The Open & Free Business Model - Create. Differentiate. Deliver.

The Future Of Business – The Secret To Customer Acquisition

It used to be, the only way to win at acquiring customers was to buy as much advertising as you could afford. The more you spent, the higher the results. That is and was the traditional advertising model that worked for a bricks & mortar business. Today the game has changed, yes traditional ways still work, not because it’s effective, because it’s what older generations prefer it, and they still have the money.

It’s easy to reach a traditional buyer, just run enough ads on traditional advertising vehicles, and you’ll get their attention. Today the customer with money is getting younger by the minute, and we need to market to them differently. We have to make offers that make us extremely uncomfortable. It used to be, if you wanted to get the greatest reach, you ran radio & television ads, newspaper has never had the same reach. You could run 30 second ads on radio for $30 a piece, but to get the frequency for it to be effective, you had to run more than 3 spots a day. The minimum would be 10 spots a day, because the life span of a radio ad is much like a Tweet on Twitter, about 20 minutes. So to have a successful customer acquisition campaign you had to spend significant amounts of money. The same held true for television, but at a much higher cost, not to run the ads, but to make the ad. Customer acquisition campaigns can also be considered branding campaigns, but they are different.

Today we have the Internet, we can reach more people via the NET than we could with radio & television together, for FREE! I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I am wondering why there is still such resistance to it. The resistance has the power to kill your business, and you the business owner must guard against it, not succumb to it.

The challenge with having such great reach on the Internet isn’t the cost, it’s being found, and being heard. Hence, we have a new kind of advertising vehicle like Google, Yahoo & Bing. These powerful search networks have really just adopted the traditional way of advertising for the Internet. If you want to be found, land on the first page, you now have a sufficient budget to have that desired result.

Today you can purchase qualified traffic, which, if you speak to them the right way, will become newly acquired customers. The same challenge you had with traditional mediums, holds true with digital ad networks, you need to dedicate resources to get the desired results you’re looking for.

The secret to customer acquisition today, is by leveraging and Open & Free Business Model, where free is the driving force. Like the resistance, free has the same problem, for reasons unknown to me, entrepreneurs and business owners can’t seem to wrap their brains around free. We understand loss leader concepts, but not free, I suspect the fear of giving something away and not getting paid is far greater than we would like to believe.

Companies that have figured out how to use free, have also figured out how to generate revenue because of it. Companies like Google, Spotify, Skype, Vimeo, Twitter, Evernote, Grooveshark and many more. These companies have proven free works, and they have mastered acquiring customers, they have mastered list building to the 9th degree. It does work, but we seem to have more reasons not to use the model. Whatever the excuse is, it’ll work.

You want to get more customers, give them something they want….for free, and then figure out how to monetize your new customers. The old business models are in the genre of win-lose, the open and free business model is about win-win, where everyone benefits. Mater giving products and services for free, and you will have an entirely new market to sell to. The concept makes sense, it just sounds and feels foreign.

FREE is not the enemy, free is your best friend, learn to embrace free, figure out where free fits in your business, because free is the secret to customer acquisition.

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  • http://www.robertbcairns.com/ Rob Cairns

    Traditional does not work for the new type of customer. They ignore broadcasting. As the younger generations grow into more prominent buyers they are looking for trust.

    Sometimes you have to use free to build that trust. Once the trust is built then they will pay for services. It is a long road. One that requires engagement to succeed not broadcasting.

    • http://owengreaves.com/ owengreaves

      Traditional still works with all types of customers, they just have preferences. Free is probably the best way to garner attention, and to acquire new customers, eventually though, at some point there will be a transaction.

      Also, free needs to be well thoughtout, what’s the bigger picture of using free. What should be free, and what shouldn’t is the balancing act, but you should definitely use free to gain new eyeballs.

      Thanks for your input Rob, I think we are saying the same thing from two different perspectives. : )

About Owen Greaves

Owen Greaves

I’m a Futurist, I write, speak, and teach the open & free business model, and the future of business. Create. Differentiate. Deliver. It’s a paradigm shift, I help you increase profits by changing the way you think about business.