Getting new customers isn’t always cheap.
That’s one of the reasons why I tell businesses to focus on customer retention.
With that said, it’s impossible to retain customers if you can’t get them through your doors or to your website in the first place.
If you’re a new company without an existing customer base, you’ll need to come up with some creative ways to acquire new ones.
The problem is new businesses typically have a limited marketing budget.
They need sales to generate money for promotional content, but they can’t get any sales without those promotions.
It’s a paradox.
This goes for companies that may have been in business for a while but are struggling with their revenue streams.
Regardless of your situation, new customers can always help.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.
Here’s a basic formula that shows how to calculate your acquisition cost:
If you want an even more accurate version of this formula, you can add additional costs besides sales and marketing. They may include:
- any other costs
That’s the true representation of how much it costs you to get a new customer.
Keeping this number low will give you a much higher return on investment.
The strategies I’m going to show you actually work.
I know this from personal experience.
These are the most inexpensive techniques to acquire lots of new customers.
Start by retargeting old customers
I know what you’re thinking.
If you’re focusing on existing customers, it’s retention, not acquisition—right?
If you’ve been in business for a while and it’s been a year or two since a customer was active, I wouldn’t refer to that person as an existing customer.
Getting them back to your business is basically like getting a brand new customer.
Dig up any old information you have on this person:
- phone number
Anything you have.
Reach out to them with a promotion to try to get their business back.
Here’s an example of an email campaign from Carter’s:
They give an old customer a reason to make another purchase and come back to their brand.
If you’ve recently made new improvements to your business, don’t be afraid to let old customers know.
Maybe the reason why they left in the first place was because they thought your company was outdated.
Share any information about your infrastructure that has improved the customer experience.
Do you have a new mobile application?
Have you renovated your brick and mortar location?
These are examples of things to promote when you contact these old leads.
Step up your presence on Instagram
To survive, you have to adapt to the times.
The days of using snail mail and local print advertisements to promote your business are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Your business needs to have a digital presence.
Stay engaged with prospective customers via Instagram.
Over half of users on Instagram are active on a daily basis.
There are also 800 million active monthly users.
These numbers continue to rise each year.
The popularity of this platform isn’t going to phase out any time soon.
One of the reasons why I like to use Instagram is because it’s so inexpensive.
It doesn’t cost you anything to create a profile.
The only cost is your time.
Even if you’re paying someone to manage your social media accounts, it’s OK as long as they’re being productive.
Here’s what you need to do.
Work on getting more followers on your profile.
Realistically, not all your followers will become customers.
Don’t worry about converting all of them.
Let’s go through a scenario.
Start with a goal.
You want to gain 10,000 Instagram followers in the next month.
It’s a high number, but it’s attainable.
You’re aiming to convert 20% of your followers to customers.
That’s 2,000 new customers in just one month.
Don’t forget the best part: it didn’t cost you anything.
For those of you who think a 20% conversion is too high or unrealistic, think again.
Based on this generational data, it’s actually quite modest:
Internet users in the United States are likely to purchase something from a brand they follow on social media.
If you get more followers, you’ll get more customers.
You can improve your conversion chances if you’re managing your Instagram account properly.
Post pictures and videos of your products and services.
Get your followers involved as well.
Try to encourage them to post images of themselves using your products.
One of my favorite ways to do this is by featuring customer photos on your account.
When your followers see they can get recognition for their photos, it gives them some extra motivation to post pictures with your product.
Here’s an example from the Thule Instagram:
Now anyone who has one of Thule’s products knows they can be featured as well if they take a cool photo.
Getting customers to post photos on their personal accounts is a great brand awareness strategy.
You’ll get more followers and acquire more customers.
Again, this strategy is completely free.
Create more video content
Like I said earlier, you need to stick with the trends.
Video content is trending upward at record rates.
Across the globe, 52% of marketing experts say video has the highest return on investment compared to other marketing content.
That’s great news for you if you’re trying to keep acquisition costs low.
Doing something as simple as adding a video to your landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%.
One of the best parts about creating a video is that you can use the same one across all of your marketing channels.
I’ll go through some examples to show you what I mean.
Let’s say you created a video for your website.
You can also send it via email to your subscribers.
Not everyone on your subscriber list is a customer.
Some people may have provided you with their email addresses, but never actually bought anything.
Here’s a great opportunity for you to acquire those individuals.
Look at how Patagonia embedded a video in their email marketing campaign:
You can use the same strategy.
Don’t create a different video for each marketing channel—that’s a waste of time.
If the video is less than a minute long, you can even add it to your Instagram profile, which I discussed above.
Is your video longer than a minute? No problem.
Just include a specific clip from the video or make it into a top highlights clip.
All of this is much more cost effective than creating an entirely new video.
In addition to email and Instagram, add videos to your:
- YouTube channel
I know what you’re thinking.
How can this be a low-cost strategy if I need to hire a professional cameraman and crew to make a high quality video?
I’ve got good news for you: none of that is necessary.
In fact, the vast majority of businesses produce their video content in-house.
This helps keep costs low.
Just invest in a decent camera and microphone.
You don’t need anything too fancy.
There’s plenty of inexpensive or even free video editing software that you can get on your computer as well.
If you’re willing to pay for a video editing tool, you can try Moovly.
You can get a subscription for as little as $5 per month.
They even let you try the software free for the first 30 days to see whether you like the experience.
Some of you may have wanted to create videos in the past but didn’t know what kind of content to produce.
Remember, we’re trying to acquire customers here.
Your videos need to display your competitive advantage.
What makes your products or services better than something similar on the market?
Try starting with a video tutorial.
Go through a step-by-step process of how your product can solve a problem.
You can also create videos that demonstrate a product.
That’s not necessary for all products.
For example, if your company produces hats and headbands, I don’t think you need to teach potential customers how to put a hat on.
With that said, you can still come up with a creative video that shows what makes your product unique.
Dollar Shave Club uses this strategy with their promotional video content:
The video doesn’t teach you how to shave.
Instead, it walks prospective clients through the process of getting razors and other shaving products delivered to their front doors.
It’s an effective and low-cost strategy for customer acquisition.
Start running epic giveaways
If people aren’t buying your product, you need to come up with a clever way to get the product in their hands.
Give it to them free.
Let me clarify.
I’m not saying you should give away thousands of products.
But you can run monthly or even weekly promotions.
You can choose between:
A sweepstakes means you’re giving away something to a person picked at random.
It doesn’t require any skill, and there’s nothing someone can do to increase their chances of winning.
All the person can do is enter and hope for the best.
Contests require skill, and the winner is selected based on judgment.
I think contests are more effective.
It gets the participants more involved, which is great if you’re trying to acquire new customers.
Let’s say someone entered your contest but didn’t win.
They put lots of effort into their entry and were looking forward to getting the product.
Well, now they may be more inclined to make a purchase.
Here’s an example of what a conversion funnel looks like when you run a contest:
That’s what I love so much about this strategy.
First of all, it’s not going to cost you anything except for the cost of the product you’re giving away.
But it’s also a great way to build your email subscriber list.
In order to enter, make it a requirement for customers to provide you with their email addresses.
After all, how else will you be able to contact them if they win?
Now at the very least, you’ll be able to send them promotional emails.
If the contest didn’t entice them to make a purchase, your email marketing campaign can get the job done.
Remember earlier I said that if you get more followers on Instagram you could get more customers?
Well, the same concept applies here.
Additional subscribers on your email list can improve your conversions.
It’s an inexpensive way to acquire new customers.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.
This holds true for startup companies as well as businesses that have been operating for years.
While customer retention should be a priority as well, you can’t keep a customer if you never got them on board in the first place.
That’s why I like to start with retargeting old customers.
You already have their contact information. If it’s been years since they last made a purchase, the additional revenue will have the same impact as the impact you would get from a new customer.
Instagram is one of my favorite social platforms for customer acquisition.
Since people are more likely to make a purchase from brands they follow on social media, focus on getting your follower numbers up.
You’ll be able to convert a percentage of those followers to customers.
Adding more video content to your promotional channels will help as well.
You can make these videos in-house, so it won’t be very expensive.
Contests and sweepstakes can increase brand awareness and get you some new customers.
These strategies will also help you get more email subscribers, so you can continue to market to those people and increase conversions.
What are some budget-friendly ways you’ve used to acquire new customers?