growth hacking customer acquisition

Before I plunge into the endless subject of customer acquisition, there are few obvious questions that came in my mind including:

What channels should we focus on as a startup?

What would be the customer acquisition cost (CAC)?

Where do we begin?

Furthermore, how would I know whether a channel is working good for my startup or not?

Have you ever wondered what secret lamp did Tinder manage to find that they rocketed from 5K users to 15K+ users all of a sudden? How Paytm and Airbnb acquired and retained their user base to be listed as the sky-rocketing startups of the world?

I’ve short listed 8 customer acquisition channels that are worth considering to get early traction for your startup and grow your user base from one to a million. As “one size does not fit all”, there is no single customer acquisition channel that will work for all. It depends on various factors like product/service, industry, competition, target audience demographics, budget and many more.

1.Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing technique focused on creating, distributing and promoting high quality, valuable fresh content to attract, inform and engage a targeted audience. With content marketing, it is very necessary to find out what content a prospect user searches for. Once user’s need is identified, information can be provided in many forms including blogs, webpages, info-graphics, videos, images, news, podcasts, white papers, e-books, case studies, email newsletter, articles etc. Content marketing helps to attract new users and engage them, increase brand awareness, increase online sales and to create online community of users.

The best strategy for acquiring new users as a fund crunch startup is using the power of content marketing. Despite the fact that the buzz around this term is at an unsurpassed high, the results for those organizations who implemented it speak themselves. Content marketing is the most ideal way for people to know you and trust you, if you write things that people really need to read and you convey it well, you’ll acquire a loyal customer for life.

Content Marketing Tools

  • Buzzsumo
  • Slideshare
  • Contently
  • Canva
  • Hellobar
  • SumoMe

2.Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is a marketing technique to increase visibility of a website or a webpage in web search engine results organically. The major web traffic comes from search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. Although social media and other mediums also bring visits to your website, search engines are the primary source of navigation for majority of people.

You’re having a considerable amount of content in the form of pages, articles, blog posts, images, videos,reviews etc but you need to make them search engine friendly. If you optimize these pages, your site will appear in top search engine results. This will increase the number of visitors to your website and these visitors can be converted into customers.

A good SEO strategy takes into account many factors like how search engines works, what people search and which keywords people type while searching. Google put penalties if one uses black hat SEO techniques either by reducing their rankings or eliminating them from their databases altogether. 

SEO Tools

  • Google keyword tool
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Open Site Explorer
  • Moz tools

3.Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is a marketing technique involving use of social media platforms and websites  like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc to promote a product or service. The social media ability to reach billions across globe has made possible to individuals and businesses to connect with one another, build relationships and communities.Now-a-days, social media becomes an integral part of the businesses.

One can also run paid ad campaigns on social media to attract and engage potential users. Before planning a social media marketing campaign followings things should be kept in mind:-

1.Selection of social network

2.Budget to spend

3.Selection of target audience and market

4.Selection of products or brands which will be promoted

5.Selection of analytics tools to monitor the performance

Social Media Tools

  • Hootsuite
  • BufferApp
  • SproutSocia
  • PageLever

4.Email Marketing

Email marketing has evolved rapidly with the advancement in the marketing.It is about sending emails to a group of people in the form of newsletter, business request, transactional emails or promotional emails. Email marketing works best when it is personalized as it gives a sense of trust, loyalty and brand awareness.  Businesses that send high volume of emails every day, track and analyze information collected from actions taken on these emails. It provide insights about consumer behavior.

Email Marketing Tools

  • Mailchimp
  • Litmus
  • Drip
  • Vero

5.Viral Marketing

In context of startups, “going viral” refers to marketing technique that uses existing social networks to promote a product exponentially. Whatever content you share it must encourage people to share with others. This way startups like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram achieved explosive growth and user base.Viral marketing can be done in the form of videos, images, emails, webpages, ebooks, interactive games or text messages. It increases brand awareness and product sales through self replicating viral processes.

The viral marketing can be done through different networks like

1.Social networking sites



4.Video sharing sites

Viral Marketing Tools

  • Untorch
  • Newswhip
  • The verge

6.Referral Marketing

It is also known as word-of-mouth marketing. According to a study, 65% of new business comes from referral. That means when a friend, relative or someone you know recommends a product or service, on an average two-third of people are going to convert. Usually there is some kind of reward offered to existing customers to refer their product or service to others. The more rewards a business offer, there are high chances that customers will find a quality referee. Online marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra and others uses this form of marketing to acquire new users.

Referral  Tools

  • ReferralCandy
  • Invitebox
  • Woobox
  • Ambassador
  • RewardStream

7.Affiliate Marketing

It is a performance-based marketing where you reward people or businesses for each sale or a qualified lead generated by the affiliate’s efforts. Companies like Flipkart, Makemytrip and Zappos use affiliate programs and they are earning huge revenues. Affiliate marketing is still confused with referral marketing but both are different forms of marketing. Affiliate uses monetary motivation in the form of rewards or incentives to drive sales while referral marketing is purely based on trust and personal relationships.

Affiliate Marketing Tools

  • ThirstyAffiliates
  • Constant Contact
  • Google Analytics
  • GoogleWebmaster Tools
  • Adsanity

8.Good Public Relations (PR)

As a startup, you will need attention beyond your circle to help your startup known in the market. A strong PR will help you to reach to a wider audience and put your product or service in front of them. It also increases your brand presence, website traffic and networking. And when you do it right, it could also bring new business to you. A good PR also gives sense of trust, loyalty and long-term relationships. Media coverage, storytelling, startup events, business events and conferences are best to leverage the power of PR.


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