Digital Tools To Acquire New Customers

Image courtesy of Ltd

The age of digital has transformed the way many of us both
view and carry out marketing, and although it hasn’t made the uphill battle of
gaining new customers any less steep, it has given us more opportunities and
newer tools that can be used throughout the process. This
article is the first of a trilogy of articles which will look at how we acquire,
convert and retain customers using digital tools. The following tools are
useful in the acquisition stage of the new customer cycle:

Search engine

Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have become the
go-to for the majority of society now when we want to purchase something, find
out how to do something or get somewhere, compare products and services, etc.
and search engines offer up these answers in the form of websites, blogs,
content relevant to our needs.
This makes search
engine marketing
one of the top digital marketing strategies used by
companies today to acquire new customers. Whether you use pay per click
advertising (PPC) as a quick fix pay your way to the top of a search, use
search engine optimisation (SEO) to slowly but surely work your way up the
ladder or as many companies do, use a combination of these methods to ensure
your website is the one customers go to for their related needs.
Email marketing

is proven to have a high success rate if your email makes it into
the inbox and gets read. The hardest part is not gaining email addresses as
people would assume, it is in fact creating an email that will navigate its way
past the spam filters, avoiding the junk folder and landing in the email inbox,
plus being enticing enough to be opened, have at least some of it read, enough
to demote its purpose and then encourage the recipient to click. For this
reason, the average click-through rate for most industries stands at around
6-10%, but considering this is based on sending to databases in the 1,000s it
is considered to be a great success, as the majority of these click-throughs do
become customers. 
Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing works on a pay per action or acquisition
(PPA) basis, much like PPC advertising, only this time you pay an affiliate
each time an agreed action is carried out. This can vary from paying a marketer
per purchase made or per form submission, to paying a website who hosts your ad
or link for every click. Paying per acquisition involves paying a set price
based on the percentage of impressions that become leads and then convert into

Aggregators are types of software or websites that aggregate
specific types of information from multiple online sources. There are various
types of aggregators available dependant on the specific information you are
looking to aggregate, including data, news, polls, reviews, searches, social
media, and video. These can be used to gain insights into where your potential
new customers’ go online, how they search and what for, their interests and
opinions, etc. giving you a basis for how to appeal to them as a brand and
where to market your brand to gain the most exposure to them.
Shopping comparison
As price comparison sites are becoming ever more popular in
our money conscious society, more retailers and companies are opting to be
featured on these websites. The advantage is that you can gain the customer’s
attention and interest easily and conversion is almost a definite. The downside
is your prices will need to be comparable with your competitors, meaning you
may need to lower your prices in order to attract new customers when compared
directly with competitors.

Interactive advertising is commonly done over the internet
and is a way of promoting to consumers that involves their interaction in the
ad campaign. This can be done via social networks (e.g. using a hashtag on
Twitter to encourage people to spread the word about a new product),
competitions, etc.  Interactive
advertising is said to be more effective than traditional advertising as the
engagement level of the consumer is higher.

Partnership marketing is a widely misunderstood concept, as
companies assume that partnering up with another company, even when that
company shares the same needs or is experiencing a similar issue to their own
company, is simply handing out profits. But in reality it can mutually
beneficial for two companies to come together to fill a gap or combat an issue
in the market cost effectively. Sharing existing communities and data to combat
a market issue together and using sponsorship to reach a shared market and save
on overall costs for both sides whilst reaching a new area of the market are
common ways that partnership marketing can work well.

When you put your data into a form both on and offline and
there is the option to ‘tick if you do not wish to receive information from our
partners’. That is co registration. Companies can choose to be included as a
‘partner’ on the others’ sign up forms for newsletters, services, etc. meaning
if the consumer signs up and either doesn’t opt out or opts in to receiving
data from partners their information will be added to a database for your
company. This is usually done when the other companies involved share a common
market, for example new mums might sign up to receive a free trial packet of
some new nappies and they may also be interested in baby formula, baby
clothing, etc.
Viral marketing

Viral marketing involves using pre-existing networks
and technologies to ‘spread the word’ about the brand or a particular
product/service offered.  The internet is
the most popular way of achieving virility due to the nature and sheer volume
of social network users and online communities such as forums and groups.
Common viral marketing strategies include using a video ad and interactive
online game which people will be inclined to share online. The introduction of
smart phones also makes way for the use of apps for viral marketing purposes.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing works much in the same way as
viral and affiliate marketing in that it requires an amount of sharing and
there are rewards for actions, only this time the affiliate is the consumer. A
consumer signing up to a service can be offered rewards in the form of
cashback, credits or discounts for the brand or a partner brand (see
co-registration and partnerships), etc. as payment for sharing the service and
brand with their friends and family. Some companies offer reward upon sharing
and further reward per new customer that comes from this, and some only offer
reward for the latter.

Content distributed online is commonly made up of
downloadable software and add ons, apps, videos, images, other multimedia,
blogs and social media content. An RSS feed can be personalised to pick up all
updated online content relevant to the specific personalisation. Distributing
regular fresh content on social media, blogs and your website helps your brand
be picked up regularly by RSS feeds of your relevant audience, as your content
should fit their RSS feed’s preferences.
Online PR

As print media is slowly declining, society seeks their news
and information more and more from online sources. Therefore we have to
reconsider the way we use news and the media for public relations and marketing
purposes. That is why online
is now important and effective for companies, as it involves following
where your audience go and taking the content to them. The fundamentals of PR
remain the same, but the platform on which it is carried out has changed.
Online is far more fast paced than print media, and there are far more options
for distribution of press releases and advertising than ever before, with
social networks and online news sites being the favourites for online PR.
Social media

has become the forefront of digital marketing, and is a fast paced
and ever changing environment that no company can afford to miss out on. Having
a presence on the relevant social networks and channels for your company is
extremely important for the acquisition of new customers, as it opens up a
whole new audience that could not be acquired offline. Social media is an
everyday medium of communication and leisure for the majority of today’s
society, so making use of company pages, promoted posts and hashtags is the
best way to insert your brand and its products/services into the conscious and
subconscious of your target market.
Check out the second article in this
trilogy, Digital Tools to Convert New Customers.