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Article 5 min read

Marketing: how to improve customer acquisition

Last updated February 13, 2023

We are forever being reminded that retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than going out and proactively trying to attract new customers. But at the same time, we are told that new customers are the lifeblood of any successful enterprise. So which is it?

Truth is, it is very much both. You need to win new customers and keep a hold of the old. But the fact remains that customer acquisition is an expensive process that needs to be refined and perfected all the time. While a massive part of that is about optimising your customer services, much of it is also about knowing where to focus your messaging. This article explores how business marketers can use multi-channel marketing to attract new clients in a cost-effective way for their business.

First of all, for the uninitiated, what is multi channel marketing and what is multi-channel communication? Firstly, consider how your business connects and sells to customers. Hopefully, you are serving them in the selling environments that suit their specific shopping needs. These might include a dedicated brand website, a multi-seller online marketplace, a physical store or a catalogue.

Multi-channel marketing is much the same. It is about messaging your customers in the places where they consume their information. Traditionally that meant promoting your products or services through direct mail, magazine adverts, radio and TV ads. However, in the modern context, multi channel marketing is concerned with digital consumption. Promotional messaging goes out on social media, by text messages, on the brand website, in brand emails, through online video campaigns and more.

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How are your customers consuming information?

The multi channel approach has to be different for each business based on the media consumption of their specific customers. For example, the promotional campaign of specialist academic software aimed at university professors will not be the same as the campaign of a new soft drink aimed at teenagers. The former could make better use of the digital news sites attached to legacy print media and professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Conversely, the brand promoting the soft drink might want to create content for the video platforms YouTube and dedicated content for Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.

The multi channel examples detailed here are different because the people they are appealing to have different consumption behaviours within the wider digital ecosystem. This shouldn’t be guesswork either. You can research where your target customers are spending their time and adjust your targeting accordingly. YouTube’s own research revealed that “Viewers aged 18 and over spend 41.9 minutes on YouTube daily”. That’s across the dedicated app, mobile browsers, desktop browsers and smart TVs. If it turns out your customers align with this group then YouTube content is more likely to be effective.

This article is tasked with showing you how to improve your customer acquisition through multi channel marketing, so let’s get to the things you can do.

Audit your existing channels

First of all, be selective and work out your customer acquisition cost. Being on every channel will take up valuable time and resources. Many companies look at the platforms they are already using and evaluate their existing levels of engagement. Create some clickable content on all the platforms, maybe an enticing giveaway, and calculate the engagement as a percentage of the total audience.

For email marketing, this would be the number of clicks out of the total database of subscribers; for Facebook, this would be the number of clicks as a percentage of your page followers. With a little clever mathematics, you will be able to discern which digital mediums are providing the best levels of engagement for your product or service.

If you offer multiple products and services you might find the engagement differs from platform to platform. By repeating this test with different messages you will be able to see how to more effectively use your multi-channel marketing in the future.

Learn from the best

But don’t stop there. Take the time to learn from others. The best multi-channel marketing campaign examples include the US pharmaceutical and convenience store CVS who focused on the consumer experience in their dedicated app. After realising the use of the CVS app was up during the pandemic, they reconfigured their engagement and messaging to reflect a real ‘store’ experience introducing push notification and an on-demand customer services chat feature.

Consumer electronics giant Apple has shifted slowly but surely towards primarily serving its customers’ buying needs online and through the dedicated app, while turning its stores into showrooms and demonstration spaces. The consumer online experience holds a record of previous purchases and offers personalised recommendations based on the Apple devices the consumer already owns. This type of multi-channel marketing takes advantage of knowing where customers want to engage with the brand, then uses the power of technology to augment that experience to their exact requirements.

Lastly, the vacation rental company VRBO harnessed the power of social media to create striking and emotional images that users would respond to. By resharing users tagged images, the company’s content was relatable and accessible, giving scrollers what they wanted to see and getting them in the mood for vacations. VRBO also used the words typed into its app search to understand what its customers were looking for, then used that information to promote destinations and rentals that might appeal directly to them, even when they were just casually browsing. This tailored multi-channel approach was part of a wider strategy that saw search traffic jump by 15% year on year and led the brand to outperform Airbnb for the first time.

Embrace specialist tools

Multi channel marketing is a lot easier with dedicated expertise and specialist technology at your disposal. Zendesk offers special tools that can help your organisation streamline marketing and communications. When your customer service agents and marketing team can focus on the most effective and engaged channels, and work from a cross-department toolset, they can work in total harmony.
As our examples above have shown, an effective strategy can reduce friction, allow for all-important personalisation, and offer potential customers the opportunity to engage with the brand. With less repetition and duplication and greater customer experience, everyone wins. This is the way we make better sales, happier staff and increased customer acquisition.

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