Premium, you have our full attention. Here’s 5 reasons why you should be excited.
First, how we got here…
If you’re a Premium member (or a Premium Partner) and you’re reading this, before I say anything else, I just want to say thank you. So often, startup companies talk about how they change lives, but whether you know it or not, your subscription to Premium and your support has changed our lives.
Premium was originally an experiment hatched from within our media company — a push to get back in touch with our core mission. Well, it’s worked. Today, the experiment will become the business — Premium will become Offline.
If you want to understand the background of this decision, you can read more about it here. For now, here’s the punchline: for the last 18 months you’ve had 50% of our team’s attention, but starting today you’ll have 100%. We’ll be spending 100% of every (work)day helping you experience your city more deeply through your subscription.
It’s hard to know exactly where that focus will take us, but I have a good idea of where we’re heading, and I wanted to take a few minutes to share 5 reasons why you should be excited.
#1 A fresh coat of paint
First, we’ve completely refreshed Offline’s brand: logo, colors, fonts, etc. We’ve done our best to take the personality and direction that we’ve developed within Offline Premium, amp it up a notch (or two!), and apply it to the “new” Offline for a refreshed brand that reflects the energy inherent in our mission. We’ve also changed Offline’s URL (letsgetoffline.com) to reflect the shift. Expect these changes to continue rolling out over the coming weeks.
#2 From one-size-fits-all newsletter to concierge and matchmaker
Imagine being able to tell us a bit about yourself (what you like, where you want to explore, etc.) and a little bit about what you’re looking for (date nights, things to do with your kids, etc.) and imagine that we took that information and got just a little smarter about which places and experiences we introduced you to every month. That’s where we’re heading.
When Premium started in April of ’18, every single member received the same offer to the same place. All 150 members were introduced to Raleigh Raw that month:
A year later, in April of ’19, we introduced the idea that different members would receive different offers. In other words, one group of ~300 members would be introduced to one partner, another group of ~300 members would be introduced to another, etc.
Over the last 90 days, we’ve put in place the technical infrastructure to send each individual member a different newsletter with content that’s customized to them.
You can see where this is going. We’re on the cusp of giving you a layer of personalization and control over your subscription that we never would have been able to offer before.
This same dynamic applies to our partner businesses. Right now, each and every member is introduced to their business over the course of a partnership, but imagine a world where a restaurant could be matched with members who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Or, where a gym could be matched with members who are specifically interested in fitness. The possibilities are exciting.
When we look 5 years down the road, we see our subscription as more of a concierge and a matchmaker than a monthly, awesome-offer-filled email newsletter. We expect to take some steps in that direction in 2020.
#3 More! More! More!
We sent out a survey recently, asking members what we could do to improve the service. What did we hear? “More!” More places, more variety, more events, etc. We’re preparing to deliver.
We feel strongly about the core experience of introducing you to 1–2 new places each month, and we don’t anticipate that changing much. Introducing you to too many places and opportunities in a month creates too much noise, and we want Offline to simplify your life.
What we do expect to change is the variety and diversity of what we offer. A city has so much to experience: restaurants, fitness and wellness, shopping, museums and arts, volunteer opportunities, etc. The subscription has started out very restaurant-centric because, hey, we all like to eat! But we don’t plan on stopping there. We’re taking a look at other areas and lining up initial partnerships.
More variety, when combined with the element of personalization and control outlined above, will create much deeper and more valuable experience for our members and our partners.
#4 From email-newsletter-only to holistic access
When Premium started in April of ’18, we launched on Mailchimp, and the only way that members could interact with Premium was through email. As I’m writing this, we’re still pretty email-centric:
Over the long run, our subscription needs to be a holistic experience that you can quickly access whenever and wherever you need to. We started moving in that direction a couple of months ago with text experiments. Instead of just getting reminder texts about unused offers, what if you could have a conversation with us? What if you could ask us about other things, like where to get late night food in downtown?
We had fun with these experiments, and we see text becoming a more integral component of the subscription experience. We’re also working on a website and eventually an app. Expect to see most of that in 2020.
#5 …and let’s talk about that “checkout” process
This was one of my favorite responses from our recent survey:
Telling the server that we are there with offline is the most awkward part. How does the check get split? We rotate on who has to break the news.
To be completely honest, I feel the same way, and I’m sure our partner staff do to. Our favorite services are easy and frictionless—you don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops. We’ve done a ton of work to streamline the process of using your offers, and our current process has gotten us to this point, but it won’t get us to the next stage.
We’re looking at a few ways to improve the way you interact with partners that wouldn’t involve needing to talk to the server at all. Better for members, better for partners, less friction.
The bottom line: experience something new in your city, every month
I think we all wish we explored a little more than we actually do. We know that our city is full of new, different, and interesting things to do, and we fear that we’re missing out on what’s happening around us. But then we get busy, we get overwhelmed by the choices, and we end up stuck in our routine, going to the same places over and over again. Or worse, we end up on the couch.
Over the last 18 months, Premium has morphed and matured into a matchmaker between members and amazing local businesses in Raleigh and Durham, used most avidly by young professionals and people who are new in town looking for adventure. We recently asked our members “what’s the main benefit you get from using Premium,” and the answer was clear: trying new places.
As we double down on this subscription as Offline’s core product, we will be building a service that gives you the tools, inspiration, and extra nudge to make sure you experience at least one new thing in your city (and beyond!) every month. We want you to spend more time exploring with your friends, or your partner, or your family. We want you to spend just a little bit less time on the couch and a little bit more time in the community.
In doing so, we hope we can help you fall in love with where you live.
Looking forward to a wild ride,
David and the Offline team
Want to keep the conversation going? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to respond quickly.