B2B Applications with a Viral Component

Entrepreneurs love to talk about viral customer acquisition — the idea that by the very nature of the how the product works, users will introduce other users to it. Facebook is one of the most popular examples whereby the viral nature of their product helped them acquire over 1 billion users. David Skok has a great article up titled Lessons Learned – Viral Marketing. Only, most of the viral marketing discussion is geared around the business to consumer (B2C) startup world and not the business to business (B2B) startup world. So, I started thinking of B2B applications with a viral component. Here are a few examples:

  • EchoSign – Whenever someone requests an e-signature from another person, that person is introduced to EchoSign and its benefits
  • Calendly – Whenever someone requests a meeting and the recipient asks them to self schedule it with Calendly, that other person is introduced to Calendly and its benefits
  • Mailchimp – Whenever someone sends out a newsletter, the recipients see a “Powered by Mailchimp” message at the bottom of the email, introducing the brand and service many times over

B2B examples of viral marketing aren’t as common but they’re still plentiful. Entrepreneurs would do well to look for ways to incorporate a viral marketing element to their startup if it makes sense.

What else? What are some other examples of viral marketing within the B2B world?

2 thoughts on “B2B Applications with a Viral Component

  1. Hi David,

    Not sure I’d agree that MailChimp is viral. It definitely leverages it’s users to promote it, but the user of MailChimp does not benefit from the newsletter subscribers using MailChimp. Not that I’m taking anything away from MailChimp; they are a phenomenal company in so many ways, just not viral.

    A better recent example of virality in the B2B space would be Slack. Once people start using it they want to be able to chat with others in their company. And when freelancers and contractors use it, it can cross companies. We are an avid user of Slack and have convinced numerous others to sign up for it. The WordPress core team is now using it, and they’ve signed up over 2000 in the core channel alone; an order of magnitude more than when on IRC.

    I would have mentioned HipChat first, but even after over 10,000 user voice requests for support of one login to support multiple accounts they still haven’t made it easy for people to access multiple accounts so as a freelancer/contractor there is a disincentive to tell your clients about it otherwise your daily workflow becomes more difficult. I really think HipChat has dropped the ball here. But I digress…


  2. Trello is a cross organization agile board. We invite people from the organizations with which we are working creating a network effect and introduction to the platform. There is also a monetary incentive – free month for every invitee who agrees to use the platform.

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