Using Content Marketing for Customer Acquisition

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For many people, the term “content marketing” is roughly equivalent to the term “blog.” Right? The reality is that blogs are a very small part of content marketing. In fact, content marketing refers to any digital communication: a well-written email is content, a video is content, a great landing page is content, and social media posts are content.

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So what kind of content marketing will help you with customer acquisition? There are five pieces of content that can be particularly useful in promoting your brand and attracting followers, visitors, and prospects… and then turning them into customers.

  1. Blog posts: Yes, of course, you probably could have guessed that we’d begin with blog posts, since they are indeed what first comes to mind when most people think content. What blog posts can become customer-acquisition tools? Posts that are helpful, useful, informative, posts that show your brand to be aware of what’s going on in their world and has prepared a thoughtful response to it, these are blog posts that people will read, think about, and eventually act upon.
  2. Micro-content: Tweets, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts can’t go into the same detail that blog posts do, but they can point new audiences to your blog, your website, and other longer content that you have on offer. On their own, your micro-content can intrigue, engage, and interest potential customers.
  3.  White papers: Blogs and micro-content pieces are conversational in tone, easy to read, and generally pull prospects in. Once at your site, however, you have to deliver the goods—that is, some more serious and useful information. White papers written on the subjects that are important to your prospects and customers deliver in-depth information that clearly shows you as a thought leader.
  4. Industry articles: Speaking of being perceived as a thought leader, writing articles that are placed in industry publications also indicates that prospects can trust your knowledge—and your generosity in sharing it for free. Make sure that your bio points them to a landing page where they can sign up for your email list.
  5. Sales page: The the most important of all the content marketing that you do is your sales page: presenting exactly the right content after your prospect has read all your other content is what finally will make the sale.

Content marketing is as important for B2C marketers as it is for B2B marketing firms, and will lift your customer acquisition significantly when used as part of an overall content marketing strategy.

Want More Customers? Diversify!

 

customer-acquisition-tacticsIn customer acquisition, diversification isn’t just a good thing, it’s the only thing. Using one channel only for acquisition is like reading one book: it gives you something, but not everything. Your customers probably come in all shapes and sizes, with differing needs and interests: why confine them to only one method of approach?

Diversification in customer acquisition is necessary because:

  1. It reduces risk—you’re not leaving anybody out
  2. It provides data for analytics
  3. It allows you to leverage every possible avenue

 

Customer acquisition management sets up an overall strategy for your acquisition methods and can create a synergy among them. Social media can bring prospects to a landing page that in turn can feed them into an email marketing cascade. Thinking creatively about how one channel can complement the others will help you save resources and plan an effective overall campaign strategy.

Remember to consider, if not include, the following channels:

  • Public relations
  • Organic and paid search
  • Content marketing
  • Lead generation lists & programs
  • Affiliate programs
  • Social media marketing
  • Direct mail marketing
  • In-store specials
  • Events
  • Mobile
  • Direct sales
  • Referral programs
  • Traditional advertising
  • Add-ons for existing customers

 

Whatever channels you decide on, make sure that they’re part of an overall customer acquisition marketing strategy and that at all times you keep your ideal customer in mind.

 

Customer Acquisition Through Presence

Paris shopping mallAlong with the dollars that you’re investing directly into customer acquisition (paid search, advertising, lead generation, etc.), there are a number of ways to complement those channels that will cost you differently, but could well make the difference between landing a customer or 20… and not.

One of those options is presence.

When you wrote out your company’s first business or marketing plan, you probably included a section in which you described your ideal customer. That customer may have morphed over time, as your business grew, so it’s worth a second look now. Go back over the description and see if it still fits; if it doesn’t, take some time to think about it and to rewrite.

Now that you have a relevant description of your ideal customer in hand, it’s time to really think about that person. We talk a lot in social media about where people “hang out” in order to reach them via the best online channel; but what about the real world?

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 8.49.58 AMFor example, if you sell vacation wear and your ideal customer is someone who plans for and takes repeated extended vacations in warm climates, then it’s a good bet that cruise ships figure in their lives (and you can confirm this supposition via a survey; don’t ever be afraid to ask current customers questions about themselves). So how can you get your presence on cruise ships—other than taking cruises yourself, which while pleasant aren’t exactly in the corporate budget? Is there an onboard publication in which you can advertise? Can your company sponsor a special event on a cruise line? Name one of your lines of clothing for that cruise line? The more you think along the lines of presence, the more creative options will come to you.

Presence. The point is to be wherever your ideal customer is, in order to become relevant to that customer.

That’s true for publications as well. What does your ideal customer read? Can someone from your company (or a freelance writer you engage) create some helpful articles to get published in those magazines? Your brand or company will get a mention at the end of the article, and that’s often remembered. Again, it’s not about pushing your product, it’s just about being there, being useful, being remembered.

There are a lot of ways to make sure that your brand and product are in your ideal customer’s mind, and presence is a great way to generate new customers.

Whatever happened to eWayDirect?

If you’ve been in the email marketing space for the past ten years, then you are no doubt familiar with eWayDirect, a SaaS company offering an all-inclusive platform for email marketers.

And then you may have noticed that it disappeared.

We’re still alive and well, but have reorganized the company to offer a fuller, smoother, and better path from acquisition to lifetime customer value. Today eWayDirect presents CertainSource, your complete CAM and CRM solution for acquiring, nurturing, and serving customers.

CertainSource is an enterprise-level SaaS platform for B2C marketers providing a full range of emarketing solutions, starting with customer acquisition and continuing through email marketing and social integration to deliver maximum customer lifetime value. The CertainSource suite attracts, acquires, engages, and retains high-value subscribers.

By helping marketers acquire, engage, and amplify that engagement, CertainSource moves customers through the journey from prospect to brand enthusiast/evangelist, driving revenue and ROI.

 

Lead Source  –>  Prospect  –>  Lead  –>  Subscriber  –>  1st time buyer  –>  Frequent buyer  –>  Brand Enthusiast   –>  Referrals

CertainSource Acquire

Acquisition Tool

CertainSource Engage

Email Tool

CertainSource Amplify

Social Tool

The Problem: B2C marketers need to balance acquisition activities (obtaining the high volume of leads required to grow email lists) with retention of current customers (extending the buyer journey and maximizing lifetime customer value).

B2C marketers face challenges unique to their business model. They need to drive traffic, effectively target the highest-value prospects, generate customers and revenue, and increase ROI. They face measurement challenges because the multiple touchpoints used in generating leads and retaining customers aren’t integrated, and each channel strategy drives a different analytical initiative.

The Solution: CertainSource’s enterprise-level SaaS solution is specific to the B2C industry and helps marketers balance these concerns while driving revenue from new-customer acquisition through email marketing and into social amplification.

It comprises three components:

  1. CertainSource Acquire is the lead-source generation component: it finds and identifies top-performing lead sources and manages new customer acquisition across digital channels to drive list growth and optimize acquisition-budget performance.
  2.  CertainSource Engage is the email engagement component. It creates, deploys, and manages email-marketing campaigns to maximize lifetime customer value.
  3. CertainSource Amplify is the social amplification component. It empowers brand enthusiasts to attract like-minded prospects through social communities and ignites viral social referrals. 

 

The CertainSource suite offers a shared set of features and benefits:

  • Data analytics and reporting for greater insight and intelligence.
  • Dashboards amalgamate all data in one, easy-to-read (and interpret) visual overview of performance for analysis and adjusting activities.
  • A SaaS platform that is both reliable and secure, developed by security and compliance experts with servers on multiple continents, so business-sensitive data is secure and privacy is ensured. CertainSource is accessible, easy to use, and lightweight (no software to install) for lower costs, scalability, and greater control and manageability.
  • Real-time data allows marketers to see and respond to prospect and customer actions immediately. View and monitor subscriber behavior for accurate targeting and increased customer engagement
  • Big Data is leveraged to analyze and interpret customer behavior, allowing businesses to become more agile. Flexible systems and automation take advantage of newly identified opportunities and rapidly scale to meet growth demands.
  • Seamless integration with your existing ecommerce and CRM systems.
  • Enterprise-level support by experienced customer-service and technical teams support mission critical activities
  • Automated triggers and processes eliminate manual pain points from lead gen, campaign management, etc., saving time, boosting efficiency, and improving productivity.

The Results

  •  Improved inbox deliverability
  • Enhanced brand presence
  • Increased responsiveness
  • Maximized lifetime customer value
  • Email list growth with high-value subscribers
  • Amplified acquisition and retention activities
  • Higher revenue and ROI

 

So next time you think eWayDirect, think CertainSource! We’re here to help you make the most of your marketing budget throughout the entire customer journey.

How Do You Calculate The Cost of Customer Acquistion?

datastream3If you’re like most marketers, you’re keeping an eagle eye on your cost-to-income ratio. That’s definitely a good thing. But what you may not realize is that there are a number of different ways of calculating how much it costs you to acquire a customer,  and they’re not all telling the whole story.

For example, you might be hearing the term “impressions” when you send out a press release or an email. Impressions is supposedly the term used to quantify the number of people who will see your ad. Sounds good, until you realize that there is no way to tell whether or not those people actually saw the ad: what “impressions” really refers to is the number of people who will receive the magazine or newspaper. Does everyone who receives an item read it? Of course not. If you buy a radio spot or a TV ad, it gets even worse, because the “listeners” or “viewers” promised is the complete audience recorded in the latest ratings book.

Not exactly scientific, is it?

Data-driven budgets are the only ones that will deliver a real picture of how much it costs you to acquire each customer, and to adjust your marketing plans accordingly. The real cost of acquiring a customer is one large metric (the average amount of sales and marketing dollars you invest to acquire a single customer) that can be broken into smaller metrics:

  • cost you spend per visit
  • percentage of visitors that turn into leads
  • percentage of leads that become customers

datastream1Want a real-life example? Okay: you’ve launched a PPC campaign that cost you $2,000. You know from your paid-search analytics that 1,000 people visited your site as a result of that particular PPC campaign. So you’ve paid two dollars per visitor to get those people there. Let’s say that five percent of the people you drew to your website through tho PPC campaign became leads—they raised their hands in some way, said that they wanted to learn more about your product, gave you their email address. So now you’ve paid $40 per lead. Let’s say that 10% of those leads carry on to make a purchase, then your final cost of customer acquisition is $400. The beauty of analytics is that you can see what you’re spending at every point of the customer journey and therefore increase your budget precisely where it’s needed.

Having a handle on what you’re spending, on what lead sources are going to deliver the best results, is what CertainSource Acquire does for you with a clear, easy-to-read dashboard that enables you to move your marketing budget responsively rather than haphazardly. Why not ask us about it today?

 

 

It’s About the Prospects, Not About You

social media chatter figuresPart of customer acquisition is, of course, “selling” yourself, your company, your brand, your product to a prospect: you have to make sure they know who you are and what you have to offer. But the reality of sales in the post-inbound-marketing world is that it really needs to be more about the prospect, and less about you.

If you’re interested in your prospects, their problems, their needs, their lives, then you’re already a big step ahead of the competition.

How can you show that interest? There are myriad ways, but let’s start with something simple: creating a support strategy for new customers.

How do you do that?

  1. The more you know about your prospects—both individually and in the aggregate—the better you’ll be able to reach out to them with relevant messages and offers. Relevance has to be part of any strategic plan.
  2. Before designing any offer or email, ask yourself how your audience wants to be contacted, when and how often.
  3. Your content needs to be beyond great. There’s great content all over the web, some of it offered by your competitors. Being aware of your prospect and new customers’ expectations will help you craft terrific content.
  4. B2B marketers talk a lot about partnerships with their customers, but it’s just as relevant for B2C brands as well. Show your customers that you want to be their exclusive source for your product by giving them a sense of partnership with them. Ask for their opinions—and listen to the responses.

 

Keeping your marketing prospect- and new customer-focused will help them feel valued and appreciated, and your bottom line healthy.

Finding ways for B2C brands to acquire new customers safely and efficiently in a low-cost scalable model is what CertainSource Acquire does best. Why not ask us about our customer acquisition solution today?

Offers: The Key to Great Customer Acquisition

social media sites worldwideYou know already that every customer acquisition source requires different messaging, and  that messaging is the key to customer acquisition. But messaging isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the best way to see which customer acquisition offers work, which ones don’t, and when they work or don’t work, is to use multivariate offer testing.

Look at your various customer acquisition channels. They may include banners, co-reg., email, trade publication ads, PPC, third-party-sponsored emails, and others. Each of these channels needs a different offer, since it’s addressing different prospects, and as you’ll probably be wanting to segment each of them still more, you may end up with sub-lists of appropriate offers. The more you can segment, the more your offers will target the most likely group of consumers for your services or products.

Here are a few more considerations when you make customer acquisition offers:

  1. shutterstock_139359131Test, but what do you test? There are myriad options and you need to nail down a strategy for testing. Do you want to try different subject lines? How about the offer itself—should it comprise free shipping, special offers, discounts? What about timing: are you getting more leads midweek? In the evening?
  2. Determine what you want to test, watch your analytics, and tweak as necessary; but be sure that you have a plan behind it and aren’t just throwing out random changes. Strategy is everything. Figure out ahead of time what it is you want to learn from your testing, and keep to the plan.
  3. It’s important that you don’t stick to only one testing method: multivariate testing will yield the most information. Remember, the more knowledge you have about what works and what doesn’t, the better position you’ll be in to secure targeted prospects who will actually make a purchase. Following your strategy, try out A/B splits, try out different times, and try out different content.
  4. Whatever you test, there are a few constants, whether you’re looking at banners or emails: keep the copy light, and keep the call to action large. No matter what customer acquisition tool you’re using, you still have only a few seconds to catch and hold a prospect’s attention: make those seconds count for you by presenting something irresistible.

 

In all of this, make sure that you’re adhering to best customer acquisition practices. Make sure that prospects know they’ll be receiving offers from you; make sure that they tell you it’s okay. Make the best offers for segmented, targeted prospects—and see where it takes you!

 

Add Content to Your Customer Acquisition Marketing

shutterstock_127317161Content marketing is all the rage these days. It’s not as new as they’d have you believe: great content has been at the heart of advertising, for example, for decades. But the emergence of inbound marketing has brought the spotlight onto content marketing in a new way

What does that have to do with customer acquisition?

The reality is that your visibility can be enhanced by focusing on content, and increased visibility multiplies your opportunities for attracting prospects. Building your brand’s image and reputation through corporate websites, blogs, and social media is going to get your brand name out there; it’s a slower process than direct sales, but when it’s part of an overall CAM strategy, it works.

The first step is to design your landing pages with care. Persuasive content on the landing page can bring good prospects through the purchasing funnel. Don’t know what content works? Test! Try different content formats to see what works best with your particular customers and prospects.

shutterstock_130809365Make sure that the content you offer is a good fit for your customers and subscribers, and prospects looking for the same kinds of content will follow.

Marketing content isn’t confined to web pages. Make sure that you bring the same content, branding and messaging through online articles, guest posts, blog and social media posts, ebooks, conference talks and presentations, product FAQs, videos, graphics, info graphics, and customer reviews.

However, this isn’t a question of “if you build it, they will come.” Content does you no good if no one sees it. So make sure that you share your content through strategic promotion and integrated marketing communications.

The result will be better conversion rates and better lead generation. Content marketing cannot be the whole of your customer acquisition efforts, but it should have an important place in the overall strategy. For more on that strategy and how to use an automated platform to complement your content marketing efforts, why not see what CertainSource Aquire can do for you?

 

Your Customer Acquisition Budget and ROI

shutterstock_134128511As we’ve mentioned recently in this space, it’s easier than ever for B2C marketers to spend their customer acquisition dollars haphazardly. After all, we’re spoiled for choice: there are many, many options out there, and those dollars can be spread pretty thin!

How do you make sure you’re spending wisely?

The first thing you have to do, the first thing on which to base your customer acquisition strategy, is to forget clicks, impressions, and even opens. What have they done for you lately? The bottom line has to be the real bottom line, and that’s ROI. What matters is the money that you are going to make when that prospect becomes a customer. If you’re putting dollars into your customer acquisition solution, then you need to be measuring its success in dollars, too.

Collecting lists of prospects, especially qualified prospects, is always a great feeling for any marketer. But don’t let that feeling obscure reality: they’re not all going to be good prospects. If you look right now, you’ll realize that there are prospects in your database who are never going to make a purchase. You know it, they know it, so why are you keeping them there? Better to have a leaner list that performs well and scale it with real options than a bloated one that won’t deliver those dollars by which you’re measuring success.

mailing listSpeaking of those lists, there is a reason people got onto them. Just having names isn’t going to help you, either: if you respond quickly and follow up, you have a much better chance of converting prospects to customers and having your lists deliver those dollars. Remember that lost time always equates to lost money in lead generation. Launch, optimize … do it quickly, and then nurture!

It’s really not rocket science. Stay on top of what’s important, keep your end-goal in mind, and make sure the leads you pay for are the ones that will bring you the best possible ROI. One way of doing this is to automate the process through a company that offers a full CAM (customer acquisition management) solution. CertainSource is one; why not ask us how today?

Customer Acquisition Goes Mobile

shutterstock_121679254As we all know, the marketing experience has changed significantly from the 1990s, when it was still permissible to shout at prospects and customers to get them to buy. “Here I am! Look at me! I have the best widgets!” The now-established trend toward inbound marketing—when you draw in targeted prospects out of their interest in you rather than the other way around—has meant rethinking every phase of marketing, but nowhere more than the changes we see in customer acquisition.

And what the mobile experience is doing is putting those changes on steroids.

The whole goal of content marketing—putting out useful, helpful information that helps consumers see you as both knowledgeable and generous—is intrinsic to mobile. And we’re not just talking about creating a website with responsive design that’s therefore actually usable on a mobile device.

shutterstock_165303233One of the first things you did when you put together your strategic marketing plan was identify your ideal customer, right? Do you still have that information? (We all lose sight of it, sometimes.) Take it out and dust it off. This time, instead of looking at the profile and trying to figure out how to target that demographic with your ads, why not think about it differently? Why not think about what you can provide for that demographic?

For example, if your ideal customer is someone who travels a lot, why not create a branded mobile app that gives quick and easy airport gate information? You’re not trying to sell your travel widgets: you’re trying to help your customer, make their travel easier. If the app is used (and you seriously need to study the profile and the market so as to be both useful and non-derivative), then travelers are seeing your brand every time they open it. They’re knowing that you’ve been generous with your resources in supplying this app—and they’re going to show appreciation by clicking through at some point to your website and buying one of your travel widgets from you.

Mobile customer acquisition is a whole new way of looking at content marketing. Isn’t it worth a look? And if you need help with more customer acquisition ideas and plans, visit us at www.certainsource.com or give us a call!