Like all marketers, B2C marketers begin with an acquisition budget and need to know where to place the dollars within that budget, where they will get the most return for their money. But B2C customer acquisition is complex—and significantly different from B2B customer acquisition. B2C marketers are spoiled by choice: so many channels, and so many sources within those channels to choose from.
With that in mind, we’ve isolated 20 channels for customer acquisition and asked media service experts to analyze industry data to deliver an average rating for typical results using each of them. We’re looking specifically at the average cost to run the channel, as well as the channel’s potential to grow a customer list. Each scale is assessed on a 1-3 metric, with 1 being the lowest and 3 the highest.
Marketers approach each of these channels with two goals in mind: to get someone to purchase a specific product, and/or to capture an email address to add to a list of subscribers for future purchases. Each of these channels contains specific sources that we’ve scrutinized for cost and growth potential.
- Facebook. Facebook ads score a 2 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth. Two URLs can be captured and analysed here: the ads themselves, and postings on the company’s FB page.
- Mobile. Mobile ads score a 2 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- iAds. iAds score a 3 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- Display. Display ads score a 3 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Contextual. Contextual ads score a 3 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- Twitter. Tweeting a URL for followers to click on rates a 1 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- Organic search. SEO scores a 2 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth. URLs can originate from the search page, from directories, or from links from other website pages.
- Paid search. PPC scores a 2 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- Google +. Ads on Google + score a 2 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Google AdSense. Ads on Google AdSense score a 2 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth.
- YouTube. Video advertising on YouTube rates a 2 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Co-registration. Co-reg rates a 2 in program cost and a 2 in customer-list growth. Giving customers multiple opportunities to raise their hands may increase this ratio.
- Blogs. Blogging URLs for followers to click on rates a 1 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth. Blogging can feed into viral marketing as well.
- Landing pages. Website landing pages capture email addresses and other information, and score a 1 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing scores a 1 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Webinars. Webinars score 2 in program cost and 1 in customer-list growth. Webinars can feed into viral marketing as well.
- Email client advertising. Using emails scores a 1 in program cost and a 3 in customer-list growth.
- Point of sale. These large display ads in brick-and-mortar sites score a 2 in program cost, and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Third-party email. Using Groupon or other third-party affiliates will score you a 2 in program cost and a 1 in customer-list growth.
- Viral marketing. Getting the word out via satisfied customers scores a 1 in program cost, and a 1 in customer-list growth.
While mobile, SEO, PPC, Google AdSense, co-reg, blogs, affiliate marketing and viral marketing are all even—that is, they score the same in cost and in growth—and Twitter comes in ahead of all of them with a 1:2 score, the clear winner (at a ratio of 1:3) is email marketing.
This confirms what other recent studies have been showing: that email marketing delivers consistently significant results in ROI and customer growth while keeping the cost of acquisition down.
Return on investment
The best ROI comes from selecting the best sources within each channel. So determining which channels perform best and then drilling down further to uncover the best sources within each best-performing channel.
It’s a significant distinction: one channel could, for instance, offer high volume and low cost—but only 10% of its sources might be performing well, whereas another channel could be expensive with low available volume but with all of its sources performing well. So testing and constantly refinement are critical.
It’s important to reiterate that success is driven at the customer-acquisition source level. Every acquisition platform and channel uses multiple discrete acquisition sources—each one of them a unique URL where consumers indicate their desire to become a prospect—and keeping the costs down while identifying the top-performing sources is how marketers use every platform and channel successfully to get the most out of their marketing budgets.
Marketers therefore need full transparency into acquisition performance across channels and platforms to optimise their budgets so that the majority of any marketing budget can be spent on top-performing lead sources.
Gaining the edge on the competition
Spending acquisition dollars on the top-performing channels will remove both the time and the cost of going after bad or under-performing ones, which is for many marketers an ongoing drain on acquisition budgets.
Spending acquisition dollars on top-performing channels will also allow marketers to become wiser with their spends, giving them a sharp competitive advantage over other companies.
When marketers optimize their acquisition strategies, several things then happen. They spend money in the right places and reap a better ROI. They turn off low-performing channels and save time and money. They free up acquisition dollars that can then be directed back into the higher-performing channels. And they know that their acquisition strategy is not based simply on guesswork, but rather on clear actionable data.