What Is Customer Acquisition?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Customer acquisition is the process of converting a potential customer into a paying customer, or a lead into a sale. Learn how customer acquisition relates to customer acquisition cost, and explore marketing channels for finding new customers.

[Featured image] A sales team closes a deal on a new customer acquisition with a handshake.

Customer acquisition is the strategy you would use to gain new customers. The process of acquiring a customer, sometimes called the acquisition funnel, begins by creating brand awareness and generating interest in your product. Customers then begin to consider making a purchase, which becomes the intent to purchase. Finally, customers make a purchase and complete the process.

What is customer acquisition cost?

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) represents the average expense of moving a customer through the acquisition funnel. CAC includes the money spent at each stage of the acquisition funnel: awareness, interest, consideration, intention, and purchase. It involves marketing, property, equipment, and any other costs associated with the final purchase.

It’s important to compare the CAC to customer lifetime value (CLV), the total revenue a customer will generate in their lifetime. You’ll generally want to aim for a profitable 3:1 ratio CLV to CAC or higher to ensure your marketing decisions align with business goals and strategies. Understanding these metrics will help you make more cost-effective marketing decisions.

Marketing channels for customer acquisition

When you develop your customer acquisition strategy, consider these marketing channels to reach your intended audience:

  • Advertising: Buy advertising space across search engine results, social media, and video advertising. Many advertising channels offer tools to tailor your ads to your potential customers to help you narrow your intended audience.

  • Content marketing: Leverage your company’s blog and website to publish high-quality content, or offer seminars and downloadable content that your audience will find useful, interesting, and engaging. Content marketing can draw qualified leads organically while helping you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

  • Social media: Educate your leads about your products through social media platforms to gain valuable insights regarding audience engagement. This type of marketing channel also enables direct interactions with potential customers in a public forum.

Learn more about digital marketing

If you’re ready to learn more about customer acquisition and digital marketing, consider completing the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate on Coursera. In this seven-course series, you’ll learn how to attract and engage potential customers in different marketing channels.

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