Customer Acquisition for Agencies and Freelancers: Target Groups & Inbound Lead Generation

Marcel Kurrek Last updated 24.09.2021
12 Min.
Customer Acquisition
Last updated 24.09.2021

For your WordPress agency or your work as a freelancer to continue, you need to be constantly expanding your client base. This is more important today than ever before. Without customer acquisition, it's not the best offer that wins in the end, but the one with the lowest price. In this guide, we'll show you how to acquire, convert and retain new clients.

It's not just about your own business. For your customers, you have one job to do: help them expand their own customer base – with WordPress as a tool. If you manage to get to the heart of the advantages of WordPress, you've already won half the battle.

But which strategies and tools can help you become and stay successful? That's exactly what this series of articles is about. You can also download the series as an e-book. In this first part, we look at your target groups and inbound lead marketing.

Combining WordPress development and customer acquisition

WordPress has transformed the field of digital marketing over the last decade in ways that would have been unimaginable in the past. The platform has conquered a large part of the internet and stands well above other content management systems. WordPress is the first choice for highly qualified and experienced developers working for both local and international companies. It's also suitable for beginners wanting to start their own business.

At the same time, keep in mind that the popularity of WordPress means more and more agencies, self-employed people and developers are working with it. Limited only by their creativity and their ability to connect with clients. As the competition for attention and customers gets tougher, it's more important than ever to focus on reaching new customers.

In this series of articles, we'll show you how to maximize your customer acquisition opportunities. We will introduce you to innovative online marketing strategies for acquiring new leads. Along the way, we'll explain how you can best use your existing customer base to gain new customers. We also explain how referrals and affiliate marketing work – and how you can use them to take your websites to the next level.

The technical details are also essential if you want to be an innovator and leader in client acquisition and especially innovative in relation to your clients' WordPress projects. We'll give you a detailed plan that will allow you to best measure and analyze how well your customer acquisition strategies are working. And how well you're on track with your goals.

How to manage WordPress efficiently

You certainly don't just want to optimize your customer acquisition, but also save time in the administration of WordPress. Read our article on how to efficiently manage 5 to 100+ WordPress projects. The article is also available as an e-book.

Moreover, we tell you how you can make your processes even more customer oriented. And show you the various tools you can use to optimize your processes and your communication – across all kinds of complex systems.

Last but not least, we address some proven techniques on how best to maintain customer relationships after all the hard acquisition work. We at RAIDBOXES are pleased to be able to join you in your optimization. After all, the following content lives from the experience and knowledge we've been privileged to develop ourselves in our relationships with our own customers.

Facts about customer acquisition with WordPress

The fantastic growth of WordPress has driven website development to an astonishing degree in recent years. Along the way, WordPress has helped millions of entrepreneurs connect with customers from all over the world.

In 2021, WordPress websites accounted for about 42 percent of the entire internet, which is a growth of more than 10 percent compared to the previous year. If you only count websites based on a content management system, this share rises to almost 65 percent.

Here are a few more facts about WordPress:

  • Over 400 million people a month visit sites created with WordPress
  • Nearly 30 per cent of all e-commerce takes place via WooCommerce using WordPress
  • Almost 300 new online shops with WooCommerce go online every day
  • WordPress has over 58,000 plugins and 3,500 licensed themes
WordPress plugins
WordPress can be expanded almost without limit with plugins

Popularity vs. innovation

But it is precisely the popularity of WordPress that has led to millions of websites being created by rather inexperienced freelancers. The result is that large parts of the internet are littered with sites that all look the same. For a company or organization to stand out today, they need to be working with innovative WordPress developers who have an eye for creativity. The same goes for WordPress agencies.

If you're reading this, we assume that creativity is close to your heart. As well as self-determined, efficient work. You need both of these qualities to succeed in this highly competitive business. But how much do you know about customer acquisition? Without this knowledge and without the skills necessary to bring new visitors to your website, your customers won't be your customers for long. After all, you can only sell well what you live and breathe.

In this time of competitive markets and narrow margins, you need to do more than build websites with WordPress. You need to develop some new skills, including a robust understanding of sales and marketing.

Customer acquisition in times of internet and social media

For the vast majority of modern entrepreneurs, the time has passed when they could be persuaded to spend vast sums on massive, expensive and aggressive (print) advertising campaigns and the like. And unless you're a company on the scale of Apple or Uber, or you're offering deep discounts to undercut your competition, it's not feasible to attract their customers to your business en masse.

For you as an entrepreneur and in WordPress development, it's key to understand all the strategic alternatives for attracting new clients if you want to stand out from the competition. But first of all, let's remind ourselves what it's all about – knowing what your customers want is the key to selling.

Researching to see your business through the eyes of your customers' current target groups is therefore a essential component for growth. If you don't offer something people want, you won't be able to keep the customers you already have, let alone attract new ones. Some important areas of customer and market research are:

  • What do they read? Where do your client's website visitors spend their time? What types of blog posts do they click on the website? Which blog posts do they read all the way through? Which ones do they share?
  • What are they looking for? Where in your client's e-commerce space do visitors shop the most? And what do they click on next, and then next, and then next as they browse your client's products in their e-commerce shop? 
  • What works for the competition? Research what your competitors are doing successfully. Your clients will probably know a lot about their competition but, with an eye for development, you can objectively assess how competitors are maximizing their reach.

In addition, you should know the right arguments for why your potential customers need a website of their own with WordPress. Or why they should expand their existing website. Check out our article Why nothing beats having your own website.

Get to know the target groups of your customers

Shop Direct is a large multi-brand digital retailer based in the UK that noticed a drop in response rates to digital ads for women's clothing. The company had segmented its offer into seven "occasions" for spring and summer, with themes such as "summer holiday", "a day at the office" and more. The team drove browsing and response behavior by helping women imagine how they could improve their current wardrobe.

The positive turnaround in new customer acquisition was triggered by an online survey. This survey asked women about their fashion sense through a personality quiz. Based on the information gathered, Shop Direct was able to segment and focus its offers and promotions on the website. And in a much more detailed and specific way than was previously the case.

Through this process and the resulting content, which is individually segmented according to target groups and needs, a whole range of new leads successfully converted.

Just by using a simple tool – a short online survey – Shop Direct was able to turn its women's fashion department around in no time. By evaluating those sub-target groups that could be addressed most efficiently. You can use this approach for your client projects, but you can also use it in a modified form for your own online marketing.

The Shop Direct case study, as we have explained it here, is of course a highly condensed version of the website's overall strategies and how the scenario played out. You can read more about it in the post Using Big Data for Customer Acquisition.

For WordPress professionals like you who want to help their clients win new clients in turn, this means that with the tools available in WordPress – and a little research and imagination – you can use your creativity and your skills to develop and implement innovative customer acquisition strategies. Sometimes a little lateral thinking and trial and error helps. The success figures and content KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which are so easy to measure online, tell you if you're on the right track. With your campaign, but also with your target group segments.

Measuring the success of content

Tip: Are you still in the early stages of measuring your success? Do you not yet really have an insight into where your customers come from and how you can use this information? We recommend reading our guides on content measurement and tracking software to get you started.

Opportunities for customer acquisition

In our information-saturated times, where the market is flooded with content day after day, it's a challenge to generate new customers. Just look at the sheer number of companies, agencies and individuals who want to reach new audiences online: over a billion emails are sent daily via MailChimp alone. And about 2.75 million blog posts are published daily via WordPress – that's every single day.

Standing out from the crowd is always going to be a challenge in this climate. To get new visitors to go to your or your client's site or otherwise engage with it. And we haven't even talked about how most people get to a particular website yet.

Searches vs. clicks

According to statistics from datareportal.com, around 81 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 64 search for a product or service online every month. About 74 percent have bought a product online (from any device). But did you know that 35 percent of desktop searches end without a click? And a whopping 65 percent of mobile searches also end without a click.

A good ranking in the search results of Google & Co. is all well and good. But what does it take to get interested people to click through your offering and become customers? It all starts with the generation of inbound leads and organic customer acquisition. Here are a few basics on this important topic.

What is inbound lead generation?

At its core, inbound lead generation is about the person who comes into contact with your site going through various stages until they convert. In other words, until they accept your offer. Here are the most important definitions:

  • Prospect is a person who fits the demographic and market your product or service is targeted at.
  • Lead is a person who has expressed an interest in your offer.
  • Lead generation means turning prospects into leads.
  • Inbound lead generation is the process of generating leads through actions initiated by potential customers. This is done through digital content, promotions and other (online) methods.
  • Outbound lead generation, on the other hand, means sending your product or service (or information about it) to a list of contacts who have neither expressed interest nor engaged with your site.

Both inbound and outbound lead generation are important and useful. But in a world where trust in companies is often low and people don't appreciate 'hardcore' advertising methods, inbound lead generation is crucial to your success. It is the central online lever in expanding your own customer base or that of your customers.

The most important point to understand is that inbound leads come to you willingly. We are no longer in an environment where you approach people with stands at trade fairs or speak to them with TV commercials. Instead, it's about creating an online environment where potential customers become leads of their own accord – or at least they think they do.

As a WordPress agency or freelancer, it's your job to get and keep the attention of potential visitors. You excite them, annoy them, fascinate them, make them laugh or amaze them in some other way. And they come to your customers' website of their own free will and stay there because they are interested in something they find there. Our article on content marketing for agencies and freelancers tells you exactly how to do this.

WordPress  Magazine wp unboxed
We reach numerous leads through our WordPress magazine wp unboxed

The prospect has initiated the contact, they are in control of the interaction and the marketing cycle. They're thus more inclined to like your customer's site – a key component of inbound lead generation. Of course, the website must also be designed in such a way that this liking is not immediately undone. But more on this in the further course of our series.

How to generate inbound leads

Any solid inbound lead generation strategy is based on a number of familiar but important components:

Through these channels, you can enable previously unknown prospects to find your clients' website. And to enjoy using it because it offers valuable content. Once the prospects have engaged with site, the next step is to keep them engaged and happy. In other words, converting them into customers.

Other methods for customer acquisition

Nowadays, inbound lead generation is almost always linked to the idea of getting contact information from prospects and initiating an ongoing conversation. The basic idea is to offer them something in return for a certain action. A free online course, for example, an e-book with quality content or a discount – all in exchange for their email address.

But other proven methods to get in touch with potential new customers are also very valuable. Referrals and networking shouldn't be dismissed, supported for example by a partner or affiliate program. A recommendation from a trusted friend or even personal contact and the exchange of business cards is often worth significantly more compared to a sober email.

You can gain a remarkable amount of leads by simply being friendly and engaging in the real world. For example, in the WordPress community and at WordCamps and WP Meetups. And by exchanging contact information with people you meet. Our community partners tell us again and again how helpful this engagement is.

The RAIDBOXES Partner Program

RAIDBOXES helps you as an agency or freelancer expand your network and increase your reach with our new partner program for agencies. Find out more about the program – and why a partnership is worthwhile for you.

At RAIDBOXES, we notice how valuable this type of interaction again and again when we sponsor WordCamps & Co. and are present on site with a stand or giving helpful lectures and offers. For example, we print our e-books and distribute them on the spot. Alternatively, for ecological reasons, we of course offer to take down the email addresses of those interested so we can send the book in PDF format.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on business

Speaking of the transition between the digital and the real world, we cannot avoid talking about the impact of events like Covid-19. Especially in relation to the current digital business climate. Because such events change the way people connect with each other – even turning communication on its head in some respects.

Many of us who work in development and other online-focused fields have probably had little problem conducting an even larger part of our business in the digital space. See our posts on remote work, remote leadership and the best tools for distributed working. There are a lot of companies out there, however, that are only now grappling with this transition.

Asana Project Management
A project management tool supports distributed working at RAIDBOXES

Many shop owners never imagined that they would use the digital space in anything more than a rudimentary way. Just like the motto, "then I guess we need an email address". They are currently stumbling while at the same time trying to transform their businesses as quickly as possible to adapt to the new normal. Shop owners need your help with things like this.

It means there are many opportunities for developers and WP professionals of all types to generate customers. At the same time, it means the competition never sleeps. So make sure you're in the market with the right offers for these difficult times. However, don't just think in terms of more sales, but in terms of how you can support others. See RAIDBOXES's campaigns on this topic. In addition, customers and industries you help in this way will thank you in the long run.

Strategies and tools for customer acquisition

In the next parts of the series, we will show you step by step how you can use remarketing and referral marketing for yourself, what constitutes successful up- & cross-selling, how you can measure your success and how you can build long-term customer relationships. Here is an overview of all the other articles in our series on customer acquisition:

We'd really appreciate it if you not only read along, but if you also let us know how can we support you in expanding your WordPress business? What are your own experiences in customer acquisition with WordPress and WooCommerce? Contact us at any time or book an appointment with our sales team. We'll be happy to dive right in with you.

Your questions about customer acquisition with WordPress

What questions do you have about customer acquisition? We look forward to your comments. Are you interested in current topics WordPress and WooCommerce topics? Follow RAIDBOXES on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or sign up for our newsletter.

Marcel is responsible for sales activities at RAIDBOXES and concentrates on the satisfaction of our customers and partners. He's been passionately involved in sales for over 15 years and, together with his team, is driving forward the further development and expansion of the RAIDBOXES community. This includes a particular focus on the WordPress agency world, cooperations and freelancers.

Related articles

Comments on this article

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.