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Customer Acquisition Channels Complete Guide

Customer Acquisition Channels Complete Guide
Last updated: May 1, 2024
Reading time: 18 minutes
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Customer acquisition channels are a critical element of the customer lifecycle. They allow businesses to expose their products and services to potential customers, make sales, and grow as a company. 

Marketing activities such as advertising, promotion, PR, and social media all play a role in driving awareness of your brand and offerings. However, these efforts only have an impact when they’re focused on a specific target audience with aligned interests and needs.

And as digital transformation continues to accelerate, customer acquisition has become increasingly complex. With so many channels and tools available, companies must make tough decisions about where to invest their time and resources to drive the greatest returns.

As any marketing professional can tell, an effective strategy should combine a variety of customer acquisition channels and target a specific audience with the right message at the right time. 

We know how important it is to make smart decisions when launching your new marketing strategy. That’s why we have compiled this comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about various customer acquisition channels and how they can help grow your business.

In this post, you’ll learn about the top customer acquisition channels businesses can use to reach new customers. You’ll also learn about marketing acquisition, customer acquisition techniques, and strategies for each channel.

The most common online customer acquisition channels include search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, content marketing, social media and email marketing.

B2B customer acquisition channels may include trade shows, lead generation websites, telemarketing, and more.

Let’s start with the basics first.

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What is Marketing Acquisition?

Acquisition marketing is just as it sounds; it is the process of targeting potential customers or generating leads. The acquisition process is designed to bring in customers requiring your products or services but haven’t converted yet. These leads are in the consideration stage of their buying journey. 

This type of marketing is focused on nurturing leads to the point where you can use customer acquisition to quickly turn them into paying customers. It involves creating a strategy for advertising and promoting your products and services to target those leads and generate more interest in your brand. 

Marketing acquisition is a highly effective way to increase conversions, as these consumers are already considering your offer.

Acquisition marketing is different from retention marketing, which is focused on keeping your existing customers happy and engaged. More on this later.

What is Customer Acquisition?

What is Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition is the final step in the sales funnel, where you convert leads into actual customers. In other words, it is the step after marketing acquisition where you eventually acquire paying customers. 

Remember that it takes the right combination of processes, strategies, and activities to add new customers to your business. And new customers mean more sales, boosting your revenue and profits. 

While it can be challenging to acquire new customers, the right customer acquisition strategy and channels can make the process seamless. You must focus on providing more value to the customer. It could be a free trial, a discount, or simply delivering an exceptional product or service. 

What is a Customer Acquisition Channel?

A customer acquisition channel is any platform or method you use to reach new customers. This may be online such as organic traffic, paid search, content marketing, and social media. And it can be an offline channel, such as trade shows, telemarketing, and more.

The most effective customer acquisition strategies use a mix of online and offline channels. But it is essential to know your target audience and where they will most likely see your marketing messages.

Some businesses focus exclusively on online channels, while others focus on offline channels. It all depends on your business, product, industry, and target market.

Customer Acquisition Strategies

Since there are many different strategies to acquire new customers, choosing the right and most effective ones can be overwhelming. As such, It is essential to identify and understand your target customer to select the best strategy for your business.

Once you know your target customer, you can develop a solid customer targeting strategy. We have already talked about some common customer acquisition strategies and techniques. Here’re the steps to choosing a strategy for acquiring new customers:

1. Segment your target market.

2. Identify the needs of each segment.

3. Research your competition.

4. Decide on your acquisition channels.

5. Test and measure your results.

While you can use various methods to acquire customers, the most important factor is to find a method that works for your business and fits your budget.

Customer Acquisition Strategy Examples

Getting inspiration from other businesses is a great way to develop your customer acquisition strategy. Let us share a few examples of some successful customer acquisition strategies from the corporate world.

1. H&M’s Influencer Marketing

It’s no secret that when it comes to fashion, H&M is always one step ahead. This retailer knows how to appeal to its consumers, and its latest marketing strategy is an excellent example of how brands use innovative acquisition strategies. 

By teaming up with Canadian singer The Weekend, H&M has reached a whole new audience. The singer has a massive following on social media, and his fans trust his taste in fashion. So by working with him, H&M has successfully showcased its clothing range in a new light. The ads look great, and they’re receiving much social media engagement. 

This is just one example of how influencer marketing can be used effectively.

2. ASOS’s Live Chat

ASOS has long been using live chat on its website. In doing so, the company has provided an even better experience for its customers.

By having stylists available to help with fittings, sizes, colors, and matching outfits, the British online fashion and cosmetic retailer ASOS has increased its profits by helping more of its website visitors find stuff that meets their needs and wants.

3. Hubspot’s Twitter Advertising

HubSpot has found Twitter advertising as an excellent way to acquire new customers. The company uses Twitter to connect with potential customers and drive them to its website.

HubSpot’s ads on Twitter are targeted at people who are interested in marketing and may be interested in the company’s products. 

4. Amazon’s Behavioral Email Marketing

Amazon has long used behavioral email marketing to increase sales and encourage customer loyalty. The company tracks the products that users are interested in and sends them personalized emails with recommendations.

These emails are sent at just the right time when users are most likely to make a purchase. This helps increase sales and encourage loyalty among Amazon’s customers.

5. Airbnb’s Referral Program

Airbnb created a referral program to acquire new customers and grow its business. The program offers users a discount when they refer a friend to Airbnb. This helps spread the word about the company. It also incentivizes customers to use Airbnb again in the future.

These are just a few examples of customer acquisition strategies that businesses have used. As you can see, there are many different ways to acquire customers.

The most important thing is to find a strategy that works for your business and your budget.

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What are the Online Acquisition Channels

Online customer acquisition channels are internet-based platforms that you can use to reach new customers online. This may be through your website, blog, social media, email marketing, and more. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one right now.

Your website or blog can be a powerful tool for attracting organic traffic and acquiring new customers. Organic traffic is most effective in converting leads into customers, as it’s free, and the leads are already searching for your products. That’s why they must have stumbled upon your site or blog.

But you need a well-optimized website with high-quality content to attract organic traffic. It is crucial to:

  • Use the right keywords in your content.
  • Format your pages correctly.
  • Make it easy to navigate through your site.
  • Make your landing pages friendly to search engines like Google.
  • Adding valuable content that will interest your readers.

It is always a good idea to use blogging to attract organic traffic. A blog is a great way to develop helpful and valuable posts around your brand and can help you build a loyal following of readers who are more likely to convert.

2. Paid Search & Traffic

Customer Acquisition: Paid Search and Traffic

Paid search involves placing ads on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You pay for each click on your ad, making it a highly targeted form of advertising.

The key to paid search is creating relevant ads for your target audience. Also, you must ensure your landing page is optimized for conversions. Paid search advertising can supercharge your sales and business growth when planned and executed correctly.

The best thing about this online customer acquisition channel is that you can see the results fast. This means you can quickly scale your campaigns if you’re happy with the results.

Moreover, paid searches to allow you to reach your target audience using specific keywords. This means you can reach people who are already interested in your products. 

3. Social Media (Organic And Paid)

Social media marketing is another powerful strategy for attracting organic and paid traffic. The key is using social media correctly and sharing valuable content that interests your target audience. You must also promote your content regularly on social media and other channels, as this will help you reach a wider audience and grow your social media following.

And if you want to use paid social media advertising, you must spend time creating relevant ads for your target audience. This means creating many different versions of your ads and conducting AB Testing to determine which ad delivers the best results.

4. Forum & Q&A Sites

Online forums and Q&A sites are a goldmine for acquiring new customers online. The key is finding the right forums and Q&A sites relevant to your industry or niche. Once you’ve found the right forums and Q&A sites, you must become an active member. This means answering people’s questions and helping solve their problems. 

You may also want to start discussions and share your thoughts and ideas around topics related to your industry or products. But remember never to spam these sites and forums with your links. Only share your links if they’re relevant and add value to the discussion. Doing this will help you build a reputation as an expert in your field.

And when people see you as an expert, they’re more likely to trust you and do business with you. It takes time, but it’s a great online customer acquisition channel.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best online customer acquisition channels because it delivers excellent ROI. According to ConstantContact, you can get $36 in ROI for each dollar you spend on email marketing.

Email marketing involves sending emails promoting your products or services to a list of subscribers. It can also include sharing valuable content with your leads, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, and much more. 

But to be successful with email marketing, you must first capture a list of subscribers interested in your products or services. You can do this by offering something of value for free in exchange for people’s email addresses.

It is also crucial to create email campaigns relevant to your target audience. Ensure your emails are well-written and persuasive but don’t appear pushy or salesy. You want people to buy from you because they want to, not because you’re pushing them into doing so.

Related article: Best Email Marketing Automation Tools

6. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves collaborating with people having large followings on social media or other online platforms to promote your products or services. This is a great way to reach a larger audience and attract new customers.

Don’t worry if you have a tight budget; you can reach out to affordable micro-influencers with less following but more engagement and relevance. Consider offering those influencers free products or services in exchange for promoting your business to their followers. Or you can pay them some fee to promote your products or services.

But it is vital to collaborate with influencers relevant to your industry or niche. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and money.

7. Referral and Loyalty Programs

Customer Acquisition: Referral and Loyalty Programs

Referral programs can be a great online customer acquisition channel if used correctly. A referral program is a strategy where you offer customers discounts or other incentives for referring new customers to your business.

For example, you can offer the referrals a 10% discount for each new customer they refer to your business. Or you can offer them a free product after they refer five new customers.

A loyalty program also delivers excellent results. With this program, you offer your customers rewards for being loyal to your business. This helps keep customers coming back to spend more with your business.

For example, you can give your customers reward points for every purchase they make from your company, and they can then redeem these points for discounts or free products.

8. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a customer acquisition model where you pay your affiliates a commission for referring customers to your business. Many online service providers use affiliate marketing to grow their sales and business. 

While you can offer an affiliate program independently, it is a good idea to join an affiliate network instead, as they have a huge network of affiliate marketers. After joining an affiliate network, you can offer the affiliate marketers a commission of 10-15% for every purchase made through their referral. 

This is a great way to reach new customers online because it incentivizes people to promote your products or services. And if you have a reputed brand and pay a good commission, affiliate marketers will be more likely to promote your business.

Check Dripify affiliate program and earn up to 35% recurring commission on affiliate sales!

9. Digital Events like Webinars

Digital events are online events that businesses can use to reach new customers. These events can be in the form of webinars, online conferences, or online trade fairs.

  • Webinars are online seminars where businesses share their knowledge with attendees. 
  • Online conferences are events where businesses network with other businesses and attend talks and workshops.
  • Online trade fairs are events where businesses can showcase their products or services to potential customers.

Digital events are a great online customer acquisition channel because they allow businesses to reach many potential customers simultaneously. Plus, they’re cost-effective since you don’t have to pay for physical space or travel costs.

10. Content Marketing (For Organic Traffic)

Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract organic traffic and acquire new customers online. It involves creating content that provides value to the reader.

Your content could include articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, and more. The key is to produce high-quality content that will interest your target audience or solve their problems.

You must also promote your content regularly on social media and other channels. If you do all this correctly, you’ll see steady organic traffic coming to your website or blog. 

Depending on your business and industry, offline customer acquisition channels can also be very effective. Let’s have a look at the top offline customer acquisition channels.

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Offline Channels in Acquisition

While online customer acquisition is more popular and effective, offline customer acquisition channels are still effective for certain businesses. It is crucial first to determine whether offline acquisition suits your business, target audience, and industry.

Read on to explore the top offline acquisition channels you might want to incorporate into your marketing strategy. 

1. Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising is an effective way to reach new leads and potential customers, and it involves placing ads in newspapers, magazines, or on TV or radio.

This is a great way to reach many potential customers at once if you know your leads read newspapers or magazines or watch TV. Traditional advertising may be expensive, but you can reduce your cost by researching and placing your ads at places that are more likely to convert your leads.

The best part? Traditional advertising allows you to target specific demographics. For example, if you want to reach new customers in a certain age group or location, you can place your ads in publications or on channels targeting these demographics.

But if you have an online company, you may not want to use traditional advertising since it can be very costly. And there’s no guarantee you’ll reach as many potential customers as you would online.

2. Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Trade shows and exhibitions are great ways to meet new customers face-to-face. These events allow businesses to exhibit their products or services to potential customers one-on-one. 

Face-to-face meetings are perfect for B2B businesses that want to generate leads because meeting in a physical setting is more effective for establishing rapport and trust with your leads.

But trade shows and exhibitions can be quite costly. You must pay for the physical space, travel costs, and marketing materials. Plus, you need to have a staff to run the booth at these shows.

3. Networking Events

Networking events are organized for business professionals to meet and network. This is a great way to meet new potential customers and partners. And if you live in Silicon Valley, you already know it is reputed for its networking events.

But attending networking events can also be costly. You’ll have to pay for the ticket, travel costs, and sometimes the cost of a business card. It is also good to attend industry trade fairs as a way of networking. This will also allow you access to potential customers without breaking the bank.

4. Billboards and Outdoor Marketing

Billboards and outdoor marketing mean placing ads in high-traffic areas, on buses, on trains, or on benches in busy areas. This is a great way to reach potential customers interested in your offer.

But this type of customer acquisition can be quite costly, particularly in large cities. As such, you should be careful about where you place your ads. Otherwise, you may not reach your target audience even after paying expensive fees.

5. Cold Calling

Cold calling is when you call potential customers who have never heard of your business. This can be a good way to reach new customers, but it is time-consuming.

For a successful cold-calling campaign, you need a list of potential customers and their phone numbers. Also, you must have a script ready to speak with your leads. Cold calling can be very effective if done correctly, but it’s not for every business. Consider leveraging the use of cold calling software to streamline and enhance your outreach efforts.

6. QR Codes

Customer Acquisition: QR Codes

Did you know that you can boost your sales by placing QR codes on your business cards, flyers, or website? QR codes make it easy for potential customers to visit your website or online store when they scan the QR code.

The best part? You don’t have to pay for ads or space; you can generate your QR code for free. But you must ensure that your website or online store is mobile-friendly. Otherwise, potential customers won’t be able to view it properly.

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8 Best Customer Acquisition Techniques

There are many customer acquisition techniques and strategies that you can incorporate into your marketing plan. But remember that not all of them will be effective for your business. It is a good idea to do your research and choose the techniques that will work best for your business. 

Here’s a list of the top 8 customer acquisition strategies that suit most business types and industries:

1. SEO

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results. This is a great way to reach new customers since you can specifically target those looking for your products or services.

With SEO, you can attract potential customers who are already interested in your offer. But SEO can be very complex and time-consuming, and you must constantly update your website and produce high-quality content to draw targeted traffic from search engines.

2. PPC Marketing

PPC is online advertising where you pay for each click on your ad. This is an excellent way to reach new customers since you can specifically target those looking for your products or services.

With PPC, you can attract potential customers who are already interested in your offer. But PPC can be costly if it fails to convert your leads into customers. You must also monitor your campaign to ensure that it’s effective. 

3. Video Marketing

Video marketing involves creating engaging videos that showcase your products or services. Plus, you can produce insightful videos about the trends and latest happenings in your industry so the viewers can see you as an authority in your niche. 

With video marketing, you can attract potential customers who are already interested in your offer. At the basic level, video marketing is not as costly because you only need a smartphone and some basic equipment to produce a video.

But as your business scales, your leads would expect better quality videos from you. This means you’ll have to invest in expensive equipment or even hire a video production service to develop videos that convert leads into customers. 

Related article: Brand Video Examples

4. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is when you pay to have your articles or videos featured on another website or blog. This is a great way to reach new potential customers since you can specifically target those interested in your niche.

5. Gated Content

Gated content is a customer acquisition technique requiring potential customers to fill out a form before accessing your content. This is a great way to collect leads and reach new potential customers.

With gated content, you can attract potential customers who are already interested in your offer. But gated content can be very time-consuming, and you need to create the content and design forms to collect the data of your leads.

6. Pricing Your Offering

When pricing your products or services, consider your customer acquisition costs. If these are too high, you won’t be able to make a profit. Take pricing into consideration when creating your customer acquisition strategy.

7. Free Shipping or a Discount

Free shipping or a discount offer is a powerful way to attract new potential customers. This is because people love getting good deals and saving money. And if they don’t have to pay for shipping, that’s even better.

With free shipping or a discount, you can attract potential customers who are already interested in your offer. But free shipping or a discount can eat into your profits. So be sure to consider this when creating your customer acquisition strategy.

8. Free Trial

Customer Acquisition: Free Trial

A free trial allows potential customers to try your product or service before purchasing it. But a free trial can be very costly. What’s more, you need to provide the product or service for free and hope people will sign up for the paid version.

How to Choose Your Customer Acquisition Channels?

It’s no secret that competition in the market is fiercer than ever before. From app stores to search engines and content marketing to SEO, there are numerous places for businesses to acquire new customers. 

However, not all customer acquisition channels are created equal. Each has its own pros and cons, and different customer acquisition channels will suit different businesses depending on their size, budget, target audience, and other factors. 

Given this abundance of choices, a business may find it difficult to determine which channel or combination of channels will be most effective for them in reaching their customers.

Luckily, there’re a few steps you can use to choose the best customer acquisition channels for your business. Read on to learn about the various channels you can leverage as an entrepreneur or a marketer

1. Identify Your Target Customer

Who is your target customer? This is the most important factor when choosing your customer acquisition channels. So understand your ideal customer and what they want. Plus, do your research to learn about the channels your leads use the most, be it online or offline.

For example, if you’re selling products to businesses, you’ll want to use B2B customer acquisition channels.

2. Determine Your Budget

How much money do you want to spend on customer acquisition? Some channels can be very expensive while others are cost-effective.Also, consider your current resources for customer acquisition.

For example, if the competition in your industry is fierce and you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to avoid channels like paid advertising.

3. Set Your Goals

It is always a good idea to set clear and realistic goals for your campaign and then choose channels to help you achieve them. For example, if you want to create brand awareness among professionals, you’ll choose LinkedIn as your primary marketing tool.

4. Gauge the Competition

The competitive landscape refers to the other businesses in your industry. When choosing your customer acquisition channels, you must understand your competitors. For example, if your competitors use LinkedIn, you may want to use the same channel but in a more innovative way.

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LinkedIn as a Marketing Acquisition Channel

LinkedIn can be a great marketing acquisition channel for B2B marketing and sales. That’s because LinkedIn is a professional network where professionals and decision makers from almost all industries are present. The best part? People are more likely to buy products or services from businesses they’re connected to on LinkedIn.

But there are a few essential factors to consider when using LinkedIn as a marketing acquisition channel. It takes a lot of work when trying to acquire customers via LinkedIn but the results are worth it.

Make sure your profile is complete and you’re actively engaging with your connections and in relevant groups. Also, include keywords that are related to your business and industry in different sections of your profile. Moreover, it is a good idea to create and post quality content to show your potential customers how you can help them.

But as stated above, customer acquisition through LinkedIn can be challenging since you’ll have to spend most of your time visiting profiles, sending connection requests, messaging your contacts, and following-up with leads. 

The good news is that you can put these repetitive LinkedIn activities on autopilot with the help of a sales automation tool like Dripify. Make sure to spend most of your time interacting with your potential customers personally while leaving the time-consuming tasks to your automation tool.

How to Calculate the Cost Per Channel of Acquisition?

How to Calculate the Cost Per Channel of Acquisition

The cost per acquisition channel is the amount of money you spend to acquire a customer through a specific channel. You can calculate this by dividing the total cost of acquiring customers from a specific channel by the number of new customers acquired from that channel.

This metric is important to track because it can help businesses identify which channels are most effective at acquiring new customers and allocate their resources accordingly.

What is the Average Customer Acquisition Cost?

The average customer acquisition cost (CAC) varies by industry. For example, the average CAC for SaaS companies is $205 and $862 for educational institutes. Financial services are more expensive than most other industries, with an average CAC of $1,171.

What is a Good Customer Acquisition Cost Ratio?

There’s no magic number when it comes to what is a good customer acquisition cost ratio. But, in general, the lower the CAC, the better. A good customer acquisition cost ratio is different for every business. It depends on factors such as your margin, the lifetime value of a customer, and your customer churn rate.

If you have a high CAC, you must ensure that your customers stay around for a long time and that they’re valuable to your business. A high CAC can be justified if your customers have a high lifetime value and low churn rate.

Customer Acquisition vs. Retention

Customer acquisition and customer retention are two important aspects of a business. For starters, customer acquisition is the process of attracting new customers. And customer retention is the process of keeping existing customers.

Customer acquisition can be costly. You must invest in marketing and advertising to draw new customers to your business. It can take a long time to see your desired results. 

On the other hand, customer retention is often cheaper, but it can have a bigger impact on your bottom line. The best way to grow your business is to focus on customer acquisition and retention. This way, you’ll always have a steady stream of new customers while enjoying the benefits of having your existing clients stick around.

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Customer Acquisition vs. Marketing

Marketing is the process of creating awareness and interest in your products or services. Customer acquisition is the process of converting that awareness and interest into sales. So without marketing, there would be no customer acquisition.

Marketing is important because it’s the first step in the customer journey. Customer acquisition is crucial for growing your business. As such, they both require attention and investment. 


Customer acquisition is one of the most crucial parts of growing your business. Your company’s success largely depends on how you select and implement your customer acquisition channels.

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert marketer or consultant to choose the right channel for your business. As explained in this post, there are simple approaches you can take to identify which channels will work for your products or services. 

While customer acquisition is important for growing your business, it’s only one part of the equation. You also need to focus on customer retention. Otherwise, you’ll eventually run out of new customers.

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