Instead of making this blog full of business-related jargon let me tell you one entertaining story about that one time when I conversion optimized my friend’s online dating.
I’ll just throw the humble brag here at first: the conversion rate we achieved was 20% (conversion defined as a discussion with prospect) on the leading online dating website in Finland. Considering the fact that my friend is a straight guy, you may realize we’re talking about mind-blowing results here.
Here’s the story:
1. Marketing plan and tools
First of all, we were highly motivated to get results. Me for the reason I was absolutely done with my friend feeling lonely and rejected. And his reasons being quite obvious. So we arranged a hackaton to fix this thing for good.
Driven by the motivation we created the following process:
- Brand awareness campaign. The website’s mechanism was to track and show visitors of your dating profile, so we programmed a browser based script that automatically visited all the profiles of potential prospects so they would see my friend’s profile visiting them. Quickly we also found out that this particular website had almost zero blocking abilities for this kind of scripts so we were able to visit in target audience profiles for… like 50 times per day which was quite effective.
- A/B-testing. To find the best possible approach we created several different messages and also variations for the profile content.
- Tracking for analysis. We created a semi-automated Google Spreadsheet tracking for analysis and iteration, and also focused to track the whole funnel which was answer -> FB friendship -> date.
Our script was also able to crawl email addresses from profiles which, by our testing, was preferred as a contact method for its' amazingly high ROI.
2. Volume and targeting
When I start to experiment a new market I like to begin with high volume to get data I can use to understand the target audience a bit better. My knowledge about online dating as a guy is very limited by obvious reasons so partly because to that, but also because my friend isn’t too picky, we began to experiment a very broad target group. Pretty much female + Finland + 18–65+.
Friend stayed less picky during the whole experiment, but soon we were able to identify high ROI demographics. For some reason academic, university ladies like programmers with hoodies, so it was the audience we mostly focused at.
iPod Shuffle is a great story about how you communicate your weakness as your strength. Back then the device was so small Apple wasn’t able to implement any kind of screen on it to show which song was playing, so what a heck — Apple’s brand gurus worked with their magic again and branded the whole product using its flaw.
Suddenly Shuffle was an exciting and cool feature of not knowing the next song.
That was pretty much what we needed to do. Instead of trying to hide that my friend is a bit heavy hoodie-wearing programmer who recently lost one of his teeth and not caring much what he looks like, we described him as a laid-back teddybear who works for a cool startup company. What a great success!
Unlike most of the men using dating sites, the probability of my friend getting an inbound message or answer to his message was over 20%.
Monetized results of this kind of experiment are obviously priceless. We were able to lift my friend out from his overall mood of constant whining and the new, more positive and confident version of himself started to generate organic dates and discussions with girls few weeks after this experiment. That’s the usual case in growth hacking — you start generating organic or viral traction with a slight push.
Business lesson of this story we can wrap up in following 3 points:
- Plan your marketing process and automate it as much possible. Test, track, analyse and do it again.
- Begin with high volume. Narrow down based on results.
- Content is the king.