Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are some of the most famous inbound marketers in the world. In 2013, their single “Thrift Shop” managed to top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. They repeated this incredible feat with their second hit, “Can’t Hold Us,” won 4 Grammys, and enjoy a seemingly never-ending supply of fans. By the way, all of this was accomplished without the backing of a major record label.
Inbound marketers can learn a lot from Macklemore and Lewis, and I’ve listed 3 of their most important lessons below.
No Robots Allowed
Macklemore and Lewis have leveraged social media in a huge way. Their updates are usually fluff-free and sound as if they’re coming from actual human beings instead of the latest MarkeTron 2000.
For example, the duo understands that the proliferation of the internet has reduced the recording industry to a shadow of its former self, and that some fans simply can’t afford the music or other merchandise. Macklemore’s open stance on music piracy earns him a truck load of credibility with his buyer personas, and his willingness to save his fans a few dollars generates positive sentiment. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone; Macklemore and Lewis let their loveable personalities shine and the fans get something in return.
Inbound marketers should follow Macklemore’s example of transparency and his willingness to engage with fans on social media platforms. Your company should never publicly reveal sensitive internal information, however, this doesn’t mean that honesty can’t exist. An incredible example of marketing transparency can be seen in McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign. Everyone knows that the McDonald’s menu is not exactly the healthiest in the world, but that didn’t stop the company’s marketing geniuses from addressing all questions and concerns in order to clear up ever-present myths. They even addressed loaded questions such as, “How much kangaroo meat is in each hamburger?” On top of that, each answer can be shared on social media, thus further spreading the brand’s messaging.
Social media can be a great way of engaging with your prospects and fans when used correctly. Ignore making combative statements and general trash talk. Never pick a fight with anyone and always aim to diffuse emotionally charged situations. If you ever get tempted to do something you might regret later on, take a deep breath and squeeze your favorite stress ball to death and beyond.
Stand Out or be Left Out
Thousands of artists never get “discovered” even though they’re potentially competent. Similarly, your business may offer a solid service and go unnoticed. In the digital age, it’s extremely easy to get your name out there but deviously difficult to grab someone’s attention. You really have to stand out in any way you can (as long as it’s in a positive fashion of course). Focus on creating quality content that serves a purpose and resonates with your buyer personas.
For instance, Macklemore and Lewis are famous for their equal opportunity stance on LGBT rights and their promotion of affordable thrift shops. When someone plays the duo’s music, the person in question is able to frame the messaging thanks to the existence of a reference point. The music has a better chance of connecting with the listener because the artists are prolific with their musically unrelated exploits. It’s entirely possible for someone to hear Macklemore’s music without knowing anything about him, however, chances are that some information was absorbed through cultural osmosis thanks to his popularity.
So how exactly do you stand out? The bad news is that there is no single answer to that question. The good news is that there are many answers to that question! In order to even consider standing out, analyze what your business’ core values are and what it does well. Create quality content (more on that soon!). If your organization stands for a specific cause, let it be known so that like-minded people will crowd around your brand. Don’t forget the golden rule though, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Quality is Quotable
Macklemore and Lewis are generally recognized as credible musicians and have received plenty of praise from all sorts of outlets. Their songs often tell stories which deal with universal human emotions that listeners can easily relate to. However, emotionally-charged lyrics are not for everyone, and that’s OK. You can’t delight everyone at once, so as an inbound marketer, you should aim to provide the highest level of pleasure to your targeted audience. Macklemore understands this concept and isn’t concerned by the ever-present haters; he’s focused on providing his fans with the best content and experiences (e.g. awesome concerts).
Inbound marketers need to create quality content in order to get noticed. It’s not easy to stand out, remember? Quality can definitely be subjective, however, chances are your marketing efforts are no good if they don’t offer anything of value.
Value is also very subjective. Despite this, creating something with significant value is not as challenging as you might think. Consider the purpose of your content before you create it, and consider how it can solve a problem or question that your buyer personas might have. For example, if you’re targeting folks who aren’t familiar with social media tools, consider creating a video tutorial or a blog post on the most common ones and how to use them.
The not-so-secret secret to quality inbound marketing is to create content which serves real-world a purpose. If you’re ever struggling for ideas, approach your content creation process by attempting to solve questions and problems that real people have. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere.