Acquiring new customers at an acceptable cost is becoming a huge challenge for many catalog companies and eCommerce retailers.
A common complaint among catalogers that are accustomed to leveraging co-op databases for low-cost prospecting is that their models are performing less effectively and response rates have decreased, driving up their customer acquisition costs. And even in digital marketing, brands have found that increased competition in PPC advertising has resulted in higher acquisition costs and often fewer customers acquired than in prior years.
This means we need to develop some creative strategies for growing new customer acquisition outside of PPC and co-ops. Here are four low-cost ideas that some innovative companies are leveraging to find new customers:
1. Partner with a brand that aligns with your customer base to mutually promote each other’s products via email. The non-competitive partnership should be structured upon a mutually agreed upon customer segment and universe count. For example:
• A vitamin or skincare company could team up with a women’s apparel line.
• A gourmet food delivery service could align with a brand that sells kitchen tools or baking supplies.
2. Partner with a monthly subscription delivery service and include samples or offers in their outgoing packages. This is a modern spin on the old-school PIP (package insert program) and cost should be minimal if you reciprocate. These are wins for both companies because customers love surprises and extras in their packages. Happy customers are more likely to remain loyal. For example:
• Beverage brands should include a sample (think tea bag or electrolyte powder packet) in a gourmet meal delivery subscription box. In fact, a fitness-related beverage line could even partner with athletic wear companies and include a sample in the customer order shipments.
• Wine companies can add a card with a unique try-me code to track conversions.
• Gluten-free brands can partner with curated food subscription boxes to get their product out in front of consumers for sampling.
3. Borrow from a famous make-up brand’s loyalty program. Partner with several manufacturers or brands to offer a rotating list of freebies with a set minimum order threshold. Key takeaways:
• The manufacturer or brand supplies you with the samples at no charge. They’re happy to do because it means brand exposure for them, especially if they are a niche brand.
• The minimum order motivates the customer to spend more to get the freebies.
• You’re already paying to pack and ship the order so any incremental shipping expense is minimal.
• Create customer goodwill. Customers love getting something for free. It gives them a reason to open your emails and keep coming back to your site.
4. Develop a sampling program. Savvy brands include free samples in outgoing packages to encourage customers and prospects to try new product lines.
• The free samples could be the difference between gaining or losing a sale when potential customers are also considering competitor offers.
• Everyone loves a deal. Including free samples is a way to offer something extra without resorting to discounting and eroding your brand.
• Samples can also be polybagged in catalogs or glued to the catalog page.
Your customer acquisition goal this year should be to test up to 10 prospecting ideas, knowing that only one or two might be home runs. You won’t know what works for your business unless you test. Be open to new ideas and make sure you can track and evaluate results.
Contact us today if your customer acquisition program could use some new ideas and creative thinking.
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