Want New Customers? Think About Your Offers!

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

imagesThink of your online offer to a prospect as a first impression, the digital equivalent of your opening greeting. That 160-character introduction to your brand can make—or break—someone’s notion of who you are and what you sell… and could determine whether or not they buy from you.

An offer can perhaps be the most important part of customer acquisition, the beginning of the whole customer acquisition management process, and it’s frequently overlooked or only given limited attention. Yet that first subject line and that first offer must capture and hold your prospect’s attention … and motivate them to make a purchase!

So you may want to start with a few questions. What are you currently saying to your clients, in store or online? What marketing messages have worked for you in the past? What are your competitors doing and saying?

The real issue lies in the fact that every prospect source requires different messaging, and messaging is the key to customer acquisition. Messaging is not one-size-fits-all, and here as in the rest of email marketing, there’s only one way to find out what offers work: test, test, test.

Start by looking at your various customer acquisition tools, which may include banners, co-registration, email, trade publication ads, third-party emails, and others. Each will require a different offer. And to improve results further, you’ll want to create different offers for different customer segments from within each channel, so you may end up with sublists of appropriate offers.

The more you can segment, the more your offers can target the most likely group of consumers for your services or products.

shutterstock_147573431There are myriad options and you need to nail down a strategy for testing. It’s important that you don’t just stick to one method: multivariate testing will yield the most information. But remember, the more knowledge you have about what works and what doesn’t, the better position you’ll be in to attract targeted customers who will actually make a purchase. So also try A/B splits and test the offer itself—should it be free shipping? Discounts? Coupons?

Be sure that you have a plan behind the testing and aren’t just throwing out random changes. Determine what you want to test based on what you want to learn, then track results, and tweak as necessary.

Whatever you test, there are a few constants: 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 relevant and targeted—and by presenting it in such a way that it clearly seems irresistible to the consumer.

Want to learn more about customer acquisition? We’re here to help: CertainSource Acquire offers real customer acquisition management to fill your sales funnel and deliver valuable new customers. Why not ask us how today?

How to Transition Prospects into Customers

shutterstock_132492740 (1)So you have a prospect, or 10, or 20, who have made their first purchase. Congratulations! Now it’s time to pass them on to the email marketing account manager and the CRM department and focus on the next group of prospects, right?

Well … no, not exactly.

Many marketers don’t nurture their prospects through the transition into becoming customers. They woo prospects until that first purchase is made and then dump them into whatever category they fit in and call it a day. But the reality is that if you pay attention to that transition, not only will you have happier customers (and happier customers purchase more), you’ll also have customers far more likely to spread the word and engender more prospects.

It’s often called transition marketing, for obvious reasons. The point is to create a transition window comprising:

  • a set period of time
  • a program of strategically designed transition messages

This allows you to optimize the return on your acquisition budget and collect data that will ensure long-term results and define the value of acquisition programs and sources.

Let’s face it: you spent a lot of time and money acquiring these new customers. Maximizing their value isn’t good marketing sense, it’s good common sense. Companies and brands have lost new customers because of how those customers are treated: they’re channeled into a common database with all the company’s other customers, they receive the same emails as everyone else on the company’s list, and they’re not given a sense that the company appreciates them.

A more strategic program could both save money and convert leads into customers. Why not try something different?

As new prospects and customers are acquired, place them into a strategically designed transition program lasting two to four weeks. It begins with specially designed mailings that introduce customers to the company, give them a sense of who the company is and how it does business, makes sure that customers know how to access more information, etc. Prospects and customers are also offered special benefits: a new-members- only sale, for example, or a series of coupons or special discounts for new members.

The emphasis is on making these prospects and customers feel special and appreciated so that they value the company and are ready to be taken to the next level.

Transition marketing. Creating happy customers out of prospects. Customer acquisition never looked so easy!

 

 

Getting Your Customer Acquisition Into The Inbox

shutterstock_131545646Back in the days when we all used to think in terms of lead generation, some pretty bad things happened. Marketers began mailing willy-nilly to lists of names that hadn’t come from the best sources—and often came from the worst. The predictable result? Poor inbox delivery and some brand reputations in tatters.

Fortunately, we’ve moved beyond lead generation know more about how customer acquisition works. And keeping your acquisition in your prospects’ inboxes has everything to do with how your customer acquisition strategy is formulated and implemented.

We all need new customers, but cutting corners isn’t going to do any marketer any good. Good online marketing is—and always has been—permissions-based marketing. Good online marketing is the science of monitoring opt-in customer and prospect online behavior, and the art of translating that behavior in ways that allow marketers to deliver personal, powerful marketing campaigns, campaigns that provide your opted-in prospects with convenience, relevant content, and the least intrusive relationship possible.

And that can only happen through the prospect taking the lead in communicating with you.

For years marketers bombarded consumers with what they wanted to present to potential prospects; advertising still does this. But in the 21st century, that’s just not an option anymore for the online retailer. The shift in power from marketer to consumer that happened dramatically with the advent of social media has put the reins in the hands of the consumer. We can fight it, or we can make it work for us.

Let’s make it work for us.

shutterstock_51955312We do it through giving prospects multiple touch-points where they can indicate interest in a company, a brand, or a product. They may click on a link on their smartphone asking for more information. They may fill out a questionnaire on their computer before accessing some additional content. They may connect with a company’s Facebook page or respond to a tweet. As many ways as there are to communicate, we need to give potential prospects that many ways to indicate interest … to opt-in to receiving more information.

As long as it’s done following best practices—making sure that unsubscribes are easy, making sure that email subject lines are not misleading, delivering what was promised to the consumer—then there won’t be any negative impacts to inbox delivery. Delivery has everything to do with the prospect wanting more, and requesting more.

Start as you mean to continue, and delivery isn’t going to be an issue in your customer-acquisition campaigns.

 

Customer Acquisition: Measure, Rinse, Repeat

people shoppingAs marketers, we need to constantly be tuning and retuning our online customer acquisition strategies. There are more and more channels open to online marketers than ever before, and competition is high to find and convert high-level qualified prospects.

And the reality is that customer acquisition is moving from the mystical to the scientific. Once upon a time, marketers used a scattered approach: do some of this, some of that, and see what comes in. Oddly enough, those same marketers tended to be very good at analyzing their email marketing campaigns, but didn’t bring the same focus to online acquisition.

Now that we have a clearer sense of what customer acquisition channels are available to us, we also needs to find means of analyzing exactly what we’re doing in each of those channels, and what results we’re getting. In other words, we need to approach B2C customer acquisition with the same rigor we would apply to any other marketing strategy.

Marketers need a solution that delivers clear analytics on customer-acquisition costs and returns before they can articulate a scenario that will take advantage of the data received through these analytics. Data includes number of customers acquired, the acquisition rate, the cost of acquiring a customer, the total new-customer investment, and the total new-customer investment as a percentage of sales and profits.

Let’s face it: your business survives or falls on your ability to acquire new customers, and to approach acquisition with any less scientific precision than you conduct any other strategy or campaign is a little like shooting yourself in the foot. You may still eventually get there, but the journey’s going to be painful!

 

Stop Thinking About Leads!

key 2Lead generation. It’s every marketer’s holy grail. Getting those names into the sales funnel. Finding ways to get more and more names into the sales funnel. More names, more leads make for happy marketers, right?

Not so much, actually. Lead generation can be a waste of time, money, and energy. Amassing email lists that may or may not be relevant to and generate income for your company can actually hurt you: they can backfire and hurt your online reputation.

There is another better, healthier, and more realistic way to think about customer acquisition. Rather than think about leads, those bloated lists of names that may or may not ever become real customers, it’s more important to think about qualified prospects.

A qualified prospect is a different animal entirely from a lead. A lead is, essentially, just a name. A qualified prospect is someone with a much, much better chance of becoming a customer.

What makes a prospect qualified? We used to think in terms of demographics: if that individual or company fit into a certain list of qualifiers (financial, verticals, geography, etc.) then the prospect was qualified.

But demographics are static and, at the end of the day, not of much real use. What qualifies a prospect today is live data—in other words, something that they do. They clicked, they opened, they filled out a form, they asked for information: this constantly moving stream of data culled from websites, social media sites, and email is how companies today determine who is a qualified prospect.

The live data, when received, should trigger an immediate response from you, and that’s the beginning of chatter marketing: companies responding to the actions taken by prospects and customers, rather than telling prospects and customers what it is that we think they need.

Qualified prospects. Stop thinking about leads, and think instead about the people you most want to have on your lists: people who are on their way to becoming customers!

Using Content Marketing for Customer Acquisition

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 4.42.58 PM

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?