Customer Acquisition Cost and Low Budget Advertising Strategies

Many start-up small businesses look for an effective customer acquisition cost. In theory one can just easily purchase some leads, turn them to customers and make a profit.

Let’s presume that you have accomplished your goal by writing a great sales pitch or story about your product in order to turn prospects to buyers and make some sales. And let’s imagine that you have already made a few sales. But you may still wonder how to calculate the money that you have spent on each customer.

Here are some facts that you should consider:

  • Customer acquisition cost: this means that you must find out how much money you are going to spend for getting a new customer
  • How much is your budget? You should explore how much you are going to spend for advertising. Keep in mind that you have two options: Doing classic advertising or online adverting. Obviously many start-up businesses do not have enough funds to use advertising on TV, Radio and Newspapers. So they may use online advertising. Then again you need some monthly budget for Pay Per Click advertising. If you do it right and tweak your pay per click ads regularly, you may generate some traffic and sales. But for making sales you  need strong sales pitch that can convert to sales. If you do not have pay per click budget, what are the other options? Free advertising.

How can you do free advertising when everybody is charging for ads?!

There are many options such as: blogging, free press release publication, content marketing, social media marketing,  free classified ads and distribution. Creating blogs and writing your unique articles on blogs will increase awareness about you and your products or services. Some small businesses are afraid of promoting their services, because they do not want to be marked as spammers. Although there is a fine line between spam and free advertising, however as a small business owner you can easily realize when you are spamming or advertising. For example you can promote your business on communities in social media sites which are created for promoting products and services like yours. A simple search on Facebook, Google plus and the other well trafficked social media channels can show you such channels. Make sure to interact with people on social media. I have seen many businesses, just throw their links online with a generic vague pitch and disappear without interacting with their fans and followers.

The Drawback Of Using Automated Submission Tools

Although in theory they make life easier for busy small business owners, but these tools have some issues. Apart from bug issues, they will trigger spam bots on social media sites and will hurt not only your product or service’s reputation, but also black list the URL you are using. Another issue is lack of interaction with prospects. Take some authors who promote their Kindle books online as an example: Unfortunately some of them use tools to submit their ads on social media sites. They not only miss out interacting with their prospect readers, but also will jeopardize their reputation.

Interaction in social media helps your prospects to understand your product better. If you can’t handle large base followers, don’t add them. If nobody writes comments on your social media sites, a simple “Thank You Note” will make a huge difference. Be gracious for their following and being there. People follow you because they are interested in getting to know you as a person. They are curious about your business. Show them who you are by sharing some posts which raise their curiosity so that they comment on your wall.

When it comes to sales, pay attention to your conversion rate. What does this mean? You should find out the percentage (%) of your web site’s traffic and visitors that you can monetize.

Explore the total traffic that your site generates per month and the traffic resources such as: organic search engine results, traffic from your videos, blogs, social media. Make sure to calculate the traffic that comes to your websites via direct advertising as well. You must also find out the effectiveness of cost per click that you spend for your marketing campaign.

Content Marketing

Write articles in your niche and publish them on your website, authority websites and social media platforms. Once you understand the content delivery channels and how they work, you’ll have a better idea on how to plan your strategies around them.

Small gifts

Offering small gifts to your audience will make a huge difference. This strategy creates repeat audience which in long run turn them to customers if it is done right. Many major player companies use this strategy to get customers such as: Google, Bing etc. These gifts can be useful tools, ebooks, providing a free online service and offline charity and fun events. There are many ways to impress your prospects.

When you calculate all these factors, you will be able to find out how much it will cost to get a customer for your product or service. This way you can aim at using less expensive tools and strategies of generating leads.


I have written more strategies in my book Sales in The Age Of Intelligent Web


ebook here





  • Angelina Williams

    I agree. Like the old says you have to use money to make money

  • Andrea Simonsen

    Customer acquisition is costly, the more you pay for advertisement the more customers you get. However it all depends on the product or service. I would use a broad advertising campaign.

    • Maria

      This is how the majority of successful ecommerce owners do. They use paid advertising in order to land sales. Just one channel won’t do the trick, you have to use both desktop ads , video and mobile ads across search engines and video channels. If you don’t do it, you won’t be able to go big. Just have a look at some big brands online, You see their ads everywhere.

  • Morgan Hernandez

    Content marketing is the best everybody should use their own strategy in marketing.

  • Sophia Emma

    Automation submission is nothing but waste of time. They may sound cost effective, but they do harm than good.

  • Anita Brooks

    Oh Boy! Those automation tools are real trouble. I have lost a couple of my websites and have to move on to new domain. Thanks for sharing

    • Maria

      Using automated tools may sound make your life easier but in practice they are not SEO friendly.

  • gabriella Jay

    Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts, Maria

  • Georgia Huffman

    Free advertising is good for those who don’t have money, but it’s better to use paid ads, this way you land real clients.

  • Jessica V

    I am addicted to your articles,Maria. Every time I need help I read your articles, some of your tips have helped me with generating leads. You are truly an influencer in digital marketing field.

  • Sarah Settlemire

    Great article on customer acquisition, Maria. There are some online tips but your advice is practical and realistic. I tried many methods, they just don’t work. I don’t know how they make it, but I tried many of those strategies and none of them work.

    • Maria

      Tell me about it, I have been down the same road. You have to find your own way of landing sales. Blue prints don’t work 98% of the time.

  • Baniya Khan

    Thank you for sharing some practical advice on low budget advertising