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5 effective customer acquisition strategies to attract and convert more customers

To scale and sustain any online business, you need a steady stream of new customers. 

But it’s not enough to simply make up the numbers: to guarantee long-term customer satisfaction and retention, you need to ensure your marketing efforts are reaching (and appealing to) the right people.

Last updated

8 Dec 2023

Reading time

6 min


With a little know-how and a lot of customer research, you can create a customer acquisition strategy that attracts, engages, and delights the best customers for your business

Read on to learn about five customer acquisition tactics that help you drive sustainable growth, along with actionable tips on how to implement them.

Improve your customer acquisition strategy with data-driven insights

Enrich your acquisition strategy with real user data from Hotjar to empathize with your users and acquire more right-fit customers.  

5 winning customer acquisition strategies 

A customer acquisition strategy is a plan to bring new customers to your business. It usually involves a mix of techniques and methods to help you attract, engage, and convert users into paying customers.

Here are five customer acquisition strategies to try today.

1. Customer research

What it is: customer research is the process of collecting data and insights that help you deeply understand your target audience—and empathize with their experience.

How it helps with customer acquisition: when it comes to acquiring the right-fit customers, knowledge is power. Understanding your target audience is the number one strategy to get and retain more customers, and should underpin everything else you do.

Use product experience insights platforms like Hotjar (that’s us!) to connect the dots between what people do on your site and why, so you can combine quantitative and qualitative data to create a more compelling customer acquisition strategy. Look for platforms with customer research tools such as:

  • Recordings: watch video playbacks of your customers’ full journey to experience your website as they do

  • Heatmaps: see exactly where users scroll, click, scroll, and engage (or don’t)

  • Feedback and surveys: get in-the-moment feedback with a widget (like the red ‘Feedback’ button on the right of this page 👉), or send targeted surveys to specific user cohorts to learn more about what they love or hate

  • Interviews: run user interview and research sessions to connect with the right people and get deeper insights

Use your customer research to fuel every other strategy on this list, from supercharging your email marketing to helping you create content and assets that really resonate.

Three tips for using customer research to acquire customers:

2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

What it is: search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your site so it ranks better in search engines like Google.

How it helps with customer acquisition: improving SEO is one of the best ways to increase organic traffic to your site, meaning you can bring more visitors to your business (and hopefully acquire more customers) without needing to spend a fortune on paid advertising.

Three tips for using SEO to acquire customers:

📚 Further reading: check out our guide to 13 common SEO website issues and how to solve them.

3. Content marketing

What it is: content marketing is the process of creating and sharing content (like this blog post 🤓) that helps you acquire, engage, and persuade people to become paying customers.

How it helps with customer acquisition: use content marketing at every stage of the customer acquisition funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion, and retention). For example, you could: 

  • Use an SEO-optimized blog post to attract new prospects

  • Create landing pages outlining key product features and benefits for people at the consideration phase

  • Share a comprehensive ‘Buyer’s Guide’ ebook to help with conversion

  • Host webinars with quick tips and best practices to help customers learn about new features and get the most from your product 

Three tips for using content marketing to acquire customers:

📚 Further reading: not sure whether to invest your content marketing budget in humans or AI? We’re running an experiment to find out how they compare.

4. Email marketing

What it is: email marketing is the process of creating targeted, segmented, personalized campaigns that reach prospects right in their inboxes.

How it helps with customer acquisition: much like content marketing, you can use email marketing at various stages of the customer acquisition funnel. It helps you build relationships with new customers, keep prospects engaged, and secure a conversion by informing them of sales, sharing special discount codes and offers, or reminding them of their abandoned shopping carts.

Three tips for using email marketing to acquire customers:

🔥 If you’re using Hotjar: use the Hotjar-HubSpot integration to personalize customer interactions. Create custom lists and trigger automations based on Hotjar session properties (such as ‘duration on site’ and ‘referrer URL’), and use these to send personalized email marketing campaigns from HubSpot for a more conversion-focused experience.

#Connect Hotjar and HubSpot to create custom lists and trigger personalized marketing flows that boost your acquisition efforts
Connect Hotjar and HubSpot to create custom lists and trigger personalized marketing flows that boost your acquisition efforts

5. Customer testimonials

What it is: customer testimonials are reviews and user-generated content (UGC), such as photos or videos, that you can use throughout your marketing efforts and on your website.

How it helps with customer acquisition: content like this is known as ‘social proof’, and it helps you increase conversions by building trust in your brand. One study found that 95% of customers read online reviews before they shop, and 58% say they would pay more for the products of a brand with good reviews, making testimonials, reviews, and UGC powerful tools in your customer acquisition strategy. 

Three tips for using customer testimonials to acquire customers:

🔥 If you’re using Hotjar: use the Net Promoter Score® or post-purchase survey templates to understand how customers feel about your product and customer experience. Then, reach out to promoters and positive respondents to turn their feedback into social proof that can help you acquire even more satisfied customers.

#Send a post-purchase survey using Hotjar to identify happy customers and collect persuasive customer testimonials
Send a post-purchase survey using Hotjar to identify happy customers and collect persuasive customer testimonials

How to pick the right customer acquisition strategy for your business

Still wondering which of the five customer acquisition strategies outlined above to start with? Here are four factors to consider.

1. Your audience

What channels are your audience on? What are their demographic characteristics? The more information you have on your audience—both their attributes and user behavior—the more you can tailor your customer acquisition efforts to their unique needs. 

This means you focus on attracting the right customers from the very start, setting you up for long-term customer satisfaction.

2. Your budget and resources

What resources do you have? This includes people-power and money. For example, your available budget will affect whether you prioritize paid or organic customer acquisition strategies. 

In addition to the organic methods outlined above, paid customer acquisition strategies include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

  • Display ads

  • Paid social media advertising

  • Referral programs (which can be either paid or unpaid)

💡 Pro tip: once you calculate your customer acquisition cost, use it to allocate your budget more strategically based on what’s working and which approaches are more cost-effective for your business.

3. Your industry

What customer acquisition strategies are your industry competitors using? We’re not saying you shouldn’t innovate (we would never), but it’s always smart to draw on tried-and-tested strategies.

For example, an ecommerce business may acquire a lot of customers from robust social media marketing, replete with user-generated content and a strong email marketing strategy to remind prospects of sales and special offers. 

On the other hand, a B2B SaaS company may not acquire quite so many customers from participating in the latest TikTok trend; instead, they would focus on creating quality content about best practices for their service to foster product-led growth.

4. Your customers’ journey

What does your average customer journey look like? Create a customer journey map to understand the stages people go through before becoming a new customer. What customer acquisition strategies can you use at each stage?

When it comes down to it, there’s no one strategy that will tick every box: you need to use a combination of customer acquisition methods to meet your goals effectively.

🧑‍🔬  The secret behind every great customer acquisition strategy: testing, testing, and more testing.

Remember how we mentioned user research was key? Well, that’s not just something you do at the start. After all, people—and markets—change. For a truly effective customer acquisition strategy, you need to constantly research, test, iterate, and optimize.

Here are three ways to build continuous testing and growth into your customer acquisition strategy:

1. Create a dashboard to track the most important metrics, such as conversion rate, funnel drop-offs, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and customer lifetime value (LTV)

2. Run A/B tests to understand what works and what doesn’t. If you’re using Hotjar, integrate it with your testing tool (like Optimizely or Unbounce) to understand the performance of your experiments and enrich your quantitative data with qualitative insights.

3. Use your findings to identify new opportunities, iterate on your successes, and keep improving

Use the Hotjar Dashboard to track all of your key metrics in one place

Drive growth with a user-centric customer acquisition strategy

A successful customer acquisition strategy helps you turn potential customers into loyal brand advocates, improving your customer retention and satisfaction along the way.

Mix and match these digital marketing strategies to create a customer acquisition plan that works for your business—and grows your customer base.

Improve your customer acquisition strategy with data-driven insights

Enrich your acquisition strategy with real user data from Hotjar to empathize with your users and acquire more right-fit customers.  

FAQs about customer acquisition strategies