Imagine you’re the CEO of a big technology company 25 years ago. You’re a successful B2B firm that works to sell your software to huge enterprises. Your customer acquisition strategy might include attending trade shows and other industry events, networking constantly, and maybe having some sort of online presence.

You also would most definitely have a huge sales team that would be tasked with cold calling dozens and dozens of businesses every single day and account executives that focused on nurturing these leads.

It’s 2017 now though, and you can say goodbye to traditional marketing and hello to inbound marketing! What does this mean for customer acquisition?

How has customer acquisition changed in the digital age?


Nowadays, customer acquisition has moved away from being marketer-centric to being customer-centric. Traditional marketing methods – TV commercials, print advertising, cold calls – are no longer the only ways to reach customers. With consumer behavior drastically changing, marketing and therefore customer acquisition strategies have changed right there with it.

Starting with a Brilliant Inbound Marketing Plan

The first step to any customer acquisition strategy is a comprehensive inbound marketing plan. Inbound marketing is all about creating content that is educational and useful for a potential customer. This methodology is focused on attracting consumers to you rather than having you be disruptive in your methods (think of an unwanted call that is offering you a sale on a product you don’t even want!).

Create an Inbound Marketing Plan

A great inbound marketing plan is going to start with understanding your buyer personas. Understanding your buyer personas means digging into what motivates your potential customers and looking at what challenges they face every day. Once you understand your buyer personas, you will be able to build a plan to create value for them as a potential customer.

Every inbound marketing plan, is going to include a great content marketing strategy. Putting the right content in front of your potential customer at the right time is crucial as you lead your potential customer through their buyer’s journey.

The Evolution of the Buyer’s Journey


A decade ago, if a customer had a problem, they might go to the supermarket to see if they could find a product that would take care of them. Nowadays, it takes a buyer many more steps to get to the store, and they might not even make it to a store at all thanks to online shopping.

The buyer’s journey is pretty simple. It includes three stages:

  1. Awareness – A buyer is aware that they have a problem.
  2. Consideration – A buyer defines the problem and does research on different solutions.
  3. Decision – A buyer chooses a potential solution.

While the buyer’s journey stages haven’t necessarily changed, the way the buyer’s journey plays out is definitely different than it was even a few years ago. Obviously the buyer’s journey is going to look different for B2B companies and B2C companies, but let’s walk through an example to get an idea of what a common buyer’s journey might look like.

Awareness – You hurt your ankle playing in a basketball game. You have a lot of pain on one side of your ankle.

Consideration – You use a search engine to look up your symptoms, and you’ve determined that you might have sprained your ankle. To treat a sprained ankle, you could make an appointment with your primary care physician, go to an ER, go to a clinic, or go to a pharmacy to treat it yourself.

Decision – After reading through multiple websites, review sites, and question and answer forums, you decide to make an appointment with your primary care physician.

Technology has completely transformed how consumers interact with businesses. Your customer acquisition strategies need to change with the times as well.

Customer Acquisition Strategies that will Transform Your Business


Now that we know a little bit about inbound marketing and the buyer’s journey, let’s start talking about what it really takes to have a successful customer acquisition strategy in the digital age.

Create valuable content.

When you sit down to create your content marketing plan, you should be thinking specifically about your buyer personas. What’s going to be valuable for them? What do I have to offer them that they would find educational or useful? The sky’s the limit!

Don’t limit yourself to just a blog though. Ebooks, webinars, whitepapers, and reports could also be incredibly valuable to your buyer personas. The great thing about content is that it is incredibly inexpensive to produce. More educational content – like those things mentioned above – is content that can also be put behind a form on your website.

This is a valuable customer acquisition technique and one of the keys to inbound marketing. Especially valuable content should be placed behind a form so that you can collect the emails of potential leads. Lead generation is the first step to customer acquisition in the digital age. This will help you build up your email lists and have a lot of leads who could turn into valuable customers.

Optimize your content (organically).

Okay, so you have some great content that you’ve created for your buyer personas. Great job! But, is it optimized for distribution? Are enough people interacting with it? You’ve put a lot of time into creating this content, and you want to make sure that it’s getting you the leads it deserves. Be sure you are:

  1. Researching keywords that your buyer personas are actually using. Be sure you are being intentional with your content and building it around keywords that are getting a lot of traction.
  2. Using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices to ensure that your content is showing up when people search for your keywords.
  3. Re-publishing and updating old content to get more mileage out of it. There is no harm in bringing back old content. Just be sure to add some fresh copy, so it doesn’t seem outdated.
  4. Distributing content through social media. Make sure you’re adding exciting social media copy to your posts to ensure that your content is attractive and shareable.
  5. Utilizing email marketing, so that subscribers can get your content in their inbox right as it’s published.

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Build an incredible email marketing program.

A great email marketing program is all about nurturing your leads. I cannot emphasize this enough: Email marketing is not about being “salesy” and pushing your products on your subscribers. An effective (and inbound) marketing program is focused on providing value to your subscribers through educational content that interests them.

Now that you have awesome leads from having forms on your website, you’re ready to launch your email marketing program. Here are a few key reminders:

  • Make sure you are sending emails to people who are expecting to hear from you. When you’re creating a form on your website, be sure to communicate what kind of content they will be receiving and how often. Nobody likes to see content in their inbox that they weren’t expecting!
  • Segment your lists. When you’re looking at your leads, think about segmenting your lists based on buyer personas or the content that people are downloading. Try to make the lists as specific as possible, so you are sending the best content to the best people. This will lead to more conversions!
  • Think about behavioral email marketing. Behavioral email marketing is all about using email marketing software to send emails based on specific actions someone takes on your website. For example, if someone downloads a whitepaper, you can have an email sent automatically that shows them the other whitepapers you have created.

Great email marketing strategies are all about thinking about the needs and motivations of your buyer personas. Never forget that! Email marketing makes sure that you are putting the right content in front of your prospective customer at the right time, so that you can naturally lead them through their buyer’s journey.

I hope these customer acquisition strategies have given you some good ideas about how your business can grow using these easy and innovative strategies. Want to learn more about inbound marketing and customer acquisition? Download our eBook to become an expert!