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Your Exclusive Guide to Customer Acquisition for Independent Businesses

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Customers are the lifeblood of every business. They are the people that flow through the veins of a company and help keep it alive. So, how can you gain loyal customers that will make your business prosperous? Hint: it all starts with a strategic client acquisition plan.

But, customer acquisition can be difficult, especially for smaller or independent businesses. Are you an owner-operator that’s ready to grow? Additionally, are you looking for a way to secure a strategic client acquisition plan? Keep reading to develop a plan and gain new customers effortlessly. Let’s go!

Customer Acquisition Is Especially Important for Owner-Operators of Small Businesses

Ok, let’s start with the basics. First, customer acquisition is the process of bringing new customers to your business. It is the actions and activities that your independent business takes to gain new customers. So, what’s the point? To be clear, the goal of customer acquisition is to provide a steady stream of customers. Additionally, with a successful customer acquisition strategy, these prospects will eventually become loyal customers who will keep making purchases.

Your independent business needs fresh, new prospects. And consistently! That’s the only way to grow your business and increase your ROI.

Consider it. Is there anything worse than a business without customers? Loyal customers are an asset. And one that you really can’t be successful as an owner-operator of a small business without. With that being said, what are you waiting for? Let’s create your customer acquisition plan today!

5 Steps to Creating Your Small Business Customer Acquisition Solution Plan

What if you want to create a successful customer acquisition strategy but don’t know where to start? We’ve got your back! Here are some tips:

First, identify your ideal customers.

You can’t start your plan without knowing your buyer persona. What is a buyer persona? Your business’s buyer persona is a vision – crafted by you – that represents your ideal customer. It can be as specific or as broad as you want. So, ask yourself, what does your perfect customer look like? Consider their age group. And where they live. What are they looking for? Without a doubt, having a clear idea of who your audience is will make developing a customer acquisition plan easier. So, get a pen and paper, and start jotting down some patterns you’ve seen in recent conversions. 

Second, define your written goals.

Having clear, written goals will guide your independent business to success. In fact, one psychology study found that people who had written goals were 33% more successful in achieving them. That’s huge! This proves that those who write their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not. So, with your ideal customers in mind, creating defined plans will guide your efforts through the customer process. Aren’t you glad you got out that pen and paper?

Third, choose your customer acquisition channels wisely.

So, you’ve got a buyer persona and goals written down. Check! Now, how can you reach new prospects as the owner-operator of an independent business? 

Don’t worry – the problem is, there are almost too many marketing channels. To clarify, these channels include email marketing, content marketing, social media, Google Ads, referrals, online events, in-person events, tv advertising, and more. Each channel has its perks. Which ones do you pick?

Your demographics, available resources, and overall plan will help determine which channels are most effective for your business. Aren’t you glad you wrote all that down? Check out your buyer persona. Are they the type to spend time on Facebook? Then maybe that’s an avenue you should review. Has your demographic ever heard of TikTok? If not, don’t waste your time. 

Once you’ve outlined the best channels for your specific small business, one thing to strongly consider is a multichannel marketing approach. What’s that? Simply put, it’s a marketing campaign that runs across all your most viable marketing channels. Maybe Facebook, direct mail, and webinars line up most directly with your audience. Then that’s where you need to market!

And don’t forget about performance marketing solutions. These are a unique set of marketing channels where you only pay when you receive the desired result. For instance, Google PPC ads. You only pay when someone clicks your ad. What could be better?

Fourth, develop a unique strategy for each channel.

For starters, it doesn’t matter which channel you choose. How can you stand out if you don’t make your strategy unique? Let’s do some brainstorming. Trying to be unique? Think about what you can focus on that can differentiate your business.

Additionally, consider the content your audience interacts with and what kind of content your competitors post. What is working for your competitors? Is there something that you could be doing better than them? Maybe there is an idea or focus that’s missing. Can you provide it?

And metrics matter! Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Let data lead the decisions, and pay attention to what your audience is doing!

Fifth, receive feedback and take measurements to improve your strategy.

As said above, you can’t improve what you don’t measure! Take advantage of analytics. They can be revealing! What prompts the most engagement with your leads and consumers? What is sparking the most conversation? Make adjustments based on data and what is actively working for your independent business. In conclusion, using analytics can be a powerful tool and can guide in the best direction in terms of improvement.         

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Next, Maximize Your Customer Acquisition Funnel

Are you familiar with the customer acquisition funnel? And how it works? The customer acquisition funnel is a visual representation. It explains a prospect’s journey through the several stages of acquisition.

The first stage, awareness, is the widest part of the funnel. Pretty much, it is a way to increase brand awareness. The funnel’s middle, the consideration stage, is less broad and more specific. In this stage, consumers are contemplating making a purchase. In the final bottom stage, decision, the prospect is prepared to become a customer and is hopefully making a purchase.

The goal is to essentially have prospects go through all stages and become a customer. However, many leads don’t make it past the awareness stage. Your job as an owner-operator is to nurture leads and make them interested in your business. You want most leads to make it to the purchase stage. And with a successful customer acquisition plan, this is possible.

What Does Customer Acquisition Cost?

Nothing in life is free, unfortunately. And the same is true of customer acquisition. Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the total cost of getting a new customer, including research, marketing, and sales. Knowing your CAC is essential. Why? Because it helps your business determine how important a customer is.

How can you use CAC to see if a customer is a valuable investment? Most companies use a customer acquisition cost ratio. To clarify, this ratio compares the lifetime value of a customer against the CAC. Essentially, a good ratio is 3:1, meaning the lifetime value of a customer should be worth 3 times the CAC.

This figure will help you determine how much you spend on each new customer. And ideally, how you can reduce it. Imagine reaching more prospects and spending less. That’s the goal! But how can you reduce costs if you don’t know what you’re spending? It all boils down to metrics. So keep track of them, and make adjustments as you grow.

BONUS: Expert Tips to Improve Your Customer Acquisition Strategy

Does your independent business already have a customer acquisition strategy? Here are some tips on how to improve your strategy!

Measure everything!
First, you should be tracking EVERYTHING about your prospective customers. Focusing on the right metrics will take things to the next level. Additionally, data can help you learn and understand more about your audience.

Utilize multiple channels
You can reach your audience in more than one way. Try emails, direct mail, PCP campaigns, and more. By maximizing your efforts and using multiple channels, you have a greater chance of reaching more qualified prospects. However, keep in mind: quantity over quality. Choose 2 or 3 channels to utilize and make them high quality. Or another secret – outsource and let the experts do the work for you.

Diversify
Be different. Stand out, and don’t be afraid to take risks! By being diverse, you have a greater chance of reaching as many people as you can.

Be patient 
Change does not happen overnight. Building your customer acquisition plan is tedious and takes several strategies and people. Not only that, but each plan is unique for each company. So, take the time to craft the right plan for your business, and be patient.

What are you waiting for? Get started today!

There you have it! Your complete expert guide for customer acquisition for owner-operators of independent businesses. Ready to grow your small business? Our team at LeadingResponse has over 26 years of marketing experience, and we can help set you on a course for success. Let’s get started.

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