Exeleon Magazine

How Reddit Was Built with Stickers and only $500


Almost everyone has heard of the social media giant Reddit – but not everyone knows that the huge following it gained all started with a few hundred bucks and a stack of stickers. It’s mind blowing to think that the tactic worked then, and it is one that still works now.

So how did they do it? And could it work for you too?

Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian’s website idea was big, but their budget was small. So, what could they do? Every trick in the book was the method. From small beginnings, Reddit now has over 2.8 billion page views per month, growing all the time.

Reddit is a website that users run; they create, manage, and contribute to massive communities. Share stories, look for advice, and support each other as they build their own businesses.

Anything you want to find, you can find it there. And if you haven’t tried it out yet, you should – you might be surprised just how valuable the content can be.

When the founders came up with the idea of Reddit, they had one of the tightest marketing budgets going – just $500.

So what did they do? They spent the entire budget on stickers.

But as it turned out, those stickers had people hunting for the website and joining. They became a coveted thing, and more and more people saw them because they were spread around.

Everywhere the pair went, they created their own stickers up, handed them out, and left them in piles.

Stickers have long been used as part of a start-ups marketing strategy – but Reddit went to great lengths to take them everywhere they went. Lamp posts were handed directly to people and stickers were even placed on top of other people’s advertising.

Today, almost any business can print matte stickers and follow that lead.

As one of the original swags you can get from brands, bands, and things you love, but much cheaper than things like totes, pens, and t-shirts, the sticker is a small but perfectly sized marketing technique. Not to mention that they are reasonably priced.

Because the little Reddit alien was a cute character and had a cult following all of its own, people started to upload photos of the stickers onto the internet. Over time there started to be fan art, and people wanted to become part of the community.

What is the takeaway from this?

Reddit stickers

Well, the stickers were just stickers, and the strategy of handing them out were extremely smart. But Alexis and Steve both make it clear in all of their interviews that while they were built on stickers, it was because they weren’t just talking about putting users first; they just went ahead and did it.

They knew the community they wanted to build and would grow because everything they made and did was about them.

With a handful of stickers, and the idea that the community and the people who joined and contributed are important, Reddit has grown into the monster it is today.

And it is exactly these kinds of stories that inspire the business leaders of the future: Most Inspiring Success Stories of Entrepreneurs in the World.

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