2 min read
Saksham Mendiratta
Guide to Building Community via Ad Funnels

Hey You,

It’s been a gap of 3 weeks since my last edition. And so I’m going to make it up with 2 back-to-back editions this month.

In other news, I’ve recently moved to Bengaluru and took some time off to settle into the new city before jumping into work. And now that I’m all settled, if you’re in the city (living or visiting), I’d love to catch up with you.

I’ve added a new section to my newsletter from this edition. You can scroll down to the end to check it out.

(For all those who’ve just signed up or been signed up, welcome to the club of 800+ consumer business enthusiasts. Sticking a link for you here, to sign up people who you think could benefit from this one.)


Let’s dive into this week’s topic: Building Community Through Ad Funnels

For most high-growth brands, the dependency on inorganic vs organic ratio sits at an average of 60:40. Imagine you gross millions in sales, but also burning as much on acquisition. While it’s a long term goal for most DTC businesses to bring down CAC, how do you start constructing ad funnels that can give you some sneak-peek into your brand’s standing beyond just ads. I’ll break it down for you, as simply as I can through an actual experience we had a couple of weeks back.

We dive into deconstructing how ad funnels can be used as a base to create high-performing campaigns.

I recently advised a new & upcoming brand on an innovative sales strategy to build a festive campaign. Without naming the brand, I’ll give you some information: It’s a wellness company that sells to affluent Indians residing in metro cities. It’s a sector where the product sells only after you’ve managed to educate the customer on the benefits. It’s for this reason that we merged the two into one power-packed campaign.

Here’s how.

The Twist: Instead of going out to sell just the products, we decided to throw in a side-kick too: an e-book with tips & tricks to lead a healthy lifestyle, centered around mindfulness. It was a curation of some of the top techniques / threads / literature in the space. Took just about a week to curate, another one to design and voila, we had our e-book ready.

Why the e-book: If you could get people to pay for an e-book, you could:

  1. Establish their interest to indulge in such a lifestyle
  2. Gain customers for re-targeting
  3. Start building your community
  4. Get interesting content / contest for social media (possibly by asking them to share what they loved about the book)
  5. Word-of-mouth publicity (once you’ve purchased the book, you are more likely to spread the word)

A step-by-step guide to building your ad funnel:

1. The Hero / Product / Offer:

Start with constructing the basics of the product in discussion: we started with the hero product that the brand had to offer: gummies. And didn't really bother building multiple landing pages. One single landing page that confirmshow you build effective landing pages.

2. Product Market Fit:

We used the scarcity bias to test out the demand. Said we’ll give out only 500 products and took pre-orders for it through the course of the first one week. Received about 180 pre-order requests, which was a validation that the demand for yet another product (in this category) in the market existed.

3. Classic Email Campaign:

We spun an email campaign: with our side-kick (the e-book) to start collecting emails and directing people towards our newsletter campaigns. While the drip was on a landing page that made people sign-up for a weekly newsletter on wellness, it also acted as a base for building community.

We used our side-kick for our email campaign, where the e-book (merely for INR 499) could be downloaded for people to read and share.

This strategy shot two birds with one stone: the e-book and a loyal audience base who wanted to subscribe to our newsletter.

4. The Festive Campaign:

We used learnings from ad sets in some of the weeks before (where we learnt so much about how our audience set responds to our ads and who our core engaging demographic is) to create the final ad funnel for the festive campaign.

The ad funnel for the festive campaign had some basics:

a) An email drip campaign

b) A special festive offer (not discount)

c) Social media posts / selection of the right channels

d) Classic retargeting

A) The Email Drip:

An email drip campaign works best with some elements of lifestyle / used cases / emotional connect / personal story. We used some influencer pictures & videos (kept ready for social media) showcasing used cases of the product, to talk about the product.

The 2nd email: was largely sneak-peeks into our packaging (to be launched), but the email subscribers got an early taste of the same. 

We added in a form here to collect responses on what they felt about the packaging: to add more layers of engagement about their perception of the product.

The 3rd email: was constructed around the responses of other people on the packaging, thereby creating a FOMO for the engagement.

And the final email was the Festive Offer.

B) The Festive Offer:

Simply a scarcity bias that extended on to the products: where we offered special pricing to the first 100 customers, slightly increased to the next 250 and then the last bit of discount to the last 500 customers.

This went on to about our first 850 customers: who also become a loyal base for our community programs moving forward.

C) Social Media Engagement:

We used parallel social media channels like Twitter, Instagram & Facebook to build content alongside the 1.5 weeks of this campaign. That reaffirmed the belief in people that there was something going on with our email subscribers and hence the urgency to be part of it. Organically collected a tonne of more emails through these channels.

Alongside, a few IG stories were also created (on similar lines as the email campaigns) to start targeting people on to the landing page. That's where we were actually selling the product. And if you came via our email campaign, you could use a simple code to avail the limited offer.

And we also leveraged the following of the 2 social media influencers we roped in, to drive traffic. I’m not a big fan of huge followers on any platform, but a well engaged network. So we went with 2 influencers who had about 15K to 20K followers, but a really responsive audience set.

D) Retargeting:

Everyone who was part of our email campaign and their peer groups, were retargeted through our ad sets, to our product landing page.


While the festive campaign was a hit, it had a lot of momentum that had to be channelised. And I’m a huge believer in communities. So we created a whatsapp group (given that we had affluent individuals who were tech savvy) with some hyper-engaged members, to start channelising discussions on the brand, it’s new products, it’s marketing techniques and product feedback. This group today has 50 people and we would likely create a loyalty / superfan program for the brand moving forward.

I’m a huge believer in building communities and sustaining them to build new businesses or launch new products. This was a one off assignment that I took up to consult with a brand through the route of performance marketing that converges into community building. And gladly it paid. 


Hits & Misses: This is where I list a couple of online businesses that I’ve personally experienced as a customer. Hits is for CX that I absolutely loved. And Misses is about what can be improvised on the CX.

Hits: Blue Tokai: Ordered this coffee blend for the time from Blue Tokai. Absolutely loved the description on the page, the grind guide and their story about the farm. As a coffee lover, I would want to know as much about the coffee I’m ordering. And their mobile shopping experience is as seamless as the web interface. I ordered this from my mobile phone. To add, their chat feature is non-intrusive and lets you select from a bunch of FAQ’s to start chatting with them.

Misses: Swiggy Instamart: I started ordering from the Swiggy Instamart. Absolutely love their delivery times and the options to choose slots. As a customer, I’m willing to pay an additional fee for insta delivery and the ordering experience. Definitely better than Big Basket. What I feel needs to be incorporated: is the feature to order for another location, which currently is available in their restaurant deliveries. If I’m at the office (a third location) and wish to order something at home, it doesn't allow me until I’m within the radius of my home. I feel this could increase delivery frequency on the app.


Well, that’s it from me on this one. I’ll write in soon with my next edition on another interesting topic. Until then,

With Gratitude,