Customer Acquisition


Comprehensive Customer Acquisition Guide

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Team Storyly
January 12, 2024
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What is Customer Acquisition?

Customer acquisition is the process of bringing new customers or clients to a business through a variety of strategies, methods, and marketing efforts. The goal is to create a systematic, sustainable acquisition strategy that can evolve with new trends and changes.

What Is The Purpose Of Customer Acquisition?

The purpose of customer acquisition is to drive the growth and sustainability of a business by attracting new customers and expanding its market presence. 

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

1. Increase Revenue and Profitability

  • Direct Sales: New customers directly contribute to a business’s revenue through purchases.
  • Upselling and Cross-Selling: Acquiring new customers also opens opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, further increasing the potential revenue per customer.

2. Expand the Customer Base

  • Broadening Market Reach: Customer acquisition helps in reaching new segments of the market, attracting diverse groups of customers.
  • Building a Stable Customer Foundation: A larger customer base provides stability and reduces dependency on a limited number of clients.

3. Enhance Market Share and Competitiveness

  • Strengthening Market Position: Attracting more customers helps in gaining a larger share of the market, enhancing the business's influence and competitiveness.
  • Outpacing Competitors: Effective customer acquisition strategies can lead to faster growth compared to competitors, providing a strategic advantage.

4. Establish and Strengthen Brand Presence

  • Increasing Visibility: New customers help in increasing the visibility of the brand, contributing to its recognition in the market.
  • Building Credibility and Trust: Successfully acquiring and satisfying new customers contributes to a positive reputation, enhancing the brand’s credibility.

5. Facilitate Business Growth and Innovation

  • Funding for Innovation: Revenue from new customers can be reinvested into the business, funding innovation and improvement.
  • Adaptation to Market Changes: A steady influx of new customers encourages the business to adapt and evolve, staying relevant in changing market conditions.

6. Lay the Groundwork for Future Success

  • Long-Term Customer Relationships: Acquiring new customers is the first step in building long-term relationships that can lead to repeat business and loyalty.
  • Data and Insights: Interactions with new customers provide valuable data and insights, helping to refine marketing strategies and improve product or service offerings.

Importance of Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition is integral to the long-term success and growth of a business, employing a variety of strategies to attract new customers and increase revenue.

Driving Business Growth

Expansion of Customer Base

Attracting new customers leads to expanding the business’s customer base, which is crucial for maintaining a steady growth trajectory. This not only brings in additional revenue but also enhances the potential for word-of-mouth referrals, further expanding the customer network.

Increased Market Share

Gaining new customers contributes to an increased share of the market. As more people choose a particular business’s products or services, the company strengthens its position in the industry, becoming a more formidable competitor.

Revenue Generation

Direct Impact on Sales

New customers directly contribute to the bottom line through their purchases. The influx of new clientele results in increased sales, which is essential for the financial health of the business.

Long-term Profitability

While acquiring a new customer might require significant investment, their value over time (customer lifetime value) can lead to sustained profitability. The key is to nurture these relationships to ensure ongoing engagement and repeat business.

Building Brand Presence

Enhancing Brand Visibility

Attracting new customers helps elevate the brand's visibility. As more people become aware of and engage with the brand, it gains prominence in the market.

Establishing Market Authority

A growing customer base can position the business as a leader and authority. This reputation, built over time through customer acquisition and satisfaction, can contribute to a competitive edge and increased trust among potential customers.

Customer Acquisition Funnel

The customer acquisition funnel is a visual representation of the journey a potential customer takes from being aware of a product or service to making a purchase. The funnel helps businesses understand and optimize each stage of the customer journey to effectively acquire new customers. Here’s a breakdown of the typical stages in a customer acquisition funnel:

Stage 1: Awareness

Objective of the Awareness Stage

Uncover the primary goal of making potential customers aware of your brand, product, or service and the activities that can help achieve this.

Activities to Boost Awareness

Explore various strategies like advertising, content marketing, social media, SEO, and PR campaigns to increase brand visibility.

Key Metrics to Track

Understand the importance of impressions, website traffic, and social media engagement in measuring the success of your awareness strategies.

Stage 2: Interest

Objective of the Interest Stage

Learn how to capture and hold the interest of potential customers, encouraging them to delve deeper into what your brand offers.

Activities to Foster Interest

Delve into effective content strategies, such as blog posts, educational content, email newsletters, and targeted advertising.

Metrics to Measure Interest

Discover the key performance indicators like time on site, page views, content engagement, and email sign-ups to gauge customer interest.

Stage 3: Consideration

Objective of the Consideration Stage

Find out how to engage and connect with potential customers who are contemplating your product or service.

Activities to Enhance Consideration

Learn about the impact of product demonstrations, customer testimonials, case studies, and free trials in building customer trust.

Consideration Stage Metrics

Explore how lead generation, conversion rates, and engagement with product-specific content can inform your strategy.

Stage 4: Intent

Objective of the Intent Stage

Understand the strategies to encourage potential customers to make a decision and move closer to a purchase.

Activities to Drive Purchase Intent

Discover the role of special offers, limited-time promotions, follow-up emails, and retargeting ads in converting interest to sales.

Key Metrics for the Intent Stage

Learn about the importance of tracking shopping cart additions, form submissions, and interactions with sales teams.

Stage 5: Purchase

Objective of the Purchase Stage

Uncover strategies to convert potential customers into paying customers and the role of a streamlined checkout process.

Activities to Facilitate Purchase

Explore how customer support, discount codes, and a user-friendly checkout experience can enhance conversion rates.

Purchase Stage Metrics

Understand the key performance indicators like sales, revenue, conversion rate, and average transaction value.

Stage 6: Advocacy (Post-Purchase)

Objective of the Advocacy Stage

Learn how to transform new customers into brand advocates and the long-term benefits of customer loyalty.

Activities to Encourage Advocacy

Explore strategies like follow-up emails, customer surveys, referral programs, and loyalty programs to foster customer loyalty.

Metrics for Customer Advocacy

Discover how to measure the success of your advocacy strategies using Net Promoter Score, customer reviews, referral rates, and repeat purchase rate.

Optimization Across the Funnel

Continuous Analysis

Regularly analyze data from each stage to identify bottlenecks or areas for improvement.

A/B Testing

Conduct A/B tests on different elements (e.g., landing pages, and emails) to optimize performance.


Use customer data to personalize content and offers, increasing relevance and engagement.

Customer Acquisition Channels

Customer acquisition channels are the various pathways through which businesses can reach and convert potential customers. Choosing the right channels is crucial as it can significantly impact the effectiveness of customer acquisition efforts. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common customer acquisition channels:

Organic Search (SEO)


Optimizing website content and structure to rank higher on search engine results pages, making the business more visible to potential customers.


  • Cost-effectiveness in the long term
  • Builds credibility and trust with users
  • Attracts high-intent users actively searching for related products or services


  • Time-consuming to see results
  • Requires consistent effort and SEO expertise
  • Highly competitive, especially for popular search terms

Paid Advertising


Utilizing paid channels such as Google Ads, social media advertising, or display ads to drive traffic and attract potential customers.


  • Immediate visibility and results
  • Precise targeting options
  • Scalability based on budget


  • Can be expensive, especially in competitive industries
  • Requires constant optimization and monitoring
  • Dependence on platform algorithms

Social Media Marketing


Engaging with potential customers through social media platforms, sharing content, running ads, and building a community.


  • Direct engagement with customers
  • Potential for viral content and exposure
  • Variety of platforms catering to different demographics


  • Time-intensive to build a following
  • Requires consistent content creation
  • Effectiveness can be dependent on changing platform algorithms

Content Marketing


Creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage potential customers, establishing the brand as an authority in its field.


  • Builds trust and credibility
  • Drives organic traffic over time
  • Supports other marketing efforts like SEO and social media


  • Requires time and resources to create quality content
  • Results may take time to materialize
  • Needs a clear strategy and understanding of the audience

Email Marketing


Sending targeted and personalized emails to potential and existing customers to nurture leads and drive conversions.


  • Highly targeted and personalized
  • Cost-effective with a high ROI
  • Direct line of communication with potential customers


  • Requires a well-maintained email list
  • Risk of emails being marked as spam
  • Need for compelling content to encourage opens and clicks

Referral Marketing


Encouraging existing customers to refer new customers, often incentivized with discounts or other rewards.


  • Leverages word-of-mouth, which is highly trusted
  • Cost-effective as it relies on existing customers
  • Can lead to high-quality, loyal customers


  • Requires a strong existing customer base
  • Success is dependent on the satisfaction of current customers
  • Management of referral programs and tracking can be complex

By strategically utilizing and optimizing these channels, businesses can effectively acquire new customers and grow their customer base.

What is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)?

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a key business metric that represents the total cost associated with acquiring a new customer. It includes all the expenses incurred in the process of convincing a potential customer to buy a product or service. CAC is a crucial metric as it helps businesses understand the return on investment from their acquisition efforts and informs strategic decision-making.

How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Calculating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is essential for understanding how much you are spending to acquire each new customer, which can inform your marketing strategies and budget allocation. To calculate CAC accurately, follow the steps and considerations outlined below.

Understand the Components of CAC

Before you can calculate CAC, you need to understand all the components that contribute to this metric. This includes all costs associated with marketing and sales efforts to acquire new customers. Common components include advertising expenses, marketing staff salaries, costs of marketing tools and software, and any other costs directly tied to customer acquisition efforts.

Choose a Time Period for Analysis

Select a specific time period over which you want to calculate CAC. This could be a month, a quarter, or a year, depending on your business cycle and marketing activities. Ensure that you collect all relevant data related to customer acquisition costs and the number of new customers acquired within this timeframe.

Aggregate All Customer Acquisition Costs

Sum up all the costs associated with acquiring new customers during the chosen time period. Ensure that you include all relevant expenses such as advertising and promotional costs, salaries of sales and marketing teams, costs of tools and software used for marketing, and any other direct costs related to customer acquisition activities.

Determine the Number of New Customers Acquired

Count the number of new customers acquired during the same time period. Ensure that you are only counting new customers, not repeat or returning customers.

Calculate CAC

Divide the total customer acquisition costs by the number of new customers acquired to calculate the CAC.

Analyze and Interpret the Results

Once you have calculated CAC, take the time to analyze and interpret the results. A lower CAC indicates more efficiency in your customer acquisition efforts, whereas a higher CAC might suggest that you need to reassess and optimize your marketing strategies. Compare CAC to the lifetime value of a customer (LTV) to ensure that you are acquiring customers profitably. Ideally, LTV should be significantly higher than CAC for a sustainable business model.

Regularly Monitor and Optimize CAC

Customer Acquisition Cost is not a set-it-and-forget-it metric. Regular monitoring and optimization are crucial. Continuously track CAC over different time periods and across different marketing channels to identify trends and areas for improvement. Use this insight to optimize your marketing strategies, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency of your customer acquisition efforts.

By following these steps and considerations, you can calculate and analyze Customer Acquisition Cost, gaining valuable insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer acquisition efforts. This, in turn, enables more informed decision-making and strategic planning to ensure the long-term profitability and sustainability of your business.

How to Develop a Customer Acquisition Strategy?

Developing a customer acquisition strategy is crucial for attracting new customers and growing your business. A well-thought-out strategy helps in allocating resources efficiently, targeting the right audience, and optimizing your marketing efforts for better results. 

Here’s how you can develop an effective customer acquisition strategy:

Understand Your Target Audience

Before you start planning your customer acquisition strategy, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Know who they are, what they need, and where they spend their time. Conduct market research, analyze customer data, and create buyer personas to guide your acquisition efforts. A deep understanding of your audience ensures that your marketing messages resonate with them, increasing the chances of conversion.

Define Clear Objectives and Goals

Establish what you want to achieve with your customer acquisition strategy. Set clear and measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives. Whether it’s increasing the number of new customers, boosting sales, or enhancing brand awareness, having specific goals helps in focusing your efforts and measuring success.

Choose the Right Acquisition Channels

Identify the channels that are most effective in reaching your target audience. These could be social media platforms, search engines, email, content marketing, or paid advertising. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each channel, and consider your budget and resources. Focus on channels that provide the best return on investment and align with your audience’s preferences.

Develop a Value Proposition

Clearly articulate what makes your product or service unique and why customers should choose you over competitors. Your value proposition should highlight the benefits and solve a problem for your target audience. Ensure that this message is consistent across all your marketing materials and channels.

Create Engaging Content

Content is a powerful tool for customer acquisition. Develop a content marketing strategy that focuses on creating valuable, relevant, and engaging content. This could be in the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, or social media content. Use your content to educate your audience, establish your expertise, and build trust.

Optimize for Conversion

Ensure that every touchpoint in your customer journey is optimized for conversion. This includes your website, landing pages, and call-to-action buttons. Implement A/B testing to find the most effective elements that encourage users to take the desired action. Focus on providing a seamless and user-friendly experience.

Leverage Social Proof

Social proof, such as customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies, can significantly influence purchasing decisions. Showcase positive feedback from previous customers on your website and marketing materials. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and share their experiences.

Utilize Automation and Tools

Implement marketing automation tools to streamline and optimize your acquisition efforts. Automation helps in managing leads, segmenting your audience, and delivering personalized content. Utilize analytics tools to track performance and gain insights into your acquisition channels and strategies.

Monitor and Analyze Performance

Regularly monitor and analyze the performance of your customer acquisition strategy. Track key metrics such as conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, and return on investment. Use these insights to identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategy for better results.

Be Agile and Adapt

The market is constantly changing, and your customer acquisition strategy should be flexible enough to adapt. Stay updated on industry trends, customer preferences, and emerging channels. Be ready to pivot your strategy and try new approaches if something isn’t working.

By following these steps, you can develop a comprehensive customer acquisition strategy that attracts new customers, maximizes your marketing efforts, and contributes to the growth of your business. Remember that customer acquisition is an ongoing process, and continuous optimization and adaptation are key to long-term success.

10 Key Customer Acquisition Strategies

Effective customer acquisition requires a well-thought-out strategy that aligns with your business goals, target audience, and available resources. 

Here are some key customer acquisition strategies:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  3. Paid Advertising
  4. Social Media Marketing
  5. Email Marketing
  6. Referral Marketing
  7. Influencer Marketing
  8. Networking and Partnerships
  9. Offering Incentives
  10. Continuous Optimization and Analysis

1. Content Marketing

Content Marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience. This strategy helps establish your brand as an authority in your industry, boosts organic search visibility, and builds trust with potential customers. To implement content marketing effectively, you can start a blog related to your industry, optimize content for search engines (SEO), and share your content across various social media platforms. Consistently delivering high-quality content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience will drive traffic to your website and help convert visitors into customers.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it more visible to potential customers searching for products or services related to your business. This involves keyword research to understand what terms your target audience is searching for, optimizing your website’s content and structure, and building high-quality backlinks. SEO is a long-term strategy, but it is highly cost-effective and can yield significant results in terms of traffic and customer acquisition.

3. Paid Advertising

Paid advertising, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media ads, and display ads, allows you to reach potential customers quickly and precisely. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads provide advanced targeting options to ensure your ads are shown to the right audience, based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. While paid advertising requires an upfront investment, it can be highly effective in driving traffic, generating leads, and acquiring customers when managed correctly.

4. Social Media Marketing

Leveraging social media platforms is a powerful way to connect with potential customers, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website. This strategy involves creating engaging content, running social media ads, and actively participating in social communities related to your industry. By building a strong social media presence, you can foster relationships with potential customers and create opportunities for them to convert.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a direct and personalized way to communicate with potential and existing customers. By building a mailing list and sending targeted emails, you can nurture leads, provide value through content and offers, and guide subscribers towards making a purchase. Email marketing is cost-effective and provides a high return on investment when executed properly.

6. Referral Marketing

Encouraging satisfied customers to refer new customers is a highly effective strategy for customer acquisition. This can be achieved through referral programs, where existing customers are incentivized with discounts, free products, or other rewards for referring new customers. Referral marketing leverages the trust that people have in recommendations from friends and family, making it a powerful tool for acquiring new customers.

7. Influencer Marketing

Partnering with influencers in your industry can provide access to a larger audience and lend credibility to your brand. Influencer marketing involves identifying influencers who align with your brand values and have an engaged following, and collaborating with them to promote your products or services. This strategy can be effective in reaching new audiences and driving customer acquisition.

8. Networking and Partnerships

Building relationships with other businesses and industry influencers can open up opportunities for customer acquisition. This can include partnerships, affiliate programs, or simply networking at industry events. By establishing these connections, you can tap into new audiences and leverage the credibility of established entities in your industry.

9. Offering Incentives

Providing incentives such as discounts, free trials, or exclusive access to premium features can attract new customers and encourage them to try your product or service. This strategy reduces the perceived risk for the customer and provides additional value, making it more likely for them to convert.

10. Continuous Optimization and Analysis

Customer acquisition is an ongoing process that requires continuous optimization and analysis. This involves regularly analyzing performance data, conducting A/B tests, and gathering customer feedback to understand what is working and what can be improved. By adopting a data-driven approach, you can refine your strategies, enhance your marketing efforts, and improve your overall customer acquisition effectiveness.

In summary, a multi-faceted approach combining content marketing, SEO, paid advertising, and other strategies, guided by continuous optimization and analysis, is crucial for effective customer acquisition. These strategies need to be tailored to your specific business goals, target audience, and resources to achieve the best results.

Challenges in Customer Acquisition

Acquiring new customers is a crucial aspect of business growth, but it comes with its set of challenges. Businesses need to navigate these hurdles effectively to ensure a steady inflow of new customers. 

Below are some of the common challenges encountered in customer acquisition:

Rising Costs

One of the most significant challenges in customer acquisition is the increasing costs. With more businesses vying for the attention of consumers, the cost of advertising and marketing has risen considerably. This is particularly challenging for small businesses or startups with limited budgets. To mitigate this, companies need to optimize their marketing strategies, focus on high-ROI channels, and continually monitor and adjust their spending based on performance.

Intense Competition

In today’s digital age, competition is fiercer than ever. Consumers have a plethora of options available at their fingertips, making it challenging for businesses to stand out. To overcome this, businesses must differentiate themselves through unique value propositions, high-quality products or services, and exceptional customer service. Building a strong brand identity and maintaining a positive reputation can also help in attracting new customers.

Changing Consumer Behaviors

Consumer behaviors and preferences are constantly evolving, influenced by technological advancements, social trends, and economic factors. Businesses must stay abreast of these changes and adapt their strategies accordingly. This involves conducting regular market research, gathering customer feedback, and being agile in adjusting marketing messages and channels to align with consumer expectations.

Complexity of Customer Journey

The customer journey has become more complex, with multiple touchpoints across various channels. Tracking and understanding this journey is crucial for effective customer acquisition. However, this complexity also makes it challenging to attribute conversions to specific marketing activities accurately. Implementing advanced analytics and attribution models can help businesses gain better insights and optimize their acquisition strategies.

Dependence on Digital Channels

While digital channels offer numerous opportunities for customer acquisition, over-reliance on these platforms can be risky. Algorithm changes, platform policies, and market saturation can all impact the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts. Diversifying acquisition channels and building a strong presence across multiple platforms can help mitigate these risks.

Maintaining Quality at Scale

As businesses grow and acquire more customers, maintaining the quality of products or services can become challenging. There is a risk of diluting the customer experience, which can lead to dissatisfaction and churn. Businesses must have scalable processes and systems in place to ensure that quality is maintained as they grow.

Data Privacy and Security Concerns

With increasing concerns around data privacy and security, businesses must tread carefully in how they collect and use customer data for acquisition efforts. Ensuring compliance with data protection regulations and being transparent about data usage can help build trust with potential customers.

Balancing Acquisition and Retention

Focusing too heavily on acquisition can lead to neglecting existing customers, which can be detrimental in the long run. Acquiring a new customer is often more costly than retaining an existing one, so businesses must balance their efforts and invest in customer retention and loyalty programs alongside acquisition initiatives.

Navigating these challenges requires a strategic approach, continuous optimization, and a customer-centric mindset. By addressing these hurdles head-on, businesses can create a sustainable and effective customer acquisition strategy that drives growth and builds a loyal customer base.

Tools and Resources for Customer Acquisition

Successfully acquiring new customers requires a combination of strategic planning, effective communication, and the right set of tools and resources. Here are some essential tools and resources that can significantly enhance your customer acquisition efforts:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

A CRM system helps in managing interactions with potential and existing customers, tracking communication history, and organizing customer information. This is essential for ensuring that your team has the necessary information to communicate effectively and personalize interactions, which can lead to higher conversion rates. Popular CRM tools include Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM.

Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing automation tools enable businesses to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows. They help in nurturing leads through automated email campaigns, social media posts, and other online interactions. By automating repetitive tasks, these tools save time and ensure consistent communication with potential customers. Examples of marketing automation tools are Marketo, HubSpot, and Mailchimp.

Analytics and Data Analysis Tools

Understanding customer behavior, tracking acquisition channels, and measuring the performance of marketing campaigns are crucial for optimizing customer acquisition strategies. Analytics and data analysis tools like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and Mixpanel provide valuable insights into customer behavior, website performance, and campaign effectiveness.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

SEO is an integral part of customer acquisition, especially for businesses relying on organic search traffic. Tools like Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs help in keyword research, tracking search rankings, and analyzing competitors’ SEO strategies. They provide recommendations for optimizing website content, improving search visibility, and attracting more organic traffic.

Social Media Management Tools

Social media is a powerful platform for customer acquisition. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social help in scheduling posts, monitoring social media activity, and engaging with the audience. They provide analytics to track performance and optimize social media strategies.

Content Creation and Management Tools

Quality content plays a vital role in attracting and converting potential customers. Tools like WordPress for website content, Canva for graphic design, and Grammarly for writing assistance help in creating and managing engaging content. Content management systems (CMS) enable easy publishing and updating of content.

Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing remains a highly effective channel for customer acquisition. Tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and SendinBlue provide features for creating email campaigns, segmenting audiences, and analyzing email performance. They help in personalizing communication and nurturing leads towards conversion.

Advertising Platforms

Online advertising is a direct way to reach potential customers. Platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads offer targeted advertising options to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. They provide analytics to track ad performance and ROI.

Landing Page and Conversion Optimization Tools

Creating optimized landing pages is crucial for converting visitors into leads or customers. Tools like Unbounce, Leadpages, and Instapage offer templates and drag-and-drop builders for creating effective landing pages. A/B testing and conversion optimization tools like Optimizely and VWO help in testing different page elements to improve conversion rates.

Networking and Outreach Tools

Building relationships with influencers, industry experts, and other businesses can open up opportunities for customer acquisition. Tools like LinkedIn for professional networking, BuzzStream for influencer outreach, and Meetup for local networking events can help in building and managing these relationships.

Community and Forum Platforms

Engaging with potential customers in communities and forums related to your industry can help in building trust and awareness. Platforms like Reddit, Quora, and industry-specific forums provide opportunities to participate in discussions, answer questions, and connect with potential customers.

By leveraging these tools and resources, businesses can enhance their customer acquisition efforts, streamline processes, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their strategies. It’s important to choose the right set of tools that align with your business goals, target audience, and available resources to achieve optimal results.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.