What does an inbound marketing campaign and Tinder have in common? Actually, more than you might think. While the majority of the Six & Flow office are happily loved up, nearly all of us have experienced the trials and tribulations of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and the rest. However, we're all for finding that silver lining to every cloud.
From non-responders to catfishes, dating apps can be a melting pot of cringe-inducing conversation. But could we apply the principles of a great inbound marketing campaign to create a stream of highly engaged matches leading to better dates? Can you hack the Tinder process? Well, we thought it was worth a try.
Read on to be amused, possibly offended and probably horrified at what app-happy inbound marketing agency bods can think up.
1. Identify the right channels
Now, we don’t want to generalise. However, certain dating apps come with certain reputations. For instance, plenty of people hop on Tinder, share a risqué body shot and caption it “only visiting for a few days.” However, that kind of thing just won't wash on Match or eHarmony.
Our point – consider what you’re trying to achieve and where best to present your content. Bringing this back to your inbound marketing campaign, if you’re selling cheap and cheerful consumer goods use a channel that allows you to hit as many people as possible. Think email circa 2006.
However, if you want to hit high value leads, you need a medium which is more relevant to your prospect’s aims. Some of our clients use paid social advertising because it offers a good mix of visual and text advertising. However, B2B clients focus more on LinkedIn.
Tired of sleazy profiles? Try more grown-up dating sites. Want something a bit more niche? There are now dating sites for beard lovers, certain work attire, gluten free singles, farmers… the list goes on (and on).
2. Find the right match
Whether you're dating or marketing, you need to think about your personas and produce content that appeals to them.
On dating apps, you ideally want to match with people who you find attractive, intelligent and funny. However, all you seem to get are super likes from people with startling eyebrows and terrible grammar. What’s going on?
Now if this were actually an inbound marketing campaign, we would say “your personas are all wrong, idiot.”
Let’s say you are selling a niche product. You not only need to know who the product is suitable for, but also what that person looks like, how they think, where they shop and so on. So we create a persona full of relevant details on the prospect, and then build out keywords and targeting. If someone doesn’t fit this criteria, there’s no point advertising to them.
Now, with Tinder, unfortunately you don’t have targeting options or keyword tools. However, can the persona principle of an inbound marketing campaign still be applied?
By creating a strong persona, you have a basis for all your content and activity which will guide you into finding perfect matches. First, you can set your age and distance parameters. Once you start swiping, you can then start looking at interests, build, personal hygiene…
A good persona should be specific but still flexible. Just because a sales lead isn’t a perfect match, it doesn’t mean that they can’t bring fantastic business to your company. Similarly, you can make certain allowances on Tinder – does eye colour really matter? Can you deal with a girlfriend who likes cats more than dogs? (In our office, the latter may actually be a deal breaker)
Now you have a framework set, you need to figure out how your persona will influence your search and what you want this to achieve.
Making dating more inclusive
Tinder improved their users’ persona-creating abilities with an update that opened the app up for individuals who don’t identify with one gender. Where users were previously limited to identifying only as male or female, they can now identify as one of 37 non-binary gender types, choose whether to display their gender choice on their profile, and choose which gender sees their profile while swiping.
Promoted by Tinder’s #AllTypesAllSwipe campaign, co-founder Sean Rad revealed that Tinder has matched a quarter of a million transgender users after less than six months. So there we go. When people are able to accurately create their ideal dating (or marketing) persona, more matches happen.
3. Create content that attracts
Regardless of your channel, one of the most important things to attract prospects to your offering is writing great content that resonates. To do so, you need to look at your persona and address them in your content.
Show visual content of you enjoying yourself in your natural environment, but consider your persona too. Looking for someone sporty? Make sure you share pictures of your favourite fitness activity. Want someone artistic? Show images of you appreciating cultural stuff.
A great profile, like great content, should highlight the “product” (that’s you, essentially) in a variety of ways. As a rule of thumb, I’ve been told to include a headshot (shows you have a face), an activity shot (shows you have hobbies) a shot with friends (shows you have some social skills) and a funny shot (shows you have a personality).
In your written content, try to attract people who you can relate to. Keep it succinct, friendly and in line with your persona goals. Avoid excessive emoticon use, political rants and typos (unless you're an emoji-loving political activist, I guess...). This all allows your prospects (potential dates) to make an informed decision (or swipe)
4. Develop a bidding strategy
Now we come to the actual selection of prospects – or like any biddable nerd would call it, the bidding strategy of your inbound marketing campaign.
If you want to match with as many people as possible, you can swipe right on every person until you run out of steam or dignity. This may get plenty of matches, but will require a lot of quality control on the other end. It’s basically like running a display campaign on a cost-per-impressions model, best to avoid.
Next we have the targeted examination method, which is what most people do. You look at profiles, and swipe if they fit. This works, but only if both parties have a solid content offering. This is a targeted cost-per-acquisition strategy, which takes a bit more work but gives the best conversions.
Finally, we have the social chisel or the affiliate marketer. These are the people who use Tinder Social to upsell themselves. This is a great tactic, but as with all affiliate marketing, your offering needs to be equal but different to the existing “product”. So if your friends all share your hair colour, dress sense and interests, it may not work in your favour.
5. Manage lead handling
So your content is great, your profile is superb and you match with your ideal guy or girl. Now what?
From an inbound marketing perspective, we call this lead handling, I’d recommend not using this term while swiping though.
In sales, a response within the first 15 minutes can increase contact rates by 200%. We’re not saying treat your phone like a pistol trigger, but this evidence is in favour of prompt replies.
Next, reply to every match. If you have shown interest, then what’s a brief conversation going to hurt? (unless you meant to go left and super liked instead)
Finally, reply with something that shows a bit of attention and personality. “Hi” won’t cut it! Look at the person’s profile and craft a response. We use dynamic insertion in our response emails to personalise the first contact a lead receives before a salesperson calls them.
Oh – and GIFs are fine, as long as it’s a waving bear or twerking NFL player.
6. UX Optimisation
So your amazing profile and impeccable chat have produced your perfect match. Now you need to convert to a date. This is that we call UX optimisation.
The secret to a great UX is to make it simple to complete but difficult enough to scare off time wasters. This is slightly more difficult to do on Tinder, but here are a few tips.
First, if anything offensive emerges in the initial conversations, un-match them. Don’t waste time on idiots.
Use cues in their persona to spur on the conversation and see if they match your first impressions.
Finally, if it gets to three conversations over three days, and you haven’t organised to go for at least a coffee, cut your losses. You’re here to meet someone, not overdose on small talk.
By having a set of basic loose qualification processes, you can ensure you don’t waste your time. It may seem cynical, but do you want to spend your effort and faith in humanity on the wrong match?
How this all relates to us as an inbound marketing agency
This may all seem contrived, juvenile and borderline sociopathic, but that’s what online dating is now, so no apologies. What we really wanted to show is the flexibility and utility of the inbound marketing process. Pick any product, and it can help to optimise leads and conversions.
For more insight on running great inbound marketing campaigns, contact Six and Flow. (we're happy to offer advice on your Tinder profile too, but we can't promise any success on that!)