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Are you ready to shop small?


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Welcome to our three-part blog series on Amex Shop Small 2018. Over the next few articles, you will get some fantastic tips for the Shop Small season and Small Business Saturday.


In the first part, we will discuss the Shop Small movement and explain everything you need to know to get involved as a customer, as a volunteer or as a small business in this movement.


Shop Small is a nationwide movement in the United States that celebrates small businesses and helps local communities thrive. By motivating people to purchase from stores run by small businesses during the holiday shopping season, the Shop Small movement enables small businesses to stay vibrant.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the nation. Small Business Saturday is the cornerstone of American Express’s Shop Small efforts. As a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that promotes shopping at large retailers and e-commerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to visit local, small, brick and mortar stores.

Shop Small is not just about buying things from small businesses. It’s also about increasing support for local economies and promoting diverse businesses in your community.

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Shop Small Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday that falls after Thanksgiving in the US. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 24. If you haven’t started hearing about this year’s Shop Small already, you will soon be seeing the #shopsmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday and other similar hashtags dominating your social media feeds.

To make this event even more appealing, American Express always offers up exciting promotions during the Shop Small season. Now that it’s November, you can start taking advantage of their promotions by spending $20 or more at small business stores to get a $10 credit. For more detailed information, check out their official website to learn more about the promotions for this year.


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The Shop Small Movement started in 2010 when small businesses in the USA were feeling the then prevailing economic recession. That year, American Express launched ‘Small Business Saturday’ on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop at small business stores and to help divert some of the holiday revenue toward small businesses.

In the inaugural year, the city of Boston joined with American Express and National Trust for the Historic Preservation in supporting the nationwide “Small Business Saturday” campaign, designed to spur business for small merchants.

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Ironically, Shop Small is getting bigger and bigger – over the years this shopping festival has gained huge momentum among the US population. The only thing that is small about the Shop Small movement now is the size of the businesses that are participating in the movement.


The Shop Small movement is for small business owners, their employees and anyone who wishes to support their community’s small businesses.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities. They provide jobs, preserve neighborhoods and feed the local economy. The Shop Small movement supports these local small businesses and helps them stay strong.

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This nationwide movement is fueled by shoppers, Shop Small organizers (better known as Neighborhood Champions) and small business owners. Everyone comes together to celebrate their local communities because they know how much it matters.


Shop at Small Businesses – anyone can support the Shop Small movement by simply shopping small on that day. Get up and go out to shop or dine at a small local business. Check out the American Express Shop Small map to find small businesses where you can use your Amex card and support your community.

Spread the word – As a consumer who wants to support small businesses, you can spread the word about Shopping Small to your friends, invite them to shop small along with you, and talk about where you are Shopping Small on social media channels with the hashtag #ShopSmall. This will widen the reach and make your contribution more significant.

Become a Neighborhood Champion – If you would like to get more involved in the Shop Small movement, you can choose to rally for your community by becoming a Neighborhood Champion. Neighborhood champions create at least one community event on Small Business Saturday and invite 10+ small businesses in their communities to participate. This person will also receive Shop Small merchandise such as tote bags, posters, balloons and more from American Express to distribute to small businesses.

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Read more about the Neighborhood Champion program and its terms and conditions here and click here to apply to become one.

Once you register and become a Neighborhood Champion, you can visit the studio to access tons of downloadable materials, how-to videos and ideas to spread the word. Armed with these tools, planning your Small Businesses Saturday events should be a piece of cake.

Get your own small business involved – As a small business owner, promoting your business and getting involved with the Shop Small movement makes a huge impact. Not only will it help promote your business, you may also have the chance to win American Express contests with tantalizing prizes such as a $50,000 business grant or a $5,000 Helloworld Travel voucher. Not bad! To learn more about the contest participation criteria, click here.

Post your Small Business on the Shop Small Map – If you’re a small business owner and you choose to participate in the Shop Small movement, you will quite literally be putting yourself on the map – the American Express Shop Small map, that is. Visit the American Express Shop Small official page and update your business details to get posted on the Shop Small map. If you need any more encouragement, consider this: the Shop Small map was viewed over 851 thousand times in 2017, and Amex Card members spent $675 million during the Shop Small season that year.

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List your shop on the Shop Small Map – First and foremost, list your shop on the Shop Small map as discussed in the above section.

Email Campaigns and Social Media Campaigns – Focus on attracting customers to your store on Small Business Saturday by promoting your business via email campaigns and social media posts. You can access ready-made templates, posters and other materials in the Studio to aid you in your promotions.

Because no business is the same, American Express’s Studio lets you customize your offline and online marketing materials for Shop Small. Provide details like your business name, preferred color scheme, business location, and request the types of materials you think you’ll need for promotion by clicking on this link.


Or, to get ready-made marketing materials for Small Business Saturday, simply provide your email address and sign up for Small Business Saturday® newsletters.


Now that you have a basic understanding of the Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday, we’ll sign off here until our next post which will provide more detail on how to get involved, how to build promotions and marketing materials for your small business, and how to promote your business on social media this coming Small Business Saturday.


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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) – Part IV: GROWTH PROGRAM OPERATIONS – Building a Growth Engine

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In the previous post of our Growth Hacking series titled, Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part IV – What is CONVERSION – Getting the MOST from Every Encounter’ we discussed about Conversions, A/B testing and how to get the most from every encounter a business has with the customer.

We are now in the fourth week of the Perfect Funnel Challenge series. This week, we will learn about building a growth program, culture and mindset. If you haven’t already, take a moment and sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE so that you can see firsthand what a best-practices Funnel looks like.

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Inculcating a growth culture in your organization is essential for building a growth engine and boosting your business. As a business you need to find the fuel for your growth engine and that is not a simple process. Companies that consistently show top line growth have an investor mindset. Basically, they squeeze funds from underperforming areas and allocate these funds to areas with high scope.

Growth culture starts at the top. The leadership team must ensure in creating a culture of growth by making experimentation a part of everyone’s jobs. Only when individuals are motivated to experiment and try out different things, they would know which are the high performance initiatives and which areas have higher potential.

Such experimentations would result in continual improvement across the organization. Emphasize the importance of experimentation, constant improvements to all the stakeholders of your organization.

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Companies have started embracing a new role, Growth Manager or Growth Hacker and also a growth hacking team. Their role in the organization would be to define company’s growth plan, implement growth programs and optimize the sales funnel.

An internal growth team is important but having said that fresh outside perspectives and expertise are also necessary to enhance business growth. As it’s rightly said, homegrown is good but sometimes they ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’.

However only larger enterprises hire a dedicated Growth team or seek growth consultants who charge a fortune. Small businesses should integrate the growth culture into every role. New ideas and experiments by employees should be given embraced. Bonuses could be announced to motivate them to experiment different initiatives. Successful initiatives could be highlighted and rewarded.

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Defining the right KPIs is critical for a company’s success. Top management should identify the important goals for the company. Once the overall company’s primary goals and KPIs are identified, the next steps would be cascading down the KPIs to groups or Line of Business (LOBs); then to individuals and then finally to campaigns or initiatives.

Cascading could be through functional structure of your organization or through business processes of your organization. It is important to cascade KPIs to support functions like finance or HR too.

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While cascading KPIs the management should ensure that everyone in the organization should have one primary KPI against which their performance is measure. It is equally important to make sure that businesses should not cascade by duplicating the efforts or measure, instead they should cascade by building the cause-effect chain.

All marketing or sales campaigns and initiatives should also have one primary KPI to measure their success. Businesses should create a visual model of how the KPIs relate to business goals at each level in the organization. The KPI flow should be such that every individual’s KPIs feed up to groups’ and LOB’s KPIs and then these finally map on to the KPIs of the organization.

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Establish baselines for your business goals and these baselines will act as a starting point. Before you begin implementing actions that would help your business improve growth, you must first establish a baseline. Baselines are metrics that show your business performance. For instance, if you consider your social media profiles, number of fans, likes, comments, shares are the metrics you should set baselines for.

Once you set baseline values, decide on the lift you want to achieve. For example, if your baseline Facebook fans is 20000 and you want to lift it by 10% to reach 22000 fans in 6 months.

Post your KPI metrics along with the baselines and expected lift at highly visible places in your office, so that everyone knows what are the higher level KPIs for the organization as a whole and what are the KPIs for their respective team like the marketing team, etc. It is a great idea to have a whiteboard or a video screen to report baselines, results, positive or negative changes on the key metrics.

Online KPI dashboards like Geckoboard also make it easier for organizations to create tailor made dashboards for different teams. These online dashboards can then be displayed on a TV with minimum fuss.


Tracking various growth experiments is critical in knowing how different experiments have performed and which are the ones that yield desired results. One of the best options for tracking your experiments would be to build your own tool in Google sheets. This doesn’t involve any costs and you can customize as per the requirements of various teams in your organization. You can learn more about how to keep track of your growth experiments with Google sheets here. Airtable’s Growth Experiment Chart is a brilliant example that you could refer.

Trello is also yet another popular tool for tracking tasks. You can track all your growth experiments from inception to completion without spending a dime using Trello. Their growth template is quite popular. You will be able to monitor experiments real time to get an idea of how they are performing.

Asana is another tool that can be repurposed to track growth projects and tasks. Asana facilitates connected work with your teammates, saving time and improving collaboration.

Northstar by is an amazing tool that aids discovering new and better ways to accelerate growth. However this is an expensive tool and large enterprises are ones who predominantly use this tool.

Focus on High Impact Opportunities



Businesses could analyse various platforms where they can track their growth experiments. Google Optimize is Google’s new website testing and experimentation platform, a free tool that facilitates tracking and testing your experiments. Watch this video to see an overview of how the tool works. It is definitely great to get your feet wet and A/B test your experiments to optimize performance.

Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), Unbounce and Optimizely are other great experimentation platforms or A/B testing tools available in the market.


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The growth engine process is simple. You start by indicating the metrics you want to focus on improving. Then evaluate how your growth engine is impacting the selected set of metrics. And finally validate the experiments based on how successful they were and focus on scaling your best opportunities.

Businesses may have several growth experiments that they have to run and test. Hence it is important for businesses to prioritize experimentation tasks based on their expected impact and level of efforts required. Certain tasks have higher confidence levels based on their likelihood of success while the rest may have average or low confidence.



Now that you have a wide range of ideas to set up growth experiments, what is the ideal recommended duration for growth experiments. The majority of experiments won’t reach statistical significance. Generally, they yield only directional results, so you should specify with certainty (e.g. 95%) as to whether the particular experiment can be declared as a success or failure. The recommended duration for running various tests is around 4 weeks or 28 days. This is the suggested best practice that is followed by large businesses like Google.


Businesses could opt for hypothesis testing for various growth experiments. It is of utmost importance to share the results of the testing with the team so that they can understand the impact of the initiatives taken. It is also equally important to talk about the recommended follow up actions that have to be taken.

Employees should know what these tests proved and what you’ll be doing next or what are the kind of tests to run in future. While explaining the outcome to the team members, always tie impact with the identified KPIs like revenue growth, CPA etc. Results have to be reported to the organization using whiteboards or geckoboard.



Growth culture is important and has to be imparted across various levels in the organization. This mindset will drive experimentation attitude among all individuals in your team and successful experiments in-turn would fuel business growth.

This is the end of this 4 part series on growth hacking for SaaS, SMB’s and Start-ups. We hope this was helpful.

Hurry and sign up for our Perfect Funnel Challenge. In our next article , we will be starting a 3 part series on the AMEX Small Shop 2018.



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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) Part III: What is CONVERSION? – Getting the MOST from Every Encounter

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Welcome to the 3rd week of the Perfect Funnel Challenge series. Hurry and get your copy of the Funnel guide soon! In last week’s article ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp (4-part Series) Part II: What is Funnel? The Right Customer, the Right Message in the Right Channel’, we learned about sales funnel mapping, the AIDA model and various approaches that will help you drive different buyer personas from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

This week we will cover Conversions, their importance and how to get the most from every encounter a business has with the customer. After reading this article you will be able to understand the evolution of marketing programs and the shift towards A/B testing.


The most common misconception about a conversion is that it only takes the form of a purchase or a sale. If we explain it like a logical reasoning question, then we can say ‘all purchases are conversions, but not all conversions are purchases.’ Conversion simply means that someone has graduated to the next phase of your sales funnel. This often takes place long before an actual sale.

In its essence, a conversion has occurred when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, like signing up for your email newsletter, filling out a form, downloading a resource or making a purchase. Goals and their accompanying conversions vary depending on the campaign and business, and can be as simple as opening an email or clicking on a particular link. Basically, conversions are the stepping stones that help companies achieve their main aims.


Conversions serve as indicators to help businesses separate window shoppers from truly potential customers. They also help you understand which stage of the buying journey your website visitor is in based on the action they’re taking on your website.

On a grander scale, conversions help businesses understand if their overall marketing funnel is working as intended. When analyzed, conversions helps business owners identify where there might be leaks in the sales funnel, and gives them the tools to patch it up. For example, if you see a high percentage of customers falling off at the demo stage of the funnel, that will tell you what needs to be fixed. With a properly functioning sales funnel, cued by conversions, you can drive more sales.


Once a customer has bestowed faith in your business by purchaing your products or services, it then becomes your responsibility to ensure that your customer achieves their desired outcome.

Just like any first impression, the initial contact your new customer has with your brand will set the tone for the business-customer relationship. If their initial impression is a bad one, it could all but kill your business. Having a smooth customer onboarding program is one of the best ways to set the tone to that perfect pitch of customer satisfaction.

Your business onboarding process should make sure that there is a smooth transition from the sales team to the project management team. You should also make it your business to understand your consumers’ preferences and to get to know them well. Identify and sort out challenges that may crop up during the onboarding process so that when you do get a customer, you’ll be able to help them achieve their desired goals with your products or services.

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So, you’ve made some sales and you’ve got some customers (hooray!), but you begin to notice that some of these people have become worryingly inactive after purchase. How do you get your new customers to use the products they’ve just purchased?

Firstly, it never hurts to understand who your customers are. Tracking customer usage patterns will help create customer profiles and identify the right buttons to push when they need some motivation. For example, you can send them emails about the benefits of using your products, but if you are aware of their specific pain points, you can provide them with more specific details for solving their problems, thus propelling them into action.

It’s also a good idea to map your ideal customer’s journey after purchase. That way you have a solid template to compare to the path taken by the majority of your customers. If the ideal journey and the reality of the journey taken by customers do not match up, you’ll be able to identify adjustments that need to me made. You can also take a magnifying glass to features of your product that customers do not use so that in the end you’re left with a lean, mean, converting machine that inspires action.


Reactivation or re-engagement is the process where businesses reach out to inactive customers or potential customers. The goal of reactivation is to encourage them to become active users.

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Below are a few ways to re-engage with inactive customers and drive them to start using your products and solutions:

  • Use email activation campaigns to re-engage with inactive customers.
  • Include product tours as a part of your onboarding experience.
  • Display ads driving them to visit your website/products pages.
  • Social media sponsored posts that promote customer success stories.
  • Identify the main pain points in using your product and fix those.
  • Set up a re-engagement strategy for users who drop off.
  • Entice users with the progress they are making.


A/B testing is the process of examining different variables within your website for optimal conversion. Businesses today prefer testing various options of look, feel and design when it comes to their landing pages, ads, website pages, emails, email sign up forms, or in-app conversion forms. Nearly any aspect of your website can and should be A/B tested. Most businesses opt for A/B testing where they test two design options/formatting/URLs etc they may have created.

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Sometimes businesses also go for multivariate testing that allows you to compare a higher number of variables and the interactions between them. A/B testing and multivariate testing boost conversion rates by helping businesses identify which options perform better.

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Tools like Unbounce, KISSmetrics, Optimizely, and Maxymizer will help you run A/B tests to ultimately help you improve your online assets and drive sales.


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In order to identify conversions on your website, it is essential to add relevant tags on your website and mobile apps. A tag is a piece of code you can place in your website’s back end that gathers data about the behavior of visitors. Analyzing and reporting visitors’ activity helps businesses optimize their conversion rates by providing necessary insights into which stage of the buying journey a potential customer is in, how to drive them towards a sale, and how to activate them.

Tools like Google tag manager make using tags easy, especially if you have a lot that you need to manage. However, if you only have one or two tags, it’s simple enough to manually insert them into your website’s source code. If you don’t know where to start, try using Google Analytics and Google Ads conversion tracking, as these are two of the most important tags on the web. You can also use Conversion tracking, which is a free tool that shows you what happens after a customer interacts with your ads.


These tools promote conversion rate optimization, which is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired goal on a website. Using tags and tracking, businesses analyze the behavior of visitors and focus on elements that motivate customer engagement so as to optimize conversions.


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Conversions are one of the most important metrics that help businesses track their potential consumers as they move from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. Various techniques like A/B testing, multivariate testing and re-engagement campaigns are sure to improve your conversion rates.

In the next post of this series, ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part IV: Growth Program Operations – Building a Growth Engine’, we will talk about what Growth Program Operations are, their framework (internal as well as external), A/B testing schedules, and how to build a strong growth engine for your business.

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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part II: What is a FUNNEL? – The Right Customer, the Right Message, in the Right Channel

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In last week’s post ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp PART I What is ACQUISITION – Getting the RIGHT Early Customers for Free’, we covered the various growth hacking techniques that work well and ones to avoid.

We are now in the second week of the ‘Perfect Funnel’ challenge series. This week we will discuss Funnels and how to acquire the right customers by sharing the right messages in the right channels.

A Funnel illustrates the ideal journey your prospective customers go through on their way of becoming your customers.

Businesses may market their products and solutions to several thousand or several hundred thousands of people, but only a small percentage share their contact details to become leads. Out of these leads, only a fraction will become customers. Out of these customers, a further smaller fraction will become loyal customers for your brand.

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The various stages a potential buyer goes through in a company’s marketing funnel is commonly referred to as customer lifecycle. The age-old marketing funnel model, more commonly referred to as the AIDA model, was developed by an American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898.

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As a business, you have to funnel down your prospects in the AIDA order to get amazing new customers. Moving prospective clients through the funnel to convert them to loyal customers is the main goal for marketers.



Before building the funnel for your business, a critical first step in the lead acquisition process is understanding your customers and potential customers and creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized versions of your ideal customers.

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In order to define buyer personas for your business, you need to understand your existing customers, their demographics, behavior, interests, and location.

Based on your understanding and analysis, group and define your ideal consumers’ characteristics and expected behavior. Create buyer personas for your business so you can design your marketing strategy accordingly. The success of your communication strategy with your target audience will largely depend on your full understanding of the buyer personas of your business.

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Create or design the sales funnel for your business based on the user journey and control the way users pass from one stage to another.

Businesses should carefully map the user lifecycle with the sales funnel. Marketing messages have to be developed for various stages in the funnel such that potential buyers are able to move at ease, from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and become customers.

You may assume that the funnel has a linear path based on the AIDA model. However, in reality, a funnel is not that simple. When consumers come across your products, they may first look at alternative products by your competitors. It may then take weeks or months for them to come back to your funnel and convert.

Here are 10 funnel mapping tools you should consider using for your business.


Over the past decade, the Internet has transformed the way consumers research products and services. Consumers would prefer doing a comprehensive online research about the various ways in which their business problem can be solved.

Consumers these days trust brands only when the brand is able to provide them with valuable content. Brands must focus on creating high-quality content that is extremely valuable for their leads as they pass through various stages of the buying journey.

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High-quality content frequently acts as great lead magnets. Businesses could give basic relevant content for free and then gate the high-value content. Businesses can drive their target audience to fill in lead generation forms by offering lead magnets like eBooks and whitepapers.

Trip wires are a way of converting a lead to a customer by offering them a low-cost alternative. Once they are in the sales funnel, you could then upsell to them to improve the CLV.


Users may visit your website, follow you on social media and they may drop off at some point of the buying journey before completing the purchase. Create retargeting campaigns targeting such potential customers who are in various stages of the buying journey.

Based on the content your target audience consumes, you can identify which stage they are in. You could then create retargeting journeys motivating these users to consume similar content or driving them to take some action, move towards the bottom of the funnel and convert them to leads/customers.


Launch drip email nurturing campaigns based on the activity and online behavior of your leads and potential customers. Based on the stage of the buying cycle and sales funnel, your audience is in, create relevant marketing mailers that would drive conversion.

pardot drip workflow


Drip campaigns help businesses in acquiring customers through lead nurturing techniques. You should set up email campaigns for various stages starting from indoctrination or introducing your brand to deliver value and build trust. The objective of drip email nurturing campaigns is to get your leads to know, like, and trust your brand.


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Use technology for messaging and ensure that human interaction is required only for high priority items. Automate your social media posting by scheduling the posts to go out based on high activity time.

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Introduce techniques like ‘Lead Grading’, where your business can classify leads based on their location, demographics, industry, job title etc and ‘Lead Scoring’, where leads are classified based on the lead’s activity and online behavior. Here are 23 awesome marketing automation tools that your business should evaluate to simplify and streamline your marketing functions.


Getting to know more about your leads is crucial for the success of your marketing campaigns. However, to know more, you need to collect more information from them through lead forms. This is where progressive profiling comes into picture. You can have dynamic lead forms that collect tiny bits of information as and when users download different content.

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When a lead returns to consume more content, the automation detects what information we already have and generates dynamic web forms asking for the next level of details. As they move from one stage to the next stage in the buying journey different details are collected.

This comprehensive user profile collated by the automation tools will aid in creating highly targeted marketing messages for driving users towards conversion.


By designing a sales funnel tailored according to your business and industry, businesses can prioritize marketing campaigns and create relevant high-quality content for your buyer personas.

Stay tuned to the growth hacking series! Next week, we will learn about the importance of CONVERSION and how to get the most from every encounter with your target audience. Don’t forget to sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE.


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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp PART I: What is ACQUISITION? – Getting the RIGHT Early Customers for Free

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Welcome to our four-part blog series on Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp. Over the next few articles, you will get some great tips for implementing a high-performance growth hacking strategy for your business.


In the first article of this blog series, we will be discussing what growth hacking techniques work well, and which ones should be avoided.

Let’s briefly understand the various acquisition goals. The primary goals of acquisition are typically:

  • Driving traffic to your website.
  • Making the most of your traffic by engaging with your audience effectively once they visit your website.
  • Converting traffic to leads and acquiring new customers.

Now you understand what the goals of acquisition are, we’ll now discuss various growth hacking techniques that will help to acquire new customers by driving traffic to your website.

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Close friends and family always remain a great audience when you want early and genuine feedback about your product. They also won’t mind receiving product-related information from you.

So once you’ve built your Minimum Viable Product, ask your friends and family to test your product. This way you can get the first set of honest reviews. This will help you further improve your viable product and market it effectively to your future customers.

Since they are trying your product with an intention to help you in your business, their heart is in this task. However, you need to direct them to be “honest” and not “nice” with their opinions. You may need to pry them for more info and details in why they liked or disliked your product. These people are not professional testers so they will need guidance on how detailed and specific the feedback will need to be so it’s useful for you.

You should also motivate this close circle of people to visit your website and social media channels so that they give you valuable feedback from a “fresh eyes” perspective.

Minimum Viable Product



Small businesses and start-ups often underestimate the potential hype they can create by marketing their beta products. It is essential for businesses to build a pre-launch email list. Start collecting emails specifically for beta releases through lead generation forms in guest blogs, Facebook and Twitter lead ads, etc.

You could also collect subscribers for your beta releases through your regular email campaigns by including an opt-in for beta releases. Focus on quality over quantity while building the list because the aim here is to attract early adopters for your products.

growing your opt-in list

More companies are launching their beta products to early adopters. Hence, beta testing is not limited to the professional testing teams anymore. Instead, it has become community driven. And marketing your beta testing should go hand in hand with the actual product beta testing.



Partnering with other companies in your space that may offer complementary products or services (not your direct competitors) is a great opportunity to attract a new audience. Or you could look for channel partners like wholesalers or distributors.

Through such partnerships, you could cross-promote each other on blogs, social media, etc to drive more website visitors. You could also run promotions on a partner website or cross-promote on each other’s email newsletters driving website visitors whom you can nurture to become leads. Co-marketing and creating ebooks or webinars with your partner can reduce the content creation efforts and at the same time reach a wider audience of both the parties.



Reference sites like Quora and Reddit are a great start for small businesses that want to grow their website presence. Even founders of Airbnb, Dropbox, and Groupon used to spend a lot of their time creating content and answering questions on Quora and Reddit. This helped them drive a lot of website visitors.

gary vayerchuk quora

Small businesses should invest their time and efforts on these platforms. Start by identifying relevant topics in Quora and industry subreddits in Reddit. Once you have narrowed down the list on where you could answer questions related to your industry, pick questions where you could talk about your products and solutions and start referencing your website.

If you feel the topic doesn’t warrant explicit mention of your products and solutions, you could give subtle hints motivating reads to take the desired action if they want more information.



Create “how to” videos, problem-solving videos, etc for your brand and share them on video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. You could also create thought leadership videos on industry-related topics to educate your target audience.

video hosting platforms

Comparison videos would drive top of the funnel customers to your website while product demo videos would drive bottom of the funnel customers to your website. Have a balance and create content for various stages to drive them to your website. Clear call to actions at various durations of the video is essential to get desirable results.


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New product review sites like Product Hunt, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe are a great way to get more eyeballs on your newly launched products. These sites talk about the best new products in the market by reviewing them. Since there are high probabilities for early adopters to visit these sites frequently, it is a brilliant platform to engage with them and drive them to your website.

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Design and launch a referral program for your business such that it is mutually beneficial. DropBox launched a referral program where users can earn storage space of 500 MB by inviting new users.

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This simple referral program became a viral loop and DropBox grew by 3900%. So a referral program where you could offer some concessions or exclusive benefits for your participants could prove to be a great strategy to acquire new customers for your business.



LinkedIn is a goldmine for list building prospective customers. Small businesses can send automated connection requests to their target audience using tools like LinkedAutomate and LinkMe Tool. You could then export your LinkedIn connections and then communicate with them by sending email marketing messages.

If you want to know more about using LinkedIn for growth hacking, please read our article LinkedIn Growth Hacking for Small Businesses, Start-Ups Solopreneurs and Bloggers, where you can understand the various steps involved in identifying and reaching potential customers via LinkedIn



Influencer marketing continues to remain one of the popular ways of driving website traffic. People prefer listening to other people instead of brands or businesses. This is where influencers play a key role because they are industry experts or leading professionals who have a wide audience base that you could target. Identify the list of influencers who would be more apt considering the industry your business is in.

Narrow down the list based on analysis of their posts, reach, budget, etc and finalize the influencers you want to promote your brand. Then start reaching out and build long-term relationships with them. It can take time for them to eventually partner with you so be patient.



CraigsList gets over 10 million unique visitors per day and there is no question that Craigslist is one of the most powerful marketplace websites in the world. Businesses like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy got their first 1000 customers by using this platform. Despite its simplicity, marketing on CraigsList would need some basic planning and strategy. As a small business, decide on the locations you’d want to market your products and then also understand which of the 300 communities should you be on.

craigslist san diego screengrab

Ads on CraigsList are either free or a very low cost (starting at $5). So start building ads for CraigsList and also get involved by interacting with your community on CraigsList. Respond to posts by others and participate in conversations across discussion forums where you could discuss with potential customers as well as other sellers and establish a presence for your business within the Craigslist community.



Spruce up your lead generation efforts by launching paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and search engine marketing platforms like Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Even though organic means can help you in driving traffic to a certain extent, if you want to boost your traffic in a shorter span, paid advertising will help.

Test your ads using A/B testing, now available with the platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook. Testing will help you understand which of your ad formats or what kind of messaging does well for your target audience so that you could optimize future campaigns based on the insights derived from testing and analyzing the results.


There are a variety of various acquisition techniques for your business in this article. One technique will not solve all your business growth issues. Experiment with some/all of the above-mentioned solutions to see what works for you. Planning carefully and strategizing is what would help you achieve the desired results through these techniques.

Stay tuned, next week we cover the best practices about creating FUNNELS. Don’t forget to sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE.


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What is ClickFunnels? – 7 Ways It Helps You Promote Your Online Business

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Did one of your colleagues recently talk to you about ClickFunnels and you were left wondering what it was all about? Was it your manager who wanted you to start using it? Or are you an entrepreneur who is looking at improving your online business? However you heard about ClickFunnels, you are now seeking a thorough overview of how the tool can help you. If that’s the case, then you’re in the right place.

In this article, we are going to describe what ClickFunnels is, what it is not, and how the tool can help your online business.


ClickFunnels is a Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription tool that was designed to help businesses build sales funnels, email collection forms, landing pages, and payment collection pages without having to code. It allows you to sell your products online more quickly by helping you create pages that simplify purchases and boost conversion.

ClickFunnels has a large collection of business-oriented templates that you can select and create pages for your website to drive lead generation and sales. These templates are really appealing and can be customized based on the idea you have in mind.

Once you have selected the template, you’ll just have to drag and drop various elements on the template to get a finished product. This saves you from any coding efforts and makes the process of creating attractive Lead Gen and sales pages simpler and faster.

ClickFunnels Templates Library

ClickFunnels allows you to create landing pages for all stages in your sales funnel (prospect, lead, qualified, deal closure, etc). Their templates are optimized based on the stage in the sales funnel you are creating the landing page for, such that they drive more leads, email-opt ins, and sales. By creating pages using their templates, you could build your email lists and also drive conversions.


ClickFunnels is not an email marketing tool like MailChimp or ZohoCampaigns. Using ClickFunnels, you will be able to build an email list or grow your existing subscriber list, but this tool will not be able to run your email marketing campaigns. They do not have email templates that you could use for creating your email campaigns. So even when you purchase ClickFunnels to grow your subscriber list, you will still need an email marketing tool like MailChimp, Convertkit‎, Zoho Campaigns,‎ or AWeber to send your actual email marketing messages.


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While ClickFunnels is a marketing and sales tool, the greatest benefit of using ClickFunnels is that it forces business owners to think about their business through the lens of a sales funnel, which most businesses have not done even if they are seasoned enterprises.

It also introduces business owners to the concept of stepping up prospects from free or low-cost products and upselling them to more expensive products during the sales process, through funnels made up of drip email nurturing campaigns, landing pages, forms, etc. If you want to learn more about this process and the consumer psychology behind it, you’ll have the opportunity to get a great book on this at the bottom of this article.
ClickFunnels Feature List


ClickFunnels is a landing page builder that allows you to build actual sales funnels that you could use in your online business. ClickFunnels has a whole series of templates to build these funnels based on what your business requirement is. It makes your landing page set up process seamless and quick.

For example, your business may be looking at selling an online membership. In that case, you could build a funnel where you drive people to register and then you direct them to your membership page where you have eBooks that the members could download. Or maybe you are an eCommerce store and you want to create sales funnels for driving conversion. ClickFunnels allows you to create eCommerce product pages without any unnecessary distractions to ensure higher conversion rates.


ClickFunnels has wonderful Squeeze Page Funnels for your business to grow your email list of subscribers and potential buyers. The squeeze page funnels by ClickFunnels has just two simple stages – squeeze page and the thank you page. The squeeze page is the typical opt-in lead form page where you are asking for email addresses of the users in return for providing some valuable like a lead magnet. The second page is where we will give the users the information we have promised in return for their email ID. Here are few amazing Squeeze Page Funnels from ClickFunnels that you could use.

ClickFunnels Funnel Library


By integrating ClickFunnels with payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe, your business will be able to accept payments via the ClickFunnels eCommerce landing pages you created.

So, this is an essential step if you are planning to sell products online by creating sales pages using ClickFunnels. For example, if you want to sell memberships to your portal via online landing pages, you could integrate ClickFunnels with PayPal payment gateway to accept payments from users and then take them to the membership portal.

Reasons to Use a Funnel in Business


ClickFunnels allows you to add Upsell products for various products in your line items. While creating a product page via ClickFunnels you have an option to add upsell pages/products to each of your products. This is integrated usually in the form of additional upsell download buttons as shown in the image below. These buttons would be linked to the upsell pages that are created. Alternatively, you could link existing products of higher value to the upsell button.

ClickFunnels Landing Page Builder


ClickFunnels supports email marketing automation by integrating 3rd party email hosting services such as G Suite, Zoho and autoresponders such as Aweber, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, and more. You could create your G Suite or Zoho email for your ClickFunnels domain and integrate it so that you can send mailers to your subscribers. Once you integrate the chosen email marketing tool, setting up a mailer is a very simple 3 step process as shown in the image below.

Image result for clickfunnels Marketing Automation To Send Emails


Webinar Funnel Map

ClickFunnels enables you to host webinars and build autowebinar funnels by integrating your webinar tool with the platform. You could integrate webinar tools like Zoom or GoToMeeting with ClickFunnels and host webinars for your potential customers or target audience.

Post integration, you could build webinar funnels and pages by choosing a suitable template and setting the live time and date for the webinar. All the webinars you have hosted will be available in the replay room and you could add these webinars to the landing pages built via ClickFunnels. Many times webinar recordings are used for lead generation. For example, you could ask visitors to leave their email IDs to view a webinar recording on how to use ClickFunnels.

How to setup your first automated webinar ClickFunnels help center



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Here are the pricing details for the platform. ClickFunnels offers a couple of options- the basic plan with limited pages, templates, funnels and 20k visitors that costs $97 per month and the etison Suite version with unlimited pages, templates, funnels and visitors that costs $297 per month. Below is a table comparing the features of the two options.

ClickFunnels Pricing Table


There are two great ways to get a first-hand experience of ClickFunnels.

First, the one we highly recommend is to request your copy of the physical book “DotCom Secrets”. This is a physical paper book, not a download. The book is free but you will have to pay about $6 for shipping and handling and it is well worth it. DotCom Secrets is a playbook compendium of modern day digital marketing sales funnel best practices that have changed the way we run our business. When you order “DotCom Secrets” you will go through a ClickFunnels funnel, including landing page, forms and their Trip-wire upsell as a part of the sign-up process. This will give you a fair idea of the kind of experiences you could create for your business by using ClickFunnels. Clicking the banner below will get you started ordering the DotCom Secrets book.

Another way would be to start your Free 30-day Trial of ClickFunnels to build your own Funnels.


ClickFunnels is an amazing tool if you are looking at boosting your online sales for your business. The $97 entry price might be steep for a newer business but is an attractive logical progression once your marketing maturity advances beyond a simple email tool like MailChimp for an information product, membership or e-commerce business. However, you must spend the time choosing the right funnels and templates according to your business and target audience. Be sure to choose the templates based on your buyer journey stages to make this an effective part of your marketing strategies.

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Marketing your Business on Instagram – 7 Tips to Grow Your Brand

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Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has taken the world by storm and has grown into a powerful social media platform. With over 1 billion monthly active users, the photo-sharing platform is undeniably one of the most prominent social media channels. Creating stunning visual content will be the key to success on Instagram, as content shared on the platform primarily includes photos, videos, and live videos.



Using #hashtags wisely while Instagramming can get your business a much higher engagement. Categorize your content and identify high volume hashtags for these topics. Such #hashtags make your content more discoverable because anyone who clicks on a hashtag and searches for it will see a page with all the posts that tagged this particular #hashtag. The more likes you get on your post, the more discoverable it would become because engagement will determine your post’s location on the search page and a higher position on the search page would result in being discovered more often.


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Before you start marketing your small business on Instagram, be sure to switch your account to a business profile. This will activate various business specific Instagram features like a contact button, Instagram insights, ads, and shopping tags which are vital to success. Also, include a great bio for your business with the most relevant #hashtags and a valid URL redirecting followers to your mobile responsive website.

Treat you Instagram feed like your product gallery. Create and share astounding product-based images. Your posts needn’t explicitly talk about selling the products. Instead, marketing a theme where your products would be a great fit is a brilliant strategy! Use stories and live videos to connect better with your audience and improve engagement. Post more often, say around 1.5 times per day on an average so that you can maximize views.

Engage with your target audience. Reply to their comments on your posts. Comment and like on posts related to your industry niche to get more visibility. You could also run contests on Instagram to make your audience engage with your brand actively.

Instagram users love to see their peers getting recognized by leading brands. This is why user-generated content drives a higher conversion rate.



If you master the nuances of Instagram marketing for your small business, you can fuel your lead generation strategy by a significant extent. Read this article on how these 5 small businesses have a killer Instagram marketing strategy to boost their conversions.

Influencer marketing is extremely popular on Instagram. Top influencers, commonly referred to as the ‘Instagram Rich List,’ make a fortune. Kylie Jenner who ranks number 1 on this list with over 111 million followers makes $1 million per post and Selena Gomez with 135 million followers makes $800,000 per post. They charge such huge sums based on the estimated engagement their posts are likely to receive. Kylie charges higher than Selena due to her high post engagement. In fact, she holds the record for the most liked social media post with over 13 million likes. Brands who want to tap this potential connect with the influencers for sponsored posts.

You could also use tools like Upfluence, Neoreach and OpenFluence to identify influencers who are more relevant for your small business both in terms of the industries they market to and pricing.

Here are a few more Instagram success stories that could inspire you!

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Plan your Instagram content strategy based on your understanding of the target audience. Based on the shortlisted list of #hashtags, create relevant content. As a small business, you should focus on the quality of content to be posted instead of quantity. Even if you post only once or twice per day, carefully pick the right hashtags and promote your business and brand.

Instagram doesn’t allow automated posting. So even if you use a wide range of available auto post tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, Later, Autogrammer and Agorapulse, on Instagram, you could just use these tools to schedule the content to be posted at a particular time and set reminder notifications for you/your team to post manually at that time when you have scheduled the post.

These auto post tools allow you to upload images and videos, add a caption with #hashtags and select a time to post in on the calendar. You need to make sure you are available to hit the share button when you want the content to be posted according to the calendar.



25% of Instagram ads are videos. Videos can be up to 60 seconds long but shorter videos of around 15 to 30 seconds duration tend to receive higher engagement. Here are 17 inspiring video examples for Instagram video marketing.

Stories are one of the most popular features on Instagram. As of June 2018, Instagram stories alone has 400 million daily active users. So do not restrict your Instagram marketing initiatives to just photographs and regular videos. Plan to use short and concise live videos to tell unique brand experiences and market on Instagram. Stories feature allows you to post such bitesize 15-second videos. Here are a few brilliant examples of how to use Instagram stories for marketing your brand.


SocialDrift (edit 7/9/2020 – SocialDrift is no longer in operation; check out PosterMyWall) is an Instagram automation tool that allows you to grow your Instagram followers organically by automating follows, likes, and comments. Using smart filters, you can target users by location, #hashtags, usernames, and more. The platform safely grows Instagram following by using machine learning to help customers engage with their target audience. SocialDrift also has Secureboost, which ensures that your brand remains within the Instagram permissible limits. And the tool is compliant with Instagram’s terms and conditions making it a safe option. McDonald’s uses SocialDrift for their Instagram automation.

Combin helps you find posts and Instagram users by hashtag or location and perform combination searches by hashtag + location. Once discovered, the tool allows Combin users to manually follow, like, and comment; manage follows and unfollows on the same page. Combin tracks the number of actions. If too many actions are performed, it automatically schedules it to a later date.

Popsocial is a similar automation which allows users to acquire Instagram followers in a short amount of time. Popsocial has big clients like Microsoft and Porsche. But there isn’t much information on how the tool goes about acquiring followers and engaging with them. Neither does the tool mention if it complies with the Instagram limits.

There are quite a few other Instagram automation tools like Kickstagram, Robolike, Social Growth, Instaheap that allow you to discover users based on their location and #hashtag

However, you must be very careful while choosing an automation tool to increase your follower base and engagement for your business Instagram profile. This is because Instagram has very strict policies against automation. Instagress, an extremely popular automation tool was shut down by Instagram classifying it as unauthorized commercial communication or spam. You must choose a tool which complies with Instagram’s policies and stays within the permissible limits.



During the initial stages of the buying journey when users are not aware of the problem they are facing or the available solutions, Instagram ads that drive brand awareness are apt. When potential customers are in the middle of the funnel, influencer posts and user-generated content could motivate them and convince them about the authenticity of the brand. And when they are in the purchase and loyalty stages Instagram shopping would be a great option.

Visual content drives more conversions by attracting users. Small businesses can now create a virtual shopfront on Instagram with its shopping on Instagram feature. If you want to use storytelling to sell your products, then you could use shopping in Instagram stories which is expected to be launched soon.



Be authentic, have fun, and use appropriate brand voice for the channel.

Understanding your brand and creating a brand voice is crucial to Instagram marketing. Instagram is a platform which almost entirely focusses on original content. So, in order to be successful on the platform, create authentic content that rings a bell among your target audience.

Fun posts also do extremely well, so ensure that you have an optimal mix of fun versus other informative posts. Be extremely consistent with the kind of content you post on your account and blend your visual brand into each post of yours. This will help you develop a brand voice on Instagram.

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Facebook Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses – 7 Things You Must Know

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With around 2.23 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a powerful social media channel as nearly all consumer markets are on Facebook. This dominance makes Facebook an unavoidable channel for any business or brand that focuses on social media marketing. In this article, we will be discussing seven things you must know about if you want your business to make an impact in the Facebook marketing space.


Facebook Business Manager is a tool that allows you to create, publish, monitor, and track your business’ Facebook pages or Facebook ads. It’s a one-stop solution for managing ad account and pages and provides different access levels (partial or full access) to the people who work on them.

Facebook is a fantastic marketing platform for SMBs as it is the cheapest forms of advertising. You could spend as little as $5 to reach a wide audience of around 1000. Another major benefit is the ability to reach the exact audience by filtering based on demographics, interests, and behavior. So if you know who your customers are, then Facebook advertising allows you to target them efficiently, making sure your spend is optimal.


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Now that you have realized Facebook is one of the top platforms for reaching out to your potential customers, it is time to understand the social media platform and learn how to promote your business using Facebook marketing campaigns.

Facebook Blueprint is an eLearning platform by Facebook, where you could choose a tailored learning path based on courses suitable for your role. Facebook Blueprint offers 76 courses in a wide variety of topics to hone your Facebook marketing skills. You could also choose to establish your Facebook marketing expertise by getting certified.

Currently, Facebook offers two certifications– Facebook Certified Planning Professional and Facebook Certified Buying Professional, covering two areas of expertise. These courses will enable you to become proficient in planning successful Facebook advertising campaigns, creating and buying Facebook advertisements for maximum campaign impact.


Based on your understanding of your target market, the next step is to plan your business’ Facebook marketing campaigns and set SMART objectives.

Once you have planned your Facebook marketing campaigns, the next step would be to decide the audience for your ads. Facebook has three options for choosing your target audience.

  1. Core AudienceThis is the basic targeting mechanism on Facebook where you will have to manually select your audience based on their demographics, interests, location, and behavior. As a business, it is important to understand your buyer persona and identify the age group, location, behavior, and interests of your target audience. Core audience targeting allows you to cater ads to these identified groups by filtering based on the above-discussed parameters.
  1. Facebook Custom AudienceCustom audience permits you to get in touch with people you already know. They may be existing customers or users who have connected with your brand beforehand. Custom audiences help you to find your existing customers and contacts on Facebook so you can foster relationships with them and drive sales.

You could build custom audiences on Facebook using three key sources- contact lists/email marketing lists, website visitors, and mobile app users.

Building a custom audience from contact lists is a very simple process where you could upload, copy and paste or import your hashed customer list. On the other hand, building custom audiences from both website visitors and mobile app users requires an initial set up. For building custom audiences using website visitors, you’ll have to install Facebook Pixel on your website. Facebook Pixel is a snippet that has to be installed on your website to track your website audience and map them with their Facebook profiles.

You can read more about building custom audiences from your website data.

In the case of mobile apps, you are required to install a snippet, Facebook SDK 0, in your mobile app to track user behavior and map it to the Facebook users.

  1. Lookalike AudienceLookalike audience are audience groups built based on people who are similar to your customers or contacts. It is a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your products and solutions because they are similar to your existing high valued customers.

Lookalike audience, similar to custom audience, can be built from three sources- customer lists, website visitors and page fans.

When you create campaigns targeting a lookalike audience created from your highly valued customers, it is highly likely to have a high conversion rate. Audience size you choose while creating the lookalike audience determines how similar they are to your customers. If you choose 1% then the audience would be extremely similar to your existing customers, but the volume would be less, whereas, if you choose 10%, estimated reach will be very high but similarity and quality of lookalike audience will reduce.

You could also create a lookalike audience for people who spend a considerable amount of time on your website’s product pages. This way, you can target an audience who are considering your products and drive them towards conversion.

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Facebook Pixel is a tracking code similar to Google Analytics tracking code that has to be installed in your website, so that it can track various actions visitors perform on your website. This tracking data could then be used by your business to create custom or lookalike audience for your Facebook advertising campaigns. Here’s how it works: 1) When a visitor visits a page on your website, the facebook pixel (just an image) loads and this shares and connects your user’s activity on your website (e.g. the page that just loaded) with Facebook. 2) This “loading pixel image” sends data to Facebook about you, such as an anonymous “user ID” which identifies you/your computer and may even connect it to your Facebook user profile.

The primary role of Facebook Pixel is to retarget your website visitors with Facebook ads as they navigate to other sites out on the web. If you’ve visited a product page on Amazon, then seen an ad for it as you browse other sites away from Amazon, this is an example of retargeting, which we’ll talk about in greater detail below. Facebook Pixel enables you to optimize ad delivery to those who are more likely to take action and also allows you to track conversions from Facebook ads.

Facebook Pixel may also be deployed via Google Tag Manager. This process is simpler if you have already installed Google Tag Manager for your website. You could just opt for quick installation by selecting Google Tag Manager from the set of tools. Installing Facebook Pixel via Tag Manager is not just convenient but also shares in-depth data with Facebook.

Custom audiences can be built keeping in mind the KPIs so that your Facebook advertising campaigns drive your business to achieve marketing/ lead generation goals.

If this seems very technical it can be, but it’s not once you are familiar with how to do this.


Facebook Remarketing works in a similar manner as that of AdWords remarketing, but unlike AdWords ads that are shown across various websites across the Google Display Network, Facebook retargeting ads are shown only on Facebook. Facebook commonly refers to remarketing as custom audiences.

Pixel tracks your website visitors and enables you to create a custom audience using the tracking data. You could retarget website visitors based on various actions they perform on your website or mobile app. You can also retarget your existing customers by uploading lists on Facebook. You can target users who have abandoned their cart on your eCommerce website or those users who have visited your lead generation page or pop up but didn’t complete registration.

Facebook may not be a great platform for small and medium business to prospect and identify new customers, but it is a great platform for remarketing. Multiple touch points with potential customers on Facebook could substantially improve conversion rates on other channels and also get you repeat customers.



Messenger apps have surpassed social media networks and Facebook Messenger has a whopping 1.3bn people using the app every month. Moreover, Messenger Marketing has a very high open rate of 80% and CTR of 30%. So it’s an opportunity for your be early and grow your messenger following.

Your business could use Messenger to enable your target audience to read the most relevant articles for them. Chatbots for messenger marketing have become popular over the years. They automate opt-ins as well as regular messaging making it easy for your business. You could send offers and promotions via Facebook Messenger with the help of chatbots and you could also automate your messenger customer support.

You may think that creating a chatbot would be expensive and would require a lot of coding. Here is an article by Matthew Barby on Hubspot, which explains how you could build a chatbot to interact with your followers using ChatFuel.



Understanding the Facebook advertising platform and learning the nuances of creating and monitoring Facebook campaigns would prove to be extremely beneficial for your business as it would help you in achieving your Facebook marketing KPIs.

There is a massive ocean of consumers on Facebook and Facebook Messenger. This offers tremendous potential for businesses, however only careful planning and effective implementation can help you achieve your desired goals. Following the steps covered in this tutorial is a great way to get started advertising your business on Facebook. If you need help there are many credible experts who can help your business get started the right way on Facebook. Good luck!

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LinkedIn Growth Marketing for Small Businesses (SMB), Startups, Solo-Entrepreneurs and Bloggers

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LinkedIn has 546 million users as of March 2018 and continues to remain one of the fastest growing social media platforms. With such an incredible audience base, LinkedIn is undoubtedly a goldmine for businesses. A study by HubSpot shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective in lead generation than other social media networks. LinkedIn growth hacking, if planned and implemented right, can make your business reach astounding heights. 

In this post, we will be explaining a step by step process to target, identify and reach out to potential customers on LinkedIn and use LinkedIn as an effective growth hacker for your lead generation strategy. 

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Before you start sending out connection requests to potential customers as a part of your LinkedIn growth marketing, it is mandatory to have an attractive and informative LinkedIn profile. Users would accept requests only from profiles they find authentic. A poorly built LinkedIn profile wouldn’t lead you anywhere. So, the first step is to invest the time in building your personal profile on LinkedIn.

Provide a detailed history – education and profession details (i.e. work experience, accomplishments, projects delivered etc.). You should add various awards and achievements that would prove your credibility. Also invest in creating a good cover image for your profile such that it best represents yourself and your business. 

Once you have a complete profile, understand your existing connections. Set aside around 500 to 1000 connection requests for your existing customers and acquaintances that you are not currently connected to. 

If you want to build your connection list quickly, then choose acquaintances and customers based on their connections. This will help you have great 2nd and 3rd-degree connections on LinkedIn. Users tend to accept connection requests more often when they see mutual connections.

Work on getting endorsements and LinkedIn recommendations from your existing customers and acquaintances to improve your credibility.

Post your high-quality articles from your company blog on your LinkedIn profile/page and link them back to your website. This would not only showcase your skills and thought leadership knowledge but would also contribute towards driving traffic to your website and aid in lead generation.

Join LinkedIn groups where you expect your target audience to be present. Being part of the same groups can be a motivational factor for users on deciding whether or not to accept your connection requests.



The next step in your LinkedIn growth strategy is to dig deeper and understand the demographics and other details about your buyer persona(s). This initial analysis would prove to be extremely beneficial when you’re searching the LinkedIn platform for relevant connections.

List the set of possible designations your buyer persona could hold and the companies that would employ them. Certain businesses could target Vice President level cadre from Fortune 500 companies while certain others could target mid-level managers from medium businesses. So, making a list of possible designations and organizations will  make things more targeted in your efforts.



One can add up to 30,000 connections on a single profile on LinkedIn. If you are a solopreneur, then that’s the maximum number you can have, so when you are increasing connections ensure you are adding the right audience. On the other hand, if you have a co-founder, this number doubles and if you hire an employee it triples and so on. 

While making your list of potential customers, add a set of designations for each company you are targeting. This way you can ensure that you connect with at least one person from your target organization. Based on your buyer persona, perform an advanced search on the LinkedIn platform to get an estimate of the audience numbers. 



Now that you have a great LinkedIn profile and you have a clear understanding of the landscape, the next step is to start sending connection requests to your target audience.

Sending connection requests manually can prove to be a tedious process and it may take forever to add your potential customers. There are quite a few tools which could automate the process for you. Here are a few:

LinkedAutomate – Their algorithm allows you to auto connect with you target audience based on the advance searches you perform on LinkedIn. It also allows you to send welcome messages for new connections as well as personalized auto messages.

LinkMe Tool – The tool allows you to auto connect with your target audience, set up initial and follow up messages at your preferred sending schedule. It also automatically tracks your usage and adjusts your sending queue to stay within the LinkedIn daily limits. 

LinkedIn Helper  – Allows you to send personalized invitations to thousands of 2nd and 3rd degree connections. It also has an auto-responder, sequential messaging and an invites canceller among many other features. LinkedIn Helper’s powerful lists manager helps you build your own lead generation funnel to avoid campaign intersections. 

Social Lead Machine – This is a Chrome extension that allows you to auto connect with connect with up to a maximum of 1000 LinkedIn profiles per day and allows you to auto endorse up to 150 per day. Unlike the above tools, this is a free tool and you could download it right away and start using it.

By using one of the above mentioned auto connect tools you could add your target audience and build your LinkedIn connections. These tools not only make the tedious and lengthy process of building a high-quality list of relevant connections easier, but they also ensure that you stay within the connect request/ messaging limits prescribed by LinkedIn.

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Now that you have a built a growing list of contacts by actively sending out connection requests using auto connect tools, the next step would be to extract these connections so that you have their contact data (emails and phone numbers).

You could either use one of these auto connect tools listed above to extract the CSV or XLS files. Even LinkedIn allows you to easily export your connections in either of the aforesaid formats.

This contact information can be used to set up email campaigns in your marketing platform.



This is an extremely important step in this entire process. If you do not read the latest email marketing policies (they vary based on countries and regions) and act accordingly you could land yourself as well as your business in significant trouble.

CAN-SPAM Act – LinkedIn growth hacking strategy passes the CAN-SPAM act as your connections implicitly agree to be contacted by you while accepting your connection request on LinkedIn.

But be sure to include clear opt out or unsubscribe buttons and do not send mailers to individuals who have unsubscribed.  Every single email you send in violation of CAM-SPAM act could result in a fine of $16,000, so if you send 100 emails violating the policy you could have a fine of up to $1.6 million. You can find the do’s and don’ts of CAN SPAM act here.

GDPR– General Data Protection Regulation, the policy that imposes data protections within the European Union, is a stricter policy and LinkedIn growth hacking may be affected by this. According to GDPR businesses should explicitly state the reason they are seeking contacts for and have clear messages about how they would be using your contact details during the lead gen sign up process.

While accepting your LinkedIn connection requests for contacts based in the European Union, this does not mean you are getting full permissions for your business to send email newsletters to them.

Solopreneurs and budding SMBs usually take risks and send mailers overlooking these policies without considering the repercussions. Businesses should understand that if they fail to comply by the GDPR policies they could be fined up to €20 million.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL)– You need to be very careful if your target audience is based in Canada because this is one of the toughest laws of its kind. The law has strict policies on how you should take consent from your target audience before sending them marketing emails. Read the FAQ’s here.

Certain nations have very strict policies while others may prove to be very difficult. Before planning your email campaigns using LinkedIn growth hacker strategy ensure that you are thoroughly aware of the policies concerned with the location of your target audience.



Here comes the final stage in the LinkedIn lead gen strategy – sending the actual emails. You can email your contacts  individually or send bulk email campaigns with marketing automation tools like MailChimp or HubSpot.

Share informative content to your target audience to improve your brand perception. Be certain to include clear call to actions in your emails to lead your audience down the buyer’s journey. Ensure that you have a well-structured landing page, so as to achieve a great conversion rate. You could also design a custom landing page specifically designed for your LinkedIn audience.

Track your mailer performance through statistics like open and click-through rates and analyze the kind of content your target audience prefers. This would aid you in deciding the content strategy for your future marketing emails.



All effective marketing and sales strategies start with building a high quality and relevant list of leads.

A well thought through LinkedIn Growth Hacking plan can identify thousands of new prospects and drive them towards becoming high quality leads.

LinkedIn is known to be a goldmine for finding professional contacts. But effective targeting, careful planning, and execution are what will help you achieve your desired results.

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