Chapter 27. Nine Ways to Make Your Startup Grow Virally

Vinicius Vacanti

If you want your startup to become the next big thing, it’s not good enough to just build a great product. Unless you can afford to buy users, you’ll have to grow virally.

The difference between getting one of your new users to convince one friend to sign up and that person getting two new friends to sign up is huge. Assuming you start with 1,000 new users, after nine months, it’s the difference between having 9,000 users and 511,000 users!

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Let’s look at nine ways you can get your startup to grow virally, and some examples of each.

Get Your Users to Spread the Word

  1. Get users to tell others about your app simply by using it. This is probably the best item on this list, and one of the hardest to achieve. It’s generally true of communication and content-creation apps.

    • Tumblr. People create their tumblrs and link to them from their email signatures and Facebook and Twitter profiles. When visitors come, at the top of each tumblr page is a pitch for the visitor to “Join Tumblr.”

    • Users can create beautiful landing pages for themselves, and as with Tumblr, they link to their pages on their social media profiles. But, as you’ll see below, there’s a reason why Tumblr has grown much faster than

  2. Get users to push content they create on your app to Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is a recent and huge phenomenon. ...

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