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13 Underutilized Customer Acquisition Strategies That Will Pay Off During the Holiday Season

  • Jeff Cracolici - Marketing Manager
  • Aug 8, 2023
  • 7 minute read
  • LiftEngine

In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, acquiring new customers has become increasingly expensive and challenging. Digital media prices are up “between 20% and 50%,” according to an article posted earlier this year

On the offline front, first-class letter and postcard postage increased to $0.66 and $0.51 this July. 

Overall, small and medium businesses are now directly competing with the largest players for a customer’s share of wallet. 

This article will discuss 13 customer acquisition strategies that are overlooked or underutilized but can potentially yield significant results.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #1: Partner with Non-Competing Businesses

By partnering with a company that shares your target market but doesn’t offer the same products or services as you, you can reach a wider audience and benefit from their existing customer base. For example, a fitness studio could partner with a health food store to offer discounts to each other’s customers.

In 2022, DoorDash partnered with Chase to launch the first-ever DoorDash credit card through Mastercard, which helped users earn rewards and additional benefits they may not otherwise have access to. 

Customer Acquisition Strategy #2: Create a Referral Program

Another effective customer acquisition strategy is to create a referral program. 

Encourage your existing customers to refer their friends and family by offering them incentives such as discounts, free products or services, or even cash rewards. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of advertising, and a referral program can help you leverage it to your advantage.

According to ReferralCandy, about 1 in 50 of orders come from a customer referral with some outliers hitting 7 in 100 orders. While this rate ultimately varies based on industry, once implemented a referral program can be an easy way to boost sales and word of mouth advertising.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #3: Leverage Social Media

Ensure your social media profiles are optimized and regularly updated with engaging content. If you’re not already, make sure you’re fully integrated with Facebook’s and Instagram’s Shop programs so you can tag your products in posts.

Use paid social media advertising to reach your target audience and consider partnering with influencers to expand your reach even further.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #4: Micro-Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular way to reach new customers. However, working with micro-influencers (those with fewer than 10,000 followers) can be a more cost-effective and targeted approach. 

Micro-influencers have a smaller but highly engaged audience, which can lead to higher conversion rates. Micro-influencers have up to 60% higher engagement rates than macro-influencers.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #5: Use AI and Machine Learning

Modern technology is now empowering you to take a more targeted approach with your acquisition strategies.

Lookalike Audiences, also known as Good Customer Models, reduce your customer acquisition costs by using (artificial intelligence) AI and machine learning to find new customers with the same demographics, interests, and buying behavior as your best customers. 

Most digital ad platforms and agencies, like LiftEngine, provide this service. We are happy to chat more if you have questions.  

Customer Acquisition Strategy #6: Shared Mail Programs

Instead of bearing the entire cost of a direct mail piece, your ad is included among other advertisers to distribute the marketing costs. It can be a great way to expand your reach, especially if you’re focusing on a new region to grow your business. 

Our recommendation is to make sure your ad has a really strong promotion. You’ll be competing with other brands inside the same envelope, so you must stand out. Promotions consist of free trials, heavily discounted first months, gifts, and product samples are always a hit in such programs.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #7: Attend Industry Events

A wide array of business sectors can reap significant benefits from attending industry events to connect with potential customers. Here are just a few examples of sectors that stand to gain from this approach:

  1. Technology/Software Companies: Participating in American trade shows like CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, InfoComm in Orlando, or the TechAdvantage Expo can exceptionally benefit tech companies. They offer a space for enterprises to illustrate their technologies’ relevance and functionality directly to an engaged audience.
  2. Retail and Fashion Businesses: Trade shows like the OFFPRICE Show or MAGIC in Las Vegas are known for their fashion exhibitions, where brands showcase their latest designs and collections. 

Retailers can gain exposure, attract potential buyers, and even generate direct orders when attending in-person events. If you’re in the direct-to-consumer space, SubSummit is the best resource for merchants and solutions providers alike.

Trade shows are great for B2B & Wholesale but local events such as Farmers Markets, Holiday Events, Craft Shows and Flea Markets offer low-cost opportunities to reach consumers.

  1. Publishing Houses and Authors: US events such as BookExpo America in New York, the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, and the Public Library Association Conference give publishing companies and authors fantastic opportunities. They can engage directly with readers, pitch to other potential publishers, and network with industry influencers.
  2. Medical and Healthcare Industry: Major US trade shows such as FIME (Florida International Medical Expo), the MedTech Conference, or the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference provide medical and healthcare companies with valuable networking opportunities.
  3. Hospitality and Travel Industry: Trade shows in the USA like IPW (International Pow Wow) provide a platform for travel and hospitality businesses to engage directly with potential customers and industry professionals.
  4. Consulting and Professional Services: Professional conferences in their respective fields allow consultants to network, learn about industry developments, and meet potential clients. This can also extend to industries like legal services, accounting firms, and marketing agencies.

However, please note that while this strategy is potent for many businesses, it requires time, resources, and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that first impressions convert into tangible business relationships.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #8: Webinars

Historically, the concept of using live video to sell products isn’t new, as demonstrated by the groundbreaking efforts of companies like QVC and HSN. These companies pioneered the use of live television broadcasts as a sales platform, effectively creating the first “webinars” and setting the standard for interactive, live selling that is still practiced today.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #9: Podcasts

More than half of Americans are active podcast listeners, according to research

By creating a podcast that aligns with your brand and target audience, you can attract new customers and establish your business as an authority in your industry. 

On the subscription-based side, Duolingo uses podcasts to help those learning a language to hear it in a more conversative context. Not only does it help with retaining customers as it gives listeners access to more tools to learn, it helps draw in listeners who may not have heard of Duolingo before. 

Customer Acquisition Strategy #10: Live Video

Using platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or YouTube Live, businesses can interact with potential customers in real time, providing a more personal and engaging experience.

Live video can be used to showcase products or services, offer tutorials or demos, answer customer questions, or even host events. 

By providing valuable content and building relationships with viewers, businesses can establish trust and credibility, ultimately leading to increased customer loyalty and sales. 

Customer Acquisition Strategy #11: Use Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can be incredibly powerful in attracting new customers. Nearly 80% of consumers search for websites that show reviews on their products.   

Encourage your existing customers to leave reviews on your website, social media profiles, and other relevant platforms. Highlight positive reviews in your marketing materials and use negative reviews as an opportunity to showcase your commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Authentic customer reviews are akin to word-of-mouth marketing that provides an opportunity for you to respond. 

Ensure your IT team appropriately implements your customer reviews to show up on Google results by using the correct snippet, and button up your integration with Google Merchant.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #12: Offer “Freemium” Products

Offering freemium products can be a great way to attract new customers. By offering a free version of your product or service, you can give potential customers a taste of what you have to offer and entice them to upgrade to a paid version.

Freemium models work particularly well for software and app-based products. As mentioned above, Duolingo allows users to access the platform for free with additional subscription-based options.

Customer Acquisition Strategy #13: Host Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways can be a fun and effective way to attract new customers. 

Offer prizes such as discounts, free products or services, or even cash rewards in exchange for social media engagement or email sign-ups. Make sure your contest or giveaway is well promoted and offers a prize that is relevant and valuable to your target.

Customer acquisition is an ongoing challenge for businesses of all sizes and industries. However, by utilizing innovative strategies that are often overlooked or underutilized, businesses can stand out from the competition and attract new customers. 

From partnering with non-competing businesses to hosting webinars, there are many creative ways to reach new customers and expand your reach ahead of the holiday season. 


Looking for more ways to grow your brand? Discover the latest trends in subscription, membership, and recurring revenue at SubSummit!