Our 2023 SaaS Marketing Capability Survey results showed that 73% of Kiwi SaaS businesses think their acquisition engine is average and could do better – a number that hasn’t changed much over the last four years. That’s a bit of a jaw-dropping statistic – so why is it so hard to secure new customers?
The good news (yes, there is some!) is that if this is an area in which your business is struggling, you are not alone. HubSpot’s The Hard Truth About Acquisition Costs research suggests it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to convince customers to convert at a time when brand trust is low.
Today’s business landscape is competitive, acquiring new customers is crucial for growth and sustainability, so we all need to do it. A well-crafted customer acquisition plan can make all the difference between thriving and merely surviving. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, having an effective strategy in place can significantly boost your customer base and revenue. In this blog, we’ll provide you with seven actionable tips to help you develop a winning customer acquisition plan.
Just before we get to the tips…
No business should operate without a customer acquisition plan – if you have one, great news! If it’s working well and you’re welcoming new customers aboard at a relatively low CAC (cost of acquisition) – even better news. But if, like 73% of our survey respondents, you have a plan that’s not delivering, the tips below could help you…
Your plan needs to be co-owned by marketing and sales; marketing driving traffic, conversion and nurturing and sales managing the opportunities and closing the deals. Both teams must contribute to the plan, understand it and deliver against the goals/KPIs.
We also sought some words of caution (and inspiration) from SaaS Entrepreneur Serge van Dam on what he is seeing in the market:
“Paid search (and related SEO, etc) is only marginally profitable, and most of the time does not scale. It’s what used to work really well for a while, but now is not really an ‘engine’ in the intended sense of the metaphor. It continuously needs tinkering, and more money, and becomes less efficient. Not a great engine.
Many things are inexplicable, including great attribution. Part of that is wiring the tech stack, but part of that is accepting, you won’t always know WHY you got more leads or why a blog really performed well, while another campaign did poorly. Unlike an engine, growth is not as predictable as people expect.”
Seven tips to acquisition success
Based on our experience of working with over 75 SaaS and tech companies over the last five years, we put our collective heads together and have come up with the following key tips…
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Before diving into any customer acquisition strategy, it’s essential to have a deep understanding of your target audience:
- who are your ideal customers (ICP)?
- what are their pain points and how do you solve them?
- what are their preferences and buying behaviours?
Conduct thorough market research to answer these questions and create detailed buyer personas. This will allow you to tailor your marketing efforts to the specific needs and desires of your potential customers.
2. Leverage Multiple Channels
Successful customer acquisition often involves reaching your audience through various marketing channels. These include social media, email marketing, content marketing, SEO, paid advertising, and more.
Diversify your approach, so you can increase your chances of connecting with potential customers across different platforms and at various stages of their buying journey.
3. Optimise Your Website
Your website is often the first point of contact for potential customers. Ensure that it’s user-friendly, mobile-responsive and optimised for search engines (SEO). An intuitive and informative website will not only attract visitors but also encourage them to take desired actions, such as signing up for newsletters or making a purchase.
This was another challenging area for our survey respondents – only 10% of the capability survey respondents think their website is effective. The ‘website effectiveness’ pillar ranks last in this year’s report and has been sitting at the bottom of the list for four years. We have a blog addressing how to make your website more effective coming soon!
As a sneak preview of the blog, here’s what Ryan McMillan, Managing Director, at Atlas Digital said when we asked for his insights about optimising your website…
“As part of maximising ROI from your acquisition engine, your website needs to immediately address the problems that your most valuable Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) has.
That way, you can be sure that even the users that don’t convert right away still understand what you do and how you can help, and therefore add to your funnel of prospective customers. This is the best use of digital marketing dollars”.
4. Create Valuable Content
Content is king in the world of customer acquisition. According to Spotio, 50-90% of the journey is complete before a buyer interacts with a sales rep.
Develop high-quality content that addresses your audience’s pain points and provides solutions. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, podcasts or infographics, delivering valuable content can help establish your brand as an industry authority and attract potential customers who are seeking information or solutions related to your products or services.
5. Implement Data-Driven Marketing
Leveraging data and analytics will help you make informed decisions about your customer acquisition strategy.
Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost. By analysing this data, you can refine your approach, allocate resources more effectively, and optimize your marketing campaigns for better results.
6. Offer Incentives
Entice potential customers with incentives that motivate them to take action. This could include limited time offers, discounts, free trials or exclusive access to premium content. Incentives create a sense of urgency and encourage prospects to become paying customers.
7. Nurture Leads and Build Relationships
Customer acquisition isn’t just about making one-time sales; it’s about building long-term relationships. Implement a lead nurturing strategy to stay engaged with potential customers who may not be ready to buy immediately.
Use email marketing, personalised follow-ups, and educational content to nurture leads and gradually guide them through the buying process.
Summary before the summary
Before we summarise, we felt these insights from Amanda Armstrong, Director at Revenuelab were spot on:
“Customer acquisition has become much harder for all tech companies in 2023. Conversion has dropped and businesses are having to review what they’re doing and ensure best practices across their whole funnel. Marketing and sales are two sides of the customer acquisition engine, one can’t exist without the other. Marketing’s job is to create demand and sales’s job is to capture that demand. The investment in demand creation by NZ companies is lagging behind significantly which has left many companies with the cold calling as the only option to generate enough pipeline.
Too many companies are relying on this to grow revenue vs the right investment in brand positioning, website and product marketing in order to drive higher intent leads to sales that convert at a higher rate.”
So, in summary…
A well-thought-out and executed customer acquisition plan is the foundation of business growth. Here’s recap of our seven tips:
- understand your target audience
- utilise multiple marketing channels
- optimise your website
- create valuable content
- analyse data
- offer incentives
- nurture leads
This should allow you to develop a winning strategy that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Remember that customer acquisition is an ongoing process, so you must adapt and refine your approach as market dynamics change. With some determination and persistence, you can achieve success in acquiring and retaining customers in today’s competitive marketplace.
But wait – there’s more!
A couple of years ago, in response to the low-scoring pillar in the 2021 survey, we wrote a blog outlining three fundamental elements to successful customer acquisition – read it here: https://proxi.co.nz/customer-acquisition-101/