What Chance the Rapper taught us about Inbound Marketing?

“I honestly believe if you put effort into something and you execute properly, you don’t necessarily have to go through the traditional ways.”
- Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper gives away his music for free. His mixtape, which just won Rap Album of the Year at the Grammys, is free. He doesn’t sell singles off his mixtapes; they’re free. In fact, every single piece of music he’s ever released is 100% free.

Chance the Rapper refuses to sign a record label. He’s an independent artist who releases all of his music on his own terms, without the backing and guidance of a record label. This also means he doesn’t receive an income from a record deal. He was just named Best New Artist at the Grammys.

Chance the Rapper’s music is streaming-only. You’ll find it online, not at Best Buy, FYE, Target, Walmart, or wherever else CDs are sold. He’s created a reputation for himself using a formula that’s absurd to the music industry:

  • free music + no record label + streaming-only = 3 Grammys.

Oh yeah, he also won Best Rap Performance.

So what is it about this guy? How did he do it?

He made a quality product, gave it to people for free, and supported it through a deep-rooted online presence. All of these together have built him a following of people who spread the word about his music to friends, family, and coworkers. Essentially, he has built a powerful population of advocates for his brand.

Think about your business. More importantly, think about the mediums the majority of your potential customers are using for shopping and researching. It’s the Internet. Now think about what engages people when they’re online. It’s not advertisements that talk about the greatness of your company and offer little benefit to the consumer. Those tend to be an annoyance that people have to click out of while trying to find something that will benefit them on their buyer’s journey. Rather, it’s something that engages the consumer or offers them something useful, often times, for free, which they, in turn, share with the people around them. So, think about the following formulas for your business:

  • free offer + customer-centric message + online distribution = sales lead
  • sales lead + lead nurturing + delighting lead = brand advocate

As a marketer or business owner, you know that sales leads convert to money for your business. But in order to turn online sales leads into business, you might have to rethink how you’re attempting to reach new customers online.

If we can learn anything from Chance the Rapper, it’s his method of marketing his product: create something that’s engaging and beneficial, give it to people for free, use the Internet to market your offer, and ultimately, create advocates who share your brand with the people in their life.

Originally published on designworksgroup.com