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This blog post is based on Zach Horvath’s presentation at our online conference, Printful Threads. Watch all the presentations on our YouTube channel.
Remember that excitement you had as a kid when you got a fresh new sticker to add to your collection?
It’s not just kids who appreciate a good sticker—adults enjoy them as well. Sit in a coffee shop for a few minutes, and you’re bound to see at least one water bottle or laptop that’s covered in stickers. Some are purely decorative, but other stickers feature brand names.
There’s a reason why many companies invest in stickers.
Turns out, stickers are an amazing opportunity to strengthen your brand and grow your business. We've also prepared a list of great sticker ideas for your inspiration. In this blog post, Zach Horvath, founder of Live a Great Story, shares his experience with sticker marketing and explains why it’s such a great brand strategy for online store owners.
If you live in Austin, Texas, chances are at some point you’ve come across this:
The man behind this phrase is none other than Zach, who spray-painted it in the middle of the night back in 2014. Having just returned from a seven-month backpacking trip, Zach was inspired by the idea that each and every person has the power to write their story. The graffiti turned out to be so popular with people taking photos of it and talking about it that at one point, Zach decided to create his fans stickers with the same message.
Now, six years later, the Live a Great Story’ graffiti has become a landmark of the city. Millions of people have walked past it and taken photos of it. The success continued online as well—thousands of people have shared photos on social media with the Live a Great Story stickers.
In fact, thanks to stickers, Zach was able to grow his store, by offering t-shirts, hats, buttons, and more with the Live a Great Story saying. But back in 2014, he couldn’t have imagined the impact this simple message would have, or that one day there would be 1 million stickers printed with the same saying.
So why are stickers great for marketing? What made them work for him? As Zach explains, there are five reasons
Stickers travel with your customer. Whether it’s on a water bottle that goes from the office to the gym, or if it’s on a laptop that they take to their favorite coffee shop. A single sticker can spread the news about your brand quickly, and your loyal customers can advocate your brand for you without any effort. All they have to do is apply the sticker onto something they own, and you have a mini advertisement that travels to any place in the world.
As an online store owner, you’ve probably spent money on paid ads or email marketing.
Those are definitely great strategies, but in comparison with other marketing tools, stickers are low-cost, but with an enormous lifetime value. A custom sticker for the price of just $2.30 will continue to bring in new customers as long as it’s displayed in a visible place.
Using stickers to seal your packages or tucking them in the box with other products as branded pack-ins is also a cheap but effective way to improve the customer experience.
When you see a sticker somewhere, you probably don’t assume that the creator of it is trying to sell you something. That’s the power of stickers—when displayed, they’re not perceived as advertising. People see stickers as more of a gift than a promotional tool, which helps lower their defenses.
Instead of throwing the sticker away, people will likely look for a surface to stick them on. If the sticker’s message resonates with them, people may even make a mental note to interact with your business in the near future. It’s a win-win!
A sticker can also spread the word about the popularity and culture of your brand. People can use stickers to publicly share their values, their social identities, and their belief systems.
It’s important to take into account that stickers will be effective only if they’re thoughtfully designed. A basic sticker featuring the company name and website isn’t enough. You should use a powerful call-to-action, or witty copy—that’s exactly what Zach did, and it worked
UGC, or user-generated content, is a type of content created by someone who’s not an official representative of your business. It could be a social media post, a review, a video, or a podcast. Simply put, it’s the act of customers promoting a brand, rather than the brand promoting itself.
UGC is useful for two main reasons—it promotes trust and creates authenticity. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.
It’s perfect for saving time and money you’d normally spend creating content for paid ads and social media posts.
For Zach, user-generated content has been crucial in his journey as an entrepreneur. Live a Great Story owes a big part of its success to customers who share photos on social media with their stickers.
In the last six years, Zach learned that people from all over the world love taking photos and sharing stories on social media featuring his message. They enjoy being a part of a community where people encourage one another to live life to the fullest.
And thanks to people sharing their stories on Instagram, there are now more than 5,000 posts, mentioning Live a Great Story, more than 12 million impressions, and over $360,000 worth of user-generated content.
In the end, it took Zach one meaningful sticker to connect to his customers, allowing him to receive very personal messages like the one below.
Not all stickers will create such a deep emotional response as the one here. But if the sticker is designed in a thoughtful way, it can still resonate with many people.
Being an online store owner can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Zach is living proof that entrepreneurship can be fun if you’re doing it on your own terms.
After all, how many marketing strategies have you heard of that include spray-painting a slogan somewhere in the middle of a night or placing stickers on lamp posts?
So if you come up with a thoughtful brand message that you think a lot of people can connect with, stickers will be an amazing opportunity to showcase that message. It will also make your marketing job a lot easier as there’s a certain grain of truth in the old saying—“Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’’
Marta is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful with a background in Social Anthropology. She's passionate about marketing, UX research, and the Oxford comma.
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