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Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers by Justin Mares, Gabriel Weinberg

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CHAPTER 6

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is the process of getting your existing users to refer others to your product. You’ve seen examples of this traction channel in action any time a friend’s Pinterest post appeared in your Facebook feed, or whenever you’ve received an email from a friend telling you about a product.

In the context of startups, going viral means that every user you acquire brings in at least one other user: that new user then invites another user, and so on. This creates true exponential growth. Though difficult to sustain, it’s been the driving force behind the explosive growth of consumer startups like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

As great as your product may be, true viral growth is unlikely. However, this channel ...

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