Acquisition: How to make it possible for people to find you.

Acquisition strategy header

In a previous article: The strategy behind a car with a story, we looked at www.ratrod.co.za as an example of how to create a proposition strategy. In short that means, how to plan what you will be showing/giving/offering/selling to your visitors. If you followed the tips in the article you should have everything you putting on offer ready. What’s next?

The Acquisition Strategy

Getting visitors to your site, depends on various things. Visitors are not going to find your website simply because it exists. That is why you need a plan tailored, a personalized acquisition strategy that ties in with your other strategies.

The parts that makes up your acquisition strategy are as follows:

  • Optimizing for search engines
  • email marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Social Media
  • Online Public Relationships
  • Paid Advertising

Yes, every business is different and need their own strategy. To make explaining easier we will be looking at references from the acquisition strategy, we developed for Morester Child Youth Care Centre and applied to their latest website http://www.moresternews.co.za

Optimizing for search engines

In a website you can point out 2 parts with regards to SEO(Search Engine Optimization), On-page and Off-page SEO. Looking at it from a different perspective, one part of your site will be developed by your website developer and on the other end will be new content that are regularly added to the website. Both parts must be optimized for better ranking.

Two things you want to make sure of, to maintain the best results:

1. Your website core/foundation/theme must be optimized.
2. New content are optimized when added.

1. These are some of the points to consider while building your website:

  • Page load times: Image sizes, scripts and plug-ins can have an effect on page speed.
  • Browser Caching: By setting up your website to cache various parts you drastically improve performance.
  • URL structure: By using better structured permalinks on your site you make it easier to manage content and can improve the way search engines crawl your website.
  • Minify HTML: The code to content ratio on your website has an effect on performance, you want less code and more content. Minifying your HTML helps with that.
  • Sitemaps: Sitemaps are used by search engines to discover and index content on your website.
  • keywords: Find and use keywords relevant to your business on your site, this helps to better index your website.
  • Hosting service: Make sure that your website host has the ability to run all the services your website will be using.

The list goes on. WordPress is a popular and one of the best platforms to use, but there is a problem with free templates. They often look nice, but perform really bad. That mean you need to test your template and experiment with various templates to find the better performing templates.

Your other option will be to find a suitable template with fair performance and then build what is missing in by yourself. That is exactly what happened in our sample site: www.moresternews.co.za

To improve not only the responsiveness, look and feel of the site but also the speed, we pulled in some jQuery. This allows for the site to load once in full, but hidden from view. The jQuery hides and shows the content without reloading the page, and many other things.

Another tweak applied to Moresternews.co.za are built into the structure of the site. The site are split into 2 parts, the first being the pages and second the posts. The pages contain the initial optimized content, where the posts houses the newly added content.

Optimizing your site and content for search engines is the first angle of attack, when you want to draw people to your website. This is for the simple reason that the better your site ranks, the more people, in the right places will get to see it.

Email marketing

Forget about email marketing being sending adverts to who ever you can, that is a bad idea in many ways.

The problem: What do we email, to who and how often?

To who: If you worked through the first post of this blog series, The proposition strategy focuses on collecting email addresses via multiple sign-up forms on the site. The addresses collected here are people who want to hear what you have to say and asked for email. An old saying goes quality is better than quantity. Why waste resources on buying a following and then advertising to them stuff they do not want to see?

What do you email: In setting up your proposition strategy you created various triggers to evoke anticipated reactions. Some visitors will sign-up to get notifications on posts, others will ask for more information on your products and so on. The content of the emails you will be sending depends on your goals. You can put various goals in place.

Here is an example: Morester News Action Centre, we have various reactions we need to evoke, each part of a strategy. One example will be, that we want to attract people interested in fostering a child/become a foster parent. By doing some homework, we concluded that most people think of adoption and want to start there, not knowing, or not understanding the concept of fostering.

We start by attracting people who is interested in adoption and fostering. Part of this process will include registering as a member on the website. The next step will be to educate the registered members for this category via email. There we tell them the difference, advantages of fostering compared to adoption and prove to them that adoption can come later, fostering is a good place to start.

The result of a successful conversion will be the registered member to become involved in the fostering projects available.

How often do you email: Different times for different strategies, notifications will go out every time you make a post, twice a week will be good. There are no magic number to how often you must email. Make sure the visitor knows what he is signing up for and if they need information 10 times a day and you can provide that, make it available 10 times a day.

That should show you that how often you email are tied to the content of your email. Consistency is important, if you promise a weekly newsletter, you must stick with it, not more not less.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance based marketing method. This type of marketing offers rewards or incentives to people who performs a certain task that directly advertises your business and makes the next sale.

Affiliate.co.za offers a service that you can integrate into your website to facilitate this type of marketing, but you can also implement it yourself.

A very basic example will be if you are selling a product for R100 and offer a R10 discount voucher for each referral that signs-up or buys a product from you. So if the affiliated person brings 10 people he gets his product for free.

You need to look at your proposition strategy and then work out how much a referral is worth. Then you can go ahead and implement the tracking and vouchers, and convince the first people to sign up.

Although smaller companies often forget about affiliate marketing, bigger internet companies, like Google, Amazon, Clickbank and more uses affiliate marketing to its fullest potential.

Partnerships

The internet makes it possible to form “Micro” partnerships that can help to give you an audience you may not have right away. Something most businesses have are suppliers, start with them, your suppliers want to see you flourish, because that means sales for them.

Make agreements that will put your brand in front of their audience. By forming partnerships you build credibility, create the possibility to be seen by a bigger audience.

Partnerships does not explicitly mean business partners, mentioning and acknowledging legit partners is a sure way to generate credibility. No person will buy from you if they aren’t convinced that your business is credible.

In the situation of a walk in store, clients can see you and where you are located, plus running away with their money is not likely to happen. Where as online the opposite applies. Online scams comes from the start of the internet and people became very aware and careful about everything, even giving away their email address.

Social media

Apart from some of the social networks clamping down on advertising, social media is just that, a place to be social, instead of selling you rather go for showcasing what you are doing and establish authority.

Lets take a look at twitter.
Twitter is extremely noisy and super busy, exactly what your online marketing strategy needs. Where Facebook pivots on your input, twitter works better with the watch and learn approach. Apart from staying in touch with trends in your niche you can easily hook up with people. Once you hooked up, your objective becomes moving them to your quiet place.

By doing this you automatically qualify persons, if the do not fall within the group you target they will most likely not join in on Facebook.

Online Public Relationships

It comes down to one major change in marketing when comparing the internet to conventional marketing channels. This change is the hard sale. When thinking about TV or Newspaper ads you will notice that you have no choice to see an advert or not, it’s there and it’s telling you to buy something.

Where with the internet, people have the choice if they want to see your advert or not. In most cases people avoid the hard sale, and will not like, +1, follow you if you only give them sales talk.

Paid Advertising

Many options do exist for pay per click advertising. Adwords is a excellent paid advertising platform that yields high returns, if your site is optimized and your Adwords campaigns are well managed.

Facebook offers very easy to use and audience targeting advertising on their business pages. You have a host of options to choose from, some examples will be to get likes for your page, boost a post to an selected audience  or promote your website.

Paid advertising offers you flexibility in who you want to target, and how much you want to spend.

Conclusion

This article arms you with some points to consider when making up your Acquisition strategy. In the next post we take a look at the parts that makes up a conversion strategy.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.