The most important message of the annual GrowthHackers Conference held in Los Angeles was matching your CTA (call-to-action) messages and your landing pages to each user’s level of engagement. When you are trying to nudge cold traffic (which hardly identifies with your value proposition) towards clicking on a CTA, that requires strong engagement. Like asking someone to move in with you before you even go on a date – it’s just not that simple.
Like dating, customer acquisition has its own sophisticated rules. In this article, I’ll break down the conversion funnel into pieces to help you optimize your Facebook ads.
Basics of customer acquisition
No matter the industry or company, building a bond with users (your potential customers) is essential. This bond is nothing other than trust. But developing trust with somebody is not as fast a process as we’d like it to be. Let’s take social media as an example.
Advertising on social media platforms is called interruption marketing. Its name is well-deserved, because users have not requested the content, but been presented with it. Therefore, there’s quite a good chance that these ads are completely irrelevant to your users’ current interest.
Thus, if your ad comes out of nowhere and tries to tempt users into ordering your product, it won’t work very efficiently.
The first result that you can achieve towards building trust is capturing their curiosity. This is the first of many small steps, or micro engagements, to take customer acquisition to the next level.
Levels of conversion funnel
The different phases of engagement are often divided into 5 levels:
Level 1: Strangers
These are users who have never met your brand before. In this case, the perfect tools are brand building and content marketing. The goal isn’t acquiring customers, but increasing engagement.
Instead of assaulting users with your offers, try presenting a compelling image, video or value proposition that encourages deeper interest.
The aim of advertising to strangers is to let them see your logo again and again, capture their interest and help them take notice of you. At this level, the point is not the lowest CPC (cost per click). The relevance score doesn’t always hit the ceiling, either. The point is to put eyes on your brand.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy, but it’s worth investing in. If users find your company through your blog, this is a great sign because you were found not through ads, but carefully constructed content. If you have the resources for it, having a professional blog is the best choice.
Level 2: Potential Customers
You have already gained their attention. So now it’s time for them to gain deeper knowledge of your company and increase engagement a little.
In the field of B2B, typical next steps may be downloading an ebook or infographic and taking part in a webinar or course. If we are talking about B2C, engagement actions most likely include giving you their email address or phone number, registering, or following your social channels.
Level 3: Leads
At this level, your user knows you and they’re ready to make a bigger commitment. In B2B, this may be personal contact or downloading the 30-day free trial version of your software.
Now you’re halfway there. While we still aren’t talking about a buyer decision, you have managed to increase your chances quite a bit. (In some cases, level 2 and 3 might be the same.)
Level 4: Customers
You’ve managed to win them over, and they’ve purchased your product. But don’t lie back yet! This is not the end of the customer acquisition funnel. From this point forward, you have to focus on keeping them (retention) by making sure users are constantly satisfied or improving their experience when necessary.
And, of course, don’t forget to measure. If you succeed in keeping them, not only are they going to purchase again at a minimal cost to you, but you can encourage them to move on to the next level.
Level 5: Promoters
These are customers who can help with your word-of-mouth marketing. If your users consider your work excellent, they will represent you to others who you may have common ground with.
It’s worth making sure that you’re wooing your promoters and pulling out all the stops to push their enthusiasm for promoting your brand further.
Vouchers, affiliate programs, special events… there’s a rich assortment of options for making the best use of these customers and letting them know you appreciate them . Showing gratitude is not only the right thing to do – in your best interest as well.
Phases of customer acquisition
Let’s have a look at some concrete techniques to upgrade users from the first level to the last one using Facebook ads.
#1 Strangers → Potential customers
Use the saved and lookalike audience features. Target the audience according to the interests, locations, and behaviors that are relevant to your product or service. Create your lookalike audience based on your existing customers. It guarantees a good base to target people who are likely to be interested in your company.
Invest in attention-grabbing copy that arises attention and a visual that stands out in the Facebook feed. Before you say, “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” check out this detailed article for concrete advice.
If you advertise on Facebook, brand awareness and reach should be selected as the goal of your campaign.
Using reach gives you the opportunity to choose how many times your ads will be shown to the audience. At least I do it that way…it ensures that the users won’t face your ads five or more times on the same day, then get fed up and hide them forever (decreasing your relevance score).
#2 Potential customers →Leads
Target users who have already visited your page, clicked on a CTA (call-to-action), or interacted with your ads. This is a so-called custom audience, which can be created in the audience section of your campaign. (My personal favorites are the engagement-based retargeting options.)
Make sure that you use different content and ads for these users than for your cold traffic. In this case, free trials, free samples, and money-back guarantees are valid options to offer. These require less engagement than the buy. Special advertising for users who already know your brand maintains a good balance between the traffic and the offer.
Tip for Pros: If you’re advertising a temporary offer, choose the “accelerated” option at ad delivery. That will show your offer to as many people as fast as possible.
#3 Leads → Customers
Just like step #2, this step builds on the one before it. In this third phase of customer acquisition, it’s worthwhile to build on those remarketing lists from before. But pay attention! Do not advertise to users who interacted on the first level, but not on the second level.
It’s very important to let users know what you expect from them. Instead of using the “Learn More” Call to Action in your ads, switch it to “Buy Now” or “Sign up.” “Learn More” can result in a cheaper CPC, but here conversion cost is the metric that counts
Maybe I don’t need to tell you, but I would recommend ensuring that conversion, not clicks, is the goal of your campaign! Make your offer compelling!
#4 Customers → Promoters
Can you imagine a better or more cost-effective situation than your customers promoting your company to others? Intentional use of the list containing your prior customers is highly recommended. You can easily turn it into a custom audience by uploading a .csv or .txt file with your customers’ email addresses to Facebook.
Stylish, social content should be presented to them and shared on your social channels. Encourage customers to reach out to friends by saying ‘Tag someone’ … ‘who you would go on holiday with’, ‘who you would recommend this to’, or ‘who needs this solution.’
Your written and visual content will be popular among customers who have engaged with your company before.
Collect recommendations (even in video format) and reviews from your customers. Every little comment is useful proof that you are loved and highly recommended by your customers.
Customer acquisition is a complex process – you can’t just hurry it up. I know it would be wonderful to routinely jump to Level 4 with Level 1 users, but trying to do that right away is a waste of your hard-earned money.
Think long-term and keep these conversion strategies in mind. They result in lower-cost conversions with higher click-through rates and more returning customers. Top marketers use them because they work.