The key to creating a profitable dating brand

As part of our ‘Insights from the Commercial team’ series, Paul Fitzpatrick, Head of Dating, shares some advice on how to create a profitable online dating brand; the key lies in consistency.

In the Commercial team, our key focus is to find the best ways of attracting members to our dating sites, as well as testing the latest functional or design-orientated projects created by the Development and Product teams. The end result is that not only are our own sites profitable, but we can share our learnings with partners to help them successfully monetise their dating businesses.

Within the growing set of sites that the Commercial team operate, we have always advocated the ‘portfolio concept’ – a technique with which we have found success again and again. The idea is that a group of sites that look similar, or have a specific feel, are better at attracting members than a collection of disparate landing pages. A good example of this is the Singles365 brand, which has key sub-brands like MatureSingles365 and AdultSingles365, to fully cater to the needs of members. The online dating space is an extremely populated market, and generic dating sites are sometimes too broad to meet the needs of the more experienced dater. By creating a set of niche sub-brands, you are offering members an alternative that may be more in line with what they’re looking for, but keeping them within your brand, instead of letting them go elsewhere.

The ‘portfolio concept’ has worked exceptionally well with sites like Love2Meet and its casual dating cross-sell sub-brand, Love2Hookup. The concept also lead to the launch and expansion of the ever growing portfolio of ‘Just Group’ sites. With the ‘Just’ brand, we also added a geographic niche dimension, rather than using demographics or characteristics exclusively. This brand now has over 450 sites, across 7 territories; all of these sites have the same logo typeface, page layout, and a collective pool of content and blogs, as well as social media spaces and products in other verticals, such as a competitions website.

However, despite having a large number of sites, there is always a possibility that a potential member will pass us by. This could be down to something as simple as page layout or imagery. With this in mind, and the desire to differentiate the offers we can give to affiliates, we create alternative landing page concepts to suit different traffic sources. Perhaps we alter the position of the ‘join’ form or its functionality, or maybe we move featured member images or introduce different selling points to the copy: Essentially, we never stop testing. Inevitably, the results lead us to a new wave of portfolio sites; our latest offering comes in the form of the ‘Connect Group’ of Mature sites, catering to members specifically in their forties, fifties and sixties.

The same pattern should always apply: Create something you like, that is perhaps an evolution of an earlier design, that has the ability to take things forward. Then ensure that you maximise the larger networks and niches within that site too (General, Mature, Adult, Parents, Ethnicity, Location etc). This gives you multiple opportunities to attract potential members who may be shopping around. One of the biggest benefits to the ‘portfolio concept’ is that it shows consumers the size of your member pool, and adds authenticity and credibility to your site. Most importantly, it keeps that imperative ‘in-brand’ cross-sell opportunity alive.

If you’d like to find out more about how to develop your portfolio, or how to implement a cross-sell campaign, please get in touch with the partner team and start improving your ROI today.

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