SEM. Social ads. Email marketing. Insert media. Postal. When it comes to acquisition channels, the list goes on and on. But with so many options, how can you create a strategy that will effectively and consistently accomplish your customer acquisition goals?
With most holiday season campaigns now well underway (especially postal campaigns), it’s time to start thinking ahead to 2020, and the best channels to use for post-holiday efforts. Before getting started, it’s important to remember that acquisition is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and success depends heavily on who you’re targeting and how.
The link between acquisition channels and LTV
Customer lifetime value (LTV) is relatively simple to determine: Identify the expected sales that your brand should gain over time following a customer’s initial purchase. Once you’ve accurately determined that value, you can use the information to:
- Track customers to reveal who your best customers are and where they’re coming from
- Build new benchmarks to grow future value
- Facilitate smarter acquisition strategies
Focusing your efforts on the right acquisition channels can help lower cost per acquisition — which has generally increased by over 50% over the last five years — giving customers a higher value overall. Plus, when you know how to best reach a demographic, you can use that data in your customer retention strategy. Bottom line: acquisition channels matter.
Because you can’t be everywhere
Attempting to drive sales on too many acquisition channels waters down your focus and drains your resources, especially during busier times.
First, determine who you’re speaking to and what you want to achieve. What’s best for one demographic may not be effective for another. For example, 88% of millennials have a Facebook account and use the platform regularly. If your primary customer is 23-40, Facebook ads may provide the highest return. But if you’re trying to reach an older demographic, studies suggest that
you’ll have better luck using search or email marketing channels. So, use your goals — branding versus signups or conversions, for example — to guide your choice of acquisition channel.
Other points to keep in mind:
- Look back at your customer history. What acquisition channels worked for your established customer base? What was their user journey? How can you repeat it?
- Evaluate the possibilities. Compile a list of channels. Are they new or emerging? Do they typically have an audience that matches your personas?
- Test and test again. Whatever channels you attempt, testing and refinement are necessary steps to reaching your sales and acquisition goals.
When zeroing in on the best channels for your brand, strike a balance between risk and reward, which gives you a better chance of winning over desired customers.
Time will tell
No matter the channels, your acquisition marketing strategy should be sustainable and worth the long-term investment. It should also be flexible. The way people respond to a given channel is always changing, so you need to be responsive to current market trends. Lastly, your strategy should be targeted. Defining buyer personas can help weed out acquisition channels that are bound to fail.
According to consumer acquisition data trends we’ve observed at Specialists Marketing Services:
- Email acquisition tends to yield the best ROI among digital channels
- Postal acquisition can draw the highest response rate, but at higher costs
- Digital acquisition allows for the most targeted and personalized content
- Social acquisition is generally slower to move through the sales funnel, so patience is key
Multi-channel keeps the momentum going
All year long, consumers are barraged with messaging via direct mail campaigns, email, display, social ads and more. There’s an ad lurking in virtually every point of contact. Breaking through the clutter is key. That’s why you need a multi-channel approach to acquire, retain and build loyalty. Be sure to:
- Stay consistent. You want customers to be able to identify your brand through each touchpoint. Focus on a cohesive brand voice and messaging across channels.
- Make transactions quick and painless. How you can integrate social media logins for your mobile app or embed payment options like Paypal for easy, one-click payments? If an action is too difficult or time-consuming, would-be buyers are likely to jump ship.
- Optimize. Analyze customer data to know what works best for each demographic, so you can refine your multi-channel efforts.
A major home goods retailer, for example, is using monthly bridal data to successfully drive its multi-channel efforts. Results from an initial postal touchpoint are matched back to hashed email files for attribution, which are then used for email and digital targeting. Since postal respondents are more likely to engage, this provides for more effective targeting and more opportunities for personalized messaging and offers.
Trigger programs are also highly effective for cross-channel marketing. In a trigger program, user actions — cart abandonment, for example — prompt tailored messages, reaching out to prospects at the ideal moment to help increase the likelihood of conversion. Trigger-based messaging allows you to remarket to past customers and recognize buyers for their purchasing behaviors or milestones — like if they’re a few dollars away from earning a loyalty reward. Use tools like trigger lightboxes, emails or direct mail postcards based on browsing habits and buying patterns to turn prospects into purchasers.
Remember: In acquisition, channels matter. Choose wisely to help maximize your brand’s acquisition efforts all year long.
About Specialists Marketing Services
Since 1987, Specialists Marketing Services has helped thousands of leading brands generate remarkably efficient customer acquisition and retention campaigns. From choosing the most cost-efficient combination of channels to modeling & analytics that drive the right data selection, we’re known for the personalized, hands-on involvement of our veteran staff at every stage to ensure that your acquisition and retention goals are met efficiently and cost effectively. Call 201-865-5800 for details or visit sms-inc.com.