The Ultimate Customer Acquisition Checklist
by Dozen Digital
Thanks for visiting!
I'm Jim, founder of Dozen Digital, a customer acquisition agency based in NYC. We help companies acquire customers through both paid and organic traffic channels.
I have been doing customer acquisition marketing for almost 7 years, and it changes every single day. One of the most difficult (but rewarding) parts of doing digital marketing is keeping up with the latest tactics, techniques and strategies.
What you'll find below is over 300 of these tactics, techniques and strategies. It is by no means comprehensive (and we still have to add more channels), but hopefully is a good starting point.
If you find these valuable, we just ask that you share on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin with a shoutout to Dozen Digital so we can thank you.
Jim and the Dozen Digital Team
Search Engine Optimization
Why should you care about SEO?
SEO can be a large and perennial source of traffic for your site. Searchers are looking for specific resources, so this traffic is already pre-qualified. In the long term, SEO can generate “free” traffic that doesn’t require much on-going cost.
When is SEO right for you?
SEO may be worth considering if you have a substantial number of pages on your site. But the process takes time, so it also requires a long-term perspective and a firm commitment to both content creation and distribution.
When is SEO not right for you?
SEO may not be right for you if your service or product is so novel that customers aren’t searching for it yet.
How does SEO fit into the big picture?
SEO can generate traffic from all parts of the purchase funnel, from the initial research to the purchase stage. SEO is actually the combination of many efforts: technical on-page changes, content creation, distribution, UI/UX, etc.
What are the most important high-level SEO concepts?
In ranking webpages, Google prioritizes the best resources for a particular query. What is "best" is determined by the page's combination of relevance and authoritativeness, where relevance is based on the quality of on-page content, and authority is based on the number, quality, and diversity of inbound links and social mentions. The "Optimization" part of SEO simply refers to making the site as accessible as possible for crawlers, by implementing things such as an easy-to-understand hierarchy, and well-placed keywords that make it easy to parse what a page is about.
Where are the best resources online for SEO?
- Make strategic keyword choices
- Use readable and compelling Title Tags
- Use Headers (primarily H1)
- Write persuasive Meta descriptions
- Use Image HTML (alt tags and file names)
- Use clean, keyword-rich URLs
- Include an XML Sitemap
- Add an HTML Sitemap
- Have a clean site architecture
- Use a Robots.txt file
- Fix duplicate content issues
- Use Schema markup
- Fix any 404 Errors
- Include outbound links
- Add additional media
- Understand LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword implications
- Improve site speed
- Improve usability
- Ensure site responsiveness
- Set up the Google Search Console
- Focus on content length and depth
Why should you care about Adwords?
Adwords—and search advertising in particular—is one of the lowest-funnel marketing channels available. In other words, it allows you to reach people who have a very high purchase intent. It is a large source of potential traffic and can drive traffic almost instantaneously.
When is Adwords right for you?
Adwords may be right for you if you have an advertising budget and want immediate traffic. You may also want to use Adwords as a place to test copy ideas and validate hypotheses about your customers' needs.
When Adwords not right for you?
Adwords may not be right for you if your potential customers are not searching for this type of product or service yet, or if you do not have an advertising budget.
How does Adwords fit into the big picture?
Adwords is a great advertising channel for all parts of the purchase funnel, including those in the research/exploration phase. The best results will be found in the lowest part of the funnel, with keywords that demonstrate purchase intent.
What are the most important high-level Adwords concepts?
Your Ad Rank (where your ad shows up) is a function of two elements: your Quality Score and your bid price. Your Quality Score is a function of multiple factors, the most important ones being your ad click-through rate and your landing page quality/relevance. In order to achieve the best results, your keyword, ad copy and landing page should maintain consistency. This can be accomplished by having a sound Adwords infrastructure, with tightly grouped Ad Groups and Campaigns. Finally, the more real estate that your ad takes up on the search engine result page, the more likely it is to be seen and clicked. Ad extensions and a high Ad Rank can help to achieve this.
Where are the best resources online for Adwords?
- Ensure consistency between keywords, ads and landing pages
- Optimize for Quality Score
- Use automated rules for bidding
- Use “Goal” language
- Use “You” language
- Use countdowns
- Start with modified broad match (not always)
- Use negative keywords
- Try mobile-optimized ads
- Try retargeting for search
- Try customer match
- Bid on competitor terms (where appropriate)
- Use your allotted one exclamation point in ads
- Try Dynamic Keyword Insertion for ads
- Use day/time/location/device parting/modifiers
- Speak to benefits, not features, in ad copy
- Include your keyword at least once in your ad copy
- Limit ad groups to a max of 30 keywords
- Include your price in your ad to pre-qualify traffic
- Include your phone number if possible
- Use a strong call to action
- Use Sitelink Extensions
- Use Location Extensions
- Use Callout Extensions
- Use Review Extensions
- Try YouTube Ads
- Try Gmail Ads
- Try Google Shopping Campaigns
- For Display: Try a combination of Keyword/Topic/Demographics targeting
- For Display: Try using site placement targeting
- For Display: Try dynamic retargeting
- For Display: Exclude certain categories of sites (spam, etc)
Why should you care about Facebook Ads?
Facebook is the second largest platform for advertising, next to Google. With Facebook ads, you have the ability to target very granular audiences and to use a highly varied set of creative methods.
When are Facebook Ads right for you?
Facebook ads may be right for you if you have compelling creatives and/or value propositions, and if you have a budget that allows for exploration and optimization over time.
When are Facebook Ads not right for you?
Facebook ads might not be right for you if your customers are not on Facebook (large enterprise clients, for example), and if you don’t have an advertising budget.
How do Facebook Ads fit into the big picture?
Facebook Advertising is typically a top-of-the-funnel, awareness-building channel. While it can be used as a direct response platform, it is best used for awareness-building in combination with direct response. Facebook is a must-explore channel for companies advertising online.
What are the most important high-level Facebook Ad concepts?
As with Google, ad quality and bids determine deliverability on Facebook. Your creative must be continually tested to improve the audience/creative match. Facebook users are primarily mobile, so the user experience must be simple, from both an ad and landing page standpoint. When constructing your campaigns, there will be 4 major vectors to test: audience, placement, image, and copy.
Where are the best resources online for Facebook Ads?
- Use good naming conventions
- Ensure each audience is unique
- Set up your conversion pixel
- Optimize for conversions (though this may limit delivery)
- Set up custom scheduling (day/time parting)
- Try targeting friends of fans
- Use Lookalike audiences
- Use custom audiences (site visitors, email lists, etc)
- Overlap targeting methods to refine audience
- Choose the right call-to-action for your goal
- Try dynamic product ads for retargeting
- Try lead capture ads
- Ask questions in ads to increase CTR
- Use cold audience strategies such as gated content, blog content and earned media to warm up potential customers/leads
- Use UTM tags in all of your ad landing pages
- In general, use daily budgets instead of lifetime
- Use oCPM bidding to start a campaign
- Use CPM bidding for Retargeting campaigns
- Start broad then refine (depending on goals)
- Don’t let ad frequency go over 1.5, otherwise audiences will saturate
- Use less than 20% text in ads
- Monitor comments on ads and respond
- Test right column ads in addition to newsfeed ads
- When running the same ad over multiple sets, use the existing post so that you don't lose likes/shares
- Create a lookalike audience based on conversions
- Exclude custom audiences of people who have converted on your site already
- Use addresses to target specific companies/people
Conversion Rate Optimization
Why should you care about Conversion Rate Optimization?
Increasing revenue can sometimes be more easily achieved by improving the conversion rate instead of increasing the number of visitors. Conversions not only provide immediate revenue, but also offer the opportunity to sell on an on-going basis and get customer referrals.
When is Conversion Rate Optimization right for you?
Conversion Rate Optimization is almost always an important consideration.
When is Conversion Rate Optimization not right for you?
If the company still needs to establish a core value proposition, your focus should be on high-level product decisions and not necessarily conversation optimization tactics.
How does Conversion Rate Optimization fit into the big picture?
CRO should be approached in the context of traffic sources and the messaging used in marketing material. Each tactic should be applied only if it makes sense for your audience.
What are the most important high-level Conversion Rate Optimization concepts?
From a high level, it is best to provide all important information, not to surprise customers nor to present too many distractions, as well as to keep processes, design and copy within people’s existing mental models.
Where are the best resources online for Conversion Rate Optimization?
Checklist continued from right column..
- Use guarantees
- Use information gaps to create curiosity
- Use inline validation
- Use no-nonsense headlines
- Use price anchoring
- Use qualitative surveys to get visitor insights
- Use scarcity
- Use specific statistics and numbers
- Use the same language that customers use
- Add effective and functional site search
- Add auto-complete suggestions in product search (with images)
- Add product filters
- Add trust symbols
- Allow customers to zoom in on your products
- Avoid false bottoms to keep users scrolling
- Do usability testing (with real users) to get live feedback
- Encourage customers to share their puchase on social media
- Follow traditional design conventions
- Guide users with directional cues
- Incorporate video in your sales funnel
- Keep the number of items in the cart visible
- Make your load time lightning-fast
- Optimize your site for mobile
- Feature expert social proof
- Display social sharing buttons in blog posts prominently
- Display your phone number prominently
- Put key information on the left side of the page
- Reduce distractions
- Reduce the number of fields and options a user has to sift through
- Remove graphics or images near or touching your CTA
- Remove visual deadweight
- Replace dropdown menus with other options
- Run surveys to figure out what your customers really want
- Remove useless links
- Show multiple high-quality product images
- Show off user reviews
- Show your product in context
Note: This list was gathered from Brian Dean’s great post on conversion rate optimization techniques. See his original post here.
- Add a benefit to your call to action
- Add number of likes, users, followers or customers as social proof
- Add numbers in your headline
- Add urgency to your CTA
- Ask for micro-commitments
- Clearly mark your top sellers
- Directly counter objections
- Evoke emotion
- Feature high-revenue products above fold
- Get new users engaged immediately, even if they don't buy right away
- Give people more information
- Leverage loss aversion
- Make your headlines super-specific
- Persuade with image captions
- Replace blocks of text with bullet points
- Replace jargon with plain English
- Replace the word "Buy" with benefit-rich CTAs
- Show the work that went into creating your product
- Show where your product was made
- Show why you're better than competition
- Sweeten the deal with bonuses
- Test different prices to maximize total revenue
- Test first and second person copy in CTAs
- Test free trials vs. freemium
- Test negative words in your headline
- Test upsells, downsells and cross sells
- Use a long-form sales page for pricey products
- Use action-oriented copy
- Use heat map tools
- Use image testimonials
- Use photos of real people
- Use real faces instead of icons or stock photos
- Use short landing pages for small commitments
- Add countdown timers to time-sensitive offers
- Generate email subscribers from your About Us page
- Put a CTA in the top right corner of your page
- Put your button in a more prominent place
- Repeat key benefits during checkout
- Show a bigger phone number on mobile sites
- Use a contrasting color for your CTA
- Use anchor text navigation links
- Use multiple CTAs on a single page
- End your prices in "7" and "9"
- Remove hidden fees
- Show your price on landing pages
- Split up a larger product into individual products
- Test lowering AND raising your prices
- Add live chat support
- Autofill fields at checkout
- Collect emails and nurture (instead of trying to sell immediately)
- Give people a product tour
- Keep your message and design consistent through your entire funnel
- Let buyers checkout as a guest
- Offer free shipping
- Segment by different user types
- Show progress bars
- Test different payment options
- Test the number of pages in your checkout process
- Use A/B testing
- Update your outdated design
- Use a large font for your headline
- Use a notification bar at the top of your pages
- Use a popup to capture more emails
- Use a single column layout
- Use a slider at the bottom of your pages
- Use BIG product images
- Use hand-drawn visual cues
- Put a discount sticker on your products
- Test button size
- Test different colors for call-to-action buttons
Why should you care about Analytics?
Analytics helps you to make better marketing and product decisions by leveraging quantitative data. It is also vital for communicating key metrics to external stakeholders, such as your board or investors.
When is Analytics right for you?
It is always important to set up and use Analytics periodically in order to make better decisions. The extent to which tools beyond Google Analytics should be used depends on the needs and the use cases of the data. Typically, companies that need user-specific information will want to look into other solutions—such as Mixpanel—to complement Google Analytics.
When is Analytics not right for you?
For very new companies, a full analytics setup may not be necessary or valuable, but the basics (like pageview tracking) should always be set up.
How does Analytics fit into the big picture?
Analytics is an important infrastructural setup process for any company operating online. Generally, Analytics will help improve marketing decisions and product/site decisions.
What are the most important high-level Analytics concepts?
Analytics should be used primarily to make better decisions about product and marketing. Analytics is best done on a relative rather than objective basis: e.g. comparing the goal completion rates for two traffic channels against each other, rather than comparing the completion rate against some static value X. Goals must be set up to allow for true comparison and optimization.
Where are the best resources online for Analytics?
- Set up Goals
- Use Event Tracking
- Set up Analytics using Google Tag Manager
- Create custom reports
- Set up Ecommerce tracking (if relevant)
- Set up cross domain tracking (if relevant)
- Add site search functionality (if relevant)
- Use custom dimensions
- Set up IP filtering
- Set up custom alerts
- Add annotations for important dates
- Link Adwords and Analytics
- Link Search Console and Analytics
- Import cost data
- Set referral exclusions
- Allow demographic information capture
- Understand how to use UTM parameters
- View attribution modeling reports
- Use advanced segments
- Ensure that the GA snippet is on every page
Why should you care about Copywriting?
Attention spans online are limited, so copy must convey value quickly and effectively. Additionally, many written formats online (such as meta descriptions, email subject lines and ad copy) have character/word limits, which makes succinctness a must.
When is Copywriting right for you?
You should consider improving your copywriting if your current copy does not persuasively convey your product or service's value proposition.
When is Copywriting not right for you?
Focusing on copywriting may not be right for you if you already have highly compelling copy, and your resources would be better spent on other aspects such as product or design.
How does Copywriting fit into the big picture?
Copy can be found in many pieces of digital marketing, such as ad copy, website copy, emails, landing pages and more.
What are the most important high-level Copywriting concepts?
It is important to use concise and precise language, appeal to problems customers may be facing, discuss benefits instead of features, and appeal to the emotional side of your customers needs.
Where are the best resources online for Copywriting?
- Use open loops/questions
- Use power verbs
- Use the AIDA formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action
- Use story-telling to paint a vivid picture
- Use active voice over passive voice
- Use straightforward, simple headlines over tricky or clever ones
- Use words like “will”, “can”, “do”, etc instead of words like “may”, “hope”, “could”
- Use the “Problem/Agitate/Solve” formula
- Include a strong call-to-action
- Focus on “you” instead of “we”
- Give readers a benefit and deliver in the body copy
- Address potential concerns/play devil's-advocate
- Don’t use adjectives and adverbs
- Allow your subconscious to make connections between ideas (less rationality in copy)
- If you get prospects to say “yes,” they’re more likely to say “yes” again
- Back up your benefits and other claims with proof
- Use the phrase “On Your Phone” on mobile ads
- Mention the important point at least 3 times in longer copy
Why should you care about landing pages?
Landing pages allow for the quick and easy creation of pages with clear marketing goals. They can focus visitors on a singular goal by removing distractions, thereby increasing conversion rates. They are also a useful way to create pages that may only be of short term use, such as giveaway pages.
When are landing pages right for you?
Landing pages may be right for you if you are doing a substantial amount of advertising. They are also useful as a lead generation tool, for A/B testing without affecting the main website, and for companies with small or overbooked technical teams.
When are landing pages not right for you?
Ecommerce/B2C companies may not need landing pages. Further, if your current site has strong landing pages already, it may not be necessary to create new ones.
How do landing pages fit into the big picture?
Landing pages are used as pages for marketing efforts that can speak directly to specific groups of visitors. Landing pages are generally seen as less core to the web presence.
What are the most important high-level landing page concepts?
When creating landing pages, it is important to focus visitors on achieving a very specific goal, give social proof and supply only relevant information, offer good "lead magnets" when using them for lead generation, and to set up post sign-up marketing automation systems.
Where are the best resources online for landing pages?
- Have a a single goal/focus of page
- Include the right SEO elements, including headers, good URLs, a meta description and strong Title tag
- Use copy that conveys urgency
- Use copy that conveys scarcity
- Add social proof in the form of testimonials, number of social media likes, etc
- Include multiple contact methods
- Set up different landing pages for different purposes
- Always be A/B testing elements on the pages
- Include directional cues in the imagery
- Match visual design with advertising creative
- Add video if possible
- Ensure your subheader clearly describes your offer
- Include benefits (not features) in bullet points
- Use clear, simple copy
- Include your unique selling proposition
- Don't include navigational elements or external links
- Ensure that the layout is responsive
- Ensure the headline matches the traffic source
- Use actionable, value-focused words in the headline
- Include only necessary fields in forms, and clearly draw viewer's attention from other elements on the page
- Have a call-to-action that is large, prominent, centrally located, and features unique copy
- Ensure a quality confirmation page with information about what the visitor can expect next
Why should you care about Content Creation?
A large portion of digital marketing hinges on content creation. Potential customers need validation that you are knowledgeable, informative, and an authority in your industry. This validation is best found in compelling written content, videos and infographics that help to build trust with your potential audience.
When is Content Creation right for you?
Creating content is right for you if you have a long-term view of the value of compelling content, if you have a plan for the distribution of your content, if your industry is not already saturated with effective content and if your customers value the transparency that good content can provide.
When is Content Creation not right for you?
Creating content may not be right for you if you don’t have the ability to promote your content or if your industry is already saturated with great content.
How does Content Creation fit into the big picture?
Content creation can be useful for both paid and organic traffic. Content can drive someone down the purchase funnel, from initial awareness to purchase.
What are the most important high-level Content Creation concepts?
A good starting point is to look at what has done well in the past within your industry and to replicate or improve upon it. Longer and more thorough content will typically perform better than shorter content.
Where are the best resources online for Content Creation?
- Focus on quality over quantity when producing content
- Define your ideal reader persona
- Use high-quality images
- Use call-to-actions in your posts
- Use the right keywords for SEO opportunity
- Translate successful content into other mediums
- Do initial research in subreddits, forums, Quora, etc to identify concerns and pain points of audience
- Idea: A comprehensive list of industry statistics/research
- Idea: A top 100+ post on a relevant topic
- Idea: Respond to a controversial article or video
- Idea: Predict trends in your niche or industry
- Idea: Create a decision guide (text, image, tool)
- Idea: Ask your readers to submit a story of their experience with your product or service
- Idea: Update existing successful posts
- Idea: Contact leaders in your field and have them answer a question and put into post
- Idea: Poll or survey your audience
- Idea: Create content based on trending topics
- Idea: Create an ultimate resource or guide
- Idea: Write a content curation post
- Idea: Write a comparison post
- Idea: Take surveys and publish results
- Idea: Top 10 resource lists (blogs, hacks, tools)
- Idea: Create a ‘hack’ post: A list of workarounds for a common problem or issue
- Idea: Create a beginner’s guide with helpful, actionable information and tips
- Idea: Write a post inspired by a blog comment
- Idea: Review a recent book/movie that would be relevant to your audience
- Idea: A list of inspirational or motivational quotes
- Idea: List of useful articles/resources on a topic
- Idea: Write a post listing and linking to all your articles on a particular topic or theme
- Idea: Write a behind-the-scenes post
Why should you care about Content Distribution?
Content distribution efforts drive both referral traffic and long-term SEO traffic.
When is Content Distribution right for you?
Content distribution is right for you when you’re already creating compelling content but do not yet have an audience for it.
When is Content Distribution not right for you?
You're not ready to distribute your content if the content isn't high-quality.
How does Content Distribution fit into the big picture?
Content distribution is an important part of generating organic traffic. SEO requires links and links can come from effective content distribution. Good content distribution also establishes credibility and trust with your potential customers and partners.
What are the most important high-level Content Distribution concepts?
You should always begin with effective content. Building relationships with potential sharers should start early. Focus on communities and people who are most likely to appreciate the value of the content.
Where are the best resources online for Content Distribution?
- Find online conversations where your content can help to address the questions being asked or add to the discussion (Mention is a great tool for this)
- Start building relationships with influencers early
- Start by providing value without promoting content
- Find relevant subreddits and contribute meaningfully before posting your own content
- Answer relevant questions on Quora and link to your post
- Post on Linkedin groups with significant activity
- Repurpose your content as a slide deck and share it on Slideshare
- Post on all major social channels (Facebook, Twitter, G+, Linkedin, Pinterest)
- Send the article to your email list via a newsletter or as part of an ongoing series
- Submit your content to niche communities where people post content regularly (Product Hunt, Hacker News, etc)
- Hire a PR firm that can help you to get published in more established media outlets
- Submit to aggregators such as the Buzzfeed community section
- Use Buzzsumo to find people who have shared similar content and reach out to them
- Use Buzzstream to improve and scale your outreach and linkbuilding efforts
- Offer content as a guest post for others to post
- Use the Linkedin publishing platform and pay for promotion of your post
- Use Facebook-sponsored posts to reach your ideal audience and gain visibility and shares
- Use content distribution networks such as Outbrain and Taboola
- Repurpose your content in different forms for different channels (infographics, short videos, FAQs, etc)
Email Marketing and Automation
Why should you care about Email Marketing and Automation?
Email subscribers have given you permission to send them marketing and most people online spend a large portion of their day in their inbox.
When is Email Marketing and Automation right you?
Email is almost always an important channel. The depth of an automation plan is typically directly proportional to the length of the sales cycle.
When is Email Marketing and Automation not right for you?
Email is almost always an important consideration. The extent to which automation is important depends on the company and the length of the sales cycle.
How does Email Marketing + Automation fit into the big picture?
Email marketing can fit into different parts of the purchase funnel. It can be used to educate, warm leads, drive conversions and encourage re-engagement/sharing.
What are the most important high-level Email Marketing + Automation concepts?
Capturing emails often requires offering something of value first. The more personalized and relevant an email is, the most likely it is to be acted upon.
Where are the best resources online for Email Marketing + Automation?
- Use a welcome series to explain your company/product (ideally around 3 or 4 emails over a few weeks)
- Use behavior-based emails that are triggered based on the actions that your users perform on your site
- Use newsletters to update subscribers on sales, partnerships, and company updates
- Use an email course for longer-form content and educational purposes
- E-commerce: Use email for inspiration and information before purchase
- E-commerce: Use abandoned shopping cart emails
- E-commerce: Use post-purchase review emails
- E-commerce: Send transactional/informational emails (for example, shipping confirmations)
- E-commerce: Try referral program emails
- E-commerce: Try "Share Your Purchase" emails
- E-commerce: Try product review emails (and use the Net Promoter System)
- E-commerce: Try sending emails to re-engage old customers based on the length of time since their last purchase
- E-commerce: Try sending recommended products
- E-commerce: Try sending emails based on the aggregate amount of purchases or sales amounts
- E-commerce: Try upsell emails
- B2B: Start with a map of the lead nurturing process
- B2B: Understand the prospects’ buying cycle
- B2B: Understand the buying personas
- B2B: Use a CRM to feed data into automation series
- B2B: Use automations based on lead scoring
- B2B: Send lead-nurturing flows
- B2B: Use case studies for prospects that are close to purchasing
- B2B: Use a cold lead workflow
- All emails: Include calls to action
- All emails: Set up UTM tracking for Google Analytics
- All emails: Be sure to segment your lists
- All email: Ensure mobile friendliness
Need help with customer acquisition? Lets chat!
Is there anything we should add? Do you have any questions you'd like answered? Leave a comment below.
Thanks for checking out our checklists!
For easy navigation to individual topics, here are the individual pages: