How to Pick the Best Acquisition Channels for Your Startup (part 2)

Written by Spencer Cowley, Copywriter at BriefBid
lead generation strategies

This article is part two of a two-part series on lead generation and customer acquisition. In the previous article, we discussed how lead generation builds a foundation for your marketing strategy. In this second part, we’ll uncover the best customer acquisition channels for startups and give you a better understanding of where and how to start reaching your target audience.

What are customer acquisition channels?

Customer acquisition channels are any media in which people meet your company for the first time and become your potential customers. Basically, “where did you hear about us?” 

There are tons of acquisition channels out there, and all of them provide different opportunities to set the stage for your company to create new customers for your products or services. Here are some examples:

  • Social media
  • Organic search
  • Paid advertising of any kind (e.g. paid search, digital out of home, native ads, audio ads)
  • Email marketing (traditional email cadences, newsletters, or in combination with asynchronous video presentations)
  • Referral programs (viral loops)
  • Brand partnerships and affiliate marketing

We know that customer acquisition is not just about knowing where to meet the right people, but how to meet them the right way. Your lead generation strategy should guide your selection of customer acquisition channels. 

How lead generation tactics can guide you to the right customer acquisition channels

Before we examine some channel options, let’s briefly review what sort of lead gen tactics should be considered for startups. For more background on these tactics, be sure to read part 1 of this series on lead generation.

Contextual targeting

There are many publishers out there who fit into niches large and small, giving advertisers a shot to reach their audience with contextually relevant messaging within the prospects’ realms of interest. Startups might consider utilizing publishers who already built a niche audience and run ads that contextually fit in with the existing content.

Here are some examples of publishers with niche content:

  • OviaHealth is a perfect example of a niche publisher – it’s an app built for expecting and new parents, with a user base of over 15 million and tens of millions more social media followers. For any advertiser who may want to target this specific demographic to nurture leads, especially with ads for products or services contextually relevant to new parents, this publisher offers a striking opportunity for growth.

  • Her Campus Media offers unparalleled access to Gen Z users across their family of brands on multiple digital channels. From high impact targeted banner ads to social influencers to experiential events, Her Campus Media taps into the power of pop culture and helps their partners reach tens of millions of teens and young adults.

  • The Score boasts a wide base of mobile-first, sports-interested users. They offer multiple buying methods for different formats within their app, like direct IO and programmatic guaranteed. Plus, advertisers can reach their fan base on The Score’s social platforms, with help from The Score’s in-house social and production teams.

Transitional CTAs

Content marketing is a great customer acquisition channel for startups who want to boost their organic traffic and offer value to potential leads. When you exchange a user’s email address for a worthwhile piece of content through transitional CTAs, you’ve generated a lead who can be targeted again in future marketing campaigns. Content marketing can also lead directly to sales since users can go on to explore your website and make a purchase after they enter through your blog and see true value, for example.

Reactive marketing

Social media is a great channel to be reactive with your marketing – capitalizing on trends and the news of the moment allows you to catapult your brand to the top of the newsfeed.

Social media platforms aren’t the only channel where reactive marketing can be advantageous. OOH ads like billboards can be plastered with creative that is just as reactive, depending on your budget and timeline.

Channel testing

Though not a lead gen tactic like the rest, testing is an important part of your marketing strategy. You can run tests on different creatives, and you can test different channels too. Try out several different customer acquisition tactics so that you can discover where your audience tends to engage the most. Then, you can optimize towards the best channels for your startup.

Tech platforms and audience targeting

Contextual targeting is just one method of segmenting your audience to target them with custom ads. Many tech platforms can offer massive amounts of user data to further segment your audience and target users with very specific messaging and creative. 

Here are examples of how tech platforms can help you identify and target specific audience segments:

  • Fluid Ads is a platform that facilitates geofencing campaigns, which allow advertisers to target users based on highly specific geographic areas. This is an ideal way to target users in a specific location for contextual digital advertising that transcends digital barriers into the physical world. One example would be targeting people who are attending a conference. Fluid Ads also enables advertisers to continue to target users who have been within the geofenced area for weeks after they had visited the targeted location. 
  • Native Touch targets audience segments based on a number of high quality signals such as real-world location trajectory and apps on a device. Those segments then inform mobile rich creative, which can be built in-house at Native Touch. Through a combination of app detection and geo-behavioral data, Native Touch can build hyper-accurate audience segments for ad targeting.

  • Cluep is a mobile ad platform that uses artificial intelligence to monitor millions of users’ social mentions and deliver targeted ads based on their activity. By identifying what kind of content a user is sharing, how they are presenting their feelings and where they are, Cluep can provide targeted ads in real time to users with high relevance.

So, what are the best customer acquisition channels for startups?

There’s a lot to consider about how to find the best acquisition channels for your company. For startups, the best customer acquisition channels will be those that fulfill the goals of a cost-effective, high-growth lead generation strategy. 

  • Consider placing your ads in contextually relevant media spaces.
  • Evaluate the wide range of publishers you can work with directly to understand exactly what kind of audience you’re reaching and how you’re reaching them. 
  • Beyond websites, mobile-forward strategies will leverage apps as publishers to reach users in the platforms they visit every day. 
  • Many tech platforms provide the data and methods to target highly specific audience segments so you can reach your targeted prospects as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Want to partner with the platforms we mentioned in this article or discover other unique media opportunities? BriefBid’s media planning platform gives startups a foot in the door to discover new media vendors and plan effective advertising campaigns. With a range of media planning tools and the ability to RFP publishers / ad tech companies directly and receive tailored proposals based on your media needs, you can start generating leads with any budget. Learn more about BriefBid and get started today!

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