E-Commerce Insights: 7 Ways to Find New Customers Online
Online marketing activities produce a cacophony of statistics: E-mail screams with information about open and clickthrough rates. Paid search demands that you focus on deliverability and clickthrough rates. Search engine optimization hounds you to build inbound links.
The daily stream of numbers can be deafening, leaving you unsure of what to pay attention to. Yet the most important metric for the success of your online business lies quietly behind all this data.
What’s the one metric that tells you whether your business is likely to be successful in the future or at the beginning of a death spiral? It’s a decidedly old-school stat: the number of new customers you acquired last year.
Many catalogers responded to higher postal rates by cutting back on catalog prospect mailings because they didn’t have much choice. The current postal rates make it impossible to mail to the many lists that previously worked.
In the short run, reduced prospecting translates into a small hit to revenue. This has allowed many companies to survive a difficult year. In the long run, though, it’s a failing strategy.
When you continually find new customers, you can grow your business dramatically. But how do you consistently find new customers in this tough environment? Here are seven ways you can use the online world to replace customer acquisition activities that are no longer affordable offline.
1. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the most underused means of customer acquisition for catalogers. Many pure-play Web sites acquire 70 percent of their new customers from their organic listings on Yahoo and Google. For most catalogers, this number is usually 10 percent or less — it’s even lower with their brand names removed.
Catalogers have bypassed this strategy because it’s not as directly measurable as other online customer acquisition techniques, but you can no longer ignore it in today’s world. Take the money you would have spent to mail 50,000 to 100,000 prospects and invest it in SEO.