Night’s fallen but the big man refuses to stop driving. His blonde companion is asleep in the front seat, quietly snoring into his flannel. Since leaving Sandusky, Ohio, they’ve been on the road for almost a month.
Their mission is critical.
If they don’t scare up some new business, it’s the end. They need to reach Minnesota before daybreak to keep schedule and make their sales meeting. His determined grip on the wheel reflects the determination of Tommy Callahan himself.
He’s not sure how he’s going to make convince them, he just know he’s going to do it. He’s going to acquire one customer after the next because he needs to raise money and save father’s auto parts factory. All he’s got going for him is his good will, his family name, and his drive to succeed.
Why am I rehashing the storyline to the 1995 movie Tommy Boy?
Yes, because Chris Farley is hilarious. But also because customer acquisition sometimes feel like driving in the dark, like you’re not sure what’s going to work – you just know it needs to work. And you know you’re going to make it happen one way or the other.
And kinda’ like Tommy Boy, brands must put their best foot forward with customers and hope for the best. Nonetheless, digital marketing takes more than a road trip and a good story.
It takes a multi-channel strategy with effective messaging at every touchpoint. But as Chris Farley and David Spade showed us, a solid brand story and persistent efforts will convince the audience that yes, you are the one to do business with.
Now, let’s take a ride through 13 customer acquisition examples from leading software and retail brands. Take heart and take ideas from these proven ways to engage customers, convert new buyers, and drive revenue.
#1 Influencer Marketing – H&M
For the fast-fashion retailer H&M, pairing up with TheWeeknd was a power move. The brand’s Instagram takes a full-page spread out to promote their affiliation, effectively showcasing their clothing both on and off the superstar singer. H&M’s youthful messaging aligns perfectly with the singer’s name, which no doubt reaches the ears and hearts of many a shopper. Here’s a prime example of smart influencer marketing alignment masterfully executed and to great effect (50k+ likes per post). Because consumers trust influencers, this massive-scale effort is sure to bring in some new business.
#2 Live Website Chat – ASOS
British mega-retailer ASOS uses their live chat in an appropriate, impressive fashion. With stylists standing by, website visitors can inquire about fittings, sizes, colors, and the best way to match an outfit. While customers feel appreciated and enjoy a surpassing brand experience, the company reaps higher profits from helping more visitors get into an outfit that works for them. Using the stylist’s name is clutch, as is posting a thumbnail and asking for the upvote/downvote at any time. Would-be customers and returning customers alike are sure to appreciate such features.
#3 Advocacy Lists – Lululemon
Lululemon makes good with their Instagram page by asking customers to share actual photos of themselves in their gear. This campaign succeeds because it’s built from the active brand lifestyle, showing viewers that the sportswear brand is great for both exercise and casual use. Using brand advocates and user-generated content is a great way to engage customers, reinforce brand loyalty, all while recommending the brand to social media onlookers. Social proof? Check. Clean design with relevant repurposing on the website? Check. That’s customer advocacy done right.
#4 Email Automation – Sephora
In an automated effort to engage their email list, cosmetics company Sephora brand reroutes a sweepstakes offer through their Instagram. Who wouldn’t want a free trip to Paris with a pal? It’s smart to pull viewers from email into IG, therefore increasing engagement across platforms and helping to promote the brand. A nod of the head for making this email very actionable, including a bold, pink CTA for easy access and fun, playful visuals that communicate the playful possibilities and brand messaging. Extra kudos for siding with influencer Megan Hess and name-dropping AIR FRANCE for added pull. Customer acquisition can be fun, as this sweepstakes shows.
#5 PPC Advertising – Eloqua
Eloqua definitely knows their target audience. For B2B readers like you and moí, we see “Best Practices & Case Studies” and start to drool. Well…assuming we’re top of funnel. Which we are while searching on Google, so “Find” is the right word to start with. To help the software brand increase awareness and consideration among viewers, a hyper-linked bullet list of benefits is provided as are additional values in grey. “Get Started Now!” is well placed at top right, so it stands out as the last text the eye finds on a scan.
#6 Twitter Advertising – Hubspot
Taking a compassionate angle, Hubspot promotes their new Hubspot Academy to marketers like us. It’s smart: we know that customer “love” is what drives sales, nets conversions, engagement, and guarantees retention. Aside from the cutesy imagery, the copy really makes this Twitter ad work. Words like “start,” “learn,” and “get” all drive action while choice words like “free” and “certification” compel viewers to click. Because love, like free and seemingly exclusive certifications, is a terrible thing to waste.
#7 Behavioral Email – Amazon
Leave it to Amazon to do something clever with their behavioral email. This follow-up message arrives after a Kindle purchase and prompts the customer to review their product. This simultaneously signals customer appreciation while pulling the reader back in for future purchasing. How so? By clicking the actionable, yellow CTA we’re taken back to the Amazon website and reconnected to the massive online marketplace that got us here in the first place. Buying time, round two!
#8 Referral Marketing – Tile
Location-service app Tile shows how to make referrals easy as cake. The brand makes sharing a referral link with friends a one-click process with those bright and familiar social buttons. The copy beneath draws us in with a question and immediately appeals to our altruistic characters with “Help” oriented-copy that speaks to the benefits of double-sided rewards. Tile does a great job of using a simple points structure for users and showing us how many points we need to earn before getting a reward – which encourages shares. Acquiring customers is much easier when using existing customers as brand ambassadors. This way, we can all have our cake and eat it too.
#9 Content Upgrade – Pardot
Readers of Pardot’s article “How to Win at Lead Nurturing” finish the article and find the actionable next step waiting for them. Yes, the complete guide full of campaigns to try is a relevant and practical extension of the theory presented in the blog post. How could a reader who got value not want to swap an email for 10 nurture ideas and a total guide? The inspirational picture uses plants in ascending order to symbolize growth, the loyal blue of the company itself, and an exciting orange to attach to the “Free” e-book. Overall, a super-compelling and visually rewarding content upgrade that’s sure to fill the funnel.
#10 Skyscraper Content – Unbounce
Which would you rather read?
If you’re like the rest of the internet (note the social counters), you’ll opt for the skyscraper blog post by Unbounce rather than from Blue Fountain Media. Why? The title promises wayyyyyy more value to the reader, giving us an exact method to acquire more customers rather than 5 “inspiring” elements to drop into our about page. The image is ironic and also draws you in way more than a basic two-color stock photo. I’ll choose to read about netting customers over getting inspired nine times out of ten – and my guess is you’d do the same. To skyscrape stellar content, spend a few minutes on Buzzsumo or hit a few web searches. Then take the elevator all the way up!
#11 Facebook Advertising – Warby Parker
Warby Parker has a good eye for Facebook retargeting ads. After some good ol’ fashioned cart abandonment, this sponsored post shows up to remind us that it’s time to buy. The online eyeglass retailer uses some punny and funny copy to soften the message while making a timely reference to the winter season. Facebook readers respond well to messaging that uses an informal, branded tone and references contemporary events. After all, some of us spend way too much time on that newsfeed. Ahem…
#12 Web Push Notifications – Beyond the Rack
Web push notifications are a fairly recent phenomenon, but like mobile push notifications before them, they require a delicate touch to do right. Online apparel brand Beyond the Rack delivers a value-laden message here, putting it’s best foot forward with “Free” and then reminding us of all the great brands that we can save on now! Because push notifications are permission-based, it’s best to limit messaging to time-sensitive and beneficial matters only – or you might lose your spot on the desktop.
#13 About Page – MailChimp
MailChimp has a fun and evocative “About Us” page. More like a blog than a boring story, this part of the website screams personality while maintaining a brand-specific tone and conversational style. It’s pretty genius: those looking to get a bit more info end up finding stories, added benefits, and a completely unexpected brand position. If visitors were trying to make up their mind between two indistinguishable email platforms, this page will very likely bring them towards MailChimp.
Hopefully these 13 examples of customer acquisition strategies have shown you how to be your own brand hero and save the company every time. And in case you didn’t see the movie, the answer is yes: Tommy Boy saves the day. After all, it’s a 90’s comedy flick.
How to reach customers is always evolving in marketing, but as long as you’re staying focused on delivering succinct and valuable messaging, you will succeed. We’ve seen these brands use concise, actionable copy every time. They have great visual appeal, use consumer psychology, and create a customer-centric experience from the outset.