Marketing March 1, 2016 Last updated March 1st, 2016 2,013 Reads share

Learn From The Big Brands: Inbound Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

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There are so many different marketing channels to think about when developing your inbound marketing strategy. For some small businesses, this can be very daunting – particularly when you are time poor and under-resourced.

According to an infographic by

They are also good at using apps. An ‘International App’ encourages its visitors to join their own country’s Starbucks community – wherever they might be located in the world. There is a Facebook page for (almost) every country. That’s impressive by any standards.

An ‘Open Jobs App’ gives visitors access to all the latest positions available across Starbucks’ infinite number of offices and stores.

There is even a worldwide store locator – so you can always find your favorite cup of joe wherever you may be.

If you want to improve your social media reach, take a look how Starbucks do it

Think of Facebook as more than just a platform to post content. There are plenty of apps you can utilize to make the most out of your page – you just need to work out which ones are relevant to you.

#2. American Express – Blogging

American Express have taken blogging to the next level with their OPEN Forum. This innovative idea shows how a brand can expand beyond traditional blogging by creating a community that everyone can benefit from. No matter what business you are in.

Rather than focusing on one topic – such as banking and finance – American Express generate content on a range of topics that their customers are interested in.

Topics are grouped into four main categories designed to help organize and run a business more effectively.

  • Planning for Growth: Growth Opportunities, Market Analysis and Strategic Planning
  • Managing Money: Cash Flow, Financial Analysis, Financing, Taxes
  • Getting Customers: Customer Service, Digital Tools, Marketing and Sales, Social Media
  • Building Your Team: Hiring and HR, Leadership, Productivity

On arrival. you are encouraged to sign-up to become an OPEN Forum member. You are then asked to create a profile for yourself and choose the topics you are most interested in hearing more about.

Once your sign-up is complete you’re presented with a range of recommended content based on the topics you have selected. New posts are then emailed to you on a regular basis to ensure you remain engaged.

Learn From The Big Brands: Inbound Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

As the name suggests, there is also an online forum where users can go to pose business questions and network with other like-minded people. You can even link your profile to your LinkedIn account.

This idea is a great way to build a community of potential business leads. Encouraging visitors to set up a profile means you are capturing valuable data about your customers that you can use for future promotions.

#3. GoPro – Video

By now you have probably heard of GoPro. For those of you who have been off the grid for the last few years, GoPro’s are waterproof, shockproof cameras designed for adventure photography.

GoPro have really embraced the boundless moments their product can capture by setting up their very own YouTube Channel.

The channel has two purposes.

  • The first being it encourages users of GoPro to send in their own videos. Capturing extreme moments and exciting adventures customers are experiencing whilst using the product. This enables GoPro to stay in touch with its target market, helping them to understand who their customers are for future marketing strategies.
  • The second purpose is to sell more GoPro’s. Each video that is uploaded includes a 30-second advert promoting GoPro before the personal video is shown. Then the video shows real life stories about how people are enjoying their GoPro’s – further enhancing the sales pitch. Let’s face it, pictures speak a thousand words. Just watching the videos makes me want to go out and buy one.

If you can work out a way to encourage your customers to create the videos for you, there is very little effort needed on your part.

#4. TripAdvisor – Email

TripAdvisor prides itself on being the world’s largest travel site. It is the number one place where people go to seek out advice and read reviews on travel destinations around the world.

It also enables travelers to plan and book their perfect trip showing highly rated hotels and the best flight deals on offer.

TripAdvisor’s email personalization strategy is based around anticipating customer needs.

The site tracks your search history and emails you about flights and hotels you might be interested in based on your search terms and the sites you have visited.

If you look up a review on TripAdvisor – a restaurant for example – they will email you to remind you about your research and invite you to add your own review.

TripAdvisor will also email you other places to visit in your chosen city and suggestions for similar things to do – all based on previous research you may have conducted on their site.

Learn From The Big Brands: Inbound Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

If you want to provide truly targeted content for your customers you need to understand them.

By tapping into their search history like TripAdvisor have done you can set-up automated emails that are unique to them. Unique content is going to ensure they remain engaged and continue to visit your website. The more times they visit your site the more likely they are to convert.


If you are stuck on how to make your inbound marketing more innovative look at what the big brands do. After all, they are big brands because they have developed unique and successful marketing strategies that get results.

From improving your social media presence to sending out highly targeted emails you can always find great examples of inbound marketing done well.

But remember, whilst copying is the best form of flattery you need to take these ideas and make them your own.

Keep your own buyer personas in mind when developing your inbound marketing strategy and allow this to prompt your brainstorming.

Images: ”Author’s Own“


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