How to Play with the Big Brands: 3 Customer Acquisition Techniques to Copy Right Now

Playing against the big names in your niche can feel like an uphill battle. How can you compete when so many eyeballs are laser-focused on big brands? How does Mike’s Pizza Shack compete with Pizza Hut? The thing about smart marketing though is even small and medium businesses (SMBs) can grab (and keep) customer attention if they play their cards right. And there are plenty of tricks and tools used by larger brands that SMBs can easily add to their own playbooks. 

Here are 3 tried and true approaches to customer acquisition that work—no matter the size of your business.

1. Emails That Say More 😍

Running email campaigns can feel like a no brainer. With over 4 billion daily email users in the world, it’s the fastest, easiest, and often cheapest way to contact customers. 

But all of this also means swamped email inboxes, mass deletion, and spam filters. However, even with all these challenges, email is still used (often 3-4 times a week) by the biggest brand names you can think of—and there is still room in the inbox for SMBs, we promise. 

So how do you stand out? 🤔 Well, a picture says a thousand words. 📷


You may link emojis with texting, teenagers, or unprofessionalism, but huge brands are using them in email headlines to grab customer attention. 

Worried your niche just won’t fit? Think again! There are over 3,000 emojis to play with, and finding them can be easier than you think. Websites like make searching, copying, and pasting easy.

Brands like JOANN stores may stick to straightforward, arts and craft themes, but don’t be afraid to get a little cheeky with winks, animals, or anything else you think may catch the eye. And if all else fails, a little bit of ✨sparkle✨ goes a long way for emphasis. 

Another easy way to add a little something special to your next email? Put a GIF on it! These animated image files can add whimsy, humor, and connection to an otherwise forgettable message. Websites like make it easy to find thousands of GIFs, follow trends, or create and upload your own.

2. Influenced by Influencer Marketing

The kings and queens of social media, otherwise known as influencers, make it their business to work with and promote big brands. 

While celebrity endorsements have always been a thing, influencers rely on connection with their following to find success. For example, companies like Airbnb offer influencers free nights (and often a one-time payment) at hosted properties in exchange for posts on their Instagram grid or stories. Superstar Mariah Carey famously posted about renting a Malibu mansion on Airbnb. 

While a pop star may not be in your marketing budget, SMBs can rub elbows right along with the largest of companies. The important thing to remember? Niche down. 

Brands who work with micro-influencers (influencers with between 10,000-50,000 followers), often see a significantly greater return on investment than those working with influencers with millions of followers. 

Not only will micro-influencers cost less, but they also enable your SMB to find someone who truly represents your brand. They may be in a location where you’re trying to drum up business, fit the profile of your usual customer, or have a unique skill set that showcases your product in a creative way. 

Looking for more social media trends that should be on your list? Check out 6 Marketing Trends for SMBs.

3. Integrated Marketing Delivers

Seamless marketing campaigns are what big brands pay big bucks to deliver. Companies like Dunkin’, Sonic, and Old Navy make sure their voice is heard loud and clear over every channel. 

Here’s an example: Dunkin’ releases a new drink for the summer. Not only do they run television commercials and radio ads for the beverage, they have digital ad campaigns (totally optimized for mobile), emails to their customers (remember those emojis ☕), and even give the customer a tangible item via direct mail. They may also have a huge influencer sipping the beverage on their Instagram stories and hyping it up on their TikTok. 

All of these items are the same bright Dunkin’ pink and orange and share a common thread of messaging that really sticks in the customer’s head. Every interaction, no matter how brief, makes an impact. As these build, so does the customer’s desire to interact with this new product—and their old favorites while they’re at it. 

While the intricacies of a truly integrated marketing campaign can feel overwhelming, there is no doubt that it's worth the effort. And SMBs can tap into this same powerful marketing engine without a cast of thousands behind the scenes. Using a tool like Taradel allows you to create a template that works across platforms, in digital and IRL (in real life). You can even share these promos with influencers to help them stay within voice for the business.

While big brands will show up alongside SMBs in mailboxes, inboxes, and elsewhere, recipients have reported being excited to hear about and see new brands and products—especially ones that are close to home. 

Making It Work for Your Business

At Taradel, our ultimate goal is to help SMBs keep up with the big guys. Our clients run the gamut in size, target audience, and industry, so we know our methods and tools will work no matter what your business goals may be. Each of these marketing tactics encapsulate something that your SMB can benefit from, and we are here to help make it easy. 

Interested in what exactly this looks like for your business or what other ideas we have up our sleeve? Reach out today, and we’ll help you set up a marketing campaign that can go toe-to-toe with the biggest brands out there. 

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