SMEs can often be faced with time and resource pressures when it comes to customer acquisition – from selecting the right marketing tools and facilitating online conversions, to customer retention and beyond. Here, Dan Smale, Senior Product Owner at Fasthosts, discusses how SMEs can recruit web providers to help do the heavy lifting when it comes to customer acquisition.
Navigating and maximising customer acquisition opportunities is key for many businesses, and particularly so for those in their infancy. However – with SME teams often stretched in terms of responsibility and capacity, leveraging these opportunities can become a real minefield.
So where should they start?
The value in acquiring new customers can’t be understated. It can help you expand your reach, elevate product and service visibility – and increase revenue too. A successful acquisition strategy helps differentiate a company from its competitors and can increase customer loyalty, leading to repeat purchases and ongoing revenue.
Customer acquisition can also provide valuable insights and feedback that help improve products and services and stay ahead of changing customer needs and preferences – making it easier to respond and adapt to consumer behaviour, technology and market conditions.
Hosting providers can help with customer acquisition in several ways. For example, they can provide a stable and reliable platform for websites, which helps improve user experience and the likelihood that visitors will become customers.
Additionally, many providers offer marketing and SEO tools, which can improve website visibility on search engines. This ultimately increases the number of site visitors and can lead to higher customer acquisition rates.
Tools for keyword optimisation, meta tag creation, and other SEO best practices – so websites can rank higher on search engines – are also offered by some providers, while others provide tools for creating and managing online ads that can help to increase the visibility of businesses online and drive traffic to websites.
Additional support for popular ecommerce platforms, such as Woocommerce, can also be provided – making it easier to set up and manage an online store and process transactions.
Other key features available include analytics and reporting, email marketing, and social media integration, which all increase site visibility on search engines and increase traffic.
When choosing website platform tools to drive customer acquisition, consider the specific needs and goals of your business and select tools that can be tailored to these.
For example, a small business selling products online will need a platform that offers robust ecommerce features, while a service-based business will likely require a platform with tools for creating and managing online bookings, in addition to managing customer relationships and communication.
Another consideration is the level of technical expertise and support required. As an SME, you should select a platform that offers the right combination of features, support, and pricing for them. Scalability and flexibility are crucial to ensure features and capabilities can easily be added or modified as a business evolves.
For those short on time and resource, steps can be taken to hit the ground running with customer acquisition. Firstly, define the business’ target customer base and understand their needs, preferences, and behaviour. This will help when creating marketing messages and offers that are tailored to the audience and therefore likely to resonate with them.
Next, identify the channels and platforms where target customers are most likely to be found. Focus efforts on those channels. For example, if a target customer base is primarily on social media, the focus should be on creating engaging content and running ads on those platforms.
Crucially, set clear and measurable goals for any customer acquisition efforts, and track any progress made. This helps to understand what’s working and what isn’t so the strategy can be adjusted accordingly.
Additionally, ensure your website is optimised for conversions, with a clear and compelling value proposition, easy-to-use forms and checkout processes, and other features that can help to convert visitors into customers.
Finally, continuously test and refine the strategy to maximise customer acquisition efforts. Fasthosts’ Online Marketing tools can help bootstrap this, with brand and competitor awareness, SEO management and Google Ads ensuring businesses are listed in the right places.
There are several opportunities and pitfalls to consider when partnering with a web host for customer acquisition.
For instance, some providers offer support for popular ecommerce platforms, which makes it easier to set up and manage an online store and process transactions. By partnering with a single web host, you may be able to take advantage of bulk discounts and cost savings, which helps to reduce overall marketing costs.
Some providers, however, may not have sufficient expertise or resources to deliver the level of support and guidance required to effectively drive customer acquisition, making it more difficult for you to achieve your goals. It’s therefore essential that you do your research and select a provider that meets your business’s needs.
Once a web host has been selected, ensure you have access to the tools and support you need to manage and optimise your website and marketing efforts, including website analytics, marketing automation, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
Finally, it’s important to continuously review and assess the partnership held with a web host, and make changes as needed to ensure that maximum value is being achieved. This may include negotiating new terms or adding new services and support as needs evolve, or even switching to a different provider.
While web hosts can offer many benefits and support SME customer acquisition efforts, it’s crucial to remember that they’re not a replacement for internal marketing and customer engagement efforts – but an extension instead.
You should still create engaging and relevant content, offer value to your customers, and utilise the right channels and platforms to reach target audiences whilst continuously testing and refining your strategy in order to effectively drive customer acquisition and grow.