$0 spent. 1 million users in 6 Months.

Your embarrassing old hotmail address (e.g. bad_angel927) was one of millions that hotmail paid next to nothing for you to create.

Hotmail is a fantastic example of a startup that had very little money to spend on marketing, and still experienced such unbelievable growth. (If you don’t have time to read, skip to the two “Actionables” at the bottom!).

The free email provider hit 1 million users just 6 months after launch. What was the key to its virality? Simply a message at the bottom of each email sent that invited new customers. Every email became an advertisement that was totally effective and totally free.

Ok, that’s inspiring and all. So how do I actually apply that to what I’m doing?

Here are a couple of ways that you can apply this marketing mindset to your own project – whether it’s an email newsletter, blog, physical product, etc.

  1. Right now, think of a way that you can build virality right into your product. Maybe it’s asking people to share your blog post or email with 1 or 2 people that they specifically think would appreciate it (easier for them to think of 1 or 2). Maybe it’s offering a discount if someone shares your product to their network.
  2. Take another look at your product/content/service. Have you done everything you can to make it as easy as possible for people to spread the word? Write a few things down and make an effort to increase that “sharability” (e.g. Integrate sharing plugin like SumoMe or AddThis).

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