Seven fundamental elements to acquire new customers online

For content marketing ideas you can provide product advice, debate topical industry issues, communicate brand messages or company anecdotes, testimonials, etc. Social media demands an active presence and shareable content but is also key to improving Google rankings. 

To acquire new contacts, you can ask customers for email addresses when you run competitions, offer white papers or receive comments on blog posts.

5) Google AdWords

With your content developed and your organic SEO putting you at the forefront of people?s minds, you now might want to address paid for opportunities. 

Google AdWords or Bing Ads are pay-per-click advertising channels that can quickly reach potential customers wherever they may shop. They can provide quality traffic and give an acquisition boost when needed. According to Google, 53 per cent of internet users wanting to purchase a product use Google AdWords links. 

Therefore, before setting up campaigns, choose your sales period carefully to ensure a good ROI (think of periods when searches are most likely to result in buys, Christmas, Valentine?s Day, Mother or Father?s Day). 

Choose your keywords well, the more specific, the better quality traffic you?ll acquire which will improve your conversion rate. Keep an eye on your ROI as it?s easy to go keyword crazy and bid big but it?s best to start with a small budget, until you?ve found a winning strategy, then you can increase your bets! 

6) Ecommerce platform

A good ecommerce platform should provide you with all the data you need to analyse your sales and marketing activity. Other options available are Google Analytics or paid analytics tools such as Hubspot. 

Start tracking acquisition data as soon as possible so you can fine tune acquisition and marketing spends. Analysing your data across multiple acquisition channels will provide key insights into improving your ROI, establishing which channels work and those that either need extra attention or dropping. 

Understanding your customer lifecycle helps put your resources where they?ll have the most impact. You?ll also gain valuable insight on how to retain customers once you?ve acquired them ? the next important step in your businesses? lifecycle!

7) Online marketplaces 

Marketplaces and price comparison sites are a potential ecommerce acquisition goldmine.

The idea of reaching nearly 400 million potential buyers appeals to most businesses, and marketplaces account for between 30 and 40 per cent of online retail sales in the UK (Allbusiness.com). You can capitalise on the efforts of ecommerce giants like Amazon or eBay to attract customers and sell products through their channels. 

Price comparison sites also offer high quality traffic as their visitors already want to buy and are now looking for the best deal. 

These channels work on either a CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per action) basis so you need to keep an eye on your margins but cross selling and up selling are great tactics for increasing your average basket. Ensure your ecommerce solution allows for easy synchronisation of your e-store and the marketplaces and price comparison sites you elect to use, the aim is to create more sales but not more work!

There is, of course, a vast array of other acquisition channels and strategies, referral schemes, social media, email and SMS campaigns. Once you have the fundamentals in place you can test out new ideas, remembering that different channels work for different businesses, products and audiences.

Marc Schillaci is CEO and founder of Actinic (Part of the Oxatis Group).

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