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26th June 2012
I struggled with writing this for so long, because I couldn't make sense of it. It seems intuitive enough until I tried to apply it to any projects we work on. Most of the time, every customer acquisition is meticulously planned (after much R&D) from a marketing programme where the cost of every sale (or acquisition) is known (or at least the parameters). But, mostly, we treat online sales as discreet. Even though people have a shopping cart, they rarely fill it. Certainly, this isn't the rule for all sites. I don't know what the %'s are.
Branded search is something we don't have to worry about - unless it’s going down. We're mostly involved in new customer acquisition. It's quite often assumed that a good product will become a great brand and people will return. But we don't take this for granted, so here's a look at how we shore up our customer acquisition systems so that we don't have to worry about it:
1. Have a presence
Make sure you have a presence everywhere and anywhere whenever your clients go looking. Easier said than done but as people use different search phrases (due to memory, predictive search, typos or trying to find something new) - you need to expand the breadth of your websites rank.
2. There are customers who buy today and customers who visit today but buy next time!
So make sure they find you. Make sure you own your brand online as much as you can.
3. Own the depth of rank
Ranking number one for branded and generic search isn't enough. The best companies also compete in AdWords. The worst argument is this one: "Our clients don't click on AdWords". They do and your competition will remain eternally grateful that you're ignoring this. Don't just take my word for this - contact us and we'll get you a free €50 AdWords voucher and have Google create an account for you so you can see for yourself!
4. Build a broad off site content network
Sites like Youtube aren't just for fun. Youtube has over 2 billion searches a day. What if your clients are looking to replace you? Make sure they get the right information by publishing content in video and also by using PR and other websites. Good hotels are proud of their Trip Advisor ranks!
Stay in touch with people but don't spam them. Recognise that it costs more to reach out and convert a new lead than to make an existing one happy. Offer genuine value that makes them feel recognised. Consumers know when a deal suits you and not them and will reward you appropriately by ignoring you and potentially departing. Keep customers who buy certain products in different mailing lists so that you hit them with the most relevant products, offers and rewards - and so that you can target cross-selling appropriately, not randomly. Not all news letters are equal though - and to ensure you meet the stringent laws governing privacy and data protection, while also ensuring the best open rates we strongly recommend using a service like Newsletter.ie
6. Use Social Media to recycle traffic
People who swing by your site to see what you are up to shouldn't be discarded. Get them to share your content, products and services via their preferred social network or better, to sign up to your Facebook or Google+ account. Keep them there by offering a genuinely good reason to stick around.
7. Don't forget your value proposition.
This means soliciting your user base for feedback as to how good this is.