How to Run a Dating Service Successfully
Around a quarter of all relationships are started online today – and that figure rises to about 80% in the gay community. There’s no question that online dating services are invaluable to singletons – but is there room for another provider in the market?
There are indeed lots of online dating sites, but many of them are unique and different. If you’ve ever tried online dating before, you’ll know that there’s a whole heap of dating services that don’t deliver what they promise.
That’s why there’s still room for more dating services. Do it well, and you’ll find space in the market, with men and women clamoring to sign up to meet others.
If you love the idea of matchmaking and want to make your dreams come true, here are a few considerations you’ll need to think about when running a dating service for real.
Plan Your Dating Business Carefully
An online dating service will require you to plan out the specific aspects individually, but at its heart, it’s just a business like any other. This means, as well as the elements specific to dating, you’ll need to ensure it’s properly mapped out.
Assuming that you don’t need to attract investment to get your dating site up and running, you can start with a fairly simple business plan. If you do need investment, things can get more complicated, so we’ll assume that you’ve got the finance covered for this article. However, a business plan should ensure that all of the costs have been properly factored in. This is something to consider comprehensively at this stage.
Although we will go on to look at each element in more detail below, your business plan should contain high-level information about the scope of your site, your planned target audience, your USP (unique selling point), the platform you’ll use and how you will generate revenue.
You should also consider the type of customer service you plan on providing and how you will communicate. Although the service is being offered wholly online, there may be times when customers want help or have questions. Ensuring timely and convenient customer service is available will be a key part of being trusted.
Each element of your business plan requires meticulous consideration because if you rush one element, you risk everything crashing down.
Understand Your Target Audience
The idea of a dating platform is huge but remember that you don’t need to cater to the whole market. Most online dating services have a particular bias and use their marketing to target their chosen audience specifically.
There are countless different types of target audiences you could aim for in the world of dating services. Gay, mature, interracial, geographical location, and even fetish are popular options to consider.
If you try and target a sector that’s too broad, you’ll end up attracting no one as it won’t appeal to anyone. Singles want to identify with what’s on offer and feel like they’re joining a dating community designed for people just like them.
Conversely, if your target market is too narrow, you’ll end up with a niche product that doesn’t have sufficient demand to keep it going.
It’s a fine line to get things right, but it’s a vital distinction. It’s your choice about which target audience you aim for, but once you’ve decided, you’ll need to ensure that the dating site is geared for their preferences.
If you haven’t decided who your target audience should be, you could conduct market research to provide greater insights before you start setting everything up. Market research could help you identify a genuine gap or find a unique perspective for an existing market.
Once you know who your market is, you can plan your marketing strategy. This will ensure that your dating site reaches the right audience rather than landing in front of people who are not interested in the content.
Give Proper Consideration to the Design
No matter how great your idea is, if your website is difficult to navigate, you’ll find potential members left in their droves. People don’t have the patience to learn complicated systems, so you’ll need to ensure that your site is laid out with everything properly labeled and linked to from the home screen.
Ease of navigation is just one element of the design, but it should be visually appealing too. First impressions count, and if your website appears to be text-heavy with great walls of writing, you’ll turn people off.
Make sure whatever you create is easy on the eye, with attractive colors and an intuitive layout, and it will encourage your audience to stick around.
Making Money From Online Dating
It would be lovely if everyone created things for free, but the reality is that you’ll probably want to make money from your online dating site. This is entirely feasible, but bearing in mind that there are so many other dating sites available, you’ll need to ensure that you’re offering value for money if you’re charging customers.
A subscription-based model is one option to consider, but few customers will be enthusiastic about paying for a dating service without sample it first. If you have few active members, the idea of paying to join the site won’t be attractive, so you’ll first need to focus on building up your database for free. Once you have a healthy number of active singletons, you can then start to consider introducing charges.
One good way to achieve this is to offer a basic service for free but charge for additional features. This encourages users to sign up and enables them to see how great your site is. Once they can tell that your dating service is genuine and full of active users, they will be more willing to pay for premium extras.
When you have a site attracting a healthy amount of traffic, you have other options to generate revenue. Affiliate marketing or advertising is a great way to generate passive income without affecting your core service.
Which model you choose depends on your site and how it’s set up, but many opt for a hybrid of the two to maximize income without jeopardizing the spirit of the service.
How to Run a Dating Service Successfully