Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash

When I was in high school, a student showed up one day with a bunch of happy face stickers.

One by one, he gave them out to his friends, who then gave a few out to their friends (and so on and so on) until probably about 100 students were all wearing happy face stickers on their shirts.

This caused the other students to take notice fairly quickly and wonder what these stickers were for, what they meant, and more importantly, why hadn’t they been given one too?

Yes, this might be a silly example of how a sticker can create viral interest — but it does prove that when a select group of people all begin sporting stickers at the same time, it makes others take notice.

And when it comes to viral marketing, this is exactly what you want. If you’re ready to learn how you can use this creative, and unexpected, marketing tactic to help your business go viral, check out the great tips below.

How Stickers Made Reddit Go Viral

When talking about his viral marketing tactics, Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian said, “Yes, stickers [were] the soundest investment I ever made.

“I used to travel around the country a lot (thank you, Chinatown bus), 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 330 million+ unique visitors to the site a month.

Getting Started With Stickers

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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.

Just handing them out is a little boring and sticking them on things without permission could get you into some trouble. (Whether or not you care about any potential trouble is up to you — we’re just here to throw out some ideas.)

But in case you err on the nerdy (I mean cautious) side, here are some relatively safe ways to distribute your stickers:

  • 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, we’re sure this helped to spread viral interest in the farmer’s market, resulting in more business during their slowest time of year.