When you’re building your marketing strategy for a dating site, you must take into account this simple fact:
Dating and marketing have a lot in common.
First and foremost, both are about building a long-lasting relationship. Both require a similar courtship dance for two.
Heck, even the buzzwords are identical: hook, attract, engage, and delight.
But—as we found out at Natural Intelligence—it goes much deeper than that: dating and marketing are both rarely as simple as people think.
We had the privilege to work with some of today’s most successful dating sites and have spent hours on end A/B testing all our activities. We can full-heartedly testify that building marketing strategies for dating sites is hard. Almost impossible actually.
But only almost.
How come it’s so hard? On the face of it, dating sites are super popular; it is almost a necessity these days. The target audience is pain-aware, solution-aware, and even brand-aware in most cases.
So what seems to be the problem?
In one word: saturation. A new and flashy dating app is launched almost every month. In order to stay ahead of the game, you need to optimize your “courting skills” and give your users the “first date” of their dreams.
Otherwise, they’ll fall in love with a better solution.
But enough sweet talking. Let’s dive right into 5 of the best marketing strategies for dating sites:
Strategy #1 – It’s a Match! Find Your Niche
In dating and marketing, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but cast too wide a net—for love or customers—and it’ll end up costing you too much. Cast too narrow a net, and you won’t land anything of value.
Before searching for users, you must know your target audience. Users can be broken down into countless groups and categories. The Natural Intelligence comparison site for dating sites has listings for broad-based dating sites that cater to all users and to niche dating sites (that include everything from casual dating to singles over 50 to Christian singles).
In general, the online dating industry is super diverse. There are dating sites for straight people, and dating sites for the LGBT community.
If there’s a group of people looking for love, there’s a dating site for it.
On a recent survey by CLiKD, heterosexual men in the UK were asked what is the one single trait they are looking for in a life partner. The majority answered: a relaxed girlfriend. Heterosexual women, on the other hand, are looking for a person who values love over success. Meanwhile, same-sex daters said they’re looking for someone to accompany them to the pub. These specifications can mean major changes to your site’s UX and marketing strategies.
Whatever your niche, knowing your audience is just the first step to targeting and converting users.
Strategy #2 – Find Influencers That Are to Die For
Unsurprisingly, the majority of people who use dating apps and sites are aged 18-34.
This is the case for serious matching sites like Zoosk, Match, and eHarmony as well as more casual dating apps like Tinder. Seventy-nine percent of Tinder users are millennials (people aged roughly 23-38). According to CLiKD, 64% of its users are millennials, and only 11% are aged 45+.
Niche dating sites for singles aged 50+ are the exception rather than the rule.
Millennials view brand marketing differently than older generations; It’s a well-known fact. A McCarthy Group survey found 84% of millennials reject traditional advertising. A 2018 Fullscreen survey found that 44.3% of people born between 1986 and 2000—a group comprising mostly millennials and some Gen Zers—trusted influencers more than brands. Respondents were 50% more likely to buy something recommended by a “digital trailblazer,” an influencer with 1 million-plus followers who became famous online, than by a celebrity with 20 million-plus followers.
For a more thorough look into millennials’ consuming habits, I suggest you visit this article.
Here’s an example of an influence match made in heaven:
Match’s partnership with comedian Rebel Wilson sheds light on one of the biggest pain points their audience is faced with: the lack of emotional intimacy and vulnerability that has become an inevitable part of online dating.
Using influencers with a solid reputation for dating expertise may be just the right marketing strategy for your dating site.
Strategy #3 – Don’t Be Shy: Target and Sweep Them off Their Feet
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a leading operator of top 10 comparison sites, it is that there are certain fundamentals common to all types of online services. Whether you’re in the business of dating sites, online mortgage lending, or meal delivery services, user intent matters—a lot.
In dating, people give away certain signals when they are interested (and not interested). Their body language changes, they create opportunities to touch or get physically close to the other person (or on the flip side: to make for the nearest exit!).
The same is true for intent marketing. There are specific signals that appear in the user’s search query. What is intent marketing? In short, it’s a type of digital marketing that targets high-intent users, i.e. users who have decided they need a product or service and are now ready to compare brands and, ultimately, purchase a subscription.
As we discussed in a previous blog post, when it comes to search queries, user intent and signals can be divided into 3 categories: navigational, informational, and transactional intent. Transactional queries are where purchase intent is at its peak. The user types in a branded query like “Match dating site” or “Zoosk subscription,” or a non-branded query like “best dating sites” or “compare dating sites.” Non-branded queries are where the best opportunities can be found because the user hasn’t yet committed to a specific brand. Non-branded search queries are on the rise across various industries.
Make sure you rank high for high-intent keywords such as “best dating sites for Christians.” Craft content that is as insightful as it is search engine optimized.
Strategy #4 – Use Data to Perfect your Pursuits
Sticking with the marketing-dating analogy, a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is a bit like a first date.
Because in both cases, you put in the investment (fancy restaurant, new blazer, flowers for the old-fashioned), before you have any idea what the reward will be. The optimal price depends on whether you’ll convert your target (customer/date) into a partner. But it’s a shot in the dark, right?
Well, maybe it is true for dating. But not for marketing.
Fortunately, dating related-search terms aren’t the most expensive to purchase. That title goes to consumer finance queries, like “auto insurance price quotes” and “best mortgage loans,” which can cost well in excess of $40 per click, according to WordStream. The thing about these keywords is that they offer conversion rates of up to 24%, whereas a 1%-2% conversion rate is generally considered a good benchmark on Google AdWords.
Data analysis is a crucial part of any intent marketing strategy. For every industry and every brand, there is an optimal cost per click. Paying more for non-branded keywords can be a good thing if it lands you high-intent users with a readiness to convert.
Focus on non-branded keywords such as “dating sites 2019,” and even more distinct KWs like “best dating sites for people over 50.”
Strategy #5 – Swipe Right for Conversion – Interaction Matters
Of course, getting users to visit your dating site or download your dating app is only one part of the equation. The next step is to get them to convert (becoming a subscriber or purchasing an in-app feature). The best marketing strategies for dating sites take into account the importance of interacting with users. Providing added value through interesting and informative content—like how-to guides or listicles—is a proven tactic across many different industries. Transparency about rates and services is also important:
Another way to convert with delight is to create an interactive marketing funnel that helps your prospects to better understand their dating goals. Take, for example, this questionnaire we’ve created. The user gets a chance to fine-tune their goals and find the best dating site to fit these goals.
Another thing many brands overlook is the need to cater to mobile users. If you’re looking to attract users to your dating site, the need for a mobile strategy becomes even more urgent. One trend discussed often on this blog is Google’s migration to mobile-first indexing. Google moved in this direction after observing 2 years ago that mobile searches had overtaken desktop searches.
For brands, the challenge is converting users on mobile. For this reason, having a mobile-optimized site is important. If the end goal is to get users to download a mobile app, then a mobile-optimized landing page with a link to your dating site on the App Store or Google Play is crucial.
Think about engaging funnels that will give added value to your potential clients. This can be a nice questionnaire, survey, game, etc. Make it delightful, quick, and mobile responsive.
Marketing, much like the dating game, is equal parts exciting and frightening. Approach it the right way and you could find yourself a (life) partner. Go about it the wrong way and you end up alone, frustrated, and with a lighter wallet.
A strong intent-marketing campaign is just the ticket for attracting the right users at the right time. If a person is looking to compare dating sites or apps, the odds are they’re open to being persuaded by one brand or another. The question is: will that brand be yours?Learn more marketing strategies