How Evernote Is Changing the Free Model

How Evernote Is Changing the Free Model

By John Jantsch

Marketing podcast with Phil Libin (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

evernoteFor this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to visit with Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

Evernote is a simple service that allows you to track and store everything you want to remember and get it out of your “meat brain” and housed somewhere safe and trustworthy. About 9,000 people a day are joining the free version of this service that also syncs incredibly well with iPads and mobile devices. (GTD fans, funny David Allen story here)

One of the reasons I wanted to record this show is that on top of being a user of the service, I’m taken by the fact that Evernote has also figured out how to get serious numbers of users to upgrade from the free to the premium version. The traditional freemium thinking is that you get lots of users and figure out how to turn them into paying customers.

While the web 2.0 landscape is littered with lots of bad freemium ideas, Evernote is turning users into fanatics and fanatics into profit. So, how do they do that?

According to Libin, “focusing on the free part is where people make the mistake. Evernote focuses instead on how many people are paying and how much it costs to get them. That’s the approach all businesses need to take. Freemium doesn’t change that approach, it just changes the math.”

To get a million people paying you just need to get ten million people using it. The free users are just part of the cost.

While this explains, to some extent, why Evernote is profitable, it doesn’t capture the other part – why people would pay for it. In my view, Evernote has done a couple things that people find attractive and worthy of commitment. They’ve created something that works and is simple – simple to use, to explain, to adopt. And, they’ve captured trust – repeatedly stating that your memories are safe. Evernote is adamant that they have no data deals in the works, just put your stuff here and don’t worry about any funny stuff or privacy issues. Those two items are central to what gets people to want to pull out their wallet and pay for the premium version – there’s actually an element of support as well as value.

Too many freemium offers start off with an offering that’s not worth paying for, assuming lots will jump on board simply because it’s free.

I’m working on my next book and using Evernote as a significant bridge to all the information I need to explore and save for this project.

So, tell me your Evernote story, how are you using it?

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Road-to-Success Challenge


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