What are the top 3 customer acquisition channels?

Today, businesses have more ways to target and attract customers than ever. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should use every means available or opt for the most popular at the time. It is in their best interest to carefully select customer acquisition channels that reach their target audience, meet prospects at ideal times, and showcase brand values and products in their best light.

Companies can benefit from a growing number of new customers, lower customer acquisition costs, and higher customer retention if channels are selected and performed correctly. Since this is the case, it is worthwhile to look at the most common customer acquisition channels and weigh them against each other. Follow along with this guide to learn more.

customer acquisition channel

1. Traditional Media

The most prominent ways of advertising pre-millennium were through traditional media. It includes print ads in newspapers and magazines, direct mail advertising, short promotions on the radio, commercials or brand placement on television, and signage along major transport routes.

Historically, these customer acquisition channels were outstanding. Many individuals and families received newspapers, checked flyers for deals, purchased magazines, watched the television daily, and listened to the radio during long commutes. The modern world has changed these activities drastically, and it is more challenging to promote with traditional media. It is also more expensive than other marketing modes.

That said, it is a great choice for specific demographics such as the older generations who have more downtime. It is also an excellent way to reach select groups, such as hobbyists and enthusiasts in specific sectors. Companies must work hard to develop targeted advertisements that appeal directly to their audiences.


  • Media can be small and targeted, especially with magazines, newsletters, and direct mail marketing
  • Television shows and radio shows may attract regular clients, guaranteeing repeated exposure
  • Newspaper and magazine ads can be tailored to meet budgets
  • Excellent for small, local connections
  • More people trust print ads than digital ads


  • Television, radio, and newspapers can reach large, generalized audiences
  • Traditional media can be expensive
  • Less prospective customers reached through traditional media in comparison to other customer acquisition channels
  • Less people open mail advertisements


2. Digital Advertising

The recent explosion of websites, blogs, social media, videos, and podcasts has ushered in a new customer acquisition channel: digital marketing. Digital marketing modes include a blog enriched with search engine optimized (SEO) words and phrases, a strategic advertisement on a popular video stream, a brand influencer promoting products on their social media account, or direct email advertising.

Online advertising can be an excellent customer acquisition method, especially for brands with a large customer base and a well-known name. They have the means to purchase ads, hire influencers, and track data efficiently to optimize operations and decisions. In turn, they will be able to obtain an online presence, draw in large social media followings, and acquire new customers quickly. However, it is wise not to invest all resources into digital marketing alone. Despite being on-trend at the moment, other channels are often more successful for customer acquisition.

Likewise, online marketing can be challenging for new businesses or small-medium-sized companies. It is more difficult to develop an online presence, especially since search engines and social media platforms favor large followings and likes.

 Accordingly, new accounts must compete with accounts that already have priority. As such, the time and costs associated with digital marketing may not be worth any new customers obtained through this method. That said, it may still be a great opportunity for customer retention. Websites, blogs, and social media offer a unique way to develop brand experience and relationships. 


  • An increasingly digital world means more prospective customers are online
  • Ability to connect with prospects nationally and internationally
  • Digital ads can reach people when they are already consuming content
  • Tracking and optimizing customer acquisition from specific sources is quick and easy
  • Around-the-clock marketing
  • Great way to create and nurture brand experience


  • Difficult to obtain an online presence, due to competitors with an established presence
  • Visibility challenges
  • Expensive to participate on popular social media platforms
  • Time-consuming to update and optimize accounts and marketing
  • Negative reviews, comments, or posts can lead to low customer acquisition
  • Less trustworthy than other customer acquisition channels

3. Face-to-Face Marketing

Face-to-face marketing is both historically and contemporarily relevant. Back in the day, it was one of the most effective ways to raise consumer interest and attract new customers. Today, it has a remarkable effect because it stands out from other channels like print advertising or digital marketing.

Unlike other forms of marketing, in-person marketing can reach target audiences directly. Professional teams perform consumer and market research to understand who customers are and where they are located. Since this is the case, they can meet face-to-face with product displays in retail stores, in-store promotions, door-to-door sales, business-to-business sales, or promotional events. This type of channel finds the prospect; it does not rely on the customer to happen upon their advertising or trust algorithm to take their customer to their marketing. In this way, it is better at reaching the intended audience.

Face-to-face communication stands in contrast to cold, digital communication or artificial-intelligence customer service. Sales professionals can directly speak with prospective clients and guide them toward purchasing products. They describe how products will help consumers meet their goals, demonstrate how a product works, and provide relevant information to curious prospects. Customers do not need to interpret how a product will meet their needs or desires. They can find out immediately.

Additionally, this customer acquisition channel has a unique advantage over other marketing streams. The customer can access the product right away, whether by free sample or purchase. Traditional advertising and digital marketing require customers to take many steps in order to receive their items. It gives customers time to double-think about their purchase, and refuse to become a customer. On the other hand, in-person marketing allows them to become a delighted customer on the spot.


  • Effective way to reach target audience while they are in a buying mentality.
  • Genuine connection and communication with prospects.
  • Provide value to prospective customers, enticing them to make a purchase.
  • Immediate opportunity to become a customer.
  • Higher return on investment (ROI)
  • Better customer acquisition costs to customer lifetime value ratios


  • Challenging for businesses to accomplish on their own
  • Extensive consumer and competitor research is required
  • Professional, trained sales people are a necessity

Embrace a Reliable Customer Acquisition Channel

After analyzing and assessing customer acquisition channels, it is clear that face-to-face marketing stands out from the crowd. It may be effective as a sole marketing method, or in combination with other strategic choices. If your company needs help to develop and roll out in-person sales and face-to-face marketing, you’ve come to the right place. Smart Circle trains teams to tackle research, develop marketing strategies, and deliver exceptional results. Contact us today to learn how to improve your customer acquisition today!