Getting Them to Swipe Right: 7 Secrets That Online Dating Has Taught Me About Marketing


After recently ending a twenty-year relationship, I am finding myself navigating a brand new landscape – the overwhelming, often murky terrain of online dating. The last time I was in the dating pool, Relax from Frankie Goes to Hollywood was playing at the clubs. (Google it, young whippersnappers; Relax was legendary in the club scene a million years ago.) My marketplace of choice: Bumble. If you are unfamiliar with it, Bumble is a simple profile-matching app very similar to Tinder where one swipes right on a candidate worthy of pursuing. If two people swipe right on each other, a match is made. (I prefer Bumble over Tinder, as Bumble affords women the luxury of initiating the first move.)

Dating apps like Bumble and Tinder can teach us a lot about effective marketing. What makes our buyers swipe right with us in a sea of other options? No matter what product or service we are marketing, we can learn a lot about how to connect with our customers by deconstructing some vital best practices of these immensely popular applications:

1. Don’t Dodge the Limelight

Be clear to your customers what you offer, and be unapologetic about it. Boldly declare who you are and what you can provide. A confused mind doesn’t buy…or swipe right. There’s nothing that will make me swipe left faster than random pictures of the Eiffel Tower or Ninja, one’s trusty labradoodle sitting in front of the canoe.

2. Don't Glorify Previous Customers

Sure, we need to have testimonials and referrals at the ready if needed, but we don’t need to see you gushing all over your ideal customer. Every customer is different with unique needs and capabilities. When we see only pictures of certain types of customers, we may check out, assuming that it isn’t a good fit for us.

3. Don’t Neglect the Copy

Our customers want to know that we are smart, fun to work with, and capable of making their lives better. If your copy doesn’t reflect that, it’s time for an overhaul. This one is a deal-breaker for me in the dating world. I can look at six photos of an Adonis that lives a mere 6.5 miles away from me, but if he hasn’t put forth the effort to tell me just a little bit about himself and what makes him more interesting than a houseplant, I’m gone.

4. Don’t Be Predictable

Speaking of copy, are you using the same tired old clichés that everyone else is using? (Using the phrase “Think outside of the box” should be outlawed.) Does your message drone on like an infomercial that we have seen way too many times? When you are like everyone else, you get lost in the noise. Be different. Your buyers will find it refreshing and appealing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen profiles whose only content includes, “Hockey. Beer. Vikings.” Or even worse, they’ve used only emojis to describe themselves. Really? That’s the best you can do? Swipe left.

5. Don’t Just Tell Me How Fabulous You Are – BE Fabulous

When you are marketing yourself to prospective clients, clearly show your value proposition without sounding like a jackass. Let your gifts and talents naturally radiate from the page, the screen, and your lips. There is something particularly cringe-worthy about a self-indulgent dating profile from someone who, using NO humor whatsoever, proclaims that others think he’s funny. Yeah, right. I’m sure you are a regular Jerry Friggin’ Seinfeld. How about taking that valuable textual real estate and actually BE funny? I’d be far likelier to check out your offering.

6. Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Show me what you offer NOW, not years or decades ago. If your website hasn’t been updated since Twitter became a thing, it’s time, dear one. In the dating domain, a swipe left is imminent when a photo from childhood is used. First, it is confusing; is that you or your child? If it’s you, why should I assume that if you were an adorable tot 30 years ago that you aren’t a creep now?

7. Don’t Dilly-Dally

When you’ve got your customer actually interested in your offering, don’t blow it by being lukewarm. That is the time to amp up the charm, competence, and genuine desire to work with them. They’ll feel your interest in them and respond in kind. In the Bumble beehive, if you have survived all of the above-mentioned pre-qualifying gauntlets and a swipe right is in order, kick it out of neutral and respond within a reasonable time. Those who lollygag with nary a “hey, ‘sup?” will quickly get unmatched in favor of someone more engaged.

Modern marketing, like modern dating, can be confusing, challenging, and downright exhausting. The best connections are made when both parties are truly enthusiastic about partnering, invest in meaningful dialogue, and hopeful that a win-win outcome will take place. When you are authentic, powerful and confident in your offering, you too will have your customers swiping right on you all day long. Fill your funnel as full as you would like it by emanating your very best with each and every exchange. It’s a match!

#marketing #sales #relationship #writing

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