What is the customer acquisition journey?
The customer acquisition journey is the process a customer undergoes between learning about your brand to making a purchase.
Acquiring customers is a far more complex task than you would think. Consumers are notoriously fickle and forgetful. For subscription businesses, the bar is even higher as they are committing for the long-run.
Say a potential customer spots your Instagram advert and finds your subscription service interesting. The first thing they’ll likely do is seek opinions from others to see if their hunch is correct. Maybe they'll ask their friends or check Google for reviews and testimonials. After some time and research, hopefully, they’ll make the jump to become a paid subscriber.
This is one of the most common customer acquisition journeys in the digital age. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to months for the process to play itself out — which obviously isn’t great from a business perspective.
To speed up the process, businesses need to understand how the subscriber acquisition journey works — including the customer mindset. There are three main stages to the customer acquisition journey from a customer’s perspective:
- Awareness: The customer identifies an issue they need to solve
- Consideration: The customer begins to research potential solutions for their issue
- Decision: The customer compares the available options and chooses the one that best fits their needs.
Your task when improving your acquisition journey is to make your brand stands out during every stage of this journey. This will require a strong knowledge of your target audience and decisions based on instinct and data.
Businesses may find an acquisition journey that works well at the time, but consumer habits are constantly shifting. This makes it impossible to stick with the same strategy for an extended period of time. Thankfully, subscription-based products are unique because they receive fresh data from their users every month. You can use this data to iterate and optimise customer acquisition journeys at regular intervals to ensure you’re using the best possible methods.
How to master your subscription customer acquisition journey
A customer acquisition journey looks quite different from a business’s perspective. For businesses looking to grow their subscribers, there are four critical steps involved in the customer acquisition journey.
The first and most obvious step is to make people aware of your product. If your target audience doesn’t know your brand exists, there’s no way you will ever grow your subscriber numbers.
This stage is often the focus of the job for traditional marketers. Define your target audience and use the appropriate marketing channels to help draw them in. This could be social media advertising, blog posts, podcasts, or even traditional advertising like billboards. Or even a blog article, like this one, so you now know about Limio!
Traditional marketing practices will only get you so far. There’s absolutely still a place for ads on public transport and billboards, but marketers also have to level up their efforts for a younger, modern generation.
Advertising on social media is a great way to increase your reach. But to reel in those subscribers, you need to do a little more than a static image on a sponsored post.
The best brands on social media are the ones that offer meaningful interactions with their audience. Take the social media team at Netflix as an example. While they don’t dedicate their entire feed to jokes and memes, they do have a few wacky, funny tweets (with a bit of controversy around data protection). And their social media team takes plenty of time to meaningfully and memorably interact with their followers, rather than adopting the generic replies usually found on branded Twitter pages.
This is the stage where your potential customer becomes a subscriber. This stage needs to be as simple as possible for the subscriber, as even the slightest hiccup could cause them to reconsider their purchase.
Thankfully, it’s simple to optimise your pricing page by doing the following:
- Create clear pricing tables
- Enable social media and other one-click sign-up options
- Offer multiple payment options
- Feature testimonials and case studies to help build trust
- Be clear about the commitment period and the ability to cancel the subscription online
You can also offer some kind of risk-free guarantee — like a 30-day money-back guarantee — that shows you have faith in the product and reassures the subscriber that their money will not go to waste.
It’s important to remember that, at this stage, we are essentially operating in a probationary period in the user's mind. This is especially true if they start with a free trial. The customer will use this first subscription period to assess how much value your service can offer them. This brings us nicely to the last step in the acquisition journey…
If customers cancel their subscription after the first month, there’s little point in putting so much effort into the customer acquisition journey. Ask anyone in business, and they’ll tell you that retaining a customer is much cheaper than signing up a new one. 5 to 25 times cheaper to be exact.
To help build loyal, long-time subscribers, you can’t just rely on your product to keep them hooked. There might be times when the customer doesn’t feel they use the product enough to warrant keeping their subscription active, especially during a cost-of-living crisis. For those subscribers, you could offer discounts, freebies, or even a loyalty program that rewards them for staying with you.
And, you need to offer great customer support that checks in with your subscribers to ensure they’re still happy with your service and can quickly solve any issues they may have.
Spruce up your customer acquisition journey with help from Limio