By Ross Williams
Today, digital is natural, with more people than ever before flocking online to find love and make new friends. This trend has not gone unnoticed by businesses and brands, entrepreneurs and individuals, keen to explore the marketing and financial benefits of setting up sites and tapping into this huge market. So what actually determines whether a site is a hit, or a flop? It all comes down to targeting an audience with an engaging brand and a great user experience.
A clear target audience is essential. No matter how big or small, an online dating site should make it clear who it is aimed at. We are currently seeing increasing numbers of niche sites launching on our WhiteLabelDating.com platform, and doing extremely well. Nowadays, consumers want more control and customisation over digital aspects of their lives, and dating is no exception. Users want to know that your site is going to find them a match, so by catering for their specific preferences, they are much likelier to sign-up. Whether its single parents, mature users or gardening enthusiasts, tapping into a niche market can yield great results.
Brand and marketing message
Successful sites always sit under an effective brand and marketing message. If a site is to engage with its target audience, it needs to speak with the demographic on its level about what it can offer. Cross-selling can also be effective if used correctly by creating a dating brand portfolio that appeals to different age groups and / or interests. If the member is enjoying their current brand experience, they may decide to join another site under the same brand umbrella (for example, JustSingleParents.com members may sign up to JustDivorcedSingles.com too).
It is also important to highlight that online dating itself can be an effective marketing tool. Brands, such as Jongleurs and Jazz FM, have recently launched online dating sites through our WhiteLabelDating.com platform in order to diversify how their brands interact with customers.
The explosive popularity of social media means it is an essential B2C marketing force and should certainly be utilised by online dating sites. The majority of traffic to sites will not be direct, i.e. from users typing the URL into the browser. Therefore, reaching people in their virtual ‘hang out’ is crucial. Not all demographics use all social networking sites, but you can be certain they will have a presence on one of them. For example, a single parent or mature dating site would be better utilising Facebook, as studies have found that these specific target groups like to share pictures of children/grandchildren. Twitter is also great for targeting niche audiences using hashtags. Pew Research provides a valuable insight into different demographics across various social media platforms.
It is all very well engaging a niche audience with a brand, but if the user experience of the site is not up to scratch then users will simply leave. Successful sites are ‘sticky sites’; the visitor feels compelled to stick around for quite a long time and comes back often due to a positive user experience. Sticky sites are usually aesthetically engaging and not over-complicated to use. A blog with tips for users is a great way for a site to engage with users about topics they are interested in. Linking to other content on a site also creates an easy route for users to move around and engage with the brand.
If an online dating site has a good design and layout, a clear target audience, a unique brand and marketing message and utilises social media, then it is has a big chance of being a hit.
About the author
Ross Williams is CEO and co-founder of Global Personals, the largest privately owned online dating company worldwide that runs B2B service WhiteLabelDating.com – a platform for brands and individuals to power their own dating sites. WhiteLabelDating.com provides the dating software, membership database, payment processing, customer support, hosting infrastructure and much more.
Launching the business in 2003, Global Personals Ltd owns and operates an online dating portfolio that includes brands Singles365.com, DatingAgency.com and JustSingleParents.com; whilst B2B service WhiteLabelDating.com, offers an award-winning platform for brands and individuals to power their own dating sites, currently including The Independent, Bauer Media and PlentyMoreFish as partners.
About Global Personals
Launched in 2003, Global Personals Ltd is the largest privately owned online dating company worldwide. With annualised revenues of over £36 million, the company currently employs over 100 full time staff and owns and operates its own online dating sites including Singles365.com, DatingAgency.com and JustSingleParents.com, whilst its B2B service, WhiteLabelDating.com, offers a platform for brands and individuals to power their own dating sites that currently includes The Independent, Bauer Media and Plenty More Fish as partners. WhiteLabelDating.com provides the dating software, membership database, payment processing, customer support, hosting infrastructure and much more. You provide your brand, website design and marketing and we do the rest.
Global Personals: http://globalpersonals.co.uk