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Email Marketing Automation, Pt 2: Acquiring New Customers

The art of acquiring new customers

Last time, we kicked off our email marketing automation series with an introduction to the who-knows-how-many benefits of automated campaigns.

In this second instalment, we’re sharing some tricks of the trade we’ve helped brands employ when acquiring new customers – with email marketing as their trusty sidekick.

The need for new customer acquisition is a fact of life. To nurture your existing customers, you need to have existing customers to begin with.

But chasing new customers day in, day out is a tried and tested recipe for customer churn – and not your unavoidable, acceptable levels of churn. The kind of churn that will see you chasing new customers forever.

So, with that disclaimer out there, read on in the knowledge that customer acquisition should be one prong in your three-pronged attack – with customer retention and customer expansion enjoying their fair share of your time, effort and resources.

Make joining your mailing list irresistible

The universal first step towards acquiring new customers via email is getting your hands on that (freely given) email address.

Needless to say, this involves making your email capture forms as visible as possible – by which we mean eye-catching and abundant. You want striking calls-to-action and lots of them.

The caveat here is that they need to live somewhere natural and logical. Be that nestled permanently in your site’s header or footer, or strategically inserted into custom landing pages and relevant blog posts.

More than that, though, you need to make it worth their while. Members of your mailing list became part of your tribe for a reason.

That reason may be the promise of useful resources and tools, priority access to sales and other special offers, exclusive discounts and freebies – the list goes on. Avoid unsubscribes by making a compelling promise – and keeping it.

Acquiring new customers with trust through must-have content

Exclusive content access is one such promise proven to capture leads. Building brand trust is a hard-fought campaign – but once earned, trust is the foundation of community engagement.

Use your business’s collective expertise to create content that solves the problems you know your customers have. You can deduce that potential customers share these problems and will be similarly grateful for any problem-solving resources you’re able to share.

From ebooks, white papers and case studies to checklists, interactive tools and webinars. There are limitless options for creating value-adding content that will show your customers you know what they need. And that you’re prepared to deliver it.

For shoppers still in the comparison phase of their browsing experience. Stand head-and-shoulders above the competition by putting customers ahead of conversions in these crucial early stages. Rest assured this goodwill pays dividends in the end.

Sweeten the deal with exclusive discounts

Price is a key decision-making factor for the vast majority of online shoppers – generally offset against quality. Perceived value for money is a powerful thing.

If the price point of your products is causing hesitation among would-be customers, a discount for first-time customers could give you the leg up on this hurdle.

Offering new customers a percentage discount on their first order, perhaps combined with free next-day delivery, gives cautious shoppers the nudge they need to opt in for the first time.

From there, there are countless ways to cross-sell, upsell and straight-up sell to your existing customers. Make sure you learn and then leverage what motivates them to buy.

Again, visibility plays a vital role in using discounts to drive customer acquisition. Who’s going to be lured by a discount they don’t know exists or applies to them? Shout about your first-time customer offers from the rooftops. Use on-site banners, exit popups and automated email marketing campaigns triggered upon email signup. 

The focus should be – Leave no window shopper behind. However, be careful that you aren’t acquiring new customers that are only hanging around for discounts.

Broadcast hot new product launches

While you’re up there, don’t forget to make some noise about any new and upcoming product launches. Each new release could be that perfect, problem-solving product one of your subscribers has been waiting for – the ultimate incentive to convert.

It’s easy to forget that driving sales involves a partnership between your marketing function and your business offering.

Email marketing automation is a highly powerful tool for warming subscribers into customers, and customers into repeat customers – but it’s your products these campaigns are built on. And you can take the toil out of converting by handing new product launches to your mailing list on a plate.

Say no to customer abandonment

Cart abandonment emails are a hugely popular sales tool used by businesses across the globe – the idea being to scoop up purchases from potential customers who added products to their online baskets but ‘forgot’ to buy (a likely story).

While these emails have their place within an automated email marketing campaign, their failing is that they treat the symptom rather than the cause.

When acquiring new customers, consider what might be holding prospective customers back from converting. The fact remains that the cart in question couldn’t seal the deal the first time around – so why focus your resources on the cart? Why focus on the customer?

Customer abandonment is the cause that results in cart abandonment (the symptom). Compare the revenue lost from a single online basket to the hypothetical lifetime value of a loyal customer and knowing where to focus your efforts is a no-brainer.

Create a sales cycle with referral programmes

Exponential sales growth is the holy grail of marketing objectives. It’s also something many savvy brands have achieved thanks to the advent of referral programmes, wherein existing customers are rewarded for referring their friends.

The built-in virality of these systems creates a kind of perpetual motion machine, as your customers graciously do the hard work for you.

Harness automated email marketing to let existing customers know they’ll be entitled to an exclusive discount or freebie when they refer a friend. They refer their friend and receive their reward. Their friend, now a customer of your business, refers a friend and receives their reward. The cycle continues. Sales grow exponentially.

Of course, there’s huge potential for drop-off here once the customer in question has claimed their freebie. Many new customers will inevitably opt in to redeem their reward and then promptly wash their hands of you.

For this reason, it’s crucial to view referral programmes as the first step in a chain of customer-nurturing activity. Loyal customers are rarely won through referral schemes alone.

Harness the power of A/B testing

Until a customer converts for the first time, it’s impossible to know their unique decision-making criteria. How could you? That criteria hasn’t been met yet.

A/B testing is an extremely popular (and indeed powerful) mechanism for trialling variations of landing pages, sales copy, visual assets and, of course, email campaigns. Through these trials, you can find the ingredients that, when combined, produce a recipe for success.

From subject lines, headlines and calls-to-action to imagery, layout and tone of voice, each and every facet of your automated email campaign can be put to the test and measured. With the support of audience segmentation, you can show different versions of your campaign to different users. From there, you can optimise future campaigns based on what you know works. The resulting data holds immense power.

With this great power comes great responsibility, though. One fatal error so many businesses make is treating A/B (or split) testing like an eternal ongoing process – forgetting that its sole purpose is to help you identify what does and doesn’t work through a sophisticated form of trial and error.

Once the data deities have spoken, you have your refined process ready to be implemented – so implement it.

With any luck, these best practices will be the springboard your business needs to acquire new customers with ease. As always, though, by knowing who your loyal customers are and where they came from, you can make finding valuable new customers far easier and more cost-effective.

Next, we’ll be sinking our teeth into our favourite topic: customer expansion. Your existing customer base is absolutely rife with untapped value. We’ll help you change that.

See you next time.

Your new customers are waiting for you – let’s find them together

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