How marketing drives Uber-like companies?
Marketing is one of the biggest hurdles a startup has to overcome as soon as it launches. The aim is to get as many users as you can and keep the momentum going. There are many strategies that are recommended to increase the visibility of your startup and get more users, however, in the end it all depends upon the usability, the user experience and how seamless and connected the service feels that ultimately converts the users into fans and that's when you turn your startup into a unicorn. Uber is one of those startups which rose to a valuation of $68 billion and a large part of it goes towards it efficient sales and marketing strategy.
Uber despite calling themselves a technology company, is looked at as a cab company in the mind of the user. All the transportation companies especially the public transport modes have a baggage that they are looked at as archaic, 20th century technologies which are dirty unsafe and unreliable. Uber does a wonderful job of breaking these stereotypes and projecting itself as a company which is modern, fun and forward looking.
Uber conducted a number of campaigns which were widely popular in generating positive feedback from users. Campaigns such as Lemonade Stand, Icecream Truck, Free rides at SXSW or motorcades for President’s day. These publicity stunts, although short lived, created a positive feeling into the users, as well as gave away free stuff, and who doesn’t like free icecream?!
Reviews, feedback & complaints
Data suggests that apps that have in-app messaging service have higher retention rates than apps without them. Uber’s takes full advantage of this to solve any kind of complaints or problems. As soon as you write a negative review you get a mail from Uber staff, within a day or two they resolve the issue and refund the money. The quick and sincere response rate of Uber Staff adds to the trust and reliability of the company. A single line dropped solves the issues which puts Uber in a different category than traditional transport companies in the mind of user.
Data suggests that referral rates usually are less successful in gaining new costumers. People have grown habitual to ignore referral mails. However, Uber’s one the most successful marketing campaigns are the referral discounts. Rather than giving partial discounts when a new user signs up, Uber and likes give user as well as the referral with free 10 rides or free 5 rides, which are highly useful.
Word of mouth
Uber’s most costumer acquisition, over 95% is through word-of-mouth strategy. Uber’s gives such a premium and seamless experience to the users that all you a new user has to do is take a ride with a friend in Uber to become a fan. Users don’t need to explain the service, rather they can take them on a ride through the whole experience and they get free rides if the person signs up. For every 7 rides Uber gets a new user.
Uber doesn't use the same tried and tested model everywhere. One of the best things about Uber is intense localization of their App. In India, Uber offers payments by cash, and had Uber Autos as well. But they are optimizing the app in ways to avoid confusion while calling the cab. Malls with multiple gates show options of gate numbers on the app so that you can call app while moving to the destination itself. Uber has also tried running ‘stealth ubers’ in the cities before publicly acknowledging their launch which creates hype and attraction.
Conversion rates for apps are the lowest for the smart phones, usually around 0.5–1%. If an app has a conversion rate more than 2% it is considered to be doing good. Uber has managed to keep the conversion rates much higher around 10% owing to the strategies discussed above. One of the strategies that UpChannel described in their post is providing user wit the promo codes with the new phones themselves, recognizing that a person is more likely to install a new app and try it out on a new phone.
Integration with Public transport
Uber, Lyft and Ola are now expanding their User base by not only providing rides for social scenarios rather for daily commute too. Mass transit authorities are partnering up with these companies to solve their first and last mile problems, which not only gives these companies a larger user base, rather projects them as sincere transportation solution driven companies.
Uber recognizes that users use different apps or platforms to make their plans to meet. Since most of the people in US tend to use Facebook messenger for group chats, Uber has integrated its app with Facebook messenger itself so now users can book their app using messenger itself.
I am not an Uber employee or fan. This is just a small case study done for a class at Art Center College of Design.
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