The key to early success as a startup is often as simple as offering a useful service to a clearly defined target audience. Though it is launching into a dense market of online dating companies, up and coming startup DatingFound has an effective service with a well-focused niche. I recently spoke with Karan Dhanju, the company’s Co-CEO.
Red Cup Agency: Have you defined the problem you would like to solve?
Karan: “Online dating can be far too time consuming and high quantity does not often translate to high quality. They will match you with someone who has a similar hobby for example, but there are so many other variables that they don’t have the ability to track. Our initial algorithm will sort potential matches, but the final matching decision comes down to real dating experts with years of experience… Customers are choosing us because of our personalized service.”
Red Cup Agency: Are you presenting an effective solution to this problem?
Karan: “DatingFound utilizes a mix of human judgement and technology for quality online matchmaking. Both an algorithm and a human dating expert will work together to produce a personally matched date every 4 days for a flat rate of $25 per month. This resonates especially well with busy professionals that are looking for a fast and smart solution to their dating needs.”
DatingFound has been leveraging social channels to discover customers and grow its audience. Here’s a breakdown of their strategies both up till now and in the future.
DatingFound is organically building a community by leveraging social channels that it finds most valuable. After rigorous research across a variety of different platforms, they now use Facebook and Twitter to engage their growing user-base. At this point they have over 4,000 likes on the company facebook page. Startups do not need to be everywhere to build their community. As a new company, it is important that you maintain a presence in the places that matter most to your clearly defined target audience.
Karan: “In this age of online marketing, there are a lot of options available to consumers but the key is to test, prioritize and focus on the ones that will help you reach your goal in a timely and cost-efficient manner.”
Organic social media growth is extremely important, but as a startup it is often important to invest in going faster. DatingFound users are typically acquired through word of mouth and social advertising. Dating found has particularly looked to Facebook and Twitter ads and is consistently running A/B testing to discover the optimal messaging for acquiring new customers.
Karan: “Facebook is a gold mine for dating sites, it’s how a lot of customers interact with us. We are running split tests on our Facebook ads and constantly tweaking wording or images to see what works best. The end goal is to make sure that it integrates with the needs of the customers that we are targeting. You can read all the books, all the blogs and all the posts on Quora, but it’s not going to help you until you test your strategies. No one customer is the same but at the end of the day if you test your ads diligently you’ll find some patterns and save money as you improve your conversion rates.”
Developing Critical Mass
DatingFound is incrementally growing its audience while perfecting its algorithm. In order to start to become a contender in comparison to online dating platforms such as Tinder and eHarmony, they must vastly expand their user base. Moving forward, they are expanding their promotional strategies by reaching out to relevant press outlets in the hopes of getting a prominent feature article.The company is also is planning a super-secret viral marketing campaign in line with its first planned fundraise in March of 2016. All in all, a lot of exciting stuff to come!
Karan: “There are few barriers to entry to setting up your average dating site, but it’s incredibly hard to gain and sustain critical mass because there are a lot of large-scale competitors out there. As a result, we are planning a huge viral marketing campaign that will help us gain a lot of traction in the U.S. and Canada.”
Being More Popular
Karan is looking forward to connecting all these techniques and strategies to make his startup better known. In closing he explained, “I’m very positive that as we continue to implement these strategies and have the growing numbers to show, many relevant journalists will be willing to write stories about the company, especially when our viral marketing stunt takes off.”
The audiobook of Be More Popular: Culture-Building for Startups is live on Amazon and available on Audible.