Wink wink: The Nudge is the new go-to guide for The Capital
Having fun has become an organisational nightmare, particularly in London. You’re so spoilt for choice, that knowing where to go leaves you paralysed. The Nudge is the antidote for the fatiguing constant decision-making. It’s a curated take on London’s sybaritic delights. We sat down with Neil Frame, founder of The Nudge, to hear about the guide’s growth story.
Neverbland: How did you start The Nudge?
Neil Frame: I founded The Nudge about eleven years ago. I wanted to take my girlfriend out for dinner somewhere cool, interesting and new to impress her. I looked at the ubiquitous global city guide. I was on there for three hours, then left without an idea. I read about so many places, and nothing stood out. The reason for this is that there was no curation of the content and no specific audience.
NB: Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good night out, right?
NF: Exactly. At the time, there were loads of newsletter publications based in New York, which gave readers a proper insider’s guide on the city, with a really simple premise: they serve up one cool thing happening each day. I felt like London needed the equivalent. I started writing The Nudge myself in between work. It started slowly.
NB: Oh yeah?
NF: The Nudge was truly a labour of love, to begin with. In the early days, I’d call up my mum to ask why she hadn’t opened my newsletter yet, but as time went on I relished seeing the names of people I didn’t recognise in the signup data.
NB: what was the key to The Nudge’s growth?
I began focusing a lot on the curation of the content I released in the newsletter. I kept the writing accessible, not going overdosing on the cool so as to not alienate my audience. I wanted to make The Nudge a place to share insider information without being condescending or buying into the elitist inner circle so as to reduce any sense of superiority over our readers. We kept it light-hearted and authentic, and it worked. Before I knew it we had 10k subscribers and an amazing open rate.
NB: The loyalty of your readership is good for the places you review as well, right?
NF: We’d hear that our readers would book out specific restaurants for weeks in advance. And we’ve crashed a website or two in our time.
NB: Did you ever consider investment as a way to scale?
NF: That has always been a possibility, but I much preferred the DIY approach. This might have been the slow road, but I kept plugging away and growing the audience. We had more advertisers knocking on our door to use our platform. We’ve always punched above our weight. But the larger the audience, and the more revenue we were pulling, The Nudge was drifting from its initial concept and how I wanted it to be. That is, the antithesis of promoted content. This was around 2017.
NB: How did you respond?
NF: We switched from a business model that was about ad revenue to one that was about subscriptions. And while we’d been using perks to entice readers before – like a free cocktail at a specific place for Nudge subscribers – we realised that this wasn’t a long-term means of attracting and retaining an audience. We dialled down on the quality of the content itself.
NB: What’s next?
The Nudge is dedicated to unlocking the best experiences for our readers, which is why we created The Ideator. This service is a questionnaire that allows them to find their ideal London experience. You input some information, and The Ideator does the thinking for you and filters everything down so you only get the most relevant information. Whether you are looking for something fitting for a date, a work event or a family thing, in a specific part of town at a specific time in the future, The Ideator will sort you out. The perfect event found without any unnecessary stress or wasted time.
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