Marketing can be a complicated business.

What elements will give us the best results. Should we be posting to social media more regularly? How much should we spend on Google Ads? Is our website good enough?

As a growth marketing agency, we’ve tested them all and surprise, surprise, there is no one magic bullet. Even businesses within the same industry are faced with completely different products, opportunities and challenges.

That being said, over time we’ve narrowed our digital marketing approach down to a proven growth marketing formula, that we represent in our proprietary canvas. And from this model, we use comprehensive planning templates to analyse and deliver personalised tactics for our clients’ businesses.

There are many parts to our Growth Marketing Canvas and it’s defined over 3 discipline segments:

  • We’re continuously strengthening the Growth Pillars; improving the product offering, continuously tweaking a compelling Value Proposition.
  • It’s a step-by-step application of prioritised marketing tactics and campaigns across a Customer Conversion System (a sales funnel).
  • And it deploys a Technology Stack to build efficiencies, reduce costs and report on progress.
The Engage Growth Marketing Canvas

With all this potential marketing complexity though, I’m often asked where an organisation should start! What growth marketing parts should get the most attention? It’s like applying the Pareto Rule – what 20% of action will give me 80% of the overall results.

What if the key to future business growth and success lies in focusing on just the core marketing components and doing them well.

So, we’ve distilled our comprehensive Growth Marketing Formula down to just the 5 core ingredients needed to grow your business – execute these well and you’ll set your marketing up for success…

1. Understand your Customer

Ensuring you are targeting a willing, hungry and profitable audience is, without a doubt, the most important step of any marketing campaign.

Analyse your customer base and find out everything you need to know; What social media platform are they on? What their values are in life, what they watch, what they read, what issues do they face related to your industry and product.

Find out what your customers want and what moves them, before you go spend a lot of money marketing. Draw up personas for your top 2-3 customer groups – rank their importance and the share of marketing they should receive from you.

2. Define your Value Proposition

A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. It’s outcome-focused and stresses the value of your offering to the customer.

For [target customer] who [statement of the need or opportunity], our [product/service name] is [product category] that [statement of benefit]. 

What are our customers’ pain points and desired gains?
What key customer problem do we provide a unique solution for?

Hit people over the head with what makes you different. 

3. Set a North Star Metric

Your North Star Metric is the metric that your company uses as a focus for growth.

This measure should be an indicator of the performance of our growth marketing tactics, not necessarily a KPI of the overall business.  e.g. Spotify: Time spent listening. Uber: Rides per week.

To qualify as a North Star, a metric must do three things: lead to revenue, reflect customer value, and measure progress.

4. Attraction Marketing

It starts here – if you’re not drawing in a market then the rest of your sales funnel is starved.

Attraction is a critical part of a systematic, scalable sales system. You need tactics in place that are attracting quality leads to your content, website or location.

Fundamentals here include SEO and Google Ads but may also involve display ads and retargeting, emails to targeted lists, cold call outreach, social media, content marketing and PR.

5. Testing and Optimising

Rapidly iterate through experiments to optimise marketing throughout the funnel.

Use A/B testing to improve landing page conversions.

Apply incremental changes to Google Ad campaigns for continual improvement to Cost-per-acquisition over time.

Experiment with cold call outreach and compare performance to other channels.

Test at a low cost and scale the tactics that show promise against your North Star Metric and other KPIs.

While there is always room for fundamental leaps, much of the gains from growth marketing are marginal and incremental.

Run experiments, prepare to fail, pivot quickly, amplify successes.


Our 5-ingredient extract is a distillation of our wider Growth Marketing Formula. Its where 20% of effort will get you 80% of all possible gains. So, if time and money are limited then make sure your focus is on these 5 essential components of your marketing plan:

  1. Understand Your Customer – target willing, hungry and profitable audiences.
  2. Define your Value Proposition – define what’s in it for your customer, why should they buy from you?
  3. Set a North Star Metric – the one measure that will define success – if it increases, your business grows.
  4. Attraction Marketing – just one part but responsible for fuelling your whole sales funnel – no traffic, no conversions.
  5. Test and Optimise – run experiments, prepare to fail, pivot quickly, amplify successes.

49% of companies report that customer acquisition is their primary marketing objective. 58% of business leaders indicate that lead generation is one of their most toughest challenges.

Business growth is always challenging – few businesses build their sales revenue on luck – it takes dedicated effort and the right tactics to grow and retain your customer base.

If you’re like most business owners, you’ve tried almost every conceivable way to grow our business. Some of it works – most of it doesn’t.

But let’s start at the beginning – the key to accomplishing your ambitious sales goal, starts with attracting more of the right sales leads.

A sales lead is a person or a business that has the potential to purchase your company’s product or service.

A lead only becomes a prospect once you have identified their fit as a potential customer or they have shown a level of direct interest in what your company has to offer.

Without well-targeted leads we won’t have the chance to close deals. Our clever engagement tactics, sales offers, landing pages, proposals and closing scripts won’t see the light-of-day unless we feed the sales funnel with leads.

Calculate the sales leads required to reach your revenue target

Tune in to your buyers’ needs

Fundamental to engaging with leads is appreciating their situation – understanding the process a customer goes through to become aware of, consider alternatives and decide to purchase from you.

Our outreach communication or inbound content needs to resonate with them:

  • What problem do we solve for them?
  • What’s our ideal customers biggest frustration?
  • What motivates them to take action?
  • What’s the best way to communicate to them?
  • Why should they care about what we provide?

Once you have identified your most important personas, then you need to optimise your website for conversions. Your website will be your most important tool you have for tuning into your audiences needs and turning leads in to customers.

Implement an omni-channel approach

You can dramatically increase your chances of turning leads in to customers by increasing the number of times your leads see you or engage with you.

The adage that it takes 7 touchpoints or interactions to generate a prospect is so very true – indeed, depending on the commitment (dollar value, consideration of alternatives, trust) required to make a purchase decision, many industries report it takes 2 or 3 times this many interactions before a decision is made.

We need to use every channel to connect with leads – traditional, social media, website content, direct calls, live chat, email, SMS, retargeting and more.

The messages need to be tuned to the stage in their journey with you – discovering their problem, not aware of your solution, weighing up alternatives, developing trust in your promise, motivated by your offer.

Try outbound responses to inbound leads

If you’ve attracted an inbound lead through your promotion, advertising, or content, great.

Sure, you can nurture those leads with a series of automated emails and social and PPC retargeting efforts.

But why not take more direct charge of turning those respondents in to prospects and customers through outbound.

Send more personalised emails, live chat, and direct SMS messages to them and where relevant, call them.

Make your outbound as personalised and as tailored as possible.

If you can’t get to all of them, lead scoring can identify the most engaged leads or those most ready to make a purchase decision.

A direct call has been found to increase the chances of a close by 2-3 times.

Respond lightning fast to leads

According to HubSpot, the odds of a lead becoming qualified are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes.

Just imagine how our odds drop, when we take a day or two to respond to a lead!

Get to your lead while they are in the moment.

A robust lead-to-close system addresses this by triggering a task and alerting an internal sales agent to respond within 5 minutes of acquiring a new inbound lead.

Revisit closed and lost opportunities

Often, “no” means “not right now”.

Revisit with your closed or lost opportunities. There is every chance that while you weren’t selected 6 months ago, you left a favourable impression that you might be reconsidered now that the time is right or other alternatives proved not so positive.

Companies that did not buy from you before are already qualified sales leads. Invest time and resources into marketing to these prospects. Stay in touch through email campaigns, local events, blog posts, and phone calls.

Today might be the very day that old lead asks “what was the name of that company that provided that amazing presentation 6 months ago?”

Find sales leads on social media networks

About 42% of us use some kind of social media.

Facebook and Instagram offer an abundant source of leads for B2C leads but that’s not to say they aren’t a viable source for B2B business either.

LinkedIn offers a more targeted source of business customers, with members more in the zone of finding business related information.

Use social media to get recommendations from your clients, post special offers, and tell more about your company. Any social media can be a fruitful channel to reach your audience and generate sales leads online.

Plus, once you have leads in the system, you can use social media to talk to them and find out more about what they need and want.

Get referrals from current customers

Your leads aren’t as likely to accept you singing about how great you are, as they will hearing from your current clients and customers.

Ratings, reviews and testimonials are powerful forms of endorsement.

Your leads are far more likely to trust you and hopefully purchase from you if they see that that they are working in good company or read positive messages from satisfied customers.

Get those messages front and centre on your website. Use those referrals in your pitch videos. Display your google ratings and reviews everywhere.

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to refer friends and colleagues to you.

Run specific friend-get-friend promotions to encourage referral lead generation.

Create a better sales funnel

Once you have identified your ideal lead targets and what channels to use to reach them you should have a plan to collect contact information.

Usually, the first stage of an optimised sales funnel process is funnelling leads toa lead capture page or landing page that encourages visitors to share their contact information, usually in exchange for something of value to them; a coupon code, a free gift, a demo or valuable piece of content like an how-to ebook.

At this point, it’s vital that you have CRM or Marketing Automation software in place to keep track of sales leads and to further engage them through email, SMS and retargeting messages on social and websites platforms.

Marketing automation apps like Klaviyo or ActiveCampaign can be set to do all the hard-lifting of sending personalised messages and identifying just the right time to offer online sales incentives or prompt a sales representative to make a closing call.

Attract organic traffic from SEO

While paid online advertising can offer a short term fix for targeting leads, search engine optimisation can generate organic traffic to your website on an ongoing basis, literally for free.

By focusing on keyword researched quality content, posted to informative and engaging landing pages and blogs, you can rank high with search engines like Google and offset the massive investment of ad campaigns.

It’s unlikely that a business in a competitive industry can give up on paid placement, but ranking well with Google will ensure that this organic channel serves you well for a strong flow of leads at a lower cost of conversion.  


  • A healthy and productive sales funnel must start with a strong flow of leads.
  • Without leads your sales pipeline is dead in the water.  
  • Start by assessing your buyer personas and appeal to their pain points and frustrations with a strong value proposition.
  • Communicate your value proposition through an omnichannel lead generation approach that may include conventional media, PPC, social media, email, SMS, or cold calling.
  • Continue to experiment and optimise the sources for your sales leads – measuring not just quantity but conversion, costs and sales value of each lead source.
  • It’s vital that you use CRM and Marketing Automation to gather contact information of your hard-fought sales leads to engage and nurture them through your sales pipeline.
  • Assess if your current process responds to new leads quickly and provides them the personalised information that will make your business stand out from the competitors those leads are also considering.

Want 10, 20 or 50% more sales in 90 days?

Download a free copy of our 30-page Growth Marketing Playbook – a tactical guide to growing your sales.