Success Hacks — 13 Apr 2022
Online Customer Acquisition 2022
If 2021 was a year of cautious rebuilding for businesses, 2022 looks to be one of resurgence. Over the past year, marketers not only showed they could roll with the punches but embraced transformation moving forward.
We find ourselves in a complex and changing space as we approach the new year – but we also find ourselves more resilient. Thanks to advances in digital commerce and marketing analytics, many businesses are now better-placed for lead generation than they were before the pandemic.
From building a strong framework for lead generation via partnership marketing to meeting customers where they are via mobile and AR technologies, we’ve examined some of the top trends that will help you gain customers and boost conversion rates in 2022.
Customer acquisition describes the process of creating new customer relationships, whether this is convincing consumers to make a purchase or moving them down the acquisition funnel from awareness to decision-making.
This can be achieved via a variety of strategies, both online and off. Online customer acquisition is most effective when incorporating cross-channel campaigns, including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, affiliate or partnership marketing, influencer marketing, and email marketing.
Acquisition and conversion may sound like synonyms, but when it comes to spending your marketing budget, the difference can be game-changing. In fact, they refer to two distinct areas of the acquisition funnel.
Acquisition marketing means investing in finding new customers. This is the core of marketing and relies on bringing new visitors to your eCommerce store. Typical methods of acquisition include ads to encourage click-throughs to landing pages, alongside content marketing and SEO to increase organic traffic.
However, as site traffic increases, so does the disparity between the number of consumers visiting the site and those who make a purchase. This is where conversion comes in.
Conversion marketing is an investment in optimizing the customer experience to convert visitors into buyers. At this stage, marketers are less concerned with driving new traffic and more interested in making the most of existing engagement.
By investing in conversion marketing, companies can increase the percentage of site visitors who continue their journey down the sales funnel toward completion.
The customer acquisition funnel is a useful way of visualizing the customer journey, from the buyers’ first encounter with your brand all the way to conversion and beyond.
Its shape represents the large number of potential customers who become aware of a brand and the way they filter down to a smaller – but higher quality – number of actual customers.
The customer acquisition funnel is primarily concerned with bringing on new leads and guiding them toward making a purchase. It can help marketers form strategies tailored to the consumers’ needs at each stage of the journey.
Before you can transform your acquisition funnel for 2022, you need to get comfortable with how it works and what it represents. Start by sketching out a funnel shape – wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Then, divide your funnel into the following sections:
The buyer journey begins sooner than you might think, with consumers entering the sales funnel as soon as they become aware of your brand.
This could be the moment they see an advert for your product or find your name at the top of their search results page. Your business needs to understand where organic awareness of your brand comes from and invest in these channels.
It’s never too early to start building customer loyalty, so use those initial touchpoints, such as social media adverts or guest blog posts, as an opportunity to let your values shine.
The funnel narrows as it reaches the second stage: consideration. Not everyone who becomes aware of your brand will reach this stage, but those who do will be higher-quality leads.
At this stage, customers are keen to learn more about your products and make a value judgment as to whether they want to purchase from you. Your goal is to optimize the onsite experience, demonstrating value at every step of the consideration process.
The key to this is thorough and well-presented information, ensuring that customers’ questions are answered without overburdening them. Prioritize visual appeal and key features that will capture buyers’ imaginations.
Once consumers click “buy”, they have officially converted into customers.
At this point, your goal shifts to customer retention. Ensure the checkout process is smooth and reassuring, then follow up with a “thank you” landing page or email, offering a discount on their next purchase.
You can also use your new customers as an inroad to new acquisitions i.e. set up a referral program and let your customers bring fresh buyers to the top of your acquisition funnel.
While the key tenets of the acquisition funnel are absolute, the strategies your business builds around it should take recent events and ongoing developments into consideration.
Below are some of the key considerations to take into account as you create your digital marketing strategy for the coming year.
While society is slowly moving toward a more familiar milieu, the constant evolution of the virus is a reminder that we can’t take stability for granted. As such, business is more agile and dynamic than ever, with processes in place in case of future lockdowns.
One aspect of this is the relocalization of businesses. Companies in a post-COVID climate are finding new pride in providing for their locale. This is reflected by an upsurge in local domains – for example, companies based in the UAE switching their sites to an ae registrar.
When it comes to online marketing, one of the biggest effects is tone: adverts that seem too self-serving come across as tone-deaf in a post-crisis world. Instead, ensure your messaging is aligned with the needs and emotions of your customers.
Messaging that once revolved around growth and innovation could be repitched to focus on stability, resilience, and cost-effectiveness as your customer base cautiously rebuild their lives.
According to KPMG, 69% of large companies surveyed during the pandemic expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they’d be using going forward. This ongoing shift to hybrid modes of work has changed our perception of a marketing team once and for all.
As employees learn new ways to communicate and collaborate, companies are widening their nets for new hires, no longer constrained by geographical nearness and commutability. With international experts readily available via webinar or HD call, employers can now focus entirely on sourcing top talent.
Physical stores are getting back to business, but 51% of shoppers’ overall spending will be online in the post-COVID era.
This makes having a truly excellent eCommerce store more important than ever. Strategic eCommerce marketers need to see their homepage as a storefront in its own right. Just as a physical shop needs to be kept tidy, clean, and welcoming, so does an online store.
This pushes digital marketing techniques such as social media advertising and email marketing to the fore. While fewer buyers are likely to benefit from big billboards and in-store promotions, many more are now searching for discount codes to spend online.
The widespread excitement about machine learning in marketing has also led to an upsweep in ai domains and has proven an effective means of improving sales quotas.
Artificial intelligence and automation can help sales and marketing teams gather and analyze valuable data on existing and potential customers, allowing them to strategize around buyers’ actual needs.
If technology has brought us this far, it’s about to go a lot further. According to IBM, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation at 59% of organizations, with 66% having completed tech-forward initiatives that previously encountered resistance.
This is symbolic of a wider culture shift, with executives at all levels becoming more trusting of technological advances and keen to see the benefits of digital transformation.
With the ever-evolving global situation, marketers need to stay on their toes, keeping messaging relevant and taking advantage of newly available technologies.
Whether you’re adapting to eCommerce, sketching out a partnership marketing strategy, or planning a new product launch for 2022, here are 10 top trends that will help drive sales.
From Siri and Alexa to Google’s Assistant, AI is all around us – and increasingly reliant on voice search. With the voice assistant speaker market estimated to reach $4 billion in 2022, it looks like this trend will soon reach new heights.
Marketing for voice search can be tricky, with new keywords and phrases to rank for in SEO. Simple phrases such as “car repair” will be increasingly outranked by full sentences like “where can I get my car repaired in LA”.
In the longer term, this trend will benefit marketers, with rich data based on natural language. Search queries will reveal more about users’ intent and allow brands to strategize more specifically to target audiences’ needs.
With consumers unable to visit stores and salons in person during the pandemic, the frustration around purchasing something not-quite-right became tangible. In response, brands got creative, allowing customers to tailor their orders to their tastes online.
From questionnaires to online design studios, customers are gaining a sense of exclusivity from their digital experience. It’s not just buyers that benefit – by adding custom input, consumers are passing on rich data about their preferences, which can be used to target future campaigns.
A 2021 survey found 50% of consumers are more willing to share personal data after the pandemic, especially if they know it’s contributing to a net good for the community.
This is great news for marketers, but it’s important to remain sensitive – 51% of those surveyed said trust in the company collecting data was key to their willingness to share. It’s important to remain transparent and educate site users on how their data is informing algorithms.
IT leaders, too, will face challenges as the attitude to data sharing shifts. AI systems will need to be effectively scaled for the oncoming increase in input. Investing in robust database tools and effective data transfer for partner marketing will become more important than ever.
Increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence can improve the functionality of your website across the customer experience. A well-placed chatbot can boost affiliate marketing, enhance business communications, and provide customer support services.
With instant responses to common customer questions and the ability to create informative reports based on interactions, chatbots will save businesses both time and money, allowing a smaller team of customer service agents to focus on the queries that need a human touch.
Chatbots are also able to improve user experience by gathering feedback, defining which FAQs are most commonly asked, suggesting product recommendations, and informing buyers about special offers – all in real-time.
If customers’ expectations don’t match the product they unpack, it could result in a costly process of refunding or replacing items.
Enter augmented reality. While viewing the product on a mobile device, users can gain an idea of what it would look like in their homes or even on their bodies. This helps customers feel like they’re making a fully informed decision.
While this technology has traditionally been out of reach for startups and small businesses due to costly equipment, the increased accessibility of AR headsets and “VR lite” applications such as Facebook’s 360° videos are making this a trend to watch.
Pinterest may not be at the top of your social media marketing priorities for 2022, but they do have one breakthrough that will change the game for marketers: Lens. This visual search tool allows users to take a photo of a real-world object and search for similar products available online.
With 2.5 billion home and fashion objects recognized by the system, Pinterest has inspired over 600 million Lens searches, and perhaps altered the way we shop online for good. Furthermore, 62% of millennials want to start using visual search over other search types.
Marketers can prepare themselves for the new wave of visual searches by updating their product pages with clear, high-quality photos from multiple angles.
With the vast range of marketing channels available, it may seem strange that the tide is turning back toward single-channel sales points such as Amazon. However, in terms of the customer acquisition funnel, this is key: while customers may be drawn in from several channels, they’re all guided to the same endpoint.
Omnichannel marketing doesn’t mean scrapping your social presence but rather using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as a base for potential customers to click through to your site from, rather than as sales platforms in their own right.
To build a strong omnichannel marketing campaign, you’ll need to manage your marketing data effectively across multiple channels and integrate them into a single cohesive brand experience.
Content remains key to engaging potential customers and building a trusting relationship, but in this day and age, it doesn’t have to mean a blog post or infographic. Personalized experiences elicit an emotional response from users and keep them engaged for longer
With the rise of TikTok, where users collaborate and converse via short video posts, interactive content is becoming an expectation. A well-designed quiz, product selection engine, or user-generated content campaign is likely to keep viewers engaged and help them feel personally invested in your brand.
While cryptocurrency started as a gamble, it has now become ubiquitous, with credit cards offered by Coinbase and Crypto.com and PayPal offering it as a payment option. Blockchain is here to stay, and it could revolutionize partner marketing.
While most display advertising is currently monopolized by Google and Facebook, the surge of blockchain-based alternatives such as the Brave browser offers new options. Consumers can choose which ads they want to see and receive cryptocurrency in compensation for the number of ads they view.
In time, this could lead to a new model for marketers, with customers actively engaging in the offers and adverts they want to see. Marketing teams would be challenged to create pleasing visuals and desirable offers but also to target these more carefully, ensuring their investment is placed only in front of those who are likely to pay it back.
Mobile commerce isn’t a new trend, but the way consumers and sellers are interacting with it is changing. During the COVID pandemic, time spent on smartphones increased by 45%.
This led to a rise in mobile commerce via apps and mobile sites, creating important new metrics for eCommerce success and generating a wealth of rich data for marketers to analyze.
With the rise of voice and visual search via phone assistants and digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, purchasing via phone can be a snap decision – and you want to be sure buyers’ decisions lead them down the acquisition funnel.
It’s critical for marketers to stay abreast of shifting trends in mobile and optimize the functionality of their mobile app and site to meet these.
Despite uncertainty in recent years, the future is bright for brands and agencies.
Buyers’ needs and expectations have shifted to fit a new normal, so we must change our strategies to better guide them toward making a purchase.
By calling on the latest technologies, we can stay ahead of the ever-evolving game. However, not all marketing trends are technological – the human touch remains crucial to build and maintain customer trust as we move forward together.
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