How To Turn Free Into Paid: Lessons From Evernote
(Updated) We give away free music (or it's grabbed via p2p), but how can we eventually monetize it? Artists, labels and music marketers ask themselves that question every day. I preach to me Berklee students "give your music away free, but…". My "but" is to try to get something in return – an email address, tweet or Facenook Like. But according to one hugely successful startup which operates under the Freemium model, Evernote, converting free to paid is all about engagement.
"The easiest way to get a million people to pay for non-scarcity product may be to make 100 million people fall in love with it,” Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote told the Founder Conference. His users, says Libin, are his marketing team.
Evernote is a an easy information gathering app with 3.2 million active users monthly, most of them using the free version. Libin says the most annoying question he gets is what percentage of users are paying for the product. It’s not the percentage, but rather the total number who pay that matters.
The key to getting that number higher is to keep users (aka fans) happy. “It’s more important that you stay than you pay,” Libin said. “Once Evernote gets under your skin, you never want to stop using it.”
If a fancy electronic sticky note can create millions of passionate users with some willing to pay to sustain the business, certainly great musicians can find a couple of thousand true fans.