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Customer Acquisition Strategy for Startups. How to Start?

No matter what kind of startup are you planning to open, be it a company experimenting with a new technology or one trying to find a way of serving people better than the competition, sooner rather than later you will need to find a good customer acquisition strategy for your startup.

In a market saturated with tough competition, finding people willing to chose your business services rather than someone else’s may prove difficult.

How to convince people to make a purchase?

Will they come again if they are satisfied?

What to do in order to get customers’ attention?

Our guide will make your life easier and help you find a good customer acquisition strategy for startups (not to be confused with customer retention strategy). The guide was written in a way to make it as useful as possible for many different kinds of new businesses.

Define your customers

What are the characteristic traits of your customer? What sets him apart from the crowd? What are his/her needs and in what way can they be met better? How could your services be more valuable to them than the services that other businesses are providing?

You may say searching for those answers is just the basics, which is true, but if your strategy for acquisition of customers has a weak foundation, it can fail quickly. Even the best thought-out plan will prove useless if you don’t know where are you aiming.

Engage your customers

Try to open a dialogue with your buyers. Have a forum set up for your customers and have their questions answered in a quickly thoroughly. Treat them well, never let them feel they are wasting your time or ask ignorant questions. Get social media engagement. Get as many people to talk as much as possible about your product.

Apply emotions to your message

Most customers do not respond well to technical jargon. You need to make an attractive narrative surrounding your products and engage customers emotions. Use eloquent words alongside evocative images and/or sounds to grab customers’ attention.

Those human touches are very important, and in some cases they can decide the outcome of customers browsing your website.

Monitor social media

If you know what customers like about your products and what they hate, not only will you be able to improve your services, but also you will have a knowledge about how to change your marketing tactics. Maximize customer exposure to the strong points of your services and minimize the time they spend reading about the parts of your product they are not interested in.

Offer social proof to validate product value

People trust the opinions of other people more than the descriptions you put on your products. Why not then let them write reviews on your site? You can curate them and put the most positive ones in the spotlight. If you can get some customers to sign their reviews with their real names, the effect will only increase!

Build partnerships

There are some companies which could use your customer base and will share their base with you in the exchange. By forming alliances with other brands you may quickly and inexpensively get exposure to a whole new audiences.

Those partnerships are beneficial to both businesses, as each puts its experience and value towards the shared goal. If you both market your products together, then you will double the exposure for the same amount of money which would usually give you a normal level of exposure.

If you find another company whose products would look good with, or compliment yours, then think about building partnerships with them, which is a great customer acquisition strategy for startups.

Have an open mind when you search for your partners because finding good combinations of products and services is a creative task and unexpected partnerships may often give the best results for both participating companies.

Assessing the cost of customer acquisition

You paid for an advertisement in a few different places and customers are pouring in. Great! But it does not mean your strategy is optimal. You must know that even the best plan can be improved.

Look how much are you spending on each place per month. Then look how many customers each of those venues brings in. When you calculate the costs of customer acquisition per venue you will see that some of them are lower and others are higher.

You should take money from more expensive places to more cheap ones. This way, without changing your marketing budget, you will get more customers.


Treat these tips as a rule of thumb. Of course, depending on your business model, some of the tips will be more useful than the others. So try to experiment! Some changes to the usual formula may yield unexpected positive results.

Be constantly watchful, and able to switch back to the older strategy if the new one doesn’t work well. Always seek non-obvious ways to reach new customers. Search for new spins on older tricks and you may improve your customer acquisition strategy for startups.

Matt Warcholinski

Matt Warcholinski is the COO of Brainhub (a software house building awesome node.js web and mobile apps) who loves to build startups and play guitar.

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