How do you sell to customers?

Wait, first things first…

How do you even get customers?

Answer: customer acquisition plan

This post will cover:

  • What is customer acquisition?
  • How to create your customer acquisition plan
  • The most important customer acquisition tip you can get

What is customer acquisition?

Customer acquisition is how you get a prospect into your sales pipeline. It means:

  • Understanding the evolution of the customer experience
  • Knowing how much your business spends
  • Knowing how much your business earns

What does this really mean?

Customer acquisition is developing and executing on a strategy based on that knowledge which increases the number of customers who use and pay for your product at a sustainable cost.

The purpose of customer acquisition is to define what your customer journey looks like — but then go deeper.

  • Do you have leads?
  • What kind of leads?
  • Can they be prospects? Do you have prospects? What kind of prospects?
  • Can they be customers?
  • Can you grab more of them, and how?

A customer acquisition plan maps this out and makes it easy to understand.

How to create your customer acquisition plan

When you think about how you approach marketing or acquiring customers, do you focus on demand generation or lead capture? You might think they’re the same thing, but they’re not.

What’s the difference?

Lead capture: If you know people are already looking for your service, you can focus on capturing those leads. They already exist, and you don’t have to create demand.

Demand generation: No one is looking for what you have, and you need to build brand awareness. Build awareness and create demand by offering a new service or start marketing to a new customer base. Demand generation aims to put your brand and your products in front of potential customers.

You can improve your lead capture AND demand generation efforts through customer acquisition channels like:

  • Email
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Facebook Ads
  • Viral display
  • Social media
  • PR
  • Content marketing influencer partnerships
  • Events

If you have limited time or resources, choosing the channel that’s best for you can be difficult.

Step back and ask,

“What is a good fit? What are we knowledgeable about that we can get started on? Where are our customers?”

These questions will help you to choose two or three customer acquisition channels to start experimenting with. If you’re capturing high quality leads from Facebook, focus more time and marketing spend on Facebook Ads.

If you don’t really have a marketing budget but you have partnerships with influencers, explore your options with them to work out a deal (like trading content).

To create a customer acquisition plan that works for you, follow these five steps:

  1. Define your ideal customer (and it’s ok to be wrong)
  2. Define your goals – what are you optimizing for?
  3. Define your acquisition funnel
  4. Know your metrics
  5. Track everything

1. Define your ideal customer (and it’s ok to be wrong)

Data is the ultimate tool to help define your ideal customer.

If you don’t have data, now is the time to start that spreadsheet.

If you DO have data, great! Although no one can completely know a customer, your data will help create a sketch of what your ideal customer looks like. Customer data shows you patterns in your customer base.

What kinds of patterns? Data like (but not limited to):

The customer data possibilities are endless. This kind of data helps you understand what problems people are looking to solve with your products.

The search for solutions brings people to your business. The book Jobs To Be Done describes problem-solving as a theory of consumer actions. It discusses the mechanisms that drive a consumer to act, and how these drivers grow and evolve whenever a new job-to-be-done comes up.

There’s a job-to-be-done, a consumer recognizes the problems, they buy a product to solve it. And then the next job comes up.

If you were to market to an agency, think about the day-to-day jobs an agency has to complete. Once you (a marketer) know what those are, you can find the friction points and offer solutions to the agency. Help your customers “get the job done.”

At the end of the day, collect all of the data you can and look for patterns:

  • Identify their problems, hesitations, and friction points.
  • Create lookalike audiences – In other words, look at the behaviors of an audience group similar to your target audience.
  • Follow the Scientific Method – Determine your customer from a scientific perspective. Create a hypothesis, choose elements to test, and get it down to a science.

And last but not least, know that it’s ok to be wrong.

Your ideal customer is not someone you can know at a personal level like a family member or best friend. You might guess something wrong about them, and that’s ok. Every campaign is a scientific experiment, and you can always change the elements in the experiment – like who your ideal customer is.

2. Define your goals – what are you optimizing for?

How do you define your custom acquisition strategy goals?

Just be SMART. As in…

  1. Specific – Each goal should focus on one outcome
  2. Measurable – You can efficiently track their progress
  3. Achievable – You aren’t setting goals that are impossible
  4. Relevant – The goal is aligned with what your business needs
  5. Time-based – Choose a timeframe to complete your goal

SMART customer acquisition goals help you know exactly what you’re striving for and optimizing for.

What areas are you looking to impact? Where you have the most problems?

  • Revenue
  • Current customers
  • Volume of leads
  • Website traffic

Setting SMART goals will help you reach them. Your goals depend on the areas you feel are most important to prioritize and improve in your business.

3. Define your acquisition funnel

Creating an acquisition funnel is more than defining the lead journey. It’s about defining a journey for each type of lead. The lead’s source and actions define their customer journey.

Think about the basics. Does the journey start from a social media platform or an organic search? Then go deeper.

Understand how a person goes from unaware of your product to an engaged customer.

And write the whole thing down. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How many people are on our Facebook page? What types of people are they? What can we do to get them to our website via a blog post?
  • Ok, they’re on our website. How do we get them to subscribe to our email list?
  • Once they’re on our email list, how can we advertise a free trial to get them into our sales pipeline?

Every acquisition funnel is different. To make yours, look at where your conversion rates fall off. Where are your empty buckets?

You might have a lot of people interacting with your website, but none of them are turning into customers. Dig into why that is. Look at elements like where your CTA is on the page and the copy on it, or what the primary pain point the page is addressing – maybe another one matters more to people.

4. Know your metrics

Customer acquisition metrics give you valuable insights and help guide your advertising decisions.

What metrics should you follow?

  • CPL – The cost per lead that your business covers
  • CAC – The cost to acquire a customer. To get this metric, take the number of customers in X month divided by the amount of marketing spend (like what you spend on ads)
  • ARPA – The average revenue per account, sometimes referred to as “per customer”
  • LTV – The lifetime value ( otherwise referred to as predicted revenue) of a customer
  • Lead Yield – The total amount of revenue divided by the number of leads
  • CVR – Conversion rate
  • CAC: LTV – How much it costs to acquire a customer divided by the predicted customer revenue

5. Track everything

The only way to know if your customer acquisition plan works is to track your results. Tracking helps you validate your experiments with different customer acquisition strategies.

And you don’t need expensive tools to do it. You just need to be able to track what you’re testing and what you’ve already tested to reach your goals.

Some free tools you can use to track customer acquisition metrics are:

  • Google Sheets
  • Excel
  • Google Analytics

The most important customer acquisition tip you can get

Experiment with authentic video early on.

Your customers come from multiple acquisition channels that use different methods of communication. But one thing you can use across all of them is video.

Video helps simplify your marketing message. It takes complicated services and explains them in 15 seconds.

Plus, video is scalable and you can use it in multiple acquisition channels.

Video has skyrocketed on social media platforms. Not everyone is a fan, but videos get in front of a lot of people – especially when they’re quick.

A single video can summarize a pain point in 15 seconds and reach a large audience — and they don’t have to be expensive productions. A video is a great way to show prospects who you really are by literally putting your product and your brand out into the world.

The more authentic your videos are, the more they’ll be understood and well-received.

Although video isn’t always the same as explaining a complicated service, it’s a valuable tool for your demand generation strategy.