How to achieve viral growth for your database?

How do you get users and grow your database with a relatively small / non-existent traffic to start with?
Many businesses usually create a lead magnet in the form of a e-book, whitepaper, or lesson, which visitors can download if they put in their email contact. That’s what I would do, and it sounds like a great idea too. But before you can start utilizing the lead magnet, you’ll have to create a content piece which involves extra resources, budget and time.
At same time, after visitors download the gated content,
a) they have no incentive to share it with their network
b) they can remove themselves from your mailing list
c) they might never come back to your site again

 

 

What if you can offer something that is already within your resource, or at very low cost? 
And keep users engaged with sharing about your service to their network?

This is something that is already done by a company we are familiar with.

dropbox-logo
Dropbox.
They went from hundreds of thousands to 4 million users with their user referral scheme. It’s a freemium model which offers its own service as an incentive for user to share about the service. Remember that you could get additional storage space every time someone whom you referred to signed up for Dropbox?  Users were given a unique link, and they started to invite their friends, or shared their links on social media. That created a growth loop which helped Dropbox explode in its growth!
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Here’s an example of how another company used this technique:
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What if you don’t have a service to give away? 

You could pick a product to giveaway that will interest your readers. *It shouldn’t be something that’s generic, like an iPhone or iPad, because the people whom you’ll want on your database should be as targeted as possible, and potential buyers of your service.
An idea is to go to the best seller section on Amazon.com and pick a product that’s of relevant interest to your audience.
Example:
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Viral Co-efficient – Pass it on, pass it on.
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What happens after the first share?
People receive tons of promotion emails every day, and you shouldn’t be surprised if it ends after their first share. Set up an automated email plan that will remind them that X number of their reference has signed up, and the quota they’ve hit to use your service / win the prize.
That keeps the sharing going on, since they would be motivated to receive more incentives, or reach the incentive target.
Source: Upviral webinar
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