The Launch Crushed Our Expectations!

Four weeks ago we moved forward with our 'soft launch', and by every measure we blew it out of the water. The most astounding result is that we signed up just shy of 1,000 paid subscriptions while I was conservatively estimating we would see about 500. I've never underestimated by anywhere near this much when it comes to business projections and I'm literally floored by the response! Thanks everyone!

My initial expectations were in fact plenty enough for Snowology to be successful, and overperforming will only make us stronger and enable us to move forward at a faster pace. We also signed on about 500 Free subscribers in this period, which was below expectations, but over 400 of our Free subscribers subsequently upgraded to paid subscriptions in the last week. Almost 2/3 of our subscribers are paying currently.

This happened in the dead of summer with the July 4th holiday inside of this period. Our post distribution on Facebook likewise suffered greatly with most of our posts only reaching 15% or less of our following. I do understand that many of our most engaged followers saw most of our emails and posts, but the vast majority did not. It was important thought that we made sure to give our supporters from last season 4 full weeks and multiple contacts because we wanted to do our best to give these people first dibs at paying the lowest price that we will broadly offer this season. We followed this up with a 5 day Flash Sale to everyone else, starting with our Free subscribers and then opening it up more broadly in the last 2 days. The response in the last 5 days was mostly from people who had not voluntarily supported us in the past and it was significantly stronger than I expected. This is clearly a great sign for our future. We still have thousands who have contributed in the past who have yet to join. Simply put, we're going to kick some ass this season!

While we are headed into our 6th season of coverage this coming winter, our site and how people deal with subscriptions is new to us. We wanted to make a splash while also learning the ropes, so a phased rollout in the off-season was important. This gave me time to answer every question or concern that was posed, receive feedback, monitor the various systems for problems, and make adjustments. Lots has been learned, but I'm happy to report that virtually everything went smoothly.

With the sale now over, our growth will slow to a crawl for the next 6 weeks until Labor Day and the start of fall starts to pique interest. This will give us the opportunity to not just work on things that people are expecting, like the ability to onboard their extra accounts from group subscriptions, but also to work on things that will make subscriptions even more appealing to a wider range of people. I'm particularly excited to work on a system to give each subscriber unique single-use coupon codes from our partners. When you can limit the ability to share coupons widely, companies are often willing to offer even larger discounts giving them a greater chance of attracting new customers while adding value to a Snowology subscription.

We have a fair amount of work left to do, but I am already capable of covering the weather and news as I did in the past and there is nothing left in our Phase 1 work that is intimidating. We'll wrap these loose ends up before the season starts and then move onto things no one is expecting us to deliver. As far as publishing articles goes, things will likely remain quieter than usual until after Labor Day. That doesn't mean that we're taking a break, it means we're busy working on finishing what we must before the ski season starts.

I know that for some this article is the first they have heard about our subscription offering, while others would like for me to please shut up after seeing up to a dozen posts and emails over the last month. If you are confused about our plans, just sign up for a free subscription and I'll be talking more about every feature and change in detail well before the season starts.

-- Matt