If you work in the marketing or digital department for a telco, customer acquisition is often the goal to chase.
With most products securing a customer for at least a month, occasionally rising to as many as 24, the initial conversion-driving process tends to be half the battle.
The emphasis on acquisition within the telecom industry hasn’t changed in years. However, the rules of landing a new customer certainly have.
Like fashion, beauty, and consumer electronics, the telecom industry has been impacted deeply by the emergence of online shopping and servicing. Customers now readily take to their connected devices to sign-up to services and gain continued support.
That’s right – the very industry that powers these connections is now being totally changed by them, and many would argue for the better.
Why telco customer acquisition is changing
Physical stores were once the customer’s preferred destination for signing up to internet, mobile, and TV services and even reporting issues.
These stores still play a hugely important role in the telco landscape due to the inherent nervousness in committing to a new contract. Nevertheless, we’re now seeing greater reliance on online platforms for acquiring customers, especially those in younger age groups.
A recent survey from Salesforce reveals that 51% of telco customers prefer doing all their business online. Meanwhile, 40% still opt for a physical store.
The closure of physical retail during COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of a digital-first approach. Yet, according to a survey conducted before the pandemic, telcos were already forecasting that 52% of smartphones would eventually be purchased online.
Telcos are investing heavily to provide a seamless, personalized experience. This reduces overhead costs and increases convenience. As a result, we can expect online services to become even more important.
The new rules for telco customer acquisition
With the shift to online, the telecom industry has a new acquisition rulebook to follow.
From RevLifter’s experience of working for leading telcos like AT&T, as well as resellers like Mobiles.co.uk, there are a few key points to consider:
Segmentation is key
New telco customers tend to get better deals than existing ones. That hasn’t changed. What’s different is the expectancy on telcos to provide a personalized experience.
That means showing and hiding offers and information depending on your customer. The worst thing you can do is give someone a deal they can’t actually use.
Clear information based on FAQs
If customers aren’t heading to a store for advice, they need websites to answer their questions.
Chatbots and social media accounts are now the go-to channels for specific enquiries, but landing pages should have expandable sections to cover all the important bases.
You need a play for everything
One customer might need lots of guidance, while others know what they’re after. Another customer could be showing an intent to leave, while another might be ready to convert. To satisfy and convert more customers, the modern-day telco site needs to react to micro-moments in their journey.
Now we have some basic structure for a telco customer acquisition strategy, let’s go through some examples of this at work.
Example #1 TalkTalk segmentation
Personalization should come into the customer journey as early as possible.
UK-based telco TalkTalk does this by requesting a postcode before it starts to showcase prices and offers on its broadband.
Once I enter that information, I receive tailored advice on services in my area, which provides reassurance over speeds.
You might also notice the button for directing existing customers to their own area for information and deals. In terms of segmentation from the start, it’s a winner in our book.
Example #2 AT&T deal page
Research shows that a quarter of telco buyers switch providers after finding a better deal. Only 18% do this because of poor service, which signifies the importance of converting one particular audience segment: deal seekers.
AT&T appreciates the risk of customers leaving its site to look for a deal. Its response is to create the best place to find one.
Here’s a slick, intuitive offers page that new customers can use to browse deals by product category.
Example #3 O2 free accessory
Incentivizing sales while trying to retain margin is a tricky situation.
It’s why so many telco companies offer accessories with a new device rather than a discount for the contract.
Here, we have O2 offering a free pair of Pixel buds for anyone purchasing a Google Pixel 7a. We’ve also seen instances within the telecom industry of smaller accessories like chargers and cases being offered. Of course, this only reduces the cost of conversion.
Example #4 Mobiles.co.uk margin booster [case study]
When we know the inside track about a great customer acquisition campaign within the telecom industry, we’ll tell it. Here is an example that utilized RevLifter’s intelligent offers.
Part of landing a new customer is about giving value for money without sacrificing profit. Just ask telco brand Mobiles.co.uk, part of the Carphone Warehouse Group.
Mobiles.co.uk wanted to drive more profitable sales and increase its conversion rate.
In what became an award-winning campaign, RevLifter used overlays to recommend tariffs that gave customers value for money and delivered more profitable sales for Mobiles.co.uk – a win-win!
RevLifter used a special telco data feed from affiliate network Awin to calculate the visitor’s margin once a product was added to the cart. It then delivered a personalized offer to upsell to a better tariff.
It worked as follows:
- The customer adds the handset and tariff to their cart at Mobiles.co.uk.
- The customer is recommended a tariff with more data, which provides more value for money than their current product.
- On pushing the ‘unlock your special offer’ button, the cart changes to automatically switch the old tariff for the suggested one.
As well as producing great results, the campaign claimed several awards. These included Best Use of Data at the UK Performance Marketing Awards and Best eCommerce Campaign at the Global Marketing Awards.
For more information, read the full case study.
Example #5 T Mobile answers our FAQs
We love proactivity at RevLifter. T Mobile manages it here by fielding FAQs related to the Google Pixel 7a.
Want to transfer phone numbers? Want to trade in a new device to offset the cost? What are the payment options?
I enter my information and get an instant response, all on the product page.
Example #6 Sparklight for gamers
Internet speeds are a vital consideration for any broadband customer. For gamers, they’re essential.
We’re a big fan of how Sparklight has a dedicated area for those who require consistently high speeds for streaming or gaming.
Example #7 Mobiles.co.uk Sticky on-site tool
When you browse any site, you give away certain clues regarding what you’re looking for.
It’s down to the telco provider to read these signals and highlight products that match what you’re after.
In terms of the solution that displays these recommendations, we’ve found great results with ‘sticky’ on-site tools.
These icons expand on the visitors’ request to show personalized deals, suggestions, and messages from the provider. It’s ideal for serving deals based on what your customers are truly after.
Here’s a great example at Mobiles.co.uk.
Example #8 giffgaff goes big with data
It’s important to play to your strengths where possible. For example, sim-only provider giffgaff doesn’t go with deals at the top of its page. Instead, it broadcasts the savings made by its community of members.
There is a more extensive section covering all the reasons why customers should choose giffgaff. But for a first impression, it’s a striking one.
Example #9 Three’s Customer Assistant
We landed on Three’s site to check out its acquisition tools, and what a surprise we got.
On the left is an expandable tab. Click it, and you can start entering information to help the network select a device and a plan to go with it.
Click away, and you’re back on the homepage to conduct your own search.
We’ve snapped some of the bits of data we provided and our result. It might not be useful for customers with a specific device in mind. However, we can see the value for those looking for inspiration.
Example #10 BT counts down
One of the biggest players in the UK telecom industry, BT tends to run seasonal or quarterly promotions on its internet and TV packages. One of the benefits is that it can countdown to when an offer is no longer available.
The timer drives a real sense of urgency and gives a new customer something extra to consider.
Example #11 Plusnet monitors exit intent
On our travels, we tested the exit-intent strategies of most of the examples listed above. We wanted to see what happened when we displayed tell-tell signs of abandonment, like lengthy dwell times and mouse movements toward the close window button.
When we tried to close the page of internet provider Plusnet, we received a pop-up asking us to stay.
RevLifter runs similar exit campaigns for telco brands, and the results are seriously impressive.
Admittedly, there is room for refinement with Plusnet’s example. We see three reasons to choose Plusnet, but clicking the button takes us back to the homepage. This would be a great opportunity to direct a customer to a page with examples of deals.
We’d even recommend something similar to Three’s assistant to help a customer that’s looking to assess their options.
Telco customer acquisition: is it changing?
As more customers sign up for telco services online, the art of telco customer acquisition must change with it.
Is telco customer acquisition really changing? It’s a yes from us.
We can clearly see that internet, mobile, and TV providers are equipping their sites with tools to satisfy all their different types of customers from the start. From our research of the telecom industry, three points were evident:
- Personalization is coming in from the very first step: On many sites, we were greeted with a box to enter our details in order for the telco to issue a deal or advice on its service. It’s positive to see providers placing value in a tailored service.
- Customer assistants are a hit: Considering that many customers need advice and inspiration, we were delighted to see a good portion of telcos using sticky on-site tools to deliver recommendations.
- Younger audiences are a big focus: It was surprising to see so many providers having dedicated areas for gamers to browse high-speed packages. It’s worth noting that many telcos have set up smaller ‘challenger’ brands that are marketed toward younger age groups. Clearly, there is a focus on these audiences and their demands.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the examples. If you’d like to see how a telco leader does acquisition the right way, check out RevLifter’s case study with mobiles.co.uk.