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Best strategies to attract customers online: Acquisition 101

best strategies to attract customers online

“People don’t know what they want – until they’re offered it.” This simple but clever sentence comes from Terence Conran, the famed English furniture designer. He hits it right on the point. And these days the primary business acquisition focus is on the best strategies to attract customers online … welcome to Customer Acquisition 101.

As business owners, we need to draw attention to our business. Show what we can do. Actively offer attractive products and services… No customer comes by themselves. 

How do I win customers? And how do I build up a customer base about this? That is what this guide is all about. The focus: Best strategies to attract customers online …Simple and comprehensible strategies explained. 

What options do you have? What strategies are there? What it brings. And how much it costs. But in looking at the best strategies to attract customers online, first let’s look at what NOT to do.

3 common customer acquisition errors

Lack of knowledge

As a founder and entrepreneur, you are good at your personal craft. You have professional knowledge. But you possibly lack marketing knowledge on how to generate customers. That’s normal. Because we are not taught the best strategies to attract customers online. In addition, advertising on the Internet, also called online marketing, is for many seen as a difficult and complex area. Conversely, this also means that if you deal with it, it can be a real advantage over your competitors.

Far too expensive a website

Some entrepreneurs take a plunge and invest heavily in your website. There, however, they spend a lot of money. Five-figure amounts are not uncommon. The problem: A website alone is only the basis. You need a plan to attract visitors and customers to your site. You need your own budget for this. No matter how much you invested in your website at the beginning, you need to think — and plan — longer term.  If you are still at the beginning: By the way, there are more affordable alternatives for your own company website… shop around.

No ‘long haul’ focus

Generating customer enquiries over the Internet is not a sprint, but a marathon. One-off actions are not enough. Keep yourself in the market eye with measures that work permanently and are really worth their money. Plan fixed working hours for this. To be smart and to improve your actions again and again. You invest in customer enquiries for tomorrow and the week after tomorrow. And the month after that. This is how you build a solid foundation for your company – and get off to a good start.

Best strategies to attract customers online — or paper?

Print: Where the customers used to be

An advertisement in the local newspaper, flyer in the city centre: Many founders and entrepreneurs still put such classic advertising. The problem: The loss of litter in such forms of advertising is huge. They try to appeal to all sorts of people in the hope that there are a few right people. 

In addition, they are one-off actions: they spend money once, without a lasting effect. But admittedly, we are not neutral either. We can only see that a lot of money is being burned here. And it will also lack the measurability that you have online.

Online: Where customers are today and in the future

Another saying we have one the office wall: “Move to where the ball is going, not where it’s been.” Actually, it’s clear where the ball is going. We all always have our smartphone in our hands. We inform ourselves on the net. Especially that’s true if we want to buy something. This applies to all industries: from craftsmen to restaurants to services of any kind. So you need to make sure that you are visible and discoverable on the Internet. 

By the way: A good online advertising strategy is also often a competitive advantage. Many established companies are spoiling the trend. Often out of ignorance. They, on the other hand, are closer to the customer – and thus pass by competitors. And often unnoticed.

Best strategies to attract customers online – the two top forms

Push advertising

Push advertising is all online forms of advertising in which potential customers get a little “squeezed”. That sounds harsh, but it is ultimately so. For example, you’re on Facebook or Instagram and you’re constantly seeing ads. This advertising is reflected in your media consumption. This can also have its good sides. For example, when you are made aware of something that you find interesting or that inspires you. Often, however, such advertising is also annoying. When you make such push ads, you need creative, funny, exciting content, such as videos.

Pull advertising

Pull advertising goes the other way. It is where customers are looking. Your customers have a problem and are looking for a solution to it – often through search engines. And you as a company take care that you are visible there. You do not arouse any need, but you cover it. Simple example: A customer is looking for a local craftsman. And you as a craftsman stand there in the front seats and get the order. For this you need above all informative, convincing texts on your website. You invest in search engine optimization – the art of being at the forefront of search results. 

So you can delve deeper into the topic and deepen your knowledge. Understanding the basic principles is a challenge. But it is doable. And it is a fundamental issue for every entrepreneur, because there are so many opportunities and revenue potential. 

How to be ahead in search engines: Two ways

Above, we talked about pull marketing. This path has two more diversions: search engine ads and search engine optimization. This is often confused with each other. That’s why we explain it here briefly – including advantages and disadvantages.

Ads in search engines

You can place ads in search engines. This is called Google Ads or earlier Google AdWords. The advantages: You can flexibly display on certain terms ads. Visitors come to your website from there. You can set the budget yourself. They are immediately visible. You can submit and exhibit the campaign at any time. 

The disadvantages: You have permanent advertising costs. And prices are often high. A campaign must be set up and managed wisely. This, too, costs an additional price. For this purpose, you can quickly and flexibly generate customer requests. And that’s measurable. So you know if it’s worth it. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is about putting you ahead in the so-called “organic search results”. So where there are no more ads. The advantage: You get permanently free visitors. And that’s exactly the visitors who enter something on Google, for which you have a solution. So potential customers. This can turn into a huge revenue stream. 

The disadvantages, respectively tasks: This technique is demanding. There are many different factors why a page is at the front and why not.  And: There is no result at the touch of a button. It takes time. It’s an investment.

Best strategies to attract customers online — how much to invest?

How much do you want and need to invest to reach out to customers and win? Honestly, anything is possible between 1,000 dollars and 100,000 dollars. There is no point in mentioning a specific sum. You need to do things differently. 

What do you want to achieve?

Everyone wants as many new customers as possible. That’s easy. But how many customers do you need specifically per month, per year? How much revenue do you have to make with these customers at least to write a black zero or make a certain profit? You can then set your standard and calculate how much advertising you need to do to reach this number of customers. Generally speaking, if you visit a hundred people on your website, someone might sign up and ask. 

What measures?

If you opt for online advertising, we advise you to pull advertising. This is where potential customers are already actively looking for a product or service. Search engine optimization permanently brings visitors and interested parties to your site. However, it takes time for you to achieve good positions at the front of the search results – at least a few months, often longer. So it is a medium-term to long-term investment. An addition can be ads on Google (Google Ads). 

Who does it?

In principle, you have two options: either you appoint an agency. Or you can learn it yourself. An online marketing agency typically costs a five-figure amount per year. The alternative: you make yourself smart by developing your own marketing mix and implementing it online. For example, learn how to develop and implement an SEO strategy for yourself. Search engine optimization is a craft that any entrepreneur can acquire.

Best strategies to attract customers online: Focus on how customers search the network

Many companies have the impression that they are well-known in the city. After all, they have been in business for years. Other companies that are even younger often do marketing at the beginning. But then they let it be again. But movement is taking place in every city, in every county, in every region. 

Take a big city like New York. According to the city’s statistical yearbook, around 250,000 people are moving to New York every year. They are all “new arrivals”. (Thankfully, of course, people are leaving, otherwise the city would burst, but it’s the new arrivals we are focused on here).

This usually means that 250,000 each year do not know a craftsman, an electrician, a doctor, a hairdresser, no bicycle shop, no car workshp, no leisure places, no sports facilities. The list is long. 

How do all the new citizens find a provider near them in seconds? With search engines! Google does not awaken the demand, but covers it. Customers have a specific problem – and are looking for help in concrete terms and at this moment. 

Measurability

How often people search for a particular topic can be found out and analyzed via various software. This allows you to tailor your website to the right terms (“keywords”). 

Also on your website you can measure how many people were there, which pages were visited and how many degrees were made. This allows you to continuously improve your online advertising and make it more and more efficient. 

Short exercise for self-testing:

Get an overview (please write down): 

  1. What regional search terms could your potential customers enter? Which cities or places near you are they ones they will focus on? Also enter these regional searches on Google. 
  2. Make a note of the locations of your company website in the respective regional search terms.

Best strategies to attract customers online: 3 case studies

Customer acquisition at an online shop

An online shop invests in search engine optimization over many years. The result: It is very well listed among thousands of terms on Google. Several thousand visitors come to the online shop page every day. Some of these are continuously acquired as new customers. In the company, two employees are continuously working on search engine optimization. They write texts, take photos and always have a look at the ranking.

New guests for a hotel

A hotel owner is annoyed that he is becoming more and more dependent on bookings via Internet platforms (OTAs). He wants to maintain his independence and therefore invests in search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Through advertisements, he finds out which search terms he uses to win customers. At the same time, he invests in informative guide posts on his website, rising to the top of the Google ranking. At the same time, he is helping his hotel guests with the new editorial content. 

New customers for a craft enterprise

A young craft enterprise wants to attract many more customers regionally. The problem: There are many established craftsmen in the region. But they don’t care about the Internet because their order books are full. The young craft enterprise, on the other hand, relies on Internet advertising. With a fresh website, it is already very different from its competitors. On top of that, he has taken care to be clearly visible on Google.

Best strategies to attract customers online: 6 tips

Tip 1: Clear target group

Every advertising measure only gets really good when you have it clear who you want to win as a customer. Because then you can tailor photos, texts and your offers to this group of people. On the other hand, you should not limit yourself too much, remain flexible and, above all, test. If you have multiple audiences, develop multiple subpages for them.

Tip 2: A separate text for each offer

Many companies write a long list of what they offer. The customer only relates to a few key points. But that is often not enough. Take a different path: Develop your own professional text for each offer, which is on its own foundation. This way you have an individual link that you can send.

Tip 3: Standardized offers

Many companies write individual orders. Another option is to develop a standardized offer. So you don’t have to recalculate everything every time. They gain experience and become more efficient. You can process more jobs because you get the job done faster and better assess. 

Tip 4: No sales calls

Telemarketers… spam emails…  Are you also annoyed by this? Then let it alone. A good sales pitch is not telemarket shouting or spamming. Explain objectively and clearly what you are doing (performance), what it brings (benefits) and how much it costs. 

Tip 5: It doesn’t have to be a blog

Many entrepreneurs and self-employed people think they now have to run a blog. But that’s just one possibility. You can also go other ways. You need editorial content (texts, photos, maybe videos). But you don’t have to publish something every week. This is usually far too expensive.

Tip 6: Measure, measure, measure

Internet advertising has one big advantage: you can measure everything. The visitor data is anonymous. But you can find out how many visitors are on your site, which pages are visited, and how many requests or sales you generate about them. From this, in turn, you derive measures for improvement. 

Best strategies to attract customers online: the opposite of cold acquisition

For many entrepreneurs, it’s a horror. You have to call “cold” potential customers and convince themselves. You act as your own seller. This is often unpleasant. But above all, it is expensive and leads to poor results. If in doubt, burn your name. With us, you go the other way: you build a system where potential new customers contact you. It is a more pleasant form of new customer acquisition. You can save yourself cold acquisition as a rule. 

New customers or existing customers: What do you want?

Generating new customers

New customers can be acquired particularly well via the Internet. Because if you are looking for something on the net, you often have a certain problem, a desire or a need. Which specific product or service he uses for this, however, is often not yet clear. It is also often not decided which company he goes to. The customer is therefore comparatively at the beginning of his purchase decision – or as it is called “Customer Journey”. 

Keeping a customer

A new customer is a good thing. But the acquisition is also expensive. It is ideal if every new customer buys from you again or even becomes a regular customer. Follow-up orders or regular customers are worth a lot. As a rule, it costs much less to activate them. Search engine optimization plays a less important role here. More important are strategies such as email marketing. However, it is always a question of what added value you provide – and whether you are also worth buying from you a second time.