Our morning meeting had a rather odd interruption today. As Andy was introducing new additions to our reporting dashboard, a few people walked past the window of our office; then a few more went by, and a few more after that.

Before long, it turned into a string of people and it looked more like a migration than anything. At first we thought it could be fire drill or maybe a labor strike. We couldn’t quite wrap our heads around what was happening and then we noticed where everyone was lining up.

They were standing in front of the Tesla service center that’s across the street from our Eden Prairie, MN building.

And it all made sense.

A Big Day for Tesla

Today opens the pre-orders for Tesla’s new Model 3, and the company expects to receive tens of thousands of pre-orders, with some experts estimating they will break the 100,000 mark.

By the looks of the line outside of their Eden Prairie service center, they should easily reach this number. Even as I write this, and after the doors have already opened, the line is still wrapped around the corner; growing by the minute.

Keep in mind that this is not exactly the most populated area and the vehicle of choice in Minnesota seems to be a diesel-powered SUV, not a small car with an electric motor.

And this is all, mind you, for a car that hasn’t even begun production.

Tesla’s Brilliant Marketing

I’ve got a product to sell you, but in order to be first in line to pre-order it, you have put down a $1,000 deposit. I won’t tell you the final price of the item, nor will you see the finished product until later on.

And by the way, you won’t even receive it until about December 2017, almost two years from your pre-order date.

This is Tesla’s marketing strategy for the Model 3 and as crazy as it sounds, it seems to be working. Not one person in this line knows exactly what they are signing up to buy nor how much it will cost, yet people are still excited for its release.

When you line up for the new iPhone, you leave with the new iPhone. At Tesla, all you are getting for your money is the promise of a product that you will love… hopefully.

A Closer Look at Tesla’s Marketing

Every bit of Tesla’s marketing strategy is built around buzz. They do not have a marketing budget. In fact, they spent nothing on advertising at all.

This is the essence of content marketing: it’s all about creating a buzz in your industry to attract attention, encourage conversation and expand a company’s reach.

How do we all know about Tesla’s cars? Because we all talk about Tesla’s cars. Their reach is built on engagement: their audience does the marketing for them.

It doesn’t hurt that Elon Musk is kind of a modern-day Gatsby. His massive wealth, edgy personality and often idealistic view of the world has transformed him into a trendy personality that everyone from hipsters to techies and environmentalists can adore.

But this is just a part of building and marketing a brand with inbound strategy. You create a brand, release a bit of meaningful content and make your website easy to find with search engine optimization; your target audience will handle the rest.

Tesla seems to have mastered this formula, and as inbound marketers, we tip our caps to them today.