User acquisition takes constant work. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Although many companies use the same channels and tactics, you always need to tweak or rework them to fit your industry and your customers’ mindsets.
If your user-acquisition strategies are getting a little stale or under-performing, it’s time to rethink your approach. Sometimes this means tweaking what’s in your toolbox; other times it’s about testing and exploring new customer-acquisition costs.
User Acquisition Strategy #1: Co-Marketing Opportunities
Co-marketing or cross-promotional activities are extremely beneficial for customer acquisition. The goal is to create a strategic partnership with a company that either has a product that is complementary to yours, but doesn’t compete with it; or whose customers have a similar profile to yours. Your brand gets exposure to a new audience, which yields brand awareness and leads, and your customer acquisition cost halves.
Since content is still king, the content you produce in partnership with another company will depend on the product or service you offer and what appeals to your potential customers the most.
There are plenty of options – webinars, eBooks, conferences, video series or podcasts, and data-backed research reports – and you can get creative too.
Example: Co-Marketing from Airbnb and Flipboard
Hospitality giant Airbnb, partnered with Flipboard, a news and topical content aggregator app, for a co-marketing campaign.
This campaign earned Airbnb a massive 39 million campaign impressions and drove 38,000 visits to its website. Before the campaign, Airbnb had zero followers on Flipboard, afterward the company had 29,000. Flipboard’s goal was to re-engage users who hadn’t been using the app and to create more exciting content for engaged users. This is precisely what happened. It was a win-win for both companies.
User Acquisition Strategy #2: CTA Optimization
It’s important to keep your website fresh. This means constantly evaluating your micro-copy and call to action buttons (CTAs).
Just like banner-ad blindness, visitors become tired of seeing the same CTAs on every site they visit. Even if you have a serious tech product, adding a little humorous text or changing up the button color could convince someone to click.
It’s important to A/B test different elements of your website and CTA button placement. Don’t rely on instinct. Check your data to see how your potential customers react and move through the journey with a tool such as Hotjar. You can learn where your user acquisition funnel is working on your website and where it’s falling short. The bonus of implementing this strategy is that it doesn’t affect your customer-acquisition cost.
Example: Humboldt County’s Website CTA
Take a look at this website from Humboldt County. Not only is the image eye-catching and visually interesting, but how creative is this CTA? It’s hard to resist clicking on it!
User Acquisition Strategy #3: Resend Unopened Email Campaigns with New Subject Lines
Getting to ‘inbox zero’ is a pipe dream for most of us. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes emails that I want to read are left unopened. It’s not because they are unimportant. More often than not it’s because the workday is full of distractions and they get lost in my inbox. This is probably the case for you too. Chances are the people on your email list are in the same boat.
You can boost open rates by resending the campaign to those who didn’t open it the first time. Create an email campaign for your leads as you usually would. They want to hear from you, even if they haven’t converted into paying customers yet. Make sure you put engaging content in the subject line to get the best possible open rate.
After about two days, create a new segment that includes only those people who did not open your email. Approach the subject line from a different angle and you should see a sizeable increase in your open rate. If you have an attractive offer that can potentially convert leads into customers, highlight it. User acquisition is your goal here, don’t be coy.
Example: Sendpulse’s Client Resends Email Campaign
Sendpulse recently shared a case study from a client who tested out resending emails to subscribers who didn’t open original emails. The first time the company sent the email campaign, it had an open rate of 13.08%. The resend campaign had an open rate of 6.96%. When combining the open rates of the original send (13.08%) with the resend (6.96%), the email campaign achieved a total open rate of 20.04%.
20.04% = 13.08% (original) + 6.96% (resend).
With numbers increasing like that and minimal effort required, this is a strategy that’s definitely worth testing.
User Acquisition Strategy #4: Native Advertising
If you feel like you are running out of places to find new customers, native advertising could be the acquisition strategy that brings them to you. What sets native ads apart from other off-site content-based marketing approaches is that it gives you an opportunity to deliver your story to an already engaged audience that’s ready to discover information related to their interests. Couple that with the ability to add extensive targeting parameters and ongoing campaign optimization and you’ll be able to bring high-quality traffic to your site.
When it comes to successful native ads, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you need to select the right platform. Top content delivery platforms such as Taboola have built strong reputations among publishers, so your content gets placed on well-respected publisher websites. You don’t want to invest in native ads only to have your stories appear on low-quality sites that don’t attract the kind of customers you want.
Second, the best native ads are all about subtlety, not in-your-face product pitches. Think about creative angles that pique a reader’s curiosity in a roundabout way. Readers want compelling stories, and if you can inject some humor or produce great videos, that’s even better. Finally, remember that this isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ strategy. You’ll need to test at least a handful of creatives before you start to understand which performs the best.
Example: Boomerang for Gmail Boosts Lead Generation & Conversions
Keeping in mind that readers were in ‘discovery mode’ and curious to learn more without a heavy sales pitch, the Boomerang team developed landing pages that prioritized content. The story-focused pages spoke to readers’ pain points, and a strong CTA encouraging a product download was only presented at the very end of the page.
Boomerang’s campaign brought some impressive results, including over 3,500 leads and a conversion rate of more than 5%. From a cost perspective, the company was able to lower its conversion costs by a whopping 52%!
User Acquisition Strategy #5: Influencer Referral Campaigns
Leveraging the power of a few well-respected influencers can do wonders for any brand, but one industry in which influencer marketing really shines is travel. A recent studyfound that over 40% of millennials consider the ‘Instagrammability’ of a destination a top factor when selecting their getaway spots. It makes sense to tap into the power of an influencer who has thousands or millions of followers and have them promote your travel brand or destination.
Getting the most out of influencer campaigns requires work on your part, especially since your goal is user acquisition. Let’s say your company runs tours in several US cities. You can partner with travel influencers and have them design a bespoke experience based on their niche interest, such as a foodie or architectural tour, for example. Work with them to design the creative aspects of the experience, including the accompanying content, graphics, and photos. Then develop a branded hashtag and a dedicated landing page that they can promote to their followers.
Example: Partner with a Travel Influencer
If you choose the right influencer and construct a great campaign, each time it’s shared you should see hundreds or thousands of visits to your landing page, resulting in newly acquired customers.
See the Instagram example below, imagine being able to talk to her 544,000 followers! Since her popularity is so high, you’ll need to work out a deal that is profitable for her, while keeping your customer-acquisition cost within your budget.
User Acquisition Strategy #6: Unbiased Directory & Review Sites
Every day your potential customers are scouring the web looking for you. Of course, they are searching on Google, but what if your site doesn’t rank on the first page? Most decision makers also check review sites and industry-listing sites to see what other users have to say and how they rate companies and products.
For tech companies, websites such as Capterra, Software Advice (owned by Gartner) and GetApp are all general sites where you can list your company. There are many other industry-specific tool directories too.
Example: List Your Company on Capterra
To list your company on Capterra you’ll need to complete a form and upload some screenshots of your product. It may take time to see any traffic coming from these sites, because you’ll need to wait for your current customers to leave positive reviews. Once you have a few reviews and four- or five-star ratings you should see a boost. Since visitors from review sites have already been convinced of your potential, acquiring them as paying customers is much easier than if they came in as a cold lead.
For tech companies, websites such as Capterra, Software Advice and GetApp are all general sites where you can list your company. There are many other industry-specific tool directories too.
User Acquisition Strategy #7: Drive Down CPC on Facebook Ads with Seeded Engagement Metrics
Get more bang for your buck with your Facebook ads by using a psychological tactic that you’ve probably fallen prey to yourself. When you see a post with a lot of engagement you’re naturally curious to find out more. Your audience will react the same way when they see one of your Facebook ads with high engagement.
To put this strategy into practice, create a manual dark post and run your ad to a custom audience made up of your website visitors or your Facebook page fans. Add a great piece of copy in your ad and ask viewers to comment with their thoughts. Not everyone will take the time to write a comment, but most will react. The customer acquisition cost for this is low, but it creates high engagement.
Example: Growth Pilots Tests Seeded Engagement
Now that you have the social proof built up on your dark post, you can change the targeting and edit the ad copy, or at least remove the request to add comments, and rerun the ad. In experiments run by Growth Pilots for three of its clients, there were significant improvements across every metric, with increased CTRs and CVRs and decreased CPCs and CPAs.
User Acquisition Strategy #8: Republish Your Content on Medium
You work hard to produce great content. You share that content to your audience across some channels, including your blog, social media assets, and email campaigns, but those outlets reach people who are already engaged with your brand. To reach new users, you’re probably running Facebook campaigns with lookalike audiences, but did you know you can get more, fresh eyeballs on your content from Medium?
Medium is a free blogging platform with millions of users. Thousands of companies republish their blog content on it. In case you’re concerned about Google penalizing you for duplicate content, Medium lets you add a canonical tag to your posts, which eliminates that problem, plus all backlinks get pushed to your original post.
Example: Travel & Leisure Publishes on Medium
There’s so much opportunity for content discovery on Medium, and when readers become intrigued by what your company has to say, they’re likely to visit your site for more information. It’s a chance to test out another user-acquisition strategy and see if you can convert more people into paying customers.
Here’s a look at what Travel & Leisure publishes on its Medium page:
Critical Takeaways for Implementing user Acquisition Strategies
Reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary, but revamping your method might be if your current user-acquisition numbers aren’t where you’d like them.
Keep these key pieces of advice in mind when you’re evaluating which user-acquisition strategies to test out:
- Take inspiration from big brands and tailor this to meet your company’s product and audience.
- If you have a limited budget, keep your user-acquisition cost down by implementing strategies that don’t cost a lot of time or money, such as resending email campaigns or A/B testing CTAs.
- Don’t do it alone. Partnering with other companies to reach your acquisition objectives will help lighten the financial and work load, as well as boost your exposure.
- Experiment with paid strategies, such as Facebook dark posts or influencer campaigns on a small scale first. If you see results, scale them up.
- Always track your results. If you have historical data to rely on, this will provide you with a baseline for measuring your strategies. If you don’t, keep a detailed spreadsheet, so you can determine which strategy brought you the highest volume of high-quality users, while still keeping your customer-acquisition cost relatively low.
Your customers are waiting for you to find and attract them through great campaigns. Turn on the creativity and start testing some of these strategies today.