Evernote Launch: Growth Strategy Case Study – Effective Marketing Techniques
Evernote offers a suite of software and services that are designed to allow note taking and archiving across a wide range of devices and operating systems. The company launched its closed beta in 2008 and gained 1 million users in 446 days.
(The closed beta alone drew 250,000 in four months capitalizing on the sense of exclusivity such invitations carry.)
From there the growth curve grew steadily shorter:
- 222 days to reach 2 million
- 133 days to reach 3 million
- 108 days to reach 4 million
- 83 days to reach 5 million
- 52 days to reach 6 million
It is now estimated that just under 20,000 new users sign up for Evernote daily.
The developers at Evernote have, since the beginning, focused on the user experience, but in all honesty, the company benefited enormously from timing. They came along just as smartphones were taking off and quality, useful apps were in exceptionally high demand.
They had their first app out of beta and ready for the launch of the iPhone App Store in June 2008. As more app stores followed, they proved to be high-quality distribution channels for Evernote.
Regardless of the device or operating system, Evernote was there when the store opened for business, prominently featured and ready for download. This is a policy Evernote continues to follow. They already have an app for the much hyped Google Glass wearable computer.
Timing was not the only component of Evernote’s success, however. Their designers have created an impressive cross-platform experience with no file size limitations and no complex rules. Regardless of the device or operating system, all platforms sync up seamlessly.
Evernote is totally customizable, allowing users to organize and archive their data into what the company calls their “second brain.” The value proposition is so clear and so simple that early in the company’s existence, a dedicated user in Switzerland floated Evernote a $500,000 loan based purely on his own passionate use of the product.
These are the kinds of users that can become Evernote Ambassadors, representing the company at meet ups and events where they demonstrate how they use the product and hand out premium trial coupons.
Clearly the word of mouth for the service is excellent. Evernote puts so much emphasis on product superiority, they spend nothing on user acquisition through traditional channels like SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing).
Finally, Evernote works on a “freemium” model. Users receive access to free, basic service at sign up with an option to upgrade, with more features and storage space. This gets people in the door and in a position to become invested. The longer someone uses Evernote, the more likely they are to pay for the service.
The company also employs a referral program. New users who sign up on referral get a month of the premium service, while the referring member earns points toward various perks like more space, gift cards, or even lunch with the teach at headquarters.
Most recently Evernote has begun to develop product extensions like Evernote Hello for contact management, Evernote clearly for distraction free reading and writing, and even an Evernote Moleskine notebook (each page can be photographed and uploaded to the user’s account.)
By keeping the emphasis on the user experience, Evernote built an exceptionally loyal user community. Certainly the company benefited from superior timing, but they have also engineered and consistently improved a cross platform application with true long-term functionality.