In the town where I live there are many businesses that use stickers to promote their presence in the community. Oskar Blues is a restaurant, music club and brewery about ten miles from my house and it is one of my family’s favorite destinations. Oskar Blues gives away black and white oval stickers that have the letters OB and a website address at the bottom. These stickers are everywhere, mostly on the vehicles of my friends and neighbors. A trip to the local ski area is further evidence that the OB stickers have become a part of the local visual experience.
The question is: how do they create those stickers? That’s what this series will address…
Making sure your customers keep you top-of-mind is an essential component of marketing a local business. The OB stickers seem to be doing the trick. With continuous pressure from new chains and the next great place to go in town, Oskar Blues has done a great job keeping the dining room full. In the ten or so years since the place opened, dozens of similar establishments have come and gone. Don’t get me wrong, stickers are not going to make or break your business, if you can’t delight your customers at every opportunity, no quantity of stickers, or any type of marketing for that matter is going to help you survive.
Imagine this, you are driving home from work, and your spouse calls and asks if you would like to go to dinner, or to run an errand. To accomplish this mission, your brain quickly formulates a list of possibilities and begins to form a plan. If you run a small business, you really need to be on that list, and if you can’t afford a billboard perhaps an endorsement from the person in the car in front of your next customer might help getting you on that list. Stickers represent not just a way to keep your business in the minds of your customers, but it provides a way for your customers to give you a personal endorsement with little effort on their part.
Small businesses aren’t the only organizations that use stickers. I have noticed stickers for the local youth gymnastics and soccer clubs on minivans. Pickup trucks are likely to have a sticker for a local archery supplies establishment in the back window. Several local churches have small tasteful stickers that provide a way for their members to share a common pride of church membership on their vehicles. Pizza places, rock bands and ski resorts top the list for personal endorsements via stickers.
A small business in a neighboring town can outfit your vehicle in various types of roof-racks for bicycles, skis or you name it. This business places a set of stickers on every roof rack they sell. I don’t know exactly where this business is, I’ve never bought a roof rack from them, yet I know the name of the place is “Rocky Mounts.” If I ever need a roof-rack, I know who I will be calling; this is a great example of very effective top-of-mind advertising via stickers.
Small businesses need to watch every dime, so engaging in effective advertising and marketing campaigns on a limited budget can be a challenge. Stickers are inexpensive, almost comically so. When purchased in a decent quantity, they can cost you just pennies each for a basic design. There are a few things a novice sticker buyer should know before starting this process in order to avoid spending too much or getting an end result that they won’t be happy with. In part two of this series I will provide a novice’s guide to making the custom sticker buying process quick and easy.