In only 4 short years Google Chrome has dominated the browser market. Last Month Google Chrome over took IE as the top browser. This is a big deal. FireFox has been around for 9 years and has never over taken IE.
How did this happen?
How come FireFox couldn’t grab more market share in the 9 years they have been out?
Is it because Chrome is a better browser?… Nope
Is it because Google buys a ton of TV ads?… No
Is it because they have massive DISTRIBUTION?… YES!!! They simply leverage all their other properties to destroy their competition.
Google’s Chrome “Recommendation” on IE7
Here is what you see when you go to Google.com (you know the most popular website in the world) in IE7.
You see similar types of “recommendations” when you go to YouTube, Gmail, or any other Google property when you are browsing in IE7. I’m a huge fan of all the Google products and it makes sense to leverage all their properties to dominate.
I’ve been pretty obsessed with the idea of massive distribution. If you know any other examples of companies doing it well, please let me know in the comments.
Update (Aug 31 2012): Dan Weiland just had an incredibly insightful comment:
Their main revenue stream is advertising. Advertising through Google.com, Gmail, GReader and many of their other web based products. They key here is the word “web based”.
Before Google Chrome, Google’s web based product performance was limited by the browsers people were using. Google.com could only go so fast (and by extension, serve so many ads) as IE would allow it. Undoubtedly one of the reasons they made Chrome was to force the other browser makers to innovate on speed. see the full comment here
I recently read the first memo Marissa Mayer gave to the Yahoo employees as CEO. It contained a key sentence that made me really believe in her and the future of Yahoo:
“We will continue to invest in talent, so we can produce the most compelling and exciting user experiences anywhere.”
1 Simple Goal
Most new CEOs have a boiler plate reply about growing revenues or investing in big markets. Not Marissa - she specifically mentioned investing in people. By focusing on 1 simple goal that everyone (investors and employees) can agree with makes an amazing company a lot easier to build.
Focusing on Safety turned around Aluminum Co.
To make my point I want to tell you about a story that I recently read in “The Power of Habit“. In 1987 Paul O’Neill took over a Aluminum Co. a floundering aluminum production company. He told the massive company that all he is going to do is focus on safety. Focusing on safety was something no one could argue about – the management or the factory workers. By focusing on something as simple as safety, Paul was able to increase productivity (less on-the-job injuries), improve communication (as soon as their was an error management knew about it), and in turn this increased the quality of the product! In 5 short years Aluminum Co. was one of the safest companies to work for and was a profit making machine.
Marissa’s focus on talent
By focusing on talent everything in the company will automatically improve.
Yahoo will be able to attract top talent and existing employees will become even more talented, more talented people will create better products, better products will bring in more revenue!
Good luck Marissa - you are already off to a great start!
If you’ve been to an airport you have seen a Hudson News store. They are located in hundreds of airport terminals.
Fancy Unique Business? NOPE!
Hudson News only sells popular products that you have already heard of.
1. Best Selling Books
2. Popular Mainstream Candy
3. Tacky Touristy Crap that you forgot to buy for your kids (they will love it!)
What is the Key to their Success?
Partnerships with airports is how Hudson News dominate.
Millions of travelers walk past a Hudson News while catching their flight. Airports need a store they can rely on to provide travelers with refreshments (and pay the rent), and Hudson News is willing to comply with all the airports regulations (and pay the rent).
Would the Hudson News business work if they were located in your local shopping mall? Nope – grocery stores and 7-11 are cheaper and way better.
Rishi, What is Your Point?
If you have multiple competitors think of valuable partnerships you can make. Sometimes it’s your partnerships that make you dominate - not your product.
The Future of Books Stores
Hudson News is the future of Book Stores. I have no idea how a stand alone Barnes and Nobles can survive. They are just way to big and expensive to run, also they don’t have enough traffic coming in anymore. Each Hudson News store on the other hand is run by only 1 person and has millions of people going through their stores daily.
Hudson News also only carries books they know will sell which results in more turn over.
>> Do you think Hudson News is the future of Book Stores? Let me know in the comments below.
PS One could argue that their key to success is surrounding the cashier in a mound of candy.
I went to Milan, Italy last week and asked the lady at the front desk at my hotel for a map. Below is what she handed me.
My Italy Tourist Map
Notice anything weird about this map?
It shows me a BIG swans of exactly where the Swarovski stores are located.
Do you think Swarovski is in the map business? No, they are in the expensive crystal business and they want to target tourists to come and buy crystals from their store. This is deliberate tourist attracting marketing from Swarovski, here is what I’m thinking there train of thought was:
1. Our best customers are tourists
2. Tourist need maps
3. Maps are handed to tourists in hotels
4. Lets give “Swarovski” maps to all hotels so they can give it to the tourists
If you want toursits to find you – Just Give Them a Map!
Pretty Brilliant, right?
So, Why are Tourists their best customers?
1. Tourists have money – If you have money to go on vacation, you have money to buy crystals
2. Tourists have time, they don’t have really anything to do
3. Tourists want to shop, and bring back a “souvenir”
What do you think of this strategy? Love it… or hate it. I wanna know – tell me below.
PS. Swarovski wasn’t the only one using maps. Your good ol’ pal McDonalds was too.
Have you seen Instagram’s personalized landing pages? I’m not talking about their homepage. I’m talking about every single picture that is shared on the web. Check it out:
You Can Only Do Three Things
1. Download the app
2. Share It
3. Close the page
Instagram could have easily created a web based social network and asked people to sign up on the web, but they didn’t. Instead they focused on getting you to download their app. Which is pretty brilliant since Facebook already had the web based photo social network thing covered.
I spoke to Adam Nash last week and he said something very insightful that I just had to share with you. He talked about thinking about the first interaction that your potential user interacts with. In most cases it isn’t your website – it is an email referral, Facebook share, or landing page view. In Instagram’s case your first interaction was seeing your friends photo, and since you can’t zoom or see more pictures all you can really do is download the app to see more.
Nobody Likes to Be Sold
What is so amazing about the Instagram photo landing pages is that the call to actions are so non obtrusive. They simply suggest that you should download the app or share it, they don’t force it on you with an annoying pop-up. Here is a close up screen shot of the Download Call-To-Action.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this Growth Hack – let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to learn about airbnb’s growth hack, download it here.
-> Click here to read my report on AirBnB’s Growth Hack <-
My guest blog post for OnStartups has been published! It is on Freemium SaaS pricing and everything I know about it. It took me about a year to write, because every time I would proofread it I kept wanting to add more. It is the best thing I have written, read the full blog post here.
$20 Gift Card – No, Thank You
3 Free Months – maybe I’ll sign up tomorrow
Free TShirt - OMG! I will do anything for it!!
I’m not really sure what it is about free t-shirts but they seem to work on me. MixPanel an analytics company (similar to Google Analytics but makes it easy to go more granular in your data) sent me the email above. I thought this was pretty genius.
Over the Integration Hump
Integrating MixPanel takes a little bit of work. A little bribe goes a long way to get people like me to actually take the time to do it. MixPanel has good lock-in power too once you actually start using it – it is hard to stop. A $10 t-shirt is chump change if you upgrade to their Startup – $150 package.
Good work MixPanel Marketing Team!
Converting Free Sign Ups to Free Users
The only way to convert people from your free plan to your paid plan is to first make sure they actually use your product. MailChimp does a great job of this as well. After your send your first email campaign they send you a free t-shirt.
What have companies done to get you to start using their product? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m not sure what it is but I really enjoy watching things get uploaded… you know the bar that shows you the progress of where your upload is. The first time it was used was in Mosaic to indicate to their users “Hey, don’t give up on me. We are loading the webpage.”
We’ve come a long way since Mosaic. I wanted to take a look at things other sites do while the website is in a loading state.
YouTube Leverages Loading Time to Get SEO Juice
That is why I thought it was pretty brilliant to see how YouTube leverages their loading time to get you to add a description, tags, and categorize your video. By the time your video is fully uploaded you probably already entered in all your information.
HipMunk Shows Me Tips
Gmail knows its slow so they show me a preview of my email with a loading bar
If You Have To Fake It
If you don’t have the time to add in something cool. Please make sure you add a progress bar (if you have to, fake it by estimating the average time and having a bar load for that long) or something that shows some progress. If you don’t have one I’m going to think the upload failed and move on.
What if I don’t have any loading time?
Then… you win! Nobody likes loading time. Google has reported that if the search results take longer than 3 seconds they see a significant drop off in user engagement, which is why they limit the first page to 10 results.
Recently my friend Ben was walking home and came across a panhandler. Here is the conversation they had:
Panhandler: “Hey, do you know of any shelters around here?”
Ben: “umm… no I’m sorry I don’t know of any shelters around here.”
Panhandler: “Okay, Can I stay at your place tonight? It’s raining.”
Ben: (a little startled) “No, I’m sorry. I have a roommate and don’t know how he would feel about that.”
Panhandler: “I understand. How about $1.00?”
Ben: (relieved) “Sure! Here is $1.00.”
Ben is Approached by Panhandlers Every day
Living in the Mission (San Francisco) Ben is approached by a Panhandlers a lot. He never gives any of them money. So, what made this situation so different? Why did he give this one a dollar?
This Panhandler is a Sales Genius!
The panhandler understands how to influence people. He used two techniques most marketers know about.
Sales Technique #1: FOOT IN THE DOOR
The panhandler knew that people like Ben are constantly getting hounded for change. The usual response is to ignore them. By asking a simple yes or no question like “Do you know of any shelter around here?”. The panhandler was able to get Ben engaged (or “his Foot in the Door”). This simple yes/no question opens up the ability to ask Ben another question or a favor – it will be much much harder for Ben to ignore the panhandler after he responds to a question.
Sales Technique #2: DENNIS THE MENACE
Ask for something crazy so that your next offer seems like nothing. The panhandler knew that asking for a $1.00 is a lot of money since most beggers are asking for 25 cents. So instead he asked for something crazy like a place to stay so that his next proposal ($1.00) seems like nothing. Honestly I think he could have asked for $5.00 and gotten it.
The moral of the story
Next time you want something follow these 3 steps:
Step 1: Ask a simple yes/no question to start the conversation (get your foot in the door)
Step 2: Ask for something grand (like a lot of money or time)
Step 3: Ask for the thing you actually want (like a couple dollars, a 20 minute phone call, a simple partnership)
Have you ever used this technique? I’d love to know your story in the comments.
Each pixel on Facebook.com is highly tested to maximize sign ups. It is interesting to see the word “Sex” used so subtly, even though you didn’t notice your subconscious did.
The word “Sex” is extremely powerful, it gets people excited. One big reason a lot of students sign up for Facebook is to see what their crush (slang for romantic interest) is doing. So seeing the word “Sex” has to help peak their interest to sign up for Facebook.
Google Plus and most sign up forms I’ve seen around the web use “Gender” instead of “Sex” (see screen shots below).
Do you think Facebook is using Sex to their advantage? I’d love to know in the comments.