Reddit Marketing Strategy – How Reddit Launched its Community with Just $500 of Advertising Budget

Reddit Marketing Strategy – How Reddit Launched its Community with Just $500 of Advertising Budget

If you’re on the Internet, you know Reddit.

If you’re on the Internet and don’t know Reddit, then read this piece where I’ve covered Reddit’s story in detail.

If you’re on the Internet and a marketer, a founder, an entrepreneur, then you have to know how about Reddit’s marketing strategy – building an empire with just $500 of advertising budget.

And that’s what you’ll find out in this article.

Reddit Marketing Strategy – The Context

Back when Reddit launched, there was Digg, a link aggregator website enabled users to share web links and vote those links up (digg) or down (bury). Reddit was soon to become a similar site, one that would focus on user-generated content – a rare thing at the time.

So how did Reddit manage to set itself apart and stand out from the crowd? Moreover, how did it even manage to become the talk of town with a rapidly growing community base?

Here’s what they did.

Building Allegiance with the Simplest Thing – Stickers

Often, great marketing is doing the simplest of things. Reddit’s marketing strategy didn’t use FOMO or large influencer gathering like modern day startups (cough, cough Clubhouse) to get traction.

Instead, at every event, the founders handed stickers. Wherever they went, they took stickers with them and pasted it on polls, signs and other advertisement boards.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like the most strategic thing to do, but it was the most effective. More effective than handing out brochures!

Now, here’s the tricky part.

The stickers weren’t just any stickers.

It was the Reddit alien mascot that people found rad enough to use as tattoos!

This mascot gave people a sense of allegiance to a community. It was an identity. It wasn’t any logo, any fancy billboard advertisement, but a simple sticker of a cute lil alien character.

Instead of spending $5,000 on ads and expensive branding, use the simplest of memory retention products like a sticker, a mascot, to spread mass awareness. If your business model is dependent on a community, time to consider handing out stickers!

Build an Attachment to the Brand

Ok, I know I said having stickers were the easiest thing to do, but why would anyone flaunt a sticker if they don’t feel attached to the brand?

That’s where you’ll have to put in the work to build your community and inspire people to feel attached to the brand.

This is particularly important for crowdfunding projects where you need a community of backers to become your biggest supporters and customers.

Simply building a group and pumping it with content isn’t enough. You have to let people drive your community and build trust.

Once there’s trust and value, people start feeling attached to the brand.

Treat Your First 100 Customers Right

So simply putting out stickers alone didn’t help Reddit reach critical mass.

It’s important to understand that you’re not putting out things to make people love you.

People who got the tattoo got it because it was cute and not because it was Reddit.

And that’s fine. That tattoo guy doesn’t have to love your community or your brand.

Instead focus on the people who do love your community – who love it enough to sign up, to post content, to engage with you.

If you can treat your first 100 customers right, they will make your product.

In the words Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian,

When you get your first hundred users, treat them well, because these first hundred will make or break your product. Somewhere in this first hundred, there will be a handful of people who are actually going to drive your product, and you can’t afford to alienate any of them. Who knows which user will be the one who drives your website, the one who catapults it into something that gets 35 million unique visitors a month? If someone is going to take the time to write you a feedback email one week after you’ve launched, you had better respond to them as quickly as possible, because that’s a potential power user…”

Reddit’s marketing strategy has always been focused on making their users their most powerful asset.

Stop Talking About You

Enough about you.

People are in your community, follow your page or in your email list because they are there for the product.

  • They don’t care about how much $$$$$ you’ve made.
  • They don’t care about how much your stock valuation was.
  • They don’t care if you’ve got bubble baths for your employees.
  • They care about what you’ve got for them.
  • So stop making your product or your website about you.
  • Make it about them.

Give them what they are there for. Cute cat pics, freebies, templates….anything that makes them want to be on your platform and endorse you.

For SaaS and B2B businesses, this is of utmost importance. When you’re sending out email newsletters or writing long-winded Twitter threads, don’t tell them about what you did. Give them solutions, content, guides that can help them solve their problems. That alone builds trust and authority. Once they know you have given them credible information, they will turn to you for your service.

Grow with User-Generated Content

User-generated content is the most underrated marketing asset. You don’t have to have a platform like Reddit for user-generated content.

You could get user-generated content through community engagement on your social media groups.

You could get user-generated content through guest blogging and content partnerships.

You could get user-generated content through a design contest for a new logo, or design concept.

There are dozens of ways you can get user-generated content for your business, so long as you know how to capitalize on that and turn it as a driving force of your business.

For instance, your social media group could become a hotbed of opportunities and networking and could give you MQLs without you having to run any ads.

The guest blogging and content partnership will help you tap into new audience sets.

The contest can get you the best talent without having to waste resources in hiring and screening.

Most companies avoid user-generated content because it’s “a lot of work,” but if you can get this right, you’re letting your audience build content for you. Nothing gets better than that. And Reddit is proof that user-generated content can turn you into a $10 billion business.

Now that you’ve read this insightful article, want to know how you can build a community of backers to support you project? Hit us up using the contact form below and book a no-strings-attached consultancy call!