Lessons in Marketing from Toby Keith 


The “new” way of marketing online is through content.  We’ve all heard that content is king, but I see so many military business owners using content to blatantly promote themselves and their companies.

That is the wrong way to market online.  The art of marketing online is to build trust, a relationship, and a loyal following through words, personal experiences, and engaging/helpful content.

Learning to be a successful entrepreneur can be overwhelming, but it is possible if you put in the right kind of effort into your marketing strategy.

One of the best lessons in business I learned was from Toby Keith.  If you’re a country music hater, bear with me.  This one is worth it.

In fact, it’s not just Toby who mastered this lesson, but most country and rap singers.  However, since Toby Keith bleeds red, white, and blue, here are my favorite examples of his lyrics and how you can take his lessons in songwriting to “market” to customers.

Take this example of the #1 Top Country Hit in 2008 on Toby’s “That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy” album:

She kissed her mama goodbye/Said I’ll be sure to phone ya/She called from a truck stop in Tucson, Arizona/With amazing grace/We made California line/And then my gypsy life started taking it’s toll/And the fast lane got empty/And out of control/And just like an angel/She saved my soul from the devil.

-Toby Keith, God Love Her

Or perhaps this song off his 2011 “Clancy’s Tavern” album:

He’s got the red, white, and blue flying high on the farm/”Semper fi” tattooed on his left arm/Spends a little more in the store for a tag in the back that says U.S.A./He won’t buy nothing that he can’t fix with WD Forty and a Craftsman wrench/He ain’t prejudice, he’s just, made in America.

-Toby Keith, Made in America

So what’s my point (besides that Toby Keith is awesome)?

Toby Keith can teach three lessons in business from his music:

  1. The art of storytelling

Notice how in each of these examples, Toby’s lyrics tell a story.  You can visually see what he’s singing about just from the lyrics.  I’m picturing two young kids driving off on a motorcycle through the desert roads of the west, running on youth and rebel ways.  I’m picturing an American flag on an old farm house porch and a pretty rad military tattoo on a veteran’s bicep.

A large majority of Toby’s lyrics are in storytelling form.  Storytelling is key in your marketing strategy.  People purchase from a connection to a piece of content, product, service, or person.  This is why testimonials are such a vital part of a marketing strategy.

When you’re posting on social media, storytelling is the best way to get around promoting your product, while still “promoting” your product.  Facebook’s algorithm does not encourage posts that include links or promotional language (buy now, click here, sign up, etc.).  As a result, storytelling is a way to avoid “promotion” in the text part of a status while still discussing the product, explaining how it solves a problem, and showing proven results.

  1. The art of relatability

Toby sells his music based on a number of factors – talent, lyrics, a good beat, country boy looks, and his overarching brand reputation.  Toby’s songs are successful because they tell a story and his fans along the way have found them to be relatable.

From young love to a patriotic core, Toby sings what Trace Atkins (another patriotic country singer) says in his top hit, “Songs About Me.”  These are all songs that are so relatable to the fans, that they come back for more because the songs are “about them.”

The “he gets me” factor sells.  It sells in music and it sells in business.

As a business owner, it is your job as a storyteller and online marketer to relate to your customers and to get them to relate to your business.  Customers purchase from people they know and trust.  As a result, your content needs to be focused on education and a solution to their problem.

If you’re a military spouse, it’s easy to form business bonds with other military spouses.  There is a relability factor there.  Same with veterans.  Relatable topics can include the same love of hobbies, like sports, photography, being a mother, being a 9-5er and working on a side hustle, etc.  There are so many things your following can have in common with you.  Understanding their needs, wants, and desires can help you relate to them in what you post and how you curate content.

  1. The art of brand loyalty

To sum both storytelling and relatability together, brand loyalty is a common goal through combining those two factors.  When you’ve told the story in a non-promotional way to gain their attention, then found a common bond with your purchasers, you are now on your way to trust.  Repeated trust leads to brand loyalty.

Once you have built a relationship with your following, you can foster a purchasing loyalty.  In return, you will often see referrals and you will continue to built trust, loyalty, and sales from other streams of business.

The best way to lose your current following is to promote to them often and become an annoyance.  I strongly believe in the 80/20 rule (80% of your marketing is not marketing at all, but a mix of relationship strategies, entertainment, and being social, while 20% is actual promotion).

Take a lesson from some of your favorite musicians and listen to their lyrics.  Were you drawn in from a line that brought you back to your youth? Your first love? Your first car? A recent experience you just had?

If yes, the story they told made you want to listen to that song on repeat.  If you can create that same type of excitement over your content, product, and service to another, then you have mastered the art of storytelling.

Learn an overview of the social media platforms you can use to attract new customers.  Get the free guide to social media marketing by visiting here!

Want to join a community of military spouse and veteran entrepreneurs just like you? Gain advice and tips on marketing and social media for those in the military community here!

Military Marketing GuruJenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners.  Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams.  With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa,  Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life.  You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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