Digital Tools To Acquire New Customers

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The age of digital has transformed the way many of us both view and carry out marketing, and although it hasn’t made the uphill battle of gaining new customers any less steep, it has given us more opportunities and newer tools that can be used throughout the process. This article is the first of a trilogy of articles which will look at how we acquire, convert and retain customers using digital tools. The following tools are useful in the acquisition stage of the new customer cycle:

Search engine marketing

Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have become the go-to for the majority of society now when we want to purchase something, find out how to do something or get somewhere, compare products and services, etc. and search engines offer up these answers in the form of websites, blogs, content relevant to our needs.

This makes search engine marketing one of the top digital marketing strategies used by companies today to acquire new customers. Whether you use pay per click advertising (PPC) as a quick fix pay your way to the top of a search, use search engine optimisation (SEO) to slowly but surely work your way up the ladder or as many companies do, use a combination of these methods to ensure your website is the one customers go to for their related needs.

Email marketing

Email marketing is proven to have a high success rate if your email makes it into the inbox and gets read. The hardest part is not gaining email addresses as people would assume, it is in fact creating an email that will navigate its way past the spam filters, avoiding the junk folder and landing in the email inbox, plus being enticing enough to be opened, have at least some of it read, enough to demote its purpose and then encourage the recipient to click. For this reason, the average click-through rate for most industries stands at around 6-10%, but considering this is based on sending to databases in the 1,000s it is considered to be a great success, as the majority of these click-throughs do become customers. 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing works on a pay per action or acquisition (PPA) basis, much like PPC advertising, only this time you pay an affiliate each time an agreed action is carried out. This can vary from paying a marketer per purchase made or per form submission, to paying a website who hosts your ad or link for every click. Paying per acquisition involves paying a set price based on the percentage of impressions that become leads and then convert into customers.


Aggregators are types of software or websites that aggregate specific types of information from multiple online sources. There are various types of aggregators available dependant on the specific information you are looking to aggregate, including data, news, polls, reviews, searches, social media, and video. These can be used to gain insights into where your potential new customers’ go online, how they search and what for, their interests and opinions, etc. giving you a basis for how to appeal to them as a brand and where to market your brand to gain the most exposure to them.

Shopping comparison
As price comparison sites are becoming ever more popular in our money conscious society, more retailers and companies are opting to be featured on these websites. The advantage is that you can gain the customer’s attention and interest easily and conversion is almost a definite. The downside is your prices will need to be comparable with your competitors, meaning you may need to lower your prices in order to attract new customers when compared directly with competitors.

Interactive advertising

Interactive advertising is commonly done over the internet and is a way of promoting to consumers that involves their interaction in the ad campaign. This can be done via social networks (e.g. using a hashtag on Twitter to encourage people to spread the word about a new product), competitions, etc.  Interactive advertising is said to be more effective than traditional advertising as the engagement level of the consumer is higher.


Partnership marketing is a widely misunderstood concept, as companies assume that partnering up with another company, even when that company shares the same needs or is experiencing a similar issue to their own company, is simply handing out profits. But in reality it can mutually beneficial for two companies to come together to fill a gap or combat an issue in the market cost effectively. Sharing existing communities and data to combat a market issue together and using sponsorship to reach a shared market and save on overall costs for both sides whilst reaching a new area of the market are common ways that partnership marketing can work well.


When you put your data into a form both on and offline and there is the option to ‘tick if you do not wish to receive information from our partners’. That is co registration. Companies can choose to be included as a ‘partner’ on the others’ sign up forms for newsletters, services, etc. meaning if the consumer signs up and either doesn’t opt out or opts in to receiving data from partners their information will be added to a database for your company. This is usually done when the other companies involved share a common market, for example new mums might sign up to receive a free trial packet of some new nappies and they may also be interested in baby formula, baby clothing, etc.

Viral marketing

Viral marketing involves using pre-existing networks and technologies to ‘spread the word’ about the brand or a particular product/service offered.  The internet is the most popular way of achieving virility due to the nature and sheer volume of social network users and online communities such as forums and groups. Common viral marketing strategies include using a video ad and interactive online game which people will be inclined to share online. The introduction of smart phones also makes way for the use of apps for viral marketing purposes.


Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing works much in the same way as viral and affiliate marketing in that it requires an amount of sharing and there are rewards for actions, only this time the affiliate is the consumer. A consumer signing up to a service can be offered rewards in the form of cashback, credits or discounts for the brand or a partner brand (see co-registration and partnerships), etc. as payment for sharing the service and brand with their friends and family. Some companies offer reward upon sharing and further reward per new customer that comes from this, and some only offer reward for the latter.

Content distribution/RSS

Content distributed online is commonly made up of downloadable software and add ons, apps, videos, images, other multimedia, blogs and social media content. An RSS feed can be personalised to pick up all updated online content relevant to the specific personalisation. Distributing regular fresh content on social media, blogs and your website helps your brand be picked up regularly by RSS feeds of your relevant audience, as your content should fit their RSS feed’s preferences.

Online PR

As print media is slowly declining, society seeks their news and information more and more from online sources. Therefore we have to reconsider the way we use news and the media for public relations and marketing purposes. That is why online PR is now important and effective for companies, as it involves following where your audience go and taking the content to them. The fundamentals of PR remain the same, but the platform on which it is carried out has changed. Online is far more fast paced than print media, and there are far more options for distribution of press releases and advertising than ever before, with social networks and online news sites being the favourites for online PR.

Social media

Social media has become the forefront of digital marketing, and is a fast paced and ever changing environment that no company can afford to miss out on. Having a presence on the relevant social networks and channels for your company is extremely important for the acquisition of new customers, as it opens up a whole new audience that could not be acquired offline. Social media is an everyday medium of communication and leisure for the majority of today’s society, so making use of company pages, promoted posts and hashtags is the best way to insert your brand and its products/services into the conscious and subconscious of your target market.

Check out the second article in this trilogy, Digital Tools to Convert New Customers.

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