Customers are the heart of your SaaS business.
That’s why a good customer acquisition strategy is much needed.
A business with no customers is a business of no use. That’s why, If you want to make your SaaS business a success, all you need is a solid base of customers.
Don’t worry, it’s learning time.
Let us understand what customer acquisition is and which are the best customer acquisition channels for SaaS businesses.
What is customer acquisition?
If you’re not sure yet about what exactly customer acquisition is, let me explain it to you.
So customer acquisition is all about using various strategies to acquire customers.
Your business needs customers to run successfully, right? Yes. Well, customer acquisition is the process of using sales and marketing strategies to reach new customers and bring them to your business.
In simple words, it’s about convincing people why they need your product or service and making them purchase it.
What are customer acquisition channels?
Now let us understand what customer acquisition channels are.
So customer acquisition channels are the various channels or modes businesses use to acquire customers.
These channels can be either online modes or offline modes of acquisition.
Some examples of customer acquisition channels are websites, social media platforms, TV ads, and SEO.
Why is customer acquisition important for your SaaS business?
Now let us talk about some reasons why customer acquisition is important for your business.
1. You get business growth
Everyone wants to grow their business, and as said earlier, customers are the heart of a business.
This means that in order for your SaaS business to be successful, all you need is new customers.
Moreover, acquiring new customers means making more sales and bringing in more revenue and profits.
This improves your business and opens up newer opportunities helping you grow your business successfully.
2. You get a competitive advantage
Next, when you successfully acquire new customers you get the opportunity to set your business apart from your competitors.
Expanded customer base also gives you the opportunity to diversify your income stream and reduce your dependency on one base.
Moreover, attracting new customers often means that you’ve met the market’s demands and customer preferences. This gives you a competitive advantage over other SaaS businesses.
3. You can increase your revenue
Now this is obvious. When you acquire more customers, you get more sales.
By attracting new customers you expand your customer base which gives you more opportunities of generating sales.
Moreover, a well-planned customer acquisition strategy can also help you acquire and retain customers giving you long-term benefits.
4. You can expand your market share
Next, with customer acquisition, you get to expand your market share.
How? Well, you see when you promote your business in front of new people and attract them to your SaaS, you get to sell more.
This also helps you position your brand as the market leader in your SaaS industry and opens up new opportunities that you can use to grow your business.
5. You can improve your SaaS business
Next, customer acquisition also helps you improve your business.
How? Well, when you attract more customers and increase your number of customers you get the opportunity to gain valuable insights from them.
You also get to understand their needs and preferences, which leads you to make new changes to your SaaS and make things more customer-centric.
Okay, now that we’ve understood exactly why customer acquisition is important for your SaaS business, it’s time for us to learn about the best customer acquisition channels.
Here we go.
Best customer acquisition channels for SaaS businesses
1. Social media marketing
With 4.9 billion people on social media, this customer acquisition channel is one of the biggest and best opportunities for your business to attract customers.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is like one of the most popular forms of customer acquisition channels. It is all about using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc, to connect with new people and turn them into your customers.
Moreover, you get a broader reach and an opportunity to connect with audiences from different countries.
- As said earlier, there are almost 5 billion social media users worldwide. That’s how big the opportunity is. This gives you more ideas and ways of attracting customers.
- You can reach people based on their demographics, interests, behaviors, etc.
- When it is compared to traditional forms of customer acquisition, social media can be cost-effective.
- It can be time-consuming to maintain your content
- There is high competition on social media platforms.
If done correctly, this customer acquisition channel can be one of the most effective channels with long-term benefits.
What is SEO?
Well, SEO is all about performing techniques to optimize a website and make it rank higher on Google search results. With this, your website’s visibility gets increased bringing in thousands of audience to your website each month.
This can be done by optimizing your website with keywords, site structure, user experience, etc.
- The first and biggest benefit of using SEO as a customer acquisition channel is that it is cost-effective. You don’t have to pay to rank higher.
- By targeting and ranking for specific keywords, you attract the correct target audience.
- Once you optimize your website and rank higher, you can maintain that position for a very long time.
- The biggest drawback is that SEO can be time-consuming as it is an ongoing process.
- There is high competition as every business is trying to rank higher on Google.
3. Search ads
Now this one is another way of using Google as a customer acquisition channel.
What are search ads?
While in SEO you use optimization techniques to rank higher on Google, Search ads are all about using paid ads to rank for specific searches.
You get to choose the keyword you want to rank for so that you can reach users with specific intent.
Now let us talk about the pros and cons
- The first benefit of using search ads as a customer acquisition channel is that you get to choose the keyword you want to rank for. This way you can attract an audience with specific interests.
- You can track your performance with the help of click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).
- You can quickly set up these campaigns.
- Popular keywords can be highly competitive.
- Since these ads are text-based, there is less scope for creativity.
4. Display ads
Now let us talk about another paid form of customer acquisition channel – display ads.
What is display ads?
Now display ads are the ads that appear on websites and apps. This is another way of acquiring customers.
Display ads come in various formats, including images, videos, banners, and interactive media.
These display ads can reach a wide audience both on desktop and mobile devices.
- By placing display ads on different apps and websites you can increase brand awareness.
- With display ads, you can convey your message in a better way by using visuals.
- With display ads, you can choose the specific range of audience you need to reach.
- Some users may ignore or mentally block display ads.
- Users who are going to see your display ad might not be necessarily interested in your product or service.
You know what? People believe what they are made to believe. This makes PR one of the best customer acquisition channels for SaaS businesses.
What is PR?
PR is when you use the power of media to gain brand awareness and earn your audience’s trust.
You can use the power of media by connecting with influencers, giving interviews, making use of word-of-mouth strategies, and so on.
You can choose the type of PR strategy depending on the type of your SaaS business.
- As said, positive media coverage about your business helps you boost your brand’s credibility and gain the trust of your audience.
- When brand awareness is spread through media you get to position your brand as the industry leader.
- It is said that PR can be quite cost-effective when compared to paid forms of acquisition considering the results it achieves.
- Now the first disadvantage of PR is that it can be time-consuming to get the results from your PR strategy.
- Once your story is in the hands of the journalists, you have limited control over how it’s presented.
Referrals are like the gold mines to your SaaS businesses.
What are referrals?
Well, referrals are when your existing customers recommend and refer your SaaS to their friends.
These referrals can be influenced based on a number of factors like when you offer incentives and reward programs to customers to make them refer your SaaS to their friends, or it can simply be done when a customer is satisfied and is willing to refer it to their friends.
- When an existing customer recommends your SaaS to a potential customer, they are more likely to trust the recommendation and purchase your SaaS product.
- Now referrals are one of the most cost-effective methods when compared to other forms of customer acquisition channels.
- It uses word-of-mouth marketing to bring in customers.
- You have less control over the timing and amount of referrals.
- With this kind of customer acquisition channel, you get a very limited reach.
7. Landing pages
Let me explain how landing pages are one of the best customer acquisition channels for your SaaS business.
Imagine this: You have an awesome pitch ready to turn your audience into customers and instead of presenting them with a long and boring journey, you bring them directly to your doorstep – landing page.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a web page that is created to achieve a specific goal.
It’s like a clear page with simple and powerful information about your SaaS business with no other distractions that have a high potential to turn curious visitors into paying customers.
- Well, the best thing about landing pages is that they are focused. They have one purpose with one goal and are created to achieve it.
- One more benefit of a landing page is that it can act as a powerful lead generation tool giving you information and details about the visitors.
- These landing pages are really easy to track and get information about user behavior.
- If there is a drop in the amount of traffic coming from other channels, it can affect the effectiveness of your landing page.
- There is no room for personalization in a landing page.
8. Personal network and connections
Next, you can also use your personal network and connections as an effective form of acquiring customers. Let me explain.
The best thing here is that there are high chance that someone from your connection might know someone who is looking for exactly what your SaaS business is providing, and this is where the magic happens.
What are recommendations from personal networks and connections?
People tend to trust their friends and connections more than anything, and if your friend recommends your SaaS product to their connections, there are high chance that you might get the opportunity to get some customers.
- As said earlier, people tend to trust the products and services recommended by their friends and other connections.
- You can ensure that the people with genuine interests are reached.
- When you communicate with your connections, you can make it more personalized, addressing specific needs.
- This is obvious. This kind of customer acquisition channel has limited reach.
- The success rate of this channel depends upon the relationship with your connections.
9. Platform-specific marketplaces
Platform-specific marketplaces are the best places that match your SaaS business with the people who might be interested in it.
What are platform-specific marketplaces?
These are like big platforms where users come to discover new SaaS products, and if your SaaS is listed on these platforms, you’ll get more opportunities to convert those audiences into your customers.
Plus, the best thing is that it’s a convenient way for customers to find their perfect SaaS product.
- Marketplaces get visitors who really might be interested in your SaaS products giving you more conversion opportunities than other common channels.
- The users visiting these platforms, trust these platforms and thus trust all the SaaS businesses listed on these platforms.
- When you get listed on popular platforms, you get to reach a new set of audiences.
- You might need to pay a fee of a percentage of your revenue.
- Next, you might have limited control over how the brand is presented on the marketplaces.
10. Affiliate marketing
Now let us talk about affiliate marketing as another customer acquisition channel.
What is affiliate marketing?
Well, affiliate marketing is all about the process in which your business partners with other people and businesses to promote your product or service.
Basically, you’ll be providing unique links to each promoter. These promoters will then promote your product or service using these links.
Every time a user makes a purchase using their link, promoters will get a commission.
- The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you only have to pay a commission only when a user purchases from a promoter’s link.
- With affiliate marketing, you can reach a wider range of audience.
- Promoters use diverse channels to promote their products or services to their audience.
- It is difficult to manage affiliate marketing.
- Giving commissions to promoters can affect your profit margins.
11. Email marketing
This is another popular customer acquisition channel.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a customer acquisition channel that involves sending emails to your potential customers and promoting your product or service to them.
What’s the process? Well, it’s simple. You first collect the email addresses of people who are interested. Next, you gather all the collected emails and send out emails to them.
- The best thing about email marketing is that it is cost-effective.
- It is also said that email marketing is one of the best customer acquisition channels with the highest Return On Investment rate.
- Marketers can track email campaign performance, using open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
- People may sometimes get overwhelmed by the many emails they receive regularly.
- Sometimes your emails may reach the spam section.
Now let us talk about how you can use blogs as another customer acquisition channel.
What are blogs?
Well, blogs are online websites where people write articles and provide valuable information that helps or entertains the readers.
Blogs are not in-your-face sales pitches. They’re a subtle way to connect with potential customers.
- The best thing about blogs is that it is one of the most cost-effective forms of customer acquisition compared to other channels.
- With the help of blogs, you can educate your audience and provide information about your product or service.
- Search engines love high-quality blogs. This helps your website rank higher.
- Creating high-quality blogs can be time-consuming.
- It takes a lot of time to see the results from your blogs.
Another great way of attracting an audience and converting them into customers is by using webinars as your customer acquisition channel.
What are webinars?
Well, webinars are online seminars where businesses share knowledge on a particular topic. People can sign up and attend these webinars to get valuable insights about a topic.
The catch is that the people who are going to attend your webinars are probably going to be interested in your business or its product and service.
- The best thing about using webinars as a customer acquisition channel is that it gives you direct interaction with your audience helping you build relationships with them.
- You can showcase your expertise to your audience with the help of webinars.
- Webinars often include a registration process, giving you your potential customers’ contact information.
- Planning and setting up a successful webinar can be time-consuming.
- Not all registered attendees may show up.
14. Loyalty programs
Though I have included loyalty programs in this section, it can be both an online as well as an offline customer acquisition channel.
What is a loyalty program?
It is simple. A loyalty program is a marketing strategy that you use to attract and retain customers.
It’s all about offering your customers rewards and giving them points or other benefits on their purchases or other desired actions.
- The biggest benefit of using loyalty programs as a customer acquisition channel is that when you provide additional gifts to the customers on their purchase, it gives them a compelling reason to choose your brand over the competition.
- When your existing customers get rewards, they talk about it to their friends and families.
- This helps you build a strong base of customer loyalty and trust.
- Implementing and maintaining such kinds of loyalty programs is sometimes expensive.
- Understanding the system, implementing the program, and maintaining everything else can be difficult.
15. Influencer marketing
Finally comes one of the most popular strategies used by many businesses as an acquisition channel – influencer marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Basically, influencer marketing is when you partner with popular people who have a strong following on social media or other platforms, to promote your business.
These influencers have a strong impact on their followers and can also influence their purchasing decisions.
- With influencer marketing, you can quickly reach a large audience.
- Influencers have built trust and credibility with their followers, which can be transferred to the brands they promote.
- With influencer marketing, you can generate easy leads and sales.
- It can be quite expensive.
- Your business will have less control over the content that influencers create.
Tips for customer acquisition
Well, in this final section, I’m not going to talk about any secret tips for attracting customers.
Instead, I’m going to talk about the basic and the most important tips that you must follow when using these channels. These points are obvious but most people miss out on most of them. That’s why it’s important to talk about them.
Here you go:
1. You know your target audience
Start your campaign only when you have a good understanding of your customers.
Who they are, what they like, what they dislike, what they want, what attracts them. These kinds of questions must first be answered and only then your customer acquisition campaign must be set up.
2. A/B testing
Another very useful customer acquisition tip is to always keep on testing your strategies.
For example, you can create two different strategies or channels to attract customers and monitor the results achieved to understand which works best for your business.
3. Offer free trials and samples
Sometimes you’ll have to remove the entry barrier to attract more customers.
You can do this by providing free trials and samples of your products or services to your audience who can then be converted into paying customers.
4. Diversify your channels
Another excellent customer acquisition channel tip is to always diversify your channels.
You can choose some channels from the list discussed above and try on each one of them.
The key here is to not stop with one channel. You’ll need to try and test different channels to get more opportunities to attract customers.
5. Gather feedback
The final and most useful tip is to always gather feedback.
Ask your customers what they liked about it, what they didn’t, and so on. This will help you improve your strategy and re-create a better one.
How do I determine the best customer acquisition channel for my business?
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Understand your customers: Learn about your potential customers and understand where (channel) they are spending their most time.
2. Match it with your business: Analyze if the channels suit your business and the results they can achieve.
3. Test and optimize: Finally test each channel with different strategies and understand what works for you and what doesn’t.
Can I rely on a single customer acquisition channel?
Relying on a single customer acquisition channel is not recommended. It’s always best to have a diverse set of customer acquisition channels so that you don’t have to completely rely on a single customer acquisition channel.
What are some mistakes I must avoid in customer acquisition?
Here is a list of common mistakes you must avoid to achieve customer acquisition success:
1. Not trying to understand your target audience
2. Ignoring data and analytics
3. Having short-term focus
4. Ignoring customer feedback
5. Budget mismanagement
6. Lack of customer-centric approach
So this is it! This was your complete blog on what customer acquisition is, why it is important, and the best customer acquisition channels for your SaaS business.
Now, it’s your turn to try and test each channel to determine which one gives you the best results.