Okay, I’m guilty: I attended Vice Media’s “Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating” panel at Internet Week. The organizers snuck it in as one of the very last sessions on the last full day–5:30 on Thursday. There weren’t many of us left in the audience, and most people sat in the back, but the panel was top-notch. And they gave great digital marketing advice every person attempting online dating should use. Here was the lineup:
- Kareem Ahmed–Moderator and Associate Director of Marketing at Vice Media, Inc.
- Amy Van Doran–Professional Matchmaker and Love Coach
- Amy Webb–CEO of Webbmedia Group, Author of Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match
- Said Amin–Founder of World Singles LLC
- Laurie Davis–Founder/CEO of eFlirt Expert, Author of Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating
- Brian Schechter–Co-founder and Co-CEO of HowAboutWe
These experts shared essential digital marketing tips that would translate to any product. This product just happens to be yourself.
- Do your market research. Check out the profiles and pics on a few dating sites before you become a paying member. Different sites may be better for certain geo locations and demographics.
- Photos are paramount. This one should be a no brainer. But there are still people out there who don’t include one. That’s the death of an online profile. You must, must, must have a good, clear close-up of yourself. Be sure that it’s fairly recent. Upload 5-6 shots. Additional tips: Do not include pictures of an ex cropped out of it (or worse yet, with them in it!). Do not show other people or animals in the shot with you. You should be the only product on display. As Amy Webb said, “Don’t give people anyone else to compare you to.” Don’t advertise for the competition.
- Pick a good “product” name. And by product name, I mean your profile name. Don’t use numbers in your name–and certainly not a number that belies your birth year or age. Use descriptors that show your personality in a positive light.
- Optimize your profile with SEO. I’m ashamed to say I never thought to do this for my own profile. But it makes perfect sense. Just as you are searching for certain qualities, attributes, or common interests, so is your potential match. So pepper that profile with keywords that will help your profile float to the top in a search.
- Come up with a strategic plan. Make a list of qualities you’re looking for in a partner–come up with 100 specific qualities. Looking for someone who’s artistic? a techie? into Russian literature? Family-oriented? A dog-lover? Prioritize the list. Weed out the people who don’t fit in your search.
The panelists had a great dynamic on stage and shared their own experiences–both in their personal search for love and as CEOs of their online dating companies. Amy Webb’s use of data to systematically find the man who became her husband was a stark contrast to Brian Schetcher’s more laid-back approach, which you’ll find on howaboutwe.com, an experienced-based dating site. That’s not to say some of Webb’s methods wouldn’t work on HowAboutWe. Said Amin started his company because he was looking for someone who shared his cultural background; he’s created several ethnic-focused sites to that end. Laurie Davis gave some fantastic tips for women online, and Amy Van Doran talked about how she makes it a priority to personally and tirelessly network on behalf of her clients–to introduce them to their matches.
When it comes to online dating, it’s all about the love algorithm…and getting offline to see if that someone is in rhythm with you. So if you’re giving online dating a try, apply a few of these tried-and-true marketing secrets to your search. It might just be the love potion you need to find your match.