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8 Proven Customer Acquisition Strategies For Startups

Amit Ashwini
September 10, 2017

If you currently head a startup or are thinking of creating one in the near future, it is vital that you learn as much as possible about customer acquisition strategies. In the beginning, the vast majority of startups struggle significantly to find customers. This is because very few people are familiar with your products, services and brand. As a result, business owners have to employ the best of the best customer acquisition strategies for startups to even experience a sliver of success. In order to promote acquisition of customers for your startup, here are 8 proven strategies.

1. Find Your Users

The first step to take is finding the right users or potential customers for your startup. Chances are, due to the nature of the products and services you are offering, there is a certain demographic that you are targeting. If you don't have a target market in mind, you are likely limiting your ability to market your brand effectively. Unless your product or service can fulfill a universal need, you are better off narrowing your focus to just a single market or two. This is especially true initially.

Once you've figured out who your target customers are, you should take action to seek out these people and ask them to try your products and services. If your products and services aren't available for them to try out yet, simply tell them about the ideas you have so far. Once you've received some feedback, you will be able to tailor your products and services in order to best suit the needs of your customers.

2. Figure Out Where Your Target Customers Are

The next item that should be on your list is figuring out where your target customers are. In order to improve your chances of customer acquisition, you need to be where your target customers are at all times. This refers to both the online and offline presence of your customers. Once you've figured out the places and locations that your customers tend to frequent, you will be able to develop marketing strategies according to this information. For example, if your target customers frequent social media websites, you need to create a social media platform for your brand so that you can establish and maintain constant contact with your target customers.

If you're having a hard time finding your target customers, you should try startup communities and even meet-up groups. Target users, especially those in search of a solution to their problem, tend to frequent such groups. Once you've found your target customers, avoid just promoting the products and services you offer. Work on sincerely engaging with these users and creating value. This will result in great word-of-mouth referrals, which will be sure to boost customer acquisition.

3. Incorporate Video Content

The next item on your list should be developing multimedia to promote your brand and facilitate customer acquisition. When it comes to multimedia marketing, start with creating video content. Not only should the video content be interesting, but should also provide value to your customers in a significant way. If you're having a hard time striking a good balance between interesting and valuable videos, you can alternate between the two. For example, you can create videos that will be solely entertaining to your users. Then you can create video content that will provide users will valuable information. Obviously, you don't want to have too much of both so that you can keep your customer acquisition rates optimal.

Post the videos on your website. Don't forget to post the links to the videos on your social media platforms. You want to target users following you on social media websites to find your videos and end up exploring your entire website out of interest. The more you strive to connect all your online platforms, the better off you will be.

4. Get the Word Out

Once you have a few videos up on your website and on your social media platforms, you really want to work on getting the word out about your brand. A common mistake that many business owners and marketers alike commit is completely underestimating the power of word-of-mouth referrals. Two great examples of brands that grew rapidly in terms of the number of users thanks to word-of-mouth referrals are Instagram and Snapchat.

If possible, use tools in order to track the word-of-mouth referrals that your brand is receiving. Not only will such tools allow you to gauge the number of referrals you are receiving, but it will allow you to determine whether the word-of-mouth is positive or negative in nature. This information will give you the opportunity to make changes so that your word-of-mouth referrals are positive rather than negative.

5. Give Away Free Stuff

Unfortunately, many consumers need far more than words and promises to convince them to pay for a product or service. More difficult consumers will not even be swayed by word-of-mouth. This is evident by how some people disparage those who "bandwagon" when it comes to various trends. These same people will not be convinced by even the most positive word-of-mouth referrals.

In order to acquire these people as your loyal customers, you need to have them experience your products or services in some way or form. Since these people absolutely refuse to buy your products or services, you need to offer them free stuff. No matter how stubborn someone is, it is very difficult to turn down free stuff. Ideally, once these people have tried your products and services once, they will realize the value your brand has to offer for themselves. Therefore, ensure that the free stuff you offer is of the utmost quality. If you give away low-quality items simply because you're offering them for free, this will not reflect well on your brand as potential consumers will believe that all the products and services you offer are of the same quality of the free stuff.

6. Produce Quality Content Regularly

A great customer acquisition strategy is establishing yourself as a trustworthy expert in your niche or industry. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly difficult for startups that have little to no reputation. One way you can start establishing yourself as an expert is by producing quality content on a regular basis. Nowadays, there are many ways you can publish content regularly. Some outlets include blogs, social media websites and even the tried-and-true method of email newsletters. White papers are another great way to establish your brand as trustworthy, especially if you happen to be in a more technical niche or industry. Ideally, you should choose multiple platforms for publishing your content, even if you publish the same content on each platform.

7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Once you've established an online presence for yourself based on valuable content, you need to work on improving your rankings in the search engines. Unfortunately, this is far easier said than done, especially for startups that don't have much content published to begin with. The best way you can boost the rankings of your website or blog on search engines is with "search engine optimization". or "SEO". Some SEO tactics include keyword optimization and back linking. When it comes to keyword optimization, you want to focus on local keywords and long-tail keywords as a start-up company.

8. Develop a Referral Strategy

Since referrals will likely serve as the basis of your customer acquisition strategy, especially at first, you want to develop a referral strategy that will encourage your users to refer other potential users. For example, you may offer your current users incentives like discounts or extra features if they successfully refer other users to your product or service.

As long as you follow the 8 tips discussed above, your startup company should experience great success when it comes to customer acquisition.

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Amit Ashwini