When 20% of new businesses fail in the first year alone (which rises to 65% after ten years), it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd and make sure you’re among the successful. That can be easier said than done for people who don’t know the pitfalls to avoid.
The customer acquisition process is one of a business’s most essential tools at its disposal, but many businesses don’t do it right. As a result, some businesses will unintentionally turn people away because they make monumental mistakes trying to draw potential customers in.
Read on to discover 10 of the most common customer acquisition mistakes small businesses make and how you can avoid doing the same.
1. Not Creating Valuable Content For Your Target Audience
There’s no denying that customer acquisition is essential for any business. But what many businesses don’t realize is that not creating valuable content is a huge mistake.
Think about it this way: in order to acquire customers, you need to generate leads. And in order to generate leads, you need to create content that will attract their attention. If your content is unoriginal, dull, or not helpful, then it will not do its job. Worse, it could turn potential customers away from your business.
Creating valuable content may take effort, but it’s worth it in the long run. It will help you acquire more customers and make those customers more likely to stick around and become loyal fans of your business.
So how do you go about making your content more valuable?
Make sure you use snappy headlines on product pages or blog post titles—keep things tight and concise, summarizing effectively what the reader’s about to look at. Always opt for clear over clever!
Use Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos are great ways to demonstrate your product or service. You can also use infographics to provide statistics that let your target audience know why your service is a good one.
Suppose, for example, that you have a dog behaviorist business. An infographic might show different types of anxiety dogs may have. Showing dog owners’ reactivity statistics can persuade them to feel like a professional should step in and help them out. So take the time to tailor the look of your blog to be consistent with your business!
Just make sure you don’t go overboard with the images, as you don’t want to slow down the load time of your website. A slow-loading website will cause frustration with your website visitors (as well as cause your ranking with Google to tank), and you do not need that extra challenge when it comes to your customer acquisition strategy.
Make Everything Easy to Digest
While stuffing as much information about a subject in a post can be tempting, try to keep the essential and tempting information there only. Break up the paragraphs into different lines and, on longer pages, use headings and sub-headings to keep everything readable.
2. Ignoring Email Marketing
There’s a wide misconception that email marketing is dead—or at a minimum, becoming irrelevant. As a result, many companies choose to place their marketing efforts on SEO and social media instead.
While those avenues are also very viable, on average, consumers check their phones 150 times a day—with 34% of people saying they frequently open their email. Therefore, email marketing is still a fantastic tool; leverage it to get the most out of your business and keep acquiring new customers.
Ways To Make Email Marketing More Effective
There are numerous ways to step up your email marketing game. Here are a few ideas to whet your whistle.
- You can send offers, specials, and newsletters to those emails you have on file because a customer made a purchase.
- You can also offer an option on your website to sign up for those newsletters and deals, so those who haven’t made a purchase can still get alerts.
- You can also use email at the start of a customer journey. For example, if they make an account but never purchase, send an email reminding them of what they left in their basket or what they were looking at.
Just make sure not to go overboard, or you may bother them into unsubscribing rather than making a purchase.
Common Email Marketing Traps
As well as not ignoring email marketing, it would be best if you didn’t fall into common traps that make it useless.
Avoid writing emails that may get caught in a spam filter, which happens with practices such as:
- Excessive caps or exclamation marks in the title
- Scam-sounding words like ‘free,’ especially in the subject line
Always write emails carefully and sparingly. Make them count!
3. Making a Bad First Impression
It’s estimated that you only have seven seconds to make a first impression—that applies to business too!
You could make a wrong first impression in many ways, and you must be aware of them all.
3 Ways To Make A Bad First Impression
1. Landing Pages That Suck
First, you need to consider the landing page of your website. It should be clear and accessible, with navigation clearly marked. If it’s a struggle to find the page a customer is looking for or they can’t read the neon yellow text on an orange background, they’re likely to click away from your site and go to a competitor making your customer acquisition efforts fall flat.
2. Poor Communication Skills
It would be best if you also were careful how you or anyone else in the business communicates. For many people, their first impression is when they contact you with some questions and hear a voice on the phone or get an email back.
It’s especially easy to come off as rude or blunt in text, so you should spend some time perfecting the balance between warm and professional to give them the idea that you care about them—as you genuinely should!
3. Lack Of Positive Online Reviews
Consider your Google reviews, too, as, for many people, this is the first impression. Try to keep the reviews positive and if you do get a bad one, respond with manners and empathy so that anyone who reads the reviews can see that you are actively trying to fix issues your existing customers feel they have.
4. Not Setting a Realistic Acquisition Budget
As you build your marketing strategy, you’ll have to create a customer acquisition budget. How much do you plan to spend to acquire customers for the business?
While this cost may fluctuate over time as you adjust based on the success rate and the business needs, try to be as realistic as possible at the start with your customer acquisition costs. You can achieve this by researching customer marketing costs and weighing how much profit you might make against how much you should spend.
Things To Consider Regarding Customer Acquisition Cost
There are a lot of things to consider about customer acquisition costs. It’s not just about the marketing costs but the products and expenses needed for new customer acquisition. These acquisition methods need to be cost-effective.
You’ll also have to put some money into lead generation. Lead generation involves finding potential customers and building relationships with them before purchasing. You can use many different customer acquisition tools for this, from cold calling to social media—the best one will likely depend on your target audience and may take some studying and experimenting.
Don’t be afraid to grow and adjust your acquisition budget. Just be aware that if you don’t do the research, the first budget you set may be wildly inaccurate, which can throw a wrench in the works of your customer acquisition cost.
5. Failing to Follow Up With First-Time Customers
Many businesses assume that a first-time customer will automatically convert to a long-time customer, but this isn’t always the case. For example, you might find that if you let new customers drift from you the first time they make a purchase, they automatically go to competitors the next time.
This lack of attention gives the impression you don’t care about them after you have their money—the last thing you want them to think!
Ways To Turn New Customers Into Long-time Loyal Customers
There are numerous ways you can ensure that new customers turn into long-time loyal customers—here are a few to get you started:
- Reach out to make sure they’re satisfied with their product and ask if there are any issues
- Provide a discount code for a second purchase when they receive their order
- Send valuable emails after you have their address on file
- Include a card or email with your social media accounts
- Send a note of appreciation
- Create customer loyalty programs so they can build points
Even little gestures with a personal touch can make new customers feel valued, and they’ll feel inclined to return to your business. It’s crucial to consider customer lifetime value here.
Customer Retention Is Key
Customer retention is another reason you should provide excellent customer service even after completing the transaction.
Answer any questions they have in a polite and timely manner, as well as try to remedy any problems. It will go a long way in persuading the customer to return, creating customer referrals, and spreading the word that your company is a good one to purchase from.
6. Neglecting Social Media
There are 4.7 billion social media users worldwide. Yet, many business owners still think using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics on their website is enough to attract paying customers and keep them there.
With so much competition in the digital space, it’s usually not!
Utilizing these social sites can be critical to keeping your business on the map, acquiring new customers, and retaining existing customers. There are a few reasons for this.
Have A Social Presence That Establishes Authority
The first is that many customers may want to do some research on you before they ever commit to making a purchase. They’ll likely do this by typing your name into Google, reading reviews, and looking to see some examples of how you interact with existing customers. An easy way to do this is to look at your social presence.
But what if you don’t have a social presence?
Showcase Your Brand With Visuals
It’s also great to showcase your products through pictures and videos, so long as you do them justice.
Go Where Your Prospects Hang Out
It’s more than that, though. Social media is a great way to draw more customers in the first place. Many people use these sites to find things by looking at hashtags and current trends or by typing a product directly into the social platform’s search bar.
Getting yourself on the map of different social platforms means that when potential customers search, they’ll see your company. It also provides a place where you can reach out to people and begin prospective customer relationships, even if it’s as simple as liking some comments and pictures to draw attention to yourself.
7. Not Targeting The Right Audience
Another huge customer acquisition mistake some companies make (especially in the beginning) is failing to identify their target customer. Suppose you’re targeting a younger crowd. For example, social media will likely be more of a practical tool than email marketing — whereas an older generation may not use social media as much.
The tone of your website also makes a huge difference in your customer acquisition strategy, whether it leans more casual or professional.
If your target customer is in a specific geographical location, local SEO and following other local businesses on social media are where it’s at for acquiring customers. There’s no point in targeting the country as a whole if you’re an electrician who only serves one specific city and doesn’t go outside that.
8. Not Having An Overall Lead Generation Strategy and Plan
Every business makes mistakes; it’s part of the human condition. However, some customer acquisition mistakes are avoidable with some planning. One such mistake is not having an overall lead generation strategy and plan. Without a plan, businesses can quickly find themselves without any new leads and struggling to keep up with customer demand.
There Is No One-Size Fits All Lead Generation Strategy
Small businesses should tailor a lead generation strategy to their specific needs. It should take into account the products or services offered, the target market, and the budget.
Once these factors have been considered, a plan can be put in place to generate new leads. Doing so may involve online advertising, direct mail campaigns, or attending trade shows and events. The methods used should be consistent and targeted toward the right audience.
By creating a lead generation strategy and plan, businesses can avoid making another costly customer acquisition mistake.
Having a lead generation plan in place will ensure a steady stream of new leads, helping keep the business growing for years to come.
9. Focusing On Selling Rather Than Relationship Building
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. That’s because the lifetime value of a customer is much greater than the one-time purchase they make when they first become a customer.
Customer acquisition is important, but if you’re only focused on acquiring new customers, you’re missing out on ample opportunity.
When you focus on selling to customers rather than building relationships with them, you’re not just missing out on the opportunity to create repeat customers and increase your lifetime value – you’re also increasing your customer acquisition costs.
It costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. So by focusing on selling rather than relationship building, you’re actually making it more expensive to grow your business.
A Better Customer Acquisition Approach
A better approach is to focus on building relationships with your customers. Get to know them, understand their needs, and provide them with the best possible experience. When you do this, you’ll not only create repeat customers and increase your lifetime value—you’ll also reduce your customer acquisition costs.
So if you’re looking to grow your business sustainably, focus on building relationships with prospects and customers and cut down on those customer acquisition mistakes.
10. Not measuring results and adjusting course accordingly
Customer acquisition is complex. You must identify the right people, craft the perfect message, and then hope they’re in the mood to listen. Even if you do all those things perfectly, there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed. Sadly, most businesses fail to acquire customers simply because they’re not measuring results and adjusting course accordingly.
There are several ways to measure customer acquisition, but Conversion Rate is one of the most important. Conversion Rate is the percentage of people who take the desired action after being exposed to your message. If your conversion rate is low, it means that either your message isn’t resonating or your target audience isn’t well defined. In either case, you need to make some changes.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Another key metric is Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) which measures how much it costs to convince someone to take the desired action. A high CPA means too much customer acquisition spending without a corresponding return on investment. Again, this is a sign that something needs to change.
If you’re not measuring results and making adjustments accordingly, you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table. While customer acquisition is challenging, it’s essential for business success. So make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your efforts!
In Summary: 10 Common Customer Acquisition Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Don't Make These Customer Acquisition Mistakes
The businesses that fail are usually the ones making severe customer acquisition mistakes. The result is that they don’t acquire or retain customers as they would like to. Identify your target audience, and utilize social media, email marketing, and content marketing.
Ensure you make an excellent first impression, so your prospective customers see the buying process through and come back for more in the future. These tactics will consistently help with improving customer acquisition for your business.
Do you need help with your sales and marketing? It starts with a conversation. Contact us today, and let’s see what we can do for you.