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Customer acquisition in the B2C sector - everything you need to know

Although not particularly popular with most salespeople, acquiring new customers is an elementary part of every company, whether B2C or B2B. If you don't know how to find new customers, you won't have anyone to retain later on - a well thought-out customer approach with targeted measures to acquire new customers is therefore essential to survive in today's market environment.

First things first: What is customer acquisition?

New customer acquisition aims to expand the existing customer base with additional buyers, which in the best case leads to an increase in sales. All strategies and opportunities for acquiring new customers, whether online or offline, are part of the customer acquisition portfolio. Customer acquisition is divided into warm and cold acquisition.

In warm acquisition, a person has already had initial contact with your company. For example, you can also wake up your sleeping customers and reactivate them with customer retention. In this case, the customer acquisition costs are significantly lower than with cold acquisition, which involves targeting people who have had no previous contact with your business. Of course, the added value that is conveyed is essential for both customer acquisition methods.

The aim of every customer acquisition should therefore be to retain newly acquired customers in the long term using customer loyalty methods. The customer value can be used to determine whether the investment in customer acquisition or new customer acquisition has paid off.

This analysis method can be used to classify customers into different segments in order to target marketing efforts more effectively. At the same time, it can be used to determine whether the investment in a customer has paid off or whether the acquisition process needs to be adjusted.

Incidentally, customer acquisition does not always have to involve completely new customers - leads that have already existed for some time can also be addressed with a targeted acquisition measure, especially in the B2B sector.

Every step you take...

Since customer acquisition is not a detached task, you should be aware that every decision your company makes and every communication influences your brand reputation.

Future customers often form an impression of your company and your offer before they even intend to buy something from you. This can happen consciously by actively searching for information or passively via posts and comments on social media, newspaper articles or through family and friends.

In any case, the decisive factor is the customer benefit that is continuously conveyed at the individual touchpoints for the respective target group or potential customers.

Acquiring new customers in the B2C sector

Acquiring customers in the B2C sector is not that straightforward these days. The target group (in contrast to B2B, where the focus is on corporate customers) are end consumers and therefore private individuals who do not always make rational purchasing decisions.

The big advantage over B2B customers is that B2C customers usually require less advice to decide on one of your products. This means that you have to plan fewer resources in this regard. However, you need to pay more attention to the individual needs of your customers. More and more end consumers are focusing on transparency and open communication.

The competition in customer acquisition

Today's markets are flooded with offers, people are overloaded with influences and decisions they have to make every day. A common mistake in marketing is to only focus on your direct competitors. However, your potential customers are not only distracted by market players offering similar products, but also by indirect competition and their own human nature.

Let's assume someone is looking for a service or product that you offer. This person is now not only weighing up which provider is the best, cheapest or most promising, but also whether they should buy a new memory card instead of the new perfume because they need it more urgently at the moment. Does the person want to buy a new perfume, do they need a new perfume at all or will they be fine without it for the next few weeks?

The human decision-making process is an extremely complicated one and many personality and life circumstances play a decisive role here.

As a result, the competitor of Douglas (the perfume supplier) is not its direct competitor dm, nor its indirect competitor Media Markt (as a supplier of memory cards), but quite simply the customer himself or herself, with all the influences that have an impact on a purchase decision.

Indifference, ambivalence, timidity and procrastination can also be factors influencing a purchase decision, as can direct and indirect competitors in the market.

Customer acquisition - Definition cold calling vs. warm calling

Definition: Customer acquisition via cold calling

As described above, cold calling involves approaching potential customers who have had no previous contact with your company. The classic and probably best-known method is telephone canvassing. Thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was introduced in Germany in 2018, acquiring new customers from private individuals has become much more complicated for commercial parties - for example, express consent must first be obtained from the private individual before making a phone call, sending a cover letter or a newsletter!

Excursus: Cold calling code

Imagine the following scenario: Today you're going on a romantic blind date to a magical restaurant. After the waiter or waitress has seated you at the table, your date gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring: "Will you marry me?"!

What emotions does this trigger in you? Most people would probably say no, embarrassed or angry, and leave the venue in shock. Cold calling is similar when customers are approached without good preparation. Nobody wants to be caught off guard. Therefore, build a bridge between you as a provider and your desired customers.


Our tips for successful cold calling

  • Find out about your counterpart!

  • Never open the door (or the advertising flyer) directly!

  • Never go into a conversation with a direct sales intention!

  • Approach cautiously!

  • Arouse interest and sympathy!

  • Place your offer skillfully and unobtrusively!

  • Put your feelers out carefully and check from time to time to see what stage of the buying process your customers are currently in!

Remember: Someone who is interested will approach you on their own or even recommend your service or product to others.


Definition: Customer acquisition via warm acquisition

If someone has already experienced several touchpoints with your company before a business relationship, the customer acquisition of this person falls under the category of warm acquisition. These touchpoints can be, for example, by requesting a free service such as a test sample from your website or after a visit to a trade fair. Alternatively, contact can also be made indirectly through your own network, such as family, friends and acquaintances.

Regardless of how customers are acquired, the goal of any customer acquisition should be long-term loyalty to your company. The future of customer acquisition therefore lies in relationship marketing, in which there is a give and take between companies and customers (you can find tips on strengthening your customer relationships here!).

How to acquire new customers? Methods, tips and tricks!

There are numerous methods and tips for acquiring new customers. It is important that you choose the approaches that suit you and your company - these will ultimately offer the best chances of success and have the highest conversion rate.

  • Know your market and your target group!

  • Topic USP (Unique Selling Proposition): How does your company stand out from the competition? Define the unique selling proposition of your offer for your relevant target group!

  • Put your customers' trust in you and your company at the top of your agenda!

  • Have a company-wide strategy that everyone adheres to!

  • Find the right marketing mix of offline and online measures for your leads!

  • Move with the times and don't shy away from digital approaches!

  • Stop searching: Let your customers come to you (keyword: inbound marketing)!

  • Use referral marketing for yourself by using your existing customers for acquisition!

  • Customer testimonials and reviews speak for you, so acquire success stories and ratings!

  • Make an effort to acquire the customers you have already won and retain them in the long term (especially in the B2B context)!


The eternal duel: Customer acquisition vs. customer retention!

As you have already read, customer acquisition is a time-consuming task that can take up a large part of your budget and time. Once you have built up an initial customer base, it is therefore worth focusing on your regular customers.

They are already loyal to you - so you have gained their trust. In addition to the fact that they are more forgiving of mistakes and are ideal brand ambassadors for your company to regularly bring new customers to your business, they also have a high cost advantage for you. You generally have to invest less money in marketing measures for them and they generate higher sales for your business in the long term.

Playfully win new customers with gamification!

Everyone has a play instinct. We love to compete with our fellow human beings, to master tasks and achieve goals. It gives us a sense of achievement - an emotional kick that can help companies to acquire customers.

"Man is only fully human where he plays".
What Schiller already knew in the 19th century can be put to good use in modern marketing.

Gamification is the key!

To give a customer loyalty program a playful effect, tricks from the games industry are used to create a game dynamic. These tricks are so-called game mechanics such as points, challenges, ranking lists, cups and levels.

These approaches evoke emotions in users and thus create a game dynamic similar to a competition. The resulting enjoyment increases motivation and engagement and captivates players, making them forget any sense of time.

The Swiss department store chain Manor, for example, capitalized on the hype for Pokémon Go in 2016: due to the high density of people, Pokémons could be found en masse in the stores, which attracted numerous customers. The company also rewarded customers who shared screenshots of the most unusual monsters on Instagram with the hashtag "PokéManor" with a shopping voucher.

Customers engage with the brand or product in a playful way. The best case that can occur is that the fun of the tasks leads to a higher interaction rate and thus to stronger customer loyalty, additional purchases and recommendations. It also allows companies to revitalize and rejuvenate their image and present themselves in a more modern light.

However, it is important to note that all these ideas and games should not distract from the actual purchase, but merely support the buying process. Therefore, gamification should be used sparingly during the actual purchase and rather be limited to the pre- and after-sales phases.

Conclusion - Customer acquisition

Digital and innovative: Customer acquisition must be rethought!

There is no universal solution for customer acquisition, but acquiring new customers is no longer a closed book. For many, however, it remains a huge hurdle that needs to be overcome. New and young entrepreneurs in particular are often very reluctant to actively tackle this topic at the beginning.

We have presented the most important strategies and approaches in our article and, thanks to the rapid pace of digitalization, there are tools for many of these techniques that can be used to automate a large part of the acquisition process.

Acquiring new customers is like a living organism. First look at your ACTUAL and TARGET. Based on this, select the most suitable strategies for you according to your resources and implement them.

If you regularly monitor your key figures, the next step is to adapt your sales and marketing to the results and continue to shape your processes. As this is an ongoing process, you should optimize this process regularly.

See customer acquisition as the basic prerequisite for your company-building activities. It is the cornerstone of your company's success and you must integrate it into your sales activities and establish an efficient acquisition process in order to maximize your closing rates!

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