Customer Acquisition for the Small Business Owner: A Simple Guide

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Running a small business today is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Business owners face a tough and competitive marketplace and need to continually search for strategies that help them stay ahead of the pack. An excellent customer acquisition strategy can certainly help in this regard.

What is a customer acquisition strategy? Simply put, it is the strategy that businesses put in place to acquire new customers who are willing to buy their product or pay for their service.

As far as business strategies go, this one is rather important. To grow and remain profitable in an already competitive market, you need to be able to attract new customers to your business consistently.

With this in mind, we would like to present you with a guide of sorts to help you along your customer acquisition journey. Check out these small business tips and ideas and see if your company can benefit from some of the solutions presented.

First up – The customer acquisition process

Before we consider various tips and strategies to acquire new customers, it makes sense first to examine the customer acquisition process. Understanding the process helps companies determine where they are and how to move forward.

While various models of the customer acquisition process exist, many follow a similar format:

  • Awareness: At this stage, the potential customer becomes aware of the business and reflects some interest in it;
  • Consideration: At this point, the potential customer is doing his research, intending to buy possibly;
  • Decision/Conversion: The customer decides to buy from the business.

As mentioned earlier, businesses need to recognise and understand where the customers are in the process so that they can effectively move them along until they reach the “decision” phase.

Recognise your target

Now that you understand the customer acquisition process, you are almost ready to look at how to acquire customers. Before you build the perfect customer acquisition strategy, it is crucial to identify your target audience.

Developing a perfect customer acquisition plan without knowing your target is like shooting a set of perfect arrows aimlessly into the sky. You may hit a passing bird, but you’ll probably waste a lot of arrows too. Take the time to decide on your target audience. You can segment your audience in a variety of ways, for example, by age or gender demographics.

Once you’ve segmented your audience, make sure that you understand their needs, likes, and dislikes. You may want to develop buyer personas for your target market. Understanding and refining the target market means you can more accurately tailor your customer acquisition strategy to appeal to potential customers.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics let’s look at a few acquisition strategies that may work for your small business.

Content marketing

Content marketing uses material such as articles, graphics, and videos to attract potential customers. Consistently providing users with eye-catching, relevant content is a highly effective way to capture an audience’s attention and generate interest in a small business. Content marketing can take various forms, such as blogging, ebooks and guides, industry articles, even webinars.

While the type of content used may vary from business to business, the ultimate key to success is consistency. Small businesses need to ensure that they regularly produce exciting and relevant content to be effective.

Social media

Social media marketing is another highly effective method of acquiring new customers. The beauty of using social media as part of a marketing strategy lies in the fact that businesses are reaching out to billions of potential customers in an environment that they already frequent.

Considering that there are currently more than 3.8 billion active users across various social media platforms, this is a no-brainer. Another added benefit of using social media is that it costs less than traditional marketing strategies as a general rule.

To effectively utilise the social media arena, a small business must understand the differences between organic social media marketing and paid social media advertising. The former may be extremely useful in helping to build brand awareness. It also enables companies to link content from their website to drive more traffic.

Paid social media advertising, however, may prove more useful for reaching out to a company’s target audience, getting the product or service in front of potential customers who are more likely to buy. Small businesses would benefit hugely from making use of both paid and organic social media marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, refers to the process of optimising a company’s web presence for search engines such as Google. SEO helps businesses optimise their content so that it features more prominently on search engine result pages (or SERPs).

Just like social media marketing, companies can either opt for organic SEO or the paid version. Organic SEO involves adding keywords and key phrases to a business’s content (known as indexable content) to make it easier for search engines to pick up, decipher, and list on a SERP.

Paid SEO, on the other hand, allows businesses to add a search result alongside organic search results, in exchange for a fee.

If you aren’t convinced yet about the benefits of SEO, consider this: most companies around the world regard SEO as their number 1 inbound marketing priority.

Loyalty programs

Research has shown that a customer is more likely to interact with a company that offers a loyalty rewards program. While companies often use loyalty programs as part of the retention strategy, more businesses are recognising the possibilities that exist within the customer acquisition space.

For a growing small business, developing their own loyalty program may not always be practical, especially during the early stages. Thankfully, several companies can offer assistance in this regard.

Take UBU International, for example. UBU allows businesses (or vendors) to list their stores in an online Marketplace. By doing this, small businesses can expose their goods and services to a massive audience. Companies are effectively able to acquire new customers through a marketplace that they already use.

UBU also offers additional incentives for customers to keep coming back. These incentives include discounts, exclusive deals, and cashback rewards on every purchase made. It’s ideal for any small business looking to acquire new customers. You can read more about how UBU can help your business grow, here.

Get your customer acquisition started

There are several other marketing strategies that companies can use in their customer acquisition journey. The ones listed above, however, have all been used to great effect. Whichever approach your business opts for, remember to be sure of who your customer is and where they are in the customer acquisition process.

Placing your customer at the center of your strategy is a surefire way to grow your business. For more ideas on growing your business, have a look at these 5 ways to grow your small business in a snap.

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