Is your customer acquisition strategy too pushy?

Clients often approach me to help them with their customer acquisition strategies. And this got me thinking about an old classic, a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. First published in 1963, it remains one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. The book’s main message is this: be genuinely interested in other people. But what’s it got to do with customer acquisition?

Let’s start with what customer acquisition means. It’s the full end-to-end process you use in your marketing funnel to acquire customers. Like the sweet flowers that attract the bees, your strategy should be appealing to your target market. Generally, it involves a push and pull approach.

Push marketing is all about putting content out there. Methods include pay-per-click ads, direct mail, TV and radio ads, as well as in-store promotions. Most companies only focus on a push strategy because it’s easier. But do too much of it, and you’ll be pushing your customers away.

Pull marketing is where you really want to get your teeth in. This strategy involves attracting customers by sharing valuable and insightful information relevant to them. Think blog posts, tips and free online tests. The pull approach only works if you’ve taken the time to research and understand your target audience, i.e., if you’re genuinely interested in your customers.  

Look at it this way: imagine you’re at a party, having a conversation with a dude in a purple suit and pink cravat. But he’s doing all the talking. No two-way street here. He never asks you about yourself. Would you stick around?

Now imagine the reverse. Same dude in the purple suit and pink cravat. He introduces himself but also takes a genuine interest in who you are. You’re more likely to stick around, right? Well, that’s how customer acquisition works. You need to push your message out there to promote yourself, but you also need to create relevant and valuable content that shows your target audience you really care about them.

Why PUSH marketing is easier 

  • It takes time to create valuable content.
  • Businesses assume they understand their customers.
  • Creating a consistent tempo of quality content is difficult.

How to do more PULL marketing

  • Define your target audience

Chat to your customers and find out what makes them tick. Invest in qualitative and quantitative research. How can you make their lives easier? If you can’t help them – walk away! They’re not your customers, and you’ll only waste your time, money and energy.

  • Create value upfront

Consider sharing free assessments, tips, advice or guides your customers can access online with no strings attached. After all, you want to work with customers who feel like you understand them and their needs. So give them what they need.

  • Add visuals to save them time

Create stories using visuals and videos to ensure your message is easy to understand and remember. Follow this up with a buyers-friendly process that shows you care about their purchase.

Final thoughts

In a world of automation, it’s easy to just send stuff to your customers. It takes time to understand them and find ways to serve them better. But it’s totally worth it. Use a combination of push and pull to attract their attention and gain their trust.

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About Garth Jemmett

Garth Jemmett is the founder of We Explain Stuff. He helps business leaders escape complexity by making strategies, processes, products and services easy to understand.

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