eCommerce Customer Acquisition: The Complete Guide

Vince Moreau
July 23, 2022

eCommerce Customer Acquisition: The Complete Guide

As an eCommerce business owner, you need to be strategic in customer acquisition. 

However, you want to focus on not only getting your customers through the door and buying from you once, but also becoming loyal life-long customers. 

So, here’s the million-dollar question — how do you create the perfect conditions for acquiring new customers?

Read on to discover:

  • What customer acquisition is
  • The eCommerce customer acquisition cycle
  • Top Customer Acquisition Channels that Work
  • The Best Customer Acquisition Strategy for eCommerce
  • Customer Acquisition costs and Tracking for eCommerce 
  • The best tips on reducing your eCommerce Customer Acquisition Costs.

What is Customer Acquisition?

Customer acquisition is the term that describes the process of connecting with potential new customers and ultimately convincing them to make a purchase. This includes everything from the first contact point to when they finally patronize your brand. 

In the business world, the cost of acquiring new customers to your business is known as the Customer Acquisition Cost. 

That said, by following proven customer acquisition strategies, you can get loyalists and amplifiers for your business while keeping the average acquisition cost for your eCommerce relatively low. 

The eCommerce Customer Acquisition Cycle

When it comes to acquiring new customers for your online store, there are different stages of customer acquisition. 

These are also known as sales funnels or cycles, and they span from the point of awareness to the final retention stage. 

Let’s check out the eCommerce acquisition cycle and what each stage entails.

The 5 stages of customer acquisition

1. Awareness/Interest: This is the point of first contact. At this stage, customers get their first introduction to what your brand offers. 

Since the goal is to make your potential customers aware of your business, creating content relevant to your products can help you do that. 

You want to capture their attention and ignite their interest in your brand.

2. Consideration/Intent/Evaluation: This is where your customers start weighing the pros and cons of buying from you. 

They are interested in your products but want to discover if you are the best option for them. 

They intend to buy from you, but because other brands sell similar products, they might compare different brand offers like the delivery princess, price, etc. 

Your job is to help them see why your brand is the best choice for them.

3. Conversion/Purchase: At this point, the work is almost done. Your customers have made a purchase and, if all goes well, are probably enjoying your products. 

But, there is still work to be done, which brings us to the final stage.

4. Retention: Once a customer makes a purchase, you still want to keep them connected to your business so that they regularly buy from your store.

5. Advocacy: You want to get your customers to become advocates who spread the word about your business

Top Customer Acquisition Channels that Work

Customer acquisition channels are the methods and strategies you employ to attract new leads to your business. 

Now, various businesses use different marketing channels. However, your choice should depend on your:

  • Business
  • Audience
  • Overall customer acquisition strategy. 

Let’s check out the top ones.

Customer acquisition strategies that really work

1. Content Marketing

Customers are savvy when it comes to choosing the brands to buy from. 

In other words, they take time to look for brands they can trust with the best value and quality. This is where content marketing comes in. 

We are talking high-quality, SEO optimized, and valuable content that provides your customers without enough valuable information to build trust and convert them into paying customers. 

This is where you get intentional with your blog by creating organized content that aligns with your content goals and customer journey. 

For example, you can create:

  • Ebooks
  • Editorial content
  • Expert content
  • Etc.

Pro Tip: All content should address a particular problem in your niche at the awareness stage.

You can also power your customer acquisition strategy by including social proof in your content marketing.

For instance, you can publish:

  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • User-generated content throughout your website. 

2. Social Media Marketing

With over 3.2 billion interactions on Facebook and over half a billion tweets published every day, social media has become a great customer acquisition channel. 

Think about it. Your customers spend a significant amount of time on these platforms daily. So, it only makes sense that you focus on building relationships that convert to sales. 

For example, Facebook is an excellent platform for creating entertaining content relevant to your brand. 

In addition, brands also leverage this platform to communicate directly with both existing and potential customers. 

Remember, the more engaging content you create, the more shares you get, and ultimately the more visibility for your brand. 

Also, you can leverage paid social media ads that help you get the word out to a larger audience. For example, you can run awareness ads for your content or build your email list with Facebook ads. 

Pro Tip: You want to focus on social media platforms that resonate better with your brand. 

So, consider your audience, what platform(s) they spend more time on, and the best platform for communicating your brand voice and value. 

3. Search Engine Marketing

The idea behind this type of customer acquisition channel is to create content that shows up high on the search engine results page. 

In simpler terms, the goal here is to create search engine optimized (SEO) content. 

When customers search for your products or insert a search term relevant to your brand into the search bar, search engine marketing helps your brand appear on the first page for searchers to click on. 

To achieve this, you want to follow some pro SEO strategies such as:

  • Indexing
  • Proper use of keywords
  • Adding alt text to images
  • And so much more.

On the other hand, you can also pay to get your content shown on the top of the search result pages. 

4. Video Marketing

According to a study, 87% of video marketers reported increased ROI, while 86% of marketers stated that videos have been more effective in generating leads. 

What does this tell you? 

Videos are great for customer acquisition and increasing your revenue. 

With a reducing attention span, videos can help you keep your customers focused enough to soak up the value you are offering. 

For example, you can create a step-by-step guide on using your products. This will give you a competitive advantage, especially in convincing customers at the consideration stage. 

Even better?

Viewers are more likely to share a video they found informative and exciting, thereby increasing your chance of reaching more people. 

5. Email Marketing

This is one of the oldest and most effective ways to build relationships with customers you reach through other acquisition channels. 

For example, if you run lead ads on Facebook, customers that sign up for your lead magnet need to be nurtured till they become loyal customers. You can then connect with these people and turn interested leads into regular buyers using emails.

An excellent customer acquisition strategy with email marketing is to send out educational content that positions your brand as an expert in your niche. 

A practical example is when a company that sells natural hair products sends its subscribers tips for managing their hair. Another is when a merch company sends styling tips and guides to their audience. 

What is the Best Customer Acquisition Strategy for eCommerce?

Best customer acquisition strategies for ecommerce

You need a great customer acquisition strategy to acquire and retain new customers. So, let's a comprehensive acquisition strategy that works in eCommerce:

1. Define your target customer: 

Your target customer is those with the problems and needs you aim to solve with your products. 

The reality is, not everyone needs your product. However, the good news is: a lot of people do.

Knowing those who are genuinely interested in your offer helps you create a more specific strategy to reach and convert them. 

A great customer acquisition strategy is to create a buyer persona that defines the characteristics of your ideal customer.

You can map out the best customer acquisition strategy once you know your target customer's:

  • Traits
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Shopping habits
  • Interest
  • Most used platforms
  • Etc. 

2. Have a set of defined goals

The next step is to have a set of defined and measurable goals for your customer acquisition strategy. 

Yes, you eventually want to make sales. But, there is a process to getting the job done. 

So, your first goal may be to increase your email subscribers or get more followers on your social media platforms. Before you move on to getting down your sales funnel.

Once you have a goal, you can begin to leverage the best marketing channels to help achieve them. 

3. Choose your acquisition channel(s)

Now that you know who your ideal audience is and the goal you have in mind, the next thing is to select your acquisition channels. 

Understanding your buyer persona helps you know where your audience spends the most time, so that's a great place to start.

Also, some channels generate great results compared to others, so you also want to focus on these. 

For example, Facebook is a great channel to:

  • Connect with new customers
  • Build a loyal following
  • Increase your brand visibility. 

4. Create a strategy for each customer acquisition channel

Once you have selected your acquisition channel, you want to create a plan for each channel. 

  • What kind of content do you plan to push out?
  • How often?
  • Do you need to leverage paid ads?
  • Will you be using a mixture of video and graphics in your content?
  • What content works best on each channel?
  • What is the best voice and tone to use on each channel? 

These are factors you consider when developing your strategy for each channel.

5. Analyze and improve your customer acquisition strategy

By analyzing your existing strategy, you can learn what is getting the most results and how to improve on your current process. 

For example, you can monitor your insights on social media platforms to see how well customers engage with your content and follow your page. 

You can also analyze paid ads and email marketing to discover your ROI and how best to improve your customer acquisition strategy.

Customer Acquisition Costs and Tracking for eCommerce 

Customer Acquisition Costs and Tracking for eCommerce

To acquire new customers, you need to spend money. However, your spending depends on several factors, including your marketing channels, advertisements efforts, sales team, and more.

That said, your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the total cost required for a business to get one new customer. 

To calculate this, you need to consider your total spending on sales and marketing and measure against the number of newly acquired customers over a given period.

This includes:

  • Employee salaries
  • Ad spending
  • Production costs
  • Inventory management
  • Tech stack costs.

Fun fact? The average customer acquisition cost on the eCommerce scene is around $45.

Here is how you can calculate your business’s customer acquisition cost:

CAC = Total sales cost + total marketing cost/total number of acquired customers 

Now, what’s the best way to keep your customer acquisition cost within budget while seeing maximum returns from your spending? 

Read on to discover 7 sure-fire tips to help you!

Reducing your eCommerce Customer Acquisition Costs: 7 Tips for You

Reducing your eCommerce Customer Acquisition Costs: 7 Tips for You

1. A/B test your campaigns: The best way to improve your marketing efforts to reduce cost is to perform A/B tests. 

This means testing elements such as:

  • Your Google and social media ads
  • Your website copy
  • Your landing pages
  • Etc. 

2. Run retargeting ads on website visitors: Customers who land on your website are probably already interested in your products. 

By retargeting these, you not only have a greater chance of converting them, but you also spend less to acquire them. 

3. Leverage customer reviews: Reviews are a great way to help you discover what your customers are saying about your products. This way, you can understand your customer's behavior and what is working. 

Leverage customer reviews to reduce customer acquisition costs

4. Display social proof: Social proof effectively converts new customers. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to leverage them. 

By providing proof of your products using your existing customers, you can convert new ones at a low cost. 

5. Use a chatbox for lead generation: With chat boxes, you can respond to your customers' needs and inquiries around the clock without spending much on human customer agents. 

6. Leverage marketing automation: eCommerce automation is a goldmine to any eCommerce marketer. 

For example, setting up an automated email marketing campaign can offer the double advantage of reaching your customers while reducing the cost of acquisition. 

7. Optimize Google ad campaigns: You also want to track and optimize your Google ad campaigns for the best results. 

Now That You Know

If you aim to acquire new customers, convert them, and get the best ROI, your Customer acquisition strategy must be on point! 

In other words, leveraging the best marketing channels and top strategies that generate the best results is non-negotiable.

And with a great customer acquisition strategy, you can expect to reduce your customer acquisition cost, retain more customers, and increase revenue for your business in the long run.

Hopefully, our guide on eCommerce customer acquisition helps you along the way!

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