How Stickers Made Reddit Go Viral
When talking about his viral marketing tactics, reddit cofounder, Alexis Ohanian said stickers were the soundest investment he ever made.
“I used to travel around the country a lot and everywhere I went I took stickers with me. I put them on signs, poles, and even other advertisements,” he writes in his book, Make Something People Love: Lessons from a Startup Guy.
He continues, “‘Please sticker responsibly!’ we would say, and hand out these stickers at events, meetups, just to random people on the street. This may not sound like a major or even strategic marketing approach, but we kept at it. Within a few months we started seeing photos uploaded to the internet of people stickering with our stickers… often stickering in ways we’d never expected.”
Maybe it was the cute reddit alien that caught people’s eyes, or the fact that Alexis and his team never strayed in their sticker-distribution efforts… either way, it worked and now reddit receives over 100 million unique visitors to the site a month.
Getting Started With Stickers
A sticker campaign can be considered as more of a guerrilla marketing tactic, so a surprise or a unique element as to where you leave your stickers or how you distribute them is going to work best.
Handing out stickers to everyone is a little boring… and sticking them on things without permission could get you into some trouble.
But in case you err on the nerdy side, here are some relatively safe ways to distribute your stickers, and depending on your budget, you can amend the ideas to fit, whether large or small.
Visit your local bookstore and slip your stickers into all books related to your industry. (Warning: Don’t actually stick them in or on books – that could be considered vandalism and that’s not going to help your company whatsoever.)
Hand out the stickers to all of your staff members and have each one leave a sticker along with their tip every time they eat at a restaurant. Yes, this will take a while to gain momentum, but when it does, finding one of your stickers could be something that people start to actively desire and talk about.
Hand out stickers to select groups of people waiting for the bus or in line at a big event. This is where creativity comes into play, as well as the importance of being a bit choosy. Giving them out to everyone won’t have the same effect as being selective in this case.
If you’re going to be leaving your stickers in random places, be sure to have your business’ URL printed on them (or your logo) so the people who find them have some way of tracking them back to you. If you are handing them out at a large event, this isn’t as necessary, as once people start asking where they can find those stickers, they’ll direct them back to your booth, which is where viral marketing comes into play.
People don’t have to be the only targets of your sticker campaign. Calgary Farmers’ Market hung apples from bare trees in urban areas with stickers that read, “Fresh all winter.” Cute, creative, and eye-catching, I’m sure this helped to spread viral interest in the farmer’s market, resulting in more business during their slowest time of year.
Use stickers as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to your loyal customers. If you have a member site, maybe you send out a sticker once they’ve hit their year anniversary. Or maybe once they’ve spent $250 at your business
If there is a local event coming up, snag some booth space and use stickers, among other items, to help drum up interest in your company. Maybe it’s a ‘tweet for a sticker’ deal, a wheel of prizes, or even a drawing for a prize pack, (be sure to collect email addresses for your database).
If your budget is large, you can also pay what could be considered as “ad space” for your stickers. I’ve seen examples of sticker marketing on the side of escalators in stores, on bus stops, on buses, on street grates, and even on urinals in bars.
As with any marketing tactic, demographics are going to play heavily into your success. Carefully consider the age range of your target market before investing in sticker marketing.
I hope these examples and tips get your imagination going so you can create an even better sticker campaign for your own company.