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A Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting Your Customer Acquisition Plan

Updated: 3 days ago

Are you struggling to attract new customers or make your business stand out in a packed market? You're not alone. Finding new customers is challenging for businesses of all sizes, often involving significant time and resources for little payoff. Yet, there is a simpler, highly effective strategy for customer acquisition. This article delves into how you can identify your ideal customer and outlines proven methods to attract and secure new clientele. 

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What is Customer Acquisition?

Customer acquisition is the process of bringing in new customers to your business. This process starts with identifying your target market and understanding their characteristics, understanding which channels are best for attracting would-be customers (prospects), and aligning your marketing and sales strategies to engage with these prospects to generate interest, build trust, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

 Effective customer acquisition strategies not only expand your customer base and boost revenue but also lower acquisition costs (CAC), enhance customer retention, and improve customer lifetime value (CLV), ultimately reducing long-term costs. 

Why Planning for Customer Acquisition Matters

For several key reasons, focusing on building an effective customer acquisition strategy is crucial for businesses of any size and age. 

In a nutshell, it's key for continuous growth and maintaining profitability. Lowering the cost to acquire customers (CAC) not only enhances revenue margins and cash flow but also fosters a vibrant, loyal customer base. 

By consistently attracting and converting the right customers, businesses can ensure a steady revenue stream with fewer expenditures. This, in turn, leads to growth opportunities and sustainability, something that investors are always interested in.

This strategy also broadens your market reach, helps you access new profitable segments, and keeps you competitive and relevant in a dynamic market.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Customer Acquisition Plan

Whether you're starting fresh or refining existing strategies, a structured plan is vital. This step-by-step guide will lead you through the essential phases of developing an effective customer acquisition strategy, starting with one of the most crucial steps: identifying your ideal customer segments.

Phase 1: Identify Your Ideal Customer Segments

The most important step is identifying your target customers. These are the people who are most likely to buy from you and become loyal customers. Understanding who your target customers are will help you tailor your marketing efforts and improve your chances of success.

There are a few key factors to consider when identifying your target customers: customer characteristics, buying behaviors, and geographic location.

Break down various customer characteristics

First, think about the demographic characteristics of your ideal customer. This could include age, gender, income level, education, and occupation. For example, if you sell luxury skincare products, your target customer may be a middle-aged woman with a higher income level.

Second, particularly for B2B sectors, it's vital to know your best customers' firmographics, which are like demographics but for businesses rather than individuals. These characteristics include industry type, business size by employees and revenue, and growth trends. 

Suppose you are selling a SaaS product designed to improve worker productivity. In that case, you may focus on acquiring industries or businesses that rely heavily on project management, such as marketing/creative agencies or development teams.

Third, consider the psychographic characteristics of your target customers. Psychographics refers to your audience's lifestyle, values, interests, and attitudes. For example, if you sell sustainable fashion, your target customer may be environmentally conscious and passionate about ethical consumerism.

Identify buying behaviors

Identifying the buying behavior of your target customers is crucial. These behaviors may include purchasing frequency, average spending, and their decision-making process. Understanding how and why your customers buy can help you tailor your marketing messages and strategies more effectively.

Consider geographic location

It's essential to factor in the geographic location of your target customers, encompassing both where they are physically and where they spend time online. For example, if you sell locally-made products, your target customers will likely be in the same region as your business. On the other hand, if you are selling an online service, your target customers could be located anywhere in the world.

Phase 2: Set Clear Goals for Customer Acquisition

At this stage, you must define your objectives using discrete, measurable goals by establishing the critical metrics for your business and mapping out milestones to track progress. Here are some considerations:

  • Acquisition Targets: Determine the number of new customers you aim to acquire within a specific timeframe. Doing so provides a clear benchmark for success and allows you to measure your progress effectively.

  • Key Metrics: Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the effectiveness of your customer acquisition strategies. These metrics may include Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Conversion Rate, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), and Return on Investment (ROI).

  • Revenue Targets: Define revenue goals associated with your customer acquisition efforts. Whether reaching a certain revenue milestone or achieving a specific ROI, having clear revenue targets helps align your efforts with overall business objectives.

  • Budgets and Timeline: Think about how and when to allocate money and time to accomplish these goals. Project a monthly budget and use the metrics and targets above to determine how much you are willing to invest to achieve those goals. Consider ramping up to your goals by testing different budget approaches, areas of investment, etc., all while tracking progress and updating your assumptions with that data.

By setting clear goals and tracking relevant metrics, businesses can stay focused and make data-driven decisions to optimize their customer acquisition efforts.

Phase 3: Create a Marketing & Sales Budget

Determining the appropriate budget for customer acquisition involves a strategic approach focusing on maximizing ROI. Here's how you can approach budget allocation:

  • Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculate the average cost required to acquire a new customer, taking into account expenses related to marketing, sales, and lead generation efforts. Remember to factor in the Cost of Goods or Services Sold (COGS) or margins.

CAC = (cost of sales + cost of marketing efforts) ÷ new customers acquired

  • Calculate your Customers' Lifetime Value (CLV): Evaluate the potential long-term value of acquired customers. By comparing CAC to CLV, businesses can ensure they are acquiring customers profitably and sustainably. You can establish a baseline CLV by multiplying the customer value (the average value of a sale multiplied by the average number of transactions) by the average customer lifespan (the average time a customer stays active divided by your total number of customers). 

CLV = Customer Value x Average Customer Lifespan

  • Allocate Resources Wisely: Allocate budgetary resources based on the most cost-effective acquisition channels. Prioritize channels that yield the highest return on investment (ROI) while considering the scalability and long-term sustainability of each approach. 

Project a monthly budget and use the metrics and targets above to determine how much you are willing to invest to achieve those goals. Consider ramping up to your goals by testing different budget approaches, areas of investment, etc. all while tracking progress and updating your assumptions with that data.

By carefully evaluating CAC, CLV, and channel effectiveness, businesses can create a budget that maximizes their customer acquisition efforts, drives sustainable growth, and guides future decision-making.

Phase 4: Choose Your Customer Acquisition Channels

Now that you better understand your target audience and their preferences, you can determine which marketing channels will most effectively acquire them. Traditional online channels include SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, and PPC advertising -- each of these channels can be effective for reaching your customers at different stages of their buyer journey or funnel.

A customer acquisition funnel is a systematic approach that outlines the journey potential customers take – from initial awareness of a product or service to making a purchase decision. It typically consists of several stages: awareness, interest, consideration, conversion, and retention.

  • At the top of the funnel, businesses aim to generate awareness and attract prospects through various marketing channels. This can include social media marketing to generate buzz, display advertising targeting people to generate interest and demand, or even PPC search engine marketing to target users searching for your products or services.

  • Once you've created awareness and have attracted a prospective customer, they are in the consideration stage of the buyer's journey. Channels like content marketing (e.g., SEO, website, blog articles) and email or SMS texting allow you to engage customers who are actively considering your products or services.

  • Once the prospect is ready to make a decision, they enter the conversion stage of the buyer's journey. Having a streamlined website and shopping cart experience will facilitate a higher conversion rate of prospects into customers. If customers must work with a member of sales, focus on enabling your sales team with content that addresses customers' needs and creates a succinct elevator pitch for your product or service.

  • Finally, the retention stage focuses on nurturing existing customers, fostering loyalty, encouraging repeat purchases, and restarting the buying cycle. Email, social media posts, display retargeting, and website updates are critical, low-cost channels that support your retention efforts.

All of these channels can be supported by incorporating lead generation tools like Nimbler alongside traditional acquisition channels, helping you target and maximize reach to potential customers.

Phase 5: Implement, Monitor, and Adjust

Implementing a robust analytics framework is essential for tracking the performance of customer acquisition strategies and making informed adjustments. Here's how businesses can leverage tools like Google Analytics and CRM platforms:

  • Set Up Tracking: Implement tracking mechanisms like Google Analytics to monitor key metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, and lead acquisition sources.

  • Utilize CRM Platforms: Integrate CRM platforms to track customer interactions, lead progression, and sales conversions. This approach allows businesses to gain insights into customer behavior and tailor their acquisition strategies accordingly.

  • Continuous Optimization: Regularly analyze performance data and identify areas for improvement. Adjust acquisition strategies based on insights gleaned from analytics, A/B testing, and customer feedback to optimize results over time.

Find New Customers with Nimbler

Getting new customers is difficult for every business, but creating a thorough customer acquisition plan will help grow your business more quickly and at a lower cost.

Nimbler makes it easy for owners, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers to get verified B2B leads and audiences for cold outbound and targeted ads. Our all-in-one lead acquisition platform helps you target your ideal customers, find new leads or customers, draft compelling messaging, track key metrics, and optimize your strategy accordingly.

Sign up for a free trial with Nimbler and get instant access to:

  • 130+ million US-based contacts

  • 38 million US cell phone numbers

  • 98 million US work emails

  • 75 million US personal emails

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