6 Steps to Find the Right Acquisition Channels for Scalable Growth
Marketing is essential to building brand awareness, driving sales, and fostering a sense of loyalty within a customer base. Even when leveraging self-serve and product-led growth strategies, you must first make people aware of your product before you can convert the average consumer into a loyal customer. That much hasn’t changed. What has changed, however, is the number of acquisition channels now available, with new channels emerging on the scene with increasing regularity.
Due to their reflection of recent trends, taking advantage of emerging acquisition channels for your marketing efforts can undoubtedly offer a competitive advantage. However, it’s still important to only rely on channels that can deliver the desired results — and allow for scalable growth of your marketing efforts. The last thing you want is to sink funds into an acquisition channel that will suddenly plateau in delivering new customers. You must carefully choose where you devote your attention, especially with the industry’s decrease in ad spend.
Complicating matters further are the consumers themselves. They’re developing new ways of searching for information and engaging with content. If you want to reach these tech-savvy, brand-conscious, and belief-driven buyers, you can no longer focus solely on traditional methods. Emerging channels must be part of the mix. However, there are so many options available that it can easily lead to analysis paralysis. Which direction should you go? Is influencer marketing the right choice? If so, should the focus be on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitch, or even Twitter?
Making the Right Choice in Acquisition Channels
You can’t be everywhere all at once — nor do you want to be (talk about a waste of spend). But the question remains: How do you arrive at the right choice of acquisition channels? The process of narrowing down your options can often feel a bit like guesswork. As someone who has done this more than a few times, I suggest the following:
- Embrace a customer-first mindset. Putting the wants and needs of customers at the forefront of the decision-making process is critical, as you need to know who you’re targeting to inform your marketing strategies. Getting to know your ideal customer also ensures you can identify where they spend most of their time and what their sources of influence are, thereby helping narrow down your acquisition channel selection.
- Conduct an investigative analysis. Each channel will have its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Even if your ideal customer can be found on a given channel, it’s still wise to evaluate all your options to determine whether the channel makes sense for your brand. Beyond the users of a channel, look at consumer behaviors from posted content, potential use cases, customer content preferences, ways the competition leverages the channel, and so on. Will its use move the needle in the right direction?
- Ensure goal alignment. No two acquisition channels are exactly alike, and each can help you achieve various objectives. What are you hoping to accomplish by using a particular channel? Is it leads? Awareness? Engagement? Emails? More importantly, make sure the channel’s goal ties back to your business objectives. Otherwise, a channel is nothing more than a nice-to-have rather than an essential component of your marketing mix.
- Consider your brand identity. It’s no secret that marketing content is a reflection of your brand. The same can be said for channel selection. Consider how the use of an emerging acquisition channel might impact your brand. Is it a good fit? Does it offer room for creativity? Does the type of content, such as voice, video, or text, align with your brand identity? If not, don’t overthink it –– move on.
- Choose a set of metrics. How to best measure the performance of a marketing channel is a question for the ages, especially when it comes to emerging channels. I recommend defining your North Star metric first, then evaluating if the channel has the capabilities to influence that metric positively. Map those capabilities to the metrics available from the channel and track them as your initial performance metrics. Then, optimize your constellation of metrics over time based on performance and learnings.
- Test, test, test. Marketers are no strangers to testing; it’s how you arrive at content that delivers results. Working with emerging channels is no different. Get your content in front of customers, experiment with all the various elements of the campaign, and optimize where necessary. Also, don’t be afraid to invest more in the working channels and cut or abandon the ones that fail to deliver results. Any channel that earns your investment should connect to a self-reinforcing growth loop to enable compounding growth. Some channels simply won’t work for your brand, products, or target audience.
Leveraging emerging channels to drive customer acquisition can be a lucrative strategy for growth, but everything needs to line up. Now that you are familiar with the process of evaluating an emerging channel, you can start identifying some potential channels to test. Always keep the target audience in mind, research the channel, and look at what the competition is doing in the space before venturing into uncharted territory.