Electronic, print and personal referrals are the three different types of customer acquisition programs marketing professionals generally use to attract new clients to a company. Customer acquisition programs most commonly make use of electronic mediums like television, radio and the Internet to quickly increase the company's market share. Print and incentive-driven referral programs can also be very effective methods of building the customer base. Marketing efforts tend to focus on positive aspects of a company's reputation, value and service record to attract the business of potential customers.
Customer acquisition programs in electronic media are often the first interaction people have with a company. Websites make information about the company available to potential customers around the clock. The content of a company website can be carefully designed to create an image that should attract the specific clientele desired. Television and radio advertisements generally reach smaller audiences, but can be targeted to a specific customer demographic for optimum effectiveness. A company that relies solely on electronic marketing methods, however, may reach only a subset of its potential customers, depending on their television viewing and web browsing habits.
Print-marketed customer acquisition programs can be used to cover limited and local markets inexpensively and effectively. Magazine, newspaper and direct-mail print ads can be strategically placed to reach the desired audiences. Coupons and discounts are often included in print marketing to entice new customers to give the company a try. The limited space in a print campaign is best used to drive customers to a phone number or website for more information. In some cases, hand delivery of printed flyers can further reduce company costs while generating valuable opportunities to speak with potential customers directly.
Word-of-mouth marketing can quickly grow a company's customer base through client referrals. High client referral rates are typically a good indication that a company is taking care of its existing customers, and properly targeted customer referral programs can turn satisfied clients into walking customer acquisition programs. Some incentive programs reward the person who gave the referral with cash or discounts and give the referred new customer access to a special rate. The best part about referral programs is that the company only has to put out money when it is guaranteed a new paying customer.
Regardless of the medium used for customer acquisition, companies can tailor a marketing program's message in various ways. The way a company chooses to attract new customers is usually a product of its corporate philosophy and current market strategy. For example, some companies use aggressive marketing methods designed to steal customers by focusing on the disadvantages of a competitor. Although sometimes effective, this method can be risky as potential customers may perceive the company as unfriendly or desperate.