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How I got influencers to share my product without paying them

Updated: May 7

There are three reasons why people share

1. Financial: Robinhood, Paypal (give get $10)

2. Personal: Whatsapp, Slack, Linkedin

3. Social/Word of Mouth: Tesla, Tinder, Stripe


And, our new product wasn't relevant to our existing audience

We were launching a great product. It was free and open-source. However, the product itself wasn't something our existing audience could use. This means, I couldn't piggyback off of our existing audience to get that first spike.


Slapping money on the wall

Given the circumstances, it would be impossible to get people to share the product organically. They had no skin in the game to share.

So, the only option left to us was a financial incentive. Pay people to share.

I'd say it was a weak financial incentive.

A giveaway. Only 1 winner. So people know they might not win anything even after putting in the effort. A give and get program is much stronger in comparison because there's an assured return.

Ours was worth $300 which was what many people in our audience earned in an hour.


I was worried it'll fail

So a couple of hours before the launch, I pitched the team to pivot away from the financial incentive. 🥲


The solution?

The alternative I suggested looked something like this 👇

Instead of asking people to share with friends, I wanted to encourage people to share with influencers instead.

This was the exact email I drafted:


Without tracking referral links

If I were cooler, I'd say that attribution is a myth. That's why I did away with unique URLs allowing people to track their referrals.