

While organic social posts likely won’t directly result in customer acquisition, they can aid in brand awareness, content sharing, and allow you to highlight the fun side of your brand.

Paid social, on the other hand, can be a powerful tool if wielded properly. When choosing which platforms to advertise on, you should first consider your target audience and the platforms they use most.

From there, you can take advantage of the audience targeting tools most of these platforms have in place to get your content delivered straight to those who need to see it most. 

group of millennials on their laptops laughing

When done right, remarketing one of the best and most cost-effective ways to get past visitors back to your site. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Remarketing

As we’ve touched on before, remarketing can benefit your business in numerous ways. Not only does it keep you top of mind when someone takes an action like visiting your site, or requesting a consultation or demo, but it allows you to hyper-focus your ads and ups your chances of turning a lead into a conversion.

Remarketing (also called retargeting) works by leveraging display ads to connect your business with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. When done right, it’s one of the best and most cost-effective ways to get past visitors back to your site. 

Of course, the most successful retargeting campaigns aren’t one size fits all. A brand-new site visitor shouldn’t be remarketed the same way as a returning visitor. 

Data transparency changes and the eventual demise of third-party cookies are going to force some changes in digital marketing, particularly for remarketing ads. But there’s no need to panic: Marketers have adapted to massive changes for decades. And while more solutions will become apparent as the process unfolds, focusing on attracting new prospects is one way to keep your lead pipeline flowing.

Looking for more ways to increase your customer acquisition? Let’s talk.

5. Content marketing

When people hear the phrase “content marketing,” they may automatically think of blogs. And while blogging is a great medium for businesses when it comes to customer acquisition, content can encompass much more.

Examples of valuable content include:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos and webinars
  • Guides and e-books
  • Infographics
  • Checklists
  • Downloadable templates
  • Product descriptions
  • Case studies

No matter the content you create, you want to make sure it’s accurate, helpful, and targeted. The more deliverables you create, the more industry topics you can cover, and the more likely you are to be found in organic search results by those seeking what you have to offer.

Pro tip: You can take things a step further by partnering with another brand (with a similar audience but not a competitor) on something like an infographic, webinar, or guest blog. This expands your reach, helps build your professional network, and boosts your brand’s credibility.

two people meeting at a coffeeshop

Include social share links as well as forwarding options in your email newsletter to make sharing a breeze. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Email newsletters

Email newsletters can be a powerful acquisition channel if you follow a few key strategies. As Campaign Monitor reports, you’re six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than from a tweet. 

The most successful newsletters:

  • Include one main CTA
  • Offer a tactical takeaway (like a pro tip, discount, or statistic)
  • Feature an attention-grabbing subject line
  • Have an easy-to-read template
  • Are optimized for mobile

When you’re looking to build your non-client subscriber list, get creative! You can add exit-intent pop-ups to your site, or include a subscription box in your site’s footer. Offline, you can give people the option to sign up if your brand is posted up in a booth at an industry conference or networking event — a particularly effective strategy if it’s part of a giveaway or contest.

Pro tip: Let your readers help you spread the word! Include social share links as well as forwarding options in your email newsletter to make sharing a breeze. Due to the psychology of social proof, peer-recommended content is more likely to be trusted.

The takeaway

Customers are the bread and butter of any business, and digital marketing is one of the most direct ways to connect with your desired prospects.

By knowing your audience, meeting them where they are, and analyzing the data behind your campaigns, you’ll have the tools you need to not only attract more customers, but keep them loyal and happy as well.

This post has been updated and was originally published in December 2019.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 28 , 2020

When it comes to running a successful business, customer acquisition is built into the foundation. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • What makes B2B customer acquisition unique
  • How Google Ads plays a key role in customer acquisition
  • PPC strategies for B2B brands
  • Questions to ask yourself when building your strategy

Having a solid strategy for attracting new customers helps keep your business running, growing, and sustaining — even when the unexpected arises.

But customer acquisition isn’t one size fits all. What works for a B2C brand might not work for B2B. Not only that, but B2B sales cycles are reportedly getting longer. It’s not just about attracting swaths of leads — it’s about garnering quality traffic and improving conversions.

To connect with potential customers, it’s key for B2B companies to have a cost-effective customer acquisition bidding strategy. So, how do you know your strategy is working? One way is by determining your cost per acquisition (CPA), but that’s not the whole story. 

Let’s break down how B2B brands can streamline their customer acquisition.

customer-acquisition

While customer acquisition is key, don’t forget about retention. (Image via Unsplash)

Customer acquisition strategies

The strategy that will work best for your business depends on your target audience, among other factors. Basic customer acquisition strategies include:

  • Content (things like blogs, e-books, templates, and guides)
  • Social media (organic and paid, to build engagement)
  • Email marketing
  • Referral marketing
  • Search engine marketing, or SEM (paid ads on search engines)

These are methods that attract potential buyers to your brand or website. From there, it’s up to you to engage them, educate them, and make them want to know more. 

No matter which avenues you choose, having a strategy that’s relevant to your audience, scalable with growth, and customized to speak to each stage of the buying funnel will help set you up to succeed.

Pro tip: While acquisition is key, don’t forget about retention. As Salesforce explains, “it’s important to view customer acquisition as something that’s influenced by the rest of the stages in a customer’s lifecycle, including retention.”

Leveraging Google

The chief avenue for B2B advertising dollars, not surprisingly, is Google Ads (“Google AdWords” till mid-2018). Worldwide, Google accounts for 75% of desktop search traffic and significantly more mobile search traffic.

Almost 50% of Google searches are linked to something local. And, believe it or not, the big domains don’t dominate — just one in eight Google clicks go to the top 100 domains.

You want as many of those searchers as possible to click on your offering. To get that visibility, your options are to:

  • Work toward “organic” search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Use the Google Ads system to bid for the strategic placement you seek

Most marketers do both. Organic SEO is a long-term process with gradual results. It can be significant, but it also must be sustained by a regular investment of effort. Google Ads gives you immediate placement for a “price” (in money and other factors that Google Ads uses to rank your particular ad).

Focusing on return on investment (ROI)

With plenty of digital marketing avenues to go down — and they become increasingly complex with new technology and growth of your business — measurement of ROI becomes crucial. 

It helps you determine what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your bottom line. Research from HubSpot shows the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by more than 50% in the last five years. 

You can calculate ROI by comparing the cost of your advertising to the revenue it earned for your company. That basic formula, of course, is only part of the big picture. But once you know where you stand, you can analyze the success of your ads and campaigns, including the role played by content, placement, timing, and much more.

How to achieve B2B success with PPC

Let’s take a closer look at a few questions you can ask yourself in the Google Ads process that tend to determine the ROI of your investments when it comes to pay per click (PPC) or paid search ads. 

What is your ad goal?

Potential goals for your ad could be to:

  • Drive searchers from your ad to your website
  • Increase visits to your online shop
  • Motivate calls to your business
  • Get searchers to sign up for your emails
  • Take some other particular action on your website

The more you can narrow your focus, the easier it will be to get your visitor to take the desired action. Searchers give you only seconds (at best) to persuade them your ad satisfies their search. The message must be clear and unambiguous — almost instantly.

Where are your customers?

Do you want to advertise locally? The Google Ads system is extensively organized to accommodate local searchers, which represents a huge percentage of the total. 

If you want to advertise globally, think about areas of concentration and other parameters around language, demographics, or interests. This way, you’re not being too general, which can lead to quickly blowing through your budget.

Customer Acquisition Bidding: What Every B2B Company Should Know

Speak in your audience’s language, address their pain points, and do so as quickly as possible. (Image via Unsplash)

What is your message?

In most Google ads, you get about three short sentences to make an impact (although you can also create a banner ad with text and images). Those sentences must seize interest, provide essential contact or next-step information, and, above all, motivate the searcher.

This is another reason why knowing your target audience is key. Speak in their language, address their pain points, and do so as quickly as possible.

Creativity, audience targeting, knowledge of your service or product, and writing ability are as important as in any other advertising medium. However, the brevity required of ads paired with the psychology of internet searching (which can be restless, fast-moving, and demanding) can provide an additional challenge.

What is your budget?

What do you want to spend on this advertisement, and when? Essentially, for Google, what will you “pay per click” — and what is your cap (usually monthly)? How many clicks are you willing to pay for?

This is where timely, accurate, analytical reporting on your ad results become relevant in ascertaining your ROI. Google will provide considerable data and other feedback, but your marketing department or digital marketing agency will translate that into ROI terms most relevant for your decision making.

Pro tip: Don’t let your online marketing strategy become stagnant. Rotating your advertisements and updating your keywords is a great way to keep your content refreshed and without spending more on bids. 

Additional factors to consider

When you submit your advertising copy to Google with your monetary bid for placement corresponding to specific keyword searches, Google will rank your advertisement among competing ads for the same spot. 

Not only the size of your bid, but also Google’s assessment of the relevance of your ad and website landing page to searchers, will determine whether your ad is accepted at all, and where your ad will rank (top place, second place, and so on).

The takeaway

At the end of the day, the aim of your digital marketing initiative is to grow your business through customer acquisition.

Through the proper mix of inbound and outbound strategies outlined above, which includes leveraging Google Ads, you can take all the knowledge you’ve gleaned about your industry and B2B customers, then turn those efforts into closed business.

Need more help with your paid search initiatives? Let’s chat.

This article has been updated and was originally published in September 2014.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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