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The second big turtle is acquisition. The objective of every business, of course, is to acquire customers. Your first consideration here is the actual design of your digital presence. Having a web site or a presence on a Net-enabled device is not enough. It has to be designed to attract prospective customers. This means making your digital presence user-friendly and useful to visitors.

But proper design of your digital presence is only the tip of the acquisition iceberg. There are lots of turtles beneath that. Creating a list of partners with whom you can cross-link and/or exchange banner ads is one way to acquire new customers. Or perhaps you have a product or service that you can bundle with another non-competing company's product—and then sell both bundles on each other's sites.

Consider creating an opt-in mailing list on your digital presence where visitors can sign up for special promotions, an informative newsletter, even a preferred customers club. This will allow you to build an in-house database of prospects and customers to market to later. If your web site comes up low in the search results of the major search engines and directories, consider optimizing your web site for better search results, or even purchasing keywords or the actual placement in the major search engines' and directories' search results.

Another way to acquire customers is to anonymously post to the various discussion boards and forums on the Net, informing readers that you've found a great place to buy your product or use your service. This is not exactly kosher, but it can work if you don't overdo it. Purchasing ads in newsletters and e-zines that cater to your target audience is an efficient and inexpensive way to acquire new customers—and another is renting opt-in lists to use in an outbound email campaign.

Finally, one of the best ways to promote your product or service over the Net and acquire customers and/or leads in the process (without incurring up-front costs) is to start your own affiliate marketing program. With affiliate marketing, you only pay for results, not for impressions.

Use your imagination here and you can see many more turtles stacked under Acquisition.

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