Viral Growth Hacking: Let Your Customers Do Your Marketing For You

What’s the only thing better than doing great digital marketing? Having your customers do your marketing for you!

Viral Growth Hacking is all about achieving growth by enlisting the help of your current customers to spread the word and grow your brand. Why is viral growth important? Consider if every new customer you bring in reliably enlists to two of their friends, both of whom also become customers. That means you can literally afford to spend three times as much to acquire that original customer because the total resulting value is actually 3X what it would be if the original customer had not spread the word to her two friends.


Measuring Virality



How do you know if you’re achieving ‘viral growth’? We only need a few inputs and a simple formula:



Invitees (i)—# invites sent by each new customer

Conv% = % of new invitees who convert



VC = i / conv%

(VC=Viral Coefficient)


Don’t worry, it really is simple! VC > 1 = Viral Growth.

For example, let’s start with ten customers. Each customer invites ten friends, and two out of ten of those invitees convert, for a conversion rate of 20%. You have a Viral Coefficient of 2 = Viral Growth!

If, however, that conversion rate falls to 5%, you’ll have a negative Viral Coefficient (0.5) = No Viral Growth.


5 Viral Growth Strategies and Tactics

So, viral growth is important, and we now know how to measure it. But how is it achieved? Encourage viral growth in the following ways:


1.) Have a great product or service

This is the most important factor in achieving viral growth, to say nothing of achieving success with your business overall. You must provide value! Viral growth can be incentivized, but if what you’re offering simply does have real value, you’ll have trouble achieving growth. Make sure your product or service deserves to be hyped in the first place!


2.) Offer monetary rewards

This works essentially the same way as affiliate marketing: you incentivize new customer acquisitions by offering a cut of the revenue with the referring source.


3.) Offer product upgrades

Another effective strategy is to offer product enhancements to users in exchange for bringing you new business. For example, every new customer who signs up as a result of a referral from a friend receives receives a reward – more storage for SaaS products, a free product accessory for eCommerce, etc.


4.) Give to charity

This is a simple way to promote a positive brand image and drive more sales. It’s also a good thing to do. Tell your customers that a portion of that revenue you receive from referred customers will go to a charity of their choice!


5.) Make it easy to invite friends

Optimize your website for viral growth. Make it easy for your customers to invite their friends. embed social sharing links and make them prominent on your key pages. Make the incentives mentioned above clear and easy to find.


Whether you realize it, or not, virality is an important component of nearly every business’s growth. However, the extent to which current customers are contributing to the acquisition of new customers is often not realized. Take the time to understand the value your customers are providing and optimize this process to get the most out of your brand’s virality.




  • Viral Growth Hacking is the process of encouraging your current customers to market on your behalf, often in exchange for incentives
  • Quantify your company’s viral growth with a simple ‘Viral Coefficient’ formula
  • Take simple steps to optimize for virality



Resources / References