For most ecommerce stores, Reddit is something they have thought about but have no idea how to use for marketing. The alluring thing to do on Reddit is submit content to big subreddits with the hope that it reaches the “front page” and drives thousands of new users to their store. In this post, we analyze the Reddit activity of a small online shop who is taking the exact opposite approach and getting huge results.

Introducing Small Batch Cigar

Small Batch Cigar is not your average online cigar shop. Most online cigar shops are high volume operations that focus on rock bottom prices and discounts as their sales pitch. Small Batch, while still doing their share of volume and offering good prices, focuses on customer service. To the big online cigar shops, “customer service” means a getting orders fulfilled accurately and efficiently. To Small Batch, it means that and so much more.

Small Batch Cigar has ingratiated themselves into /r/Cigars, one of the most robust online communities for cigar lovers. Small Batch has expanded its definition of customer service by constantly listening to what cigar lovers are talking about online. For any niche ecommerce stores looking to develop a loyal following, Small Batch Cigar is a perfect model that can be replicated in other subreddits. That being said, all businesses can learn from what Small Batch has done in the /r/Cigars community.

Small Batch Cigar Reddit Marketing Results

A simple search for the phrase “small batch” in /r/Cigars shows how Small Batch is getting results from their community engagement. Over the past year, there has been 109 posts about Small Batch – thats over 2 posts per week.

But what do these posts look like? Let’s take a look at the common types of discussions about Small Batch in the /r/Cigars community.

Small Batch 20% Off

Small Batch sends discount codes to their email subscribers on a regular basis and a redditor will often share the code, which drives traffic and orders.

Small Batch praised for packaging

A customer posted this after their package from Small Batch was beat to hell by the shipper. The post praises Small Batch for properly packing the order.

Small Batch does the little things right.

Small Batch added a few extra cigars in this users order, which triggered this post praising Small Batch.

Why you should only order cigars from Small Batch

Another praise post for Small Batch from a happy customer. “You’ve made a life long customer out of me.” – /u/cortego

To really see the results of these posts, click through on each of them to read the full post and comments.

Sidebar Link

sb_sidebarlinkIn addition to unprompted posts about Small Batch by community members, the moderators of the community have placed a link in the sidebar to a product on Small Batch’s website. This product is the “Reddit sampler” and users often suggest it to new cigar smokers as a way to try a variety of cigars without spending too much money.

It is important to note that marketers and brands should never ask for a link in the sidebar of a subreddit. The only strategy for achieving a sidebar link is to consistently deliver unique value to the community and hope that a moderator thinks a link or post you shared is worthy of the sidebar.

It is clear that Small Batch Cigar has established themselves as the favorite online store of /r/Cigars. The result is a community of cigar lovers mentioning their store on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at how they did it.

Reddit Marketing Lessons from Small Batch

Lesson #1: Have a Great Product

There is simply no way to replicate Small Batch’s success without having a great product. For Small Batch, their product is actually their customer service (they don’t make cigars). They put care into each order and are quick to resolve any issues that a customer has. They then go the extra mile by being ever-present in /r/Cigars, listening to what the community wants and needs.

If you want to make a serious effort on Reddit, you must have a proven track record of happy customers that love what you do.

Lesson #2: Think long term

Engaging a Reddit community is not about a single post, it is about consistent action over time. In marketing the end goal is always traffic/users/sales, but those things are almost impossible to directly ask for from a Reddit community. Instead, focus on the long term strategy of becoming a community member and try to leverage all of the knowledge you are gaining about your target market. After you prove yourself to the community over time, they will do the marketing for you by creating posts and mentioning you to other members.

Lesson #3: Choose an honest and personal username

/u/MrSmallBatch is the username Small Batch Cigar uses to engage the /r/Cigars community. This username is perfect because it is honest and personal. Most companies want to covertly promote themselves on Reddit with obscure, undetectable usernames. Small Batch is honest about their presence on Reddit and engages with a username that represents the brand with a personal touch (“Mr”).

It is also important that the same person has always managed their Reddit account. This makes the community feel like they are developing a relationship with an individual and not a brand.

Lesson #4: Don’t promote yourself

If you take a quick glance at /u/MrSmallBatch’s Reddit submissions, you will notice that he rarely shares a link to his store. The majority of his posts are contests where he gives away cigars with no strings attached.

Lesson #5: Participate in the comments

Small Batch is consistently active in /r/Cigars, responding to comments about Small Batch and participating in discussions that have nothing to do with Small Batch. Take a look at /u/MrSmallBatch’s comment history to see how they engage the community through comments.

Small Batch Cigar’s activity on Reddit is an important case study because it shows that it is possible to get big results from Reddit without reaching the “front page”. To learn more about this approach and how to get started, sign up for our newsletter below.