What business doesn’t have a blog these days? The problem is, many businesses haven’t a clue how to leverage WordPress and other popular blogging platforms to their best advantage. To solve that problem and help businesses market their products, John Hawkins stepped up to the plate with his Web development company, 9seeds.
9seeds markets its brand by speaking at conferences designed to teach WordPress bloggers how to better use the platform. Tech conferences are, by nature, low-key. Hard-sell marketing is a definite no-no with the tech crowd. For WordPress conferences, called “WordCamps,” even branded promotional wear is considered a hard-sell approach.
To create brand awareness, even after the event has wound down, Hawkins hands out 9seeds stickers. Stickers have a special appeal to the tech community. To identify with their favorite brands, techies decorate their laptops with stickers bearing the brand’s logo.
Combined with Hawkins’ problem-solving approach in his conference talks, the stickers promote the 9seeds brand long after the conference ends. Hawkins didn’t realize how effective this low-key marketing technique was until he saw a woman at a conference in Chicago get out her laptop. On it was plastered his logo. She, a fan of 9seeds’ work, had attached the sticker to her computer as a sign of belonging to the brand’s tribe. Says Hawkins, “Seeing one of our stickers out in the wild was incredible.”
Hawkins points out that those who use stickers to market a company need to pay particular attention to the stickers’ design. An attractive logo, a catchy slogan that targets the tech market may soar in popularity, while a sticker with a plain-Jane look might just end up in the trash.
Hawkins’ success in marketing his brand has rubbed off on his peers. In the company’s hometown, Las Vegas, tech startups partner with markets, restaurants, and other local businesses to create weekly events to promote community in the city’s downtown area. Many other businesses have adopted Hawkins’ marketing tactic to great success.
With technology bringing more like-minded people together in community, it is no wonder that such a low-key marketing approach works so well in today’s world. People want to be identified with their favorite brands—with their tribes—so others with similar interests can recognize them at a glance. For techies, that means recognizing them from the stickers plastered on their laptops.
Although Hawkins still hands out his business card when he makes a new acquaintance, he includes a sticker in the offering. Because stickers are a trendy, fun way to market a business, people take notice. In today’s world, it’s hard to create a lasting image for your brand. Stickers, as Hawkins says, “burn your logo into [potential clients’] memory.”
Stickers build community in a company’s fans, building trust in the brand as familiarity grows. It’s a long-term approach, yet builds bridges among potential customers and other businesses. Referrals, too, are a natural outgrowth of such good will.
It seems to be paying off. When Hawkins’ new downtown Las Vegas colleagues finally decide to overhaul their dated websites, whom do they call? The company whose sticker they placed on their laptop to show the world that they, too, are a tech-savvy business ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century.