Loyalty Customers

Customer Acquisition & Retention (E-I-E-I-O)

Written by James Garvin for Gaebler Ventures

Customer acquisition is the most important yet often the most difficult phase for a company. At this phase you have your product developed and ready to sell, but how do you get customers to notice your product? The acronym E-I-E-I-O will help you remember the 5 keys to acquiring and retaining your customers.

Acronyms are a simple and effective way to help you remember key factors that keep you and your business focused.

E-I-E-I-O is an acronym to help you remember the key factors required for effectively acquiring and retaining your customers. Below, I have summarized the key factors of E-I-E-I-O to help guide you on the critical factors required to successfully acquire and retain customers.

Engage – The first step in any customer acquisition process is to engage your customers. Customer engagement is anything that grabs your prospective customer's attention. This can be done through advertising or marketing communications that put your company in front of a customer.

Interact – Interaction builds off of your customer engagement. Once you have a customer engaged in your business, you need to find effective means to interact with them. Interaction, unlike engagement is a two-way channel that facilitates communication between you and the customer. Many corporations have seen the power of online blogs and communities that allow them to more effectively interact with customers who are engaged with their company.

Educate – Educating your potential customers helps you prime them to become a customer. Education has many shapes and forms and includes advertising, newsletters, marketing communications, seminars and more. As a new company you have no brand recognition and customers don't know who you are or what your business does. It is critical to educate customers as a way to prime them on the value of your business.

Influence – Your customer education should be effective enough to the point that your potential customers want to learn more about your product or business. This occurs by influencing potential customers through your actions taken in engagement, interaction, and education. The prior steps help you build a value proposition story for your customers that influences them to purchase your product or service.

Optimize – Once you've found strategies that help you attract customers to your product, optimize those strategies that allow you iterate them in a seamless fashion. All new businesses will conduct trial and error to see what strategies work best for marketing and selling their product. The key is to optimize your trial and error strategies and duplicate those to create a repeatable and sustainable method.

Each step in E-I-E-I-O moves you closer to acquiring your customers as each step builds off the one prior to it. So as you think about how to acquire and retain your customers, keep E-I-E-I-O in mind and ask yourself how you are engaging, interacting, educating, and influencing your customers. Once you have effectively managed those 4 steps, your next step is to optimize those strategies to create a sustainable customer acquisition and retention strategy.

James Garvin began his education studying biotechnology. In recent years he has turned his interest in technology to helping two internet startup companies. The first business was an online personal financial network and the second was an e-marketing platform created to help entrepreneurs demo their web sites. Currently a student at University of California Davis, James is spending his summer incubating two new online businesses and writing about his entrepreneur experiences.

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