When it comes to running a successful business, nothing worthwhile will come easily – we all know that. Acquiring customers in itself can be tough and knowing how to market your company the right way? Even tougher. That’s why we decided to put this blog post talking about secrets to acquire more customers. Think of it as a little how-to, but better. You can thank us later.
GrowthRabbit Fact: you can actually acquire up to 10 times more customers while reducing your marketing waste without spending a fortune or using up all of your time. Yes, really.
5 Secrets To Acquire More Customers (and Reduce Marketing Waste)
Let’s start at the beginning. The AARRR funnel earned its somewhat unusual name due to the stages it’s comprised of.
Image Courtesy: Audience Plus
These 5 funnel stages are of huge importance, and here’s my suggestion – these funnel stages should stay in the specified order during the seeding stage or early days of your startup.
Many marketers and entrepreneurs like to move around or change the structure of the funnel – this is completely acceptable, but, during the early phase, it’s ideal to keep the stages in this order, especially with customer acquisition as the first stage.
This is due to one main reason. Through customer acquisition, you will collect the initial data and therefore have the ability to create a feedback loop. During the seeding stage, this data will help you validate your paid acquisition channel and audiences. And, most importantly, this paid acquisition channel can be used in the growth stage to acquire even more users and customers by doubling or tripling the ad spend budget. And it will also help you collect even more data to figure out the free channel (this could be through referral, organic search, word of mouth etc) that can be used to scale the acquisition process. You are all covered, your data will tell you.
The obvious question here is when should one change the funnel stages or structure? So, before we discuss this part, let’s first know what questions we should ask or answer at each stage of the funnel.
Questions You Should Ask at Each Stage of the Funnel
Image courtesy: Startitup
- Acquisition Stage —> How do users find you?
- Activation Stage —> Do users enjoy a positive first experience?
- Retention Stage —> Do users come back?
- Revenue Stage —> How do you make money?
- Referral Stage —> Do users recommend your product or service to others?
This exercise is very important – it’ll answer many questions and clear many doubts about each stage of funnel if any.
These questions will help you figure out the acquisition channel you want to test, the activation process and the best way to activate your users or visitors so they can receive the positive experience or achieve an ‘aha’ moment. It will also help you establish more about the retention process and create platform stickyness to see if your users and customers visited or engaged with the platform to perform a specific action or to make a purchase.
Question 4 will help you answer questions related to revenue generation or increase your average order value by carrying out up-selling or down-selling. The earlier you start monetising, the better it is – for many reasons.
And lastly, is there word of mouth? Are people talking about your product? If not, then why not? What can you do to get your service or product to be a popular topic of conversation?
Answering these questions can result in a gold mine. Bear this in mind, so you can unveil a real gem.
Ideal Structure of a Funnel
Let’s look at this structure. This is the ideal funnel structure which outlines how your acquisition process is complemented by referral. Retention is used to help reduce churn and customer activation occurs through positive experiences, which, in turn, also enhances the retention activities. This is a perfect and ideal structure but the big question is when should we have this funnel structure?
Image Courtesy: Medium
Before we discuss this, let’s first establish the stages of a startup or startup journey.
Here’re the three stages of a startup journey:
1. Seeding (acquisition, channel validation, data collection and user feedback loop)
At this stage of your startup, initial acquisition is important. You should validate your paid acquisition channel and audiences, start collecting data for growth stage and create a feedback loop.
You need to validate your channel at this stage to make sure you are using the right channel to acquire customers, and validating audiences will ensure that you’re bringing the right people into your funnel.
This is important because your seed or initial data is going to shape your growth stage. If you are using the wrong channel and bringing the wrong people into your funnel, this will in turn have a negative impact your data and feedback loop. If this were to happen, you’ll effectively be collecting the wrong data and feedback that is therefore redundant.
2. Growth (scale paid acquisition, use data to boost acquisition by introducing referral, retention or any organic acquisition channel).
Once you have crossed the seeding stage, you move to a growth stage. Your startup growth stage is the basis of scale stage. Growth is when you can pump out more users (or revenue) by increasing your resources, or your budget – this is only possible if you have validated your channel and audiences.
It’s the validation of your channel and audiences that enables you to do the math and predict your user growth or revenue. For example, if you are spending $5,000 and generating $10,000 in revenue, you might decide to increase your budget to $15,000 and predict a generation of $30,000. If you can’t make a prediction, or your answer is no, this means you haven’t done your work properly at the seeding stage when it comes to validation and data collection.
Many startups come to us at GrowthRabbit for help with their customer acquisition and growth process, and they often want to double their user base or double their revenue. When we ask the question “have you validated any channel that we can rely on?” most of the time the answer is no.
We then have to take them back to the initial acquisition phase, where we validate the channel, audiences and based on that, we trigger the growth process.
In the growth stage, you can grow your validated paid acquisition channel and bring in more users or customers. This will help you collect more data, then you can start leveraging that data to boost your acquisition process by figuring out an organic channel for scaling stage – it could be a referral channel or even organic search channel – your data will tell you.
3. Scale (scaling paid channel and use free channel to scale user base).
Scale is the stage where you have an exponential growth that resembles a J curve or hockey stick curve. At this stage, you should be able to grow your user base or increase your revenue without increasing or allocating a lot of resources or budget, and this is doable if you have done your homework properly at the growth stage.
You’d have new channels that you can introduce to help with customer acquisition and to ensure the top of your funnel is wet.
This will also help you reduce your customer acquisition cost. It’s because of the new, free channel(s) or organic channel(s) that your customer acquisition cost is going to be blended.
So, in the growth stage, we looked at an example that stated if you can generate $30,000 using $15,000, your seeding has been done properly. Similarly at the scale stage, if you can generate $50,000 using $20,000, that means your growth stage work has been done properly.
Now coming back to our two questions – when should you implement this ideal structure? And secondly, when should you change the order of the funnel stages?
Here you go:
- When initial seeding is done properly
- When your paid ads channels are validated
- When your audiences are validated
- When you have a product/market fit
Now that we have a good understanding and answers to many ‘why’ questions, it’s time to dive in and learn the 5 secret ways to acquire more customers (and reduce marketing waste).
Ready for the secrets?
The 5 Secrets
1. Bring intent and non-intent paid acquisition channels.
Bring in intent and non-intent paid acquisition channels. Examples of intent paid acquisition channels are Google Ads, Bing Ads. As for non-intent paid acquisition channels, they include Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads and Messenger Ads. So bring these two types of paid ads to your platform to start channel validation.
2. Build your initial personas.
Now, the second secret is to build your customer personas so you can validate your audiences. This is crucial, and this will make or break the process. You don’t need a lot of personas in the beginning – start with two.
Image Courtesy: Sourcecon
For example, at GrowthRabbit we built two personas when we were targeting small ecommerce businesses or startups. Here’s a brief of these two personas.
The objective of both personas was the same to increase their ecommerce store or business sales and revenue, but one persona had limited resources, budget and lack of marketing know-how; while the other persona had limited time but an interest in automation and SaaS tools to enhance the process.
It is hugely important to understand these personas well, because as you can see in the example above, the objective of both personas is the same but the perspective, thinking, mindset and interest are completely different. All of these need to be addressed and considered when curating actual ads – your ad copies and creatives need to curated and designed based on these personas.
3. Establish the maximum amount you’d be willing to spend to acquire one customer.
Before you start advertising, you must understand your customer acquisition cost (CAC), gross margin and your product cost to establish what the maximum you can spend to acquire one customer is.
Ignore all metrics at this point and keep things simple. So, for example, your average order value is $100 and your gross margin is $40. This means your product cost is $60 and the maximum you can spend to acquire one customer is $40. If your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is $40, you would break even. This should be your first KPI.
4. Run 5 to 8-week sprints in order to the paid ads channel and audience.
It’s always good to do things in batches or sprints. Today, good tech, product and growth teams work on sprint basis. This helps you reduce marketing waste and gets your results faster. Run between 5 to 8 sprints – each sprint lasts for a single week. During these sprints, you will collect data that you can utilise in order to optimise.
After 5 to 8 weeks of optimisation processes and sprints, you will have channels and audiences you can rely on to grow the acquisition process.
5. Activate a displacement strategy.
Image Courtesy: Giphy
During the sprints and optimisation stage, you’ll know which channel is converting well, giving you higher ROI and bringing engaged users. Based on that data and intel, activate a displacement strategy. Displace your budget to a channel that is working well and with audiences that are converting well.
Early Stage Focus
Based on the above secrets, here is a list of things you should focus on during the early stages of your startup.
- Validating paid acquisition channels (in order to establish the right acquisition channel for your business) which will ultimately mean paying less to acquire customers.
- Validating audiences (in order to discover the primary demographic you want to be targeting) which will help you attract the right customers.
- Focusing on the customer acquisition process during the seeding stage (in order for you to gather the right collection of data).
In just 5 to 8 weeks, and without spending a great deal of your budget on ads, you’ll have established which channels and audiences to rely on in order to grow successfully. You’ll also notice that your business will be acquiring new customers at a much faster rate for less, and without any marketing going to waste.
We used this exact approach here at GrowthRabbit.
The outcome? We doubled our revenue. But don’t take it from us – our clients’ results speak for themselves.
Client Success Stories
ChefXChange noticed an incredible 91% increase in its revenue and a 42% increase in top of the funnel traffic, all while managing to reduce its acquisition costs by 93%.
Slidr was able to reduce its acquisition costs by 89%. The team also reported an increase of 58% of their checkout conversion rate over a period of just 6 months.
Paolita achieved a staggering 625.5% ROI in just 60 days using our paid ads, marketing automation strategies and email marketing products.
So, there you have it. Now it’s up to you. Here are your options:
- You can make the most of a DIY approach and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
- The GrowthRabbit team can help you instead – we literally work day and night to ensure the best possible results.