January 12, 2016

Adele’s Marketing Machine: Stealing the songstress’ secrets for your small business marketing

By Ella Wilson

Adele small business marketing
Adele’s “25” album sold more than 3 million copies in its first week. That’s the power of buzz.

Adele’s third album, 25, just hit shelves (or the internet, since that’s how everyone is buying music these days) on Nov. 20 and sold 3.38 MILLION copies in its first week.

Now, Adele is a killer singer/songwriter. I have all her albums. If you haven’t checked her out, do! If you want some good top-volume-car-singing songs, Adele is your girl.

But you don’t sell 3.38 million albums in a week by just being good. For this third album, Adele’s marketing team set out to create buzz in subversive, “part of the club” ways … to astounding results. Here’s how they did it:

Adele announces her upcoming album with an “inside joke” on Twitter

In May 2014, the eve of her 26th birthday, Adele posted a Twitter message stating “Bye, Bye 25 … see you again later in the year.” Speculation ran rampant that a new album was on the way that would stay with her age theme from the previous albums 19 and 21. Turns out, that was right. But fans wouldn’t know for sure for months.

Small Business Marketing Lesson 1:

This little tweet from Adele got her fans buzzing and rewarded them for being true devotees by including them on an “inside joke,” just like you’d do with your mom or your best friend. Her smart move created a ton of excitement and only strengthened the bond she already had with fans that were in-tune enough to get the joke.

The 30-second teaser

After her three-year hiatus to raise her son, Adele needed to release her next album in a big way. Audiences, just like your customers, are unfathomably fickle.

Rather than go the “big-scale-production” route, Adele’s marketing team went with a more rebellious approach, likely due to her target audience.

Fortune magazine pointed out that Adele’s fans are widely fragmented. Unlike, say, Taylor Swift’s, who are more easily defined and would respond easily to a big market blitz. To reach Adele’s many fans who are scattered here and there, one direct yet wide-reaching message was needed. (“The Amazing Marketing Machine Behind Adele,” Fortune, Chris Morris, Nov. 7, 2015)

So rather than plaster Adele’s face all over the place, the first song on her 25 album, “Hello,” was first “leaked” in a 30-second clip during a commercial break on The X Factor in the UK on Oct. 18, 2015. With only the lyrics displayed against a black screen, and no singer listed, viewers only had to guess what they were listening to. But of course that heart-stopping voice could only be Adele. And the Internet lost its mind.

Adele and her publicity team stayed quiet for the next few days as the buzz reached epic proportions. All this buzz put Adele squarely back into the spotlight after her three-year hiatus. She needed to make a big entrance, and she did.

Small Business Marketing Lesson 2:

There’s nothing people want more than something they can’t have. If you can allude to the fact that you’ve got something truly great coming down the pipe, something your customers are going to love, don’t tell them the whole story. Give them just enough to whet their appetites, and they’ll gladly fan the flame for you to their friends, coworkers, and on social media.

Announcing “25” with a heartfelt message from the artist herself

Three days after the clip aired on TV, Adele announced the release of her album on Twitter with a heartfelt letter to her fans. The message talked about her new album, her life, what the album means to her. It was an incredibly poignant, personal message. It was about so much more than the album itself, or the songs on it. Adele’s message was about her. It established connection. It let her audience behind the curtain, and they loved it. The next day, she performed “Hello” on BBC Radio 1.

Small Business Marketing Lesson 3:

Human beings crave connection. Use personal messages in your marketing to reach out across the cyber-divide and grab your customers right in their hearts. Don’t be afraid to get personal. Tell stories. Post pictures of your real life on your business social media accounts. The more your customers feel like they know you, the more likely they are to do business with you. Business used to be about cups of coffee and handshakes. It still is, just with a digital presentation.

The results of all that buzz

The album was released on November 20, 2015, and sold 3.38 million copies in the U.S. in its first week.

And her 56-night North American tour sold out in just one day.

Small Business Marketing Lesson: Buzz is an investment, not a gimmick. And it pays big.

Need to create buzz around your small business?

GetUWired is your one-stop-shop for everything internet marketing. If you need to create a buzz around your business with email marketing, landing pages, a new website, or content marketing, we’ve got you covered. Call us today at 877-236-9094 or visit www.GetUWired.com to see how we can help your business!

About Ella Wilson

Ella WilsonElla Wilson is GetUWired’s “Queen of Words.” This world-class marketing copywriter is a former journalist and travel writer who’s spent the last decade weaving gripping tales for publications coast to coast. She’s got her finger on the pulse of today’s marketing trends. Notable clients who have been graced with her powerful prose include FUBU founder and Shark Tank star Daymond John, self-help star and Emmy-award winner Rhonda Britten, and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen.