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7 Ways to Build Virality into Your Product

This post is inspired by an article I recently came across here.

It can be hard spreading the good word about your product when just starting out. This means you want to be tactical and take every opportunity you can to share your product or service with the world.

I've summarized some of the best points for incorporating virality into your product or service below.

1. Create a Two-Sided Reward
2 sided reward
Create an incentive for initial users to invite their friends to use your product. Paypal and Dropbox are 2 companies that did this extremely well. Paypal offered $'s for every person you helped sign up to their platform. Dropbox offered extra storage for every new member you helped bring into their storage service.

2. Appeal to Users' Vanity
Appeal to vanity

Appealing to a users' sense of vanity and competitiveness encourages them to spend more time using your product or service. Indie Hackers does this well by allowing users to accrue points. Linkedin also did this well in the early days by showing the number of connections you had front and center on your profile. This incentivized users to start thinking about inviting more people to connect.

3. Build for Collaboration
Build for Collaboration

Build for collaboration between users. Apps like Google docs allow you to "Share" files for collaboration purposes. Slack allows you to "invite people" to new workspaces.

4. Embedding
Build for Collaboration

Create the ability for others to embed your product within your website. This is especially true if you are building products with user generated content. Twitter does this well for embedding tweets and news. Stripe and Gumroad also do a great job of this allowing users embed payment widgets within their websites.

5. Incorporate Social Sharing
Build for Collaboration

If your products produces artifacts from user generated content, you should incorporate social sharing that can link back to your product.

Pinterest lets users pin items from the web, and then share the pins onto social media. Then, when someone discovers the Pin, they can click into Pinterest and be shown a collection of more interesting items.

6. Artifacts Shared via Messaging
Build for Collaboration

Utilize things like sms and text sharing as a viral opportunity. When using Lyft for example, users can click a “Send ETA” button which is actually a viral feature. Pressing it prompts the user to send a tracking URL to another person, which in turn spreads the word about Lyft.

7. Signatures
Build for Collaboration

Attach promotional signatures to all messages that are sent relating to your product or service. Hotmail’s signature line at the end of every email helped them grow from 20k users to 1.5M users over the course of 4 months in the early days.

Mailchimp also does this to great effect by putting their logo at the bottom of each email users send. It can also be good to give users an opt out in case they find this annoying. Of course, this works best for products that send out some form of messages, usually over email.

Of course, even utilizing the email signature function with your business email for linking to your product is a simple way to implement this one. You can create one super quick with Hubspot's free email signature generator

What other ways are you incorporating virality into your product?

  1. 3

    These are great ways you have mentioned. I always found people telling to do "Viral Marketing" and all but this is what it EXACTLY means!

    1. 2

      Glad that you like it @vaibhavThevedi. Yes absolutely, these concrete ways to ensure virality is inherently built into your product, as opposed to marketing tactics to make your brand go viral. I think all product builders should take these into consideration.

      1. 2

        I will surely implement a couple of them in marketing my product :)

  2. 3

    This is great Gordon, have 1-2 of these down with Popvend, but trying to add more. Definitely some good points that will help out!

    1. 2

      That is awesome @claytonrannard. Great that you are already embedding virality my man! Keep up the great work!

  3. 3

    You couldn't have made this at a better time Gordon.

    I have been researching product-led growth to an insane amount recently. Mainly for when I launch and scale Spread up.

    Thank you for the clear analysis and examples. Much appreciated :)

    This should be in the growth group though, I believe it would have (rightfully) picked up much more traction if so.

    1. 1

      Thanks very much @LouTromans. Appreciate that. I might change it to the growth group in that case.

  4. 2

    I will comment on item 7, that is the area that I work. The Hubspot for a small team works well. But if you have, let's say, more than 20 employees, and you want to standardize the email signatures to all. Well, you know it will take days.

    This part is where an email signature manager comes in, like Bybrand to save time.

    1. 2

      Thanks for sharing this @ursoforte.

  5. 2

    I was really thinking where is the @gordon article and BOOM, I found it and copy pasted the whole post in the newsletter (excluding images)

    1. 1

      Haha, glad you like it my man!

  6. 2

    Great post thanks, we could all use some of these tactics.

  7. 2

    Wow! That Hubspot signature tool is a great example of this.
    They get all of your company info and even add a link to themselves in the generated output.

    1. 1

      Ye it is a really simple tool to use for your signature @mdo. You can even get rid of the link back to Hubspot if you want too. You don't have to include it. They make it an optional choice.

  8. 2

    Great post! I feel like the signature stuff is often an afterthought or completely forgotten nowadays. As you pointed out though, it can be incredibly effective! It's amazing how many companies don't use this tactic in their transactional emails. In some cases they don't add any sort of branding at all!

    Have you personally used any of these in your product?

    1. 2

      Thanks for the reply @austencam. Yes its such a simple way to build in some virality that is often overlooked. It can be done straight away so easily too. Ye for sure, I am using "Signatures" for my emails, I am "Building for collaboration" with a community tool and I am incorporating "Social Sharing" for all the blogs and content I am creating for Startup Sanctuary. How about you? Are you working on anything at the moment where you can implement some of these?

      1. 2

        Still in the validation phase for my app Sluicebox so I would be getting ahead of myself implementing most of this stuff. Focusing on getting eyes on the landing page and making connections with my target market while honing the branding on the landing page at the moment. :)

        1. 2

          Sweet that sounds awesome @austencam. Is sluicebox intended to be targeted to people trading in the stock market, or is it applicable for other verticals like Forex or Crypto?

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