Customer Acquisition for E-Commerce Growth
Finding and attracting new customers is complicated and expensive. The industry go-to statistic suggests that it costs five times more to land a new customer than to keep an existing one. Therefore, it makes sense that most marketers allocate a large portion of a finite marketing budget to customer retention rather than investing it all into generating and nurturing new leads. Loyal, returning customers are critical to sustained growth.
That said, whatever the size of your marketing budget, customer acquisition is still critical to running a successful and growing business, especially for a relatively young business that has yet to build broad awareness and a loyal following. After all, every loyal customer was once a new customer. Here are a few strategies for using those acquisition dollars wisely to attract new customers and grow your e-commerce business.
Target and Retarget
Your product is perfect for somebody. Define that perfect somebody and use it to determine your ideal audience for advertising and marketing campaigns. If you aren’t getting somewhat specific with who you're marketing to, you’re probably wasting a large portion of your budget on people who were never candidates to buy your product in the first place.
Once you're set up to target the right people for your products, implement a retargeting program to help nudge them through the funnel. It often takes several points of interaction with a brand before someone decides to buy. A well-designed retargeting campaign will remind potential customers about your brand as they go about their lives — a successful one will do so without wear out. Working with an advertising or marketing automation partner to apply some trial and testing can help dial in your retargeting to be most effective.
Choose Your Channels
Not all channels are created equal, and finding the right one can take some experimenting. First, define your goals. Knowing what you hope to accomplish makes it much easier to know which channels are performing and which aren’t. Try campaigns in a handful of channels you think are best suited to your needs, then measure results against your stated goals.
To narrow it down to a few options that may be best for your brand, think about that perfect customer we defined earlier. Where do they spend most of their time online? Are you targeting a specific age group? Gender? What about your product? Is it especially suited for a certain social channel? For example, fashion and beauty brands often find success selling on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Other products, such as electronics, games or equipment, might fare best on a marketplace like Amazon.com.
Once you’ve done the research to determine where customers may already be seeking out your products, work on optimizing the channels through advertising.
Brands Can Bond, Too
Just like other types of relationships, consumers want to interact with brands they have something in common with and that they can trust. Social media is a great opportunity to express your brand personality and build rapport with like-minded individuals. Go beyond pushing products and marketing messages and use some of your posts to encourage interaction and share unique things about your company or showcase your customers using your products.
Follow your potential customers on social, share their content, and comment when it's relevant and appropriate. Facebook Messenger and other chat apps are a great way to interact with consumers on an individual level. Some automation tools have features that allow you to integrate Messenger into larger automated campaigns, enabling you to leverage customized individual messages in a new channel.
Get Into the Inbox
Email is still one of the most effective customer acquisition strategies available to marketers. Messages can be customized depending on where the customer is in the buying decision process. Email is a great way to communicate anything from product information to special offers to reminders about items left behind in a shopping cart. Set up automation flows that trigger certain messages to be delivered based on the behavior of the recipient. Focusing on relevance to your target audience will increase open rates, and that helps drive inbox placement.
Acquiring new customers can be quite costly compared to what it takes to keep them, but it’s important not to lose sight of customer acquisition as a crucial part of running a successful business. The upside is that a lot of these best practices can also apply to keeping your current customers coming back for more. Just get to know your audience and what they care about right now, and you'll be well on your way to success.
Erika Jolly Brookes is the chief marketing officer at Springbot where she leads all brand, product, marketing campaigns and communications.