Never underestimate the power of real printed matter in your marketing campaign. Giving your potential customers something they can see and hold, rather than just a digital ad, is a great way to drive high engagement. It’s one of the oldest forms of marketing there is and it is tried and tested.
Giving something like custom stickers to people can help build connections with them. On top of that, there’s the additional benefit that you can work alongside other local businesses. Together, you can develop a really fun campaign that provides benefits to both your customers and you.
As well as being cheap and easy, stickers have loads of potential. They can be fun or quirky, they can demonstrate your brand, and they stick around for a long time. Because of their low cost, it’s a no-brainer to give them away at events, meaning you can make an instant connection with your potential customers. People love free stuff and it gives them the opportunity to approach you and ask about your product.
For a lot of small businesses, cooperating with your neighbours just makes sense. As well as building your network, you can find synergies that lead to cost savings or opportunities for cross promotion. There are some businesses that automatically make sense to work together. A cake or cookie manufacturer pairs easily with a coffee producer.
But what do we do?
When working together with a business, you have to first figure out your alignment. Are your products complementary or parallel? Are you in the same geographic area? Do you already collaborate or are you friendly competitors? That relationship with define your marketing strategy.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
A passport is similar to a loyalty card, but instead of getting their tenth coffee free in one cafe, a passport is a fun and creative way to incentivise customers to visit lots of different businesses.
For example, local businesses can offer a neighbourhood passport. By shopping at the various shops in one area, they collect a custom sticker for their passport at each location. When their passport is full, they enter it into a draw for a prize, for example, or a gift. If you opt for a draw, you can also collect their contact details.
Passports also work with competitive businesses. Several craft breweries, for example, can cooperate together to encourage visitors to come to each one.
Endorsements & cross promotion
When done right, a custom sticker doesn’t look like an ad. They can be unobtrusive and serve as decorations. But they can also be endorsements. Say you’re opening a new cake shop called Carol’s Cakes. Team up with a local café and they can place stickers on their takeaway coffee cups saying “Tastes great with Carol’s cakes.” Of course, Carol would reciprocate with a sticker on her cakes endorsing the café.
Your synergies don’t always have to be complementary. You could be offering similar services but to entirely different clientele. For example, a beauty salon could give away a small pamper pack after every treatment, with a cute sticker for a local pet care centre. Pampering is pampering, big or small!
Remember, stickers aren’t seen as ads, but rather as a gift or swag. A cute sticker won’t make people feel like they’re being marketed to, but rather like they’ve received something for nothing.
There are all sorts of creative things you can do with stickers and you’re limited only by your imagination.
Customers always value free help, so find ways to be useful. Selling food packaging? Leave stickers with conversion charts between metric and imperial at a supermarket. Selling custom pet food? Make a sticker with the phone numbers of local vets. Offering financial services? Team up with a bookseller to include ‘rent due’, ‘pay day’ and other finance-related stickers with every diary purchase.
Creating a successful cross-marketing campaign with other small businesses will take time. You need to carefully understand what value you each bring, your expectations, and what you expect to get in return. Using some of these simple sticker campaigns can help you take that first step to collaborating with your fellow entrepreneurs, businesses and competitors.