Kanye West is an incredible rapper, but he's also an amazing case study in inbound marketing. Like most companies and brands, Kanye does a lot of things right to help his image and sell records. On the other hand, he also does a lot of things wrong.
Below are 5 do's and don'ts we can learn from Kanye West about inbound marketing:
DO: Collaborate to Increase Your Exposure
Kanye West's latest album, Watch the Throne, was a joint venture between himself and Jay-Z. This collaboration allowed both rappers to access a new audience and attract new listeners for their music. As an inbound marketer, one smart thing you can do is to create content for someone else's blog or website or collaborate on co-marketing opportunities. Why? It allows you to reach people outside your direct network of fans, followers, and subscribers, spreading your messages and brand name to more people who may not have already heard of you.
Try create your own equivalent of Kanye's Watch The Throne. The next time you're planning an ebook or webinar, think about collaborating with another company to increase your exposure and potentially bringing in new customers. When seeking and evaluating co-marketing opportunities, think of non-competing companies with a similar target audience to yours -- an audience that would also be interested in your products/services.
DON'T: Interrupt Prospects From What They Really Care About
At the MTV Video Music Awards two years ago, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to inform people that he really thought Beyonce should have won the award. Instead of receiving adulation or acceptance from the audience, Kanye got booed because of his rudeness and rationalization that his message was more important (and, hey, he was also kind of a jerk).
As a marketer, it doesn't matter if you think you have "the greatest product of all time" -- you should never interrupt someone from the content they really care about. Interruption-based marketing can cause ill will from a company to a customer. Instead, always be respectful of people's time, and try to get their attention when they're asking and looking for it. Use permission-based inbound marketing, and your marketing campaigns will prove much more effective.
DO: Offer People Valuable Content
One great marketing lesson you can learn from Kanye West is the power of giving away valuable content. This summer, Kanye created a giveaway campaign called G.O.O.D Friday, where he offered a free downloadable song once a week. Marketers should follow Kanye's steps and create free, valuable content.
If you haven't already, start a business blog and regularly write about educational topics related to your industry. Consider long-form content such as whitepapers and ebooks. Get more creative by hosting webinars or creating video content. The key is frequency. While regularly creating valuable content can be difficult, it will be worthwhile knowing that your potential customers find your content valuable and are always awaiting the release of your newest piece of content. And likely, many of these potential customers will ultimately turn into paying customers.
DON'T: Not Care About Your (Potential) Customers
Kanye West is notorious for being late to his concerts. He also has a tendency to rant on his blog and write in only CAPITAL LETTERS. These actions make Kanye appear arrogant and as though he cares not about his fans -- just himself.
As a inbound marketer, always talk with your customers, not at them. One of the best ways to connect with and show you care about your prospects and customers is through social media and email marketing. Use sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage with your current and potential customers, not just promote to them. With email, create lead nurturing campaigns to show your leads you care about their needs and are happy to provide them with relevant, valuable content. For example, if you're a food importer and have a number of leads showing interest in your wine selection, create a lead nurturing campaign that shares knowledge and information about different types of wine. If this selection of prospective customers have shown interest in wine, don't share information on different types of cheeses -- this will show that you're not paying attention to their needs, and those potential customers may look elsewhere for help.
DO: Create Engaging Messaging and Have a Personal Voice
If there's one thing Kanye West is great at, it's having a clear voice and understanding the tone his messaging should convey. As a marketer, you should certainly understand what type of tone aligns with your target audience and use that tone in your brand's messaging.
In this particularly outlandish Kanye tweet, the rapper offers no sort of promotion about his music. However, his messaging is on point with his branding. Remember that as you tweet, you should always keep your tweets on point with your company's tone. Like Kanye, you shouldn't only be looking at promoting your products/services -- people see right through it, and they'll be more likely to ignore what you have to say. Instead, give people value -- they'll be more appreciative and more likely to listen to you in the future.
Life is often filled with do's and don'ts, and inbound marketing is no exception. What other tips should people know about inbound marketing?
Originally published Oct 4, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016