The business arena is starting to feel like a packed subway at rush hour, isn’t it? More and more contenders are elbowing their way in every day. You feel it, too, right? Well, that’s going to continue as more SMEs advance.
We’re all too familiar with the frustration of pouring time, effort, and money into customer acquisition only to see returns that would make a sidewalk lemonade stand look like Fort Knox.
It’s a predicament many a business owner and marketer has found themselves in. But as the game gets more challenging, there’s a way to play smarter. Play with artificial intelligence!
No, this is about harnessing some seriously clever tech to transform the way we attract and engage customers. It’s like having a secret weapon in your arsenal that helps you nail customer acquisition with sniper-like precision.
So, are you ready to discover AI marketing for customer acquisition?
There’s a Problem with Acquiring New Customers
In our digitally connected world, marketers are finding themselves in a complex predicament. Consumers, now armed with more information at their fingertips than a library could hold, are becoming increasingly doubtful about the products and services they’re shelling out their hard-earned cash for.
This isn’t some passing fad or momentary blip on the radar. No, it’s a seismic shift in consumer behavior that’s shaking up marketing strategies in every corner of the business world.
According to the Meaningful Brands survey by Havas Group, consumer trust in brands is at an all-time low, with 72% of consumers expressing little faith in brands.
This skepticism isn’t confined to any specific industry; it affects various sectors, from technology to food and beverage.
Moreover, a study published in Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice points out that skepticism towards advertising is higher among younger consumers, who tend to be more critical and less likely to accept marketing messages at face value.
This wave of doubt washing over consumers isn’t just about dodgy adverts or dubious claims; it’s also seeping into the realm of cause-related marketing efforts. Can you believe that?
A research paper published on ResearchGate revealed that higher awareness could lead to increased skepticism, particularly among younger consumers and females, posing another challenge for marketers.
But don’t start pulling your hair out just yet. There’s a silver lining to this ominous cloud. Enter stage: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. These tech-savvy superheroes could be just the ticket to calming this storm of skepticism.
Sure, the surge in consumer skepticism is like trying to climb Everest in flip-flops. But it also presents a golden opportunity for brands.
Imagine using AI to get under the skin of your consumers, tailor your offerings to fit them like a glove, and nurture a trusty relationship that’s as solid as a rock.
With the right use of artificial intelligence, marketers can turn this challenge into an opportunity to build stronger, more authentic connections with their consumers. Now, let’s cover how you can do that with AI.
The Benefits of AI Use in Customer Acquisition
Customer acquisition is a must, of course. But the challenges that often come with it? Not always. This is why you’re going to leverage artificial intelligence to charge things forward in your sales processes and marketing efforts.
Let’s go over the key benefits of using AI for your customer acquisition strategies:
- Personalized Marketing
Remember the days when we used to send out generic marketing emails and hope they’d stick? Those days are long gone, thanks to AI. Now, you can tailor your marketing efforts to each individual customer’s preferences and behaviors. It’s like hitting the bullseye every time!
- Improved Customer Service
Ever been stuck on hold for what feels like an eternity, waiting to speak to a customer service rep? With machine learning and AI, those days are history. AI-powered tools like chatbots provide quick, efficient customer interactions, answering questions and solving problems in real time.
- Predictive Analysis
Here’s where it gets really interesting. AI can predict customer behavior and trends with customer data, helping us strategize better with more valuable insights. This means you’re no longer shooting in the dark; you’re making informed decisions based on concrete data.
- Enhanced User Experience
A user-friendly website or app can make all the difference in whether a visitor becomes a customer in all your customer interactions. AI helps you improve interfaces, making them more attractive and easy to navigate.
- Smart Recommendations
Imagine being able to analyze customer data and provide smart product or service recommendations in various customer touchpoints. With AI, it’s not just possible, it’s simple. This feature alone has boosted my sales and turned one-time buyers into repeat customers.
Trust me, once you’ve experienced the power of machine learning and AI in your business, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
4 Ways to Leverage AI in Acquiring Customers
As your audience becomes more informed, expect that they’ll also start to become more doubtful of a business making promises to them.
It’s like when your friend says they’re definitely, absolutely, 100% going to stick to their New Year’s resolution this time… yeah, right! More consumers are becoming as skeptical as this nowadays.
But don’t worry. Using artificial intelligence is the way around this skepticism.
It’ll help you leverage your existing customers, target the right prospects precisely, and show them that you truly understand, ultimately increasing the accuracy of your efforts in acquiring customers.
Indeed, AI can supercharge your marketing efforts in many ways, and it can really make attracting more customers exciting.
But alongside AI, there’s one more tool that can make your customer acquisition efforts more accurate—the Customer Value Journey (CVJ).
Acquiring Customers with the Customer Value Journey Increases Efficacy
The Customer Value Journey (CVJ) plays an integral role in customer acquisition by guiding potential customers through a systematic 8-stage process:
- Awareness: This stage is the first point of contact, where a brand captures the attention of potential customers. For customer acquisition, it’s crucial as it builds brand recognition and plants the seeds for future interactions.
- Engagement: Engagement builds emotional involvement and trust with prospects. It’s vital for customer acquisition as it fosters relationships that can lead to conversions.
- Subscription: By offering something valuable, brands encourage prospects to subscribe. This stage is key for customer acquisition as it indicates a high level of interest, making it easier to nurture these prospects towards becoming customers.
- Conversion: This stage turns subscribers into customers, directly contributing to customer acquisition. By providing valuable offerings that solve problems or answer questions, brands can deepen prospects’ commitment.
- Excitement: Exciting customers about your brand leads to repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth, both of which are crucial for acquiring new customers.
- Ascension: In this stage, brands aim to generate repeat purchases and significant profits through upselling and cross-selling. This increases customer lifetime value, contributing to customer acquisition by boosting revenue.
- Advocacy: Happy customers are encouraged to share their positive experiences, leading to increased brand reputation and customer trust. Advocacy attracts new customers through positive word-of-mouth and social proof, aiding customer acquisition.
- Promotion: The final stage involves customers actively promoting the brand. This extends the brand’s reach and draws new customers through referrals and recommendations, significantly contributing to customer acquisition.
In summary, each stage of the CVJ is designed with customer acquisition in mind. By understanding and optimizing each stage, businesses can maximize their chances of attracting, engaging, and converting prospects into loyal customers.
We just unfolded a powerful tool that can definitely make all your customer acquisition efforts hit right in the bull’s eye.
By framing every prospect’s journey through this eight-step plan filled with value and insight, how to turn leads into your brand advocates becomes clearer than day.
So, what tactics should you leverage alongside the CVJ?
1. Content Marketing
AI is a game-changer in content marketing. It can help you create personalized content, analyze user engagement, and optimize your strategy based on real-time data.
From crafting engaging headlines to suggesting relevant topics, AI can make your content marketing initiative more attractive, effective, and overall accurate in attracting the right prospects.
In your customer’s value journey, content marketing falls in the ‘Awareness’ stage.
Utilizing customer avatars in your content marketing allows you to tailor your content precisely to the preferences, needs, and challenges of specific segments of your audience. This helps increase how accurately your content resonates with your target’s pain points.
Here are the three main ways I leverage AI in the area of content marketing:
- Leverage AI for SEO and Keyword Research – Utilize AI-powered SEO tools like BrightEdge or SEMrush to identify high-performing keywords relevant to your business. These tools can help you understand what potential customers are searching for, allowing you to optimize your content for better visibility and higher rankings.
- Employ AI for Market and Intent Research – AI can analyze large amounts of customer data quickly and accurately, helping you understand market trends and customer intent. Tools like Crayon or Pathmatics can provide insights into your competitors’ strategies, customer behavior, and emerging trends, enabling you to create content that resonates with your target audience.
- Use Generative AI for Multimedia Content Creation – AI technologies like DeepArt or Runway ML can generate images, videos, and audio, enhancing the appeal of your content. This can help grab your audience’s attention, increase engagement, and drive customer acquisition.
2. Referral Programs
How can referral programs be effective in increasing the accuracy of your customer acquisition? It leverages the experiences that your existing customers already have—plus their customer loyalty—with your brand/business.
AI can enhance your referral programs by identifying potential brand advocates, automating referral incentives, and tracking the success of your program. It can even suggest improvements based on data analysis.
In the eight stages of the CVJ, referral programs are best utilized during the ‘Promotion’ stage of your prospect.
Implement a clear and compelling call to action in your referral program. Offer exclusive rewards, discounts, or incentives for both your brand’s existing customer who refers and the referred customer.
If you’re using tools like Optimizely for your referral programs, here’s how I’d go about the process:
- Collect Customer Data – Start by collecting customer data about your customer’s purchasing behavior and preferences. This can be done through customer surveys, tracking website browsing patterns, or analyzing past purchase history.
- Analyze Data with AI Tools – Use AI tools like Optimizely and Dynamic Yield to analyze the collected customer data. These tools can understand customer behavior and provide insights and preferences, helping you understand what motivates your customers.
- Identify Personalized Incentives – Based on the insights derived from the AI analysis, identify personalized incentives that would appeal to your customers. For example, if a customer frequently buys pet products, an incentive could be a discount on their next pet-related purchase.
- Implement Referral Program – Implement a referral program where customers who show customer loyalty are offered personalized incentives for referring friends and family. Ensure the process is easy and seamless for the customer to share their referral code/link.
- Monitor and Adjust – Continually monitor the effectiveness of the referral program and the incentives offered. Use AI tools to analyze feedback and results and adjust the incentives as needed to ensure they continue to motivate customers to make referrals.
3. Social Media Advertising
AI is revolutionizing social media advertising. It can help you reach your target audience with ads more accurately, analyze ad performance, and optimize your campaigns in real time, resulting in better ROI.
Just like content marketing, social media advertising also falls under the ‘Awareness’ stage of the CVJ.
Leverage data analytics tools to track and analyze the performance of your social media ads. This will help you identify the most effective platforms and ad formats.
In my experience, using data analytics tools transformed my social media advertising strategy. I was able to identify which platforms and ad formats were delivering the best results, allowing me to focus my efforts and budget on what truly works.
Here are my tips on how you can leverage AI when advertising on social media channels:
- Predictive Analytics for Targeting – Use AI-driven tools to analyze past campaign data and predict which demographics are most likely to convert. This ensures your ads reach the most receptive audience, optimizing ad spend.
- Chatbots for Immediate Engagement – Implement AI-powered chatbots on platforms like Facebook Messenger to instantly engage with users who interact with your ads. Immediate responses can guide potential customers through the sales funnel more effectively.
- Dynamic Content Creation – Utilize AI tools that automatically create and optimize ad content based on real-time user interactions. This ensures that your ads remain relevant and appealing, increasing the chances of conversion.
4. User-Generated Content (UGC)
AI can help you leverage user-generated content by identifying relevant UGC, analyzing customer feedback, its impact, and suggesting how to use it effectively in your marketing efforts.
Since UGC is all about leveraging what your loyal customers have to say about your brand, this tactic belongs in the ‘Advocate’ stage of the Customer Value Journey.
Encourage and incentivize your customers to create and share user-generated content related to your brand. This can be done through contests, giveaways, or featuring customer testimonials. You can then gather data regarding the positive feedback from UGCs about your product/service.
Here’s how I would leverage using AI tools to help get rid of consumer doubts with UGC:
- Data Collection – Begin by collecting data on your website visitors. This includes browsing behavior, pages visited, products viewed, and past purchase history.
- Choose an AI-Powered Recommendation Tool – Tools like Dynamic Yield or Algolia are popular choices. They analyze user behavior to provide personalized content recommendations.
- Integrate UGC into the Tool – Feed the tool with your curated UGC, ensuring it’s tagged appropriately (e.g., by product, category, or sentiment).
- Set Up Personalization Rules – Define rules based on user behavior. For instance, if a user frequently views a particular product, the tool should recommend UGC related to that product.
- A/B Testing – Test different UGC recommendations to see which ones resonate most with your audience. Adjust your rules based on these insights.
- Monitor and Optimize – Regularly review the performance of your UGC recommendations. Use the insights to refine your strategy and improve personalization.
So there you have it, folks. AI is not just a buzzword; it’s a powerful tool that can transform your customer acquisition efforts. Give these tips a go, and see the difference for yourself!
Tools to Use for Customer Acquisition
There are numerous tools that use AI for different marketing initiatives. The ones we’ll feature below are just three of the many tools that you can try for personalization and other customer acquisition goals.
6sense is an Account Engagement Platform designed to help B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth.
It leverages AI, big data, and machine learning to uncover anonymous buying behavior and prioritize accounts for sales and marketing.
What I like/dislike
2. Qlik Sense
Qlik Sense is a self-service data visualization and discovery application suitable for individuals, groups, and organizations. It’s designed for analytics and offers intuitive visualizations.
What I like/dislike
3. IBM Watson Studio
IBM Watson Studio is a powerful AI tool that provides tools for data scientists, application developers, and subject matter experts to collaboratively and easily work with data.
What I like/dislike
You know what’s tough? Trying to win over new customers in this dog-eat-dog world. Nowadays, folks are savvier than ever – they’ve got their guard up, and they’re not buying it unless you really speak their language.
But with tools like AI, you can navigate this skepticism, personalize your approach, and truly connect with your audience.
Think about it: from customizing your content to harnessing the might of user-generated content (UGC), AI is shaking things up big time in how we connect with potential customers. And the cherry on top? It’s making our efforts more accurate and effective.
So, if you’re feeling the squeeze of attracting new customers, it’s high time you gave AI a whirl. Believe me, it’s a total game-changer. So, how about you? Any tales from the trenches of customer acquisition? Spill the beans in the comments below.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.