SUMMARY: The current economy poses a challenge when it comes to attracting and retaining paying subscribers. That’s why the prospect of getting those subscribers to consider purchasing additional offline products or services seems highly unlikely.
Find out how a traditional brick-and-mortar matchmaking company managed to retain an online dating subscription site’s paying subscribers and get some of them to purchase offline matchmaking services valued at $3,000.
Paul Falzone, CEO, International Dating Ventures Inc., purchased the online dating subscription site, LoveAccess.com in 2008.
He planned to use the online subscription site and its 1 million existing subscribers to produce leads for a high-end matchmaking company, The Right One/Together, also owned by International Dating Ventures.
“I felt a few years ago that online has lots of people with not as much service,” Falzone says. “And offline has not as many people, but high service.”
He knew there was a way for online dating to benefit offline matchmaking and vice versa. He and his marketing team spent the past year figuring out how to make that happen.
Find out what Falzone’s team did to generate 25% of the offline matchmaking company’s annual gross revenue from online subscribers.
Step #1. Attract online subscribers and leads for offline services
Falzone’s marketing team attracts online subscribers for LoveAccess.com and leads for The Right One/Together matchmaking services mostly through:
o paid search
Sometimes, they use direct mail in smaller markets where the Internet doesn’t generate enough leads. Direct mail supports online marketing efforts, says Terry Fitzpatrick, COO, International Dating Ventures.
Affiliate/co-registration campaigns generate the most online subscribers and leads. Creative for affiliate ads combines messaging about online dating and offline matchmaking services.
“We almost mesh the two together,” Fitzpatrick says, because after testing the response rate for matchmaking ads versus online dating ads, the team discovered that people don’t respond as well to matchmaking-focused ads. (See Creative Samples to view a typical affiliate ad)
TIP: Use images of a blond woman in her late 20s, early 30s in creative
Fitzpatrick tested several images in his quest to determine the best possible creative for an ad or landing page. “It all comes back to the same thing,” he says. “eHarmony, Match.com, they all use the same image: A woman with blonde hair in her late 20s, early 30s. That’s the one that works.”
Step #2. Qualify leads
“What’s important for us to do, especially in the first page of creative, is to identify if this user qualifies for matchmaking,” Fitzpatrick says.
The team needs to know:
o Does the prospect live near one of the brick-and-mortar matchmaking offices?
o Does the prospect earn a high enough income to consider paying the $3,000 matchmaking fees?
o Is the prospect single?
Falzone says he’s amazed at the number of married people who register for online dating and matchmaking services. It’s against company policy to match married people with single people and vice versa.
If prospects qualify, the team pushes them toward the matchmaking services. If not, the team pushes them toward the online dating subscription site.
Most qualifying is done through an ad that leads to a landing page. The landing pages contain a form that asks for:
o zip code
o first name
o last name
o phone number
Step #3. Contact via email
For the 1 million existing online dating subscribers and subscribers who don’t go through a qualifying process via affiliate ad or landing page, the team uses email to get qualifying details and disseminate information about the matchmaking services.
As a rule, the team won’t email online dating subscribers about the matchmaking services unless they have been in the database for 90 days. “We give them 90 days just to find out … is online dating working? Is it not?” says Falzone. If it’s not, they’re asked if they would be interested in matchmaking.
Step #4. Contact via phone
Before sending subscribers’ contact information to one of the company’s four telemarketing centers, the team gets their permission.
“We’ve got trained people on the phones talking to individuals about what we could do for them,” says Falzone. “We try to generate enough interest to get them motivated to go to one of the matchmaking offices and sit down with one of our consultants.”
The team generates about 15,000 or more leads per month for the telemarketing centers. Those centers send interested leads to one of the 27 company-owned matchmaking offices across the U.S.
One of the benefits of telemarketing is the fact that people are less likely to lie when they are asked qualifying questions via phone, Fitzpatrick says. When telemarketers ask a matchmaking lead one more time if they are married, they usually come clean.
Getting a phone number from online subscribers differentiates LoveAccess.com from other online dating sites, Falzone says. “Some online dating sites, even the top three, are afraid to ask for the phone number,” he says. “They’re afraid it will hurt their conversions. We really don’t see that.”
This year, 25% of gross revenue for the brick-and-mortar matchmaking company came from converting online subscribers into offline matchmaking buyers.
“I said it could be done,” Falzone says of converting online subscribers for offline revenue gain. “We tried teaming up with people in the past to prove it could be done. It never worked out quite right.” “We bought an online company to prove it could be done,” he added. “And now we’re doing it all day.”
Someday, Falzone hopes to generate enough leads from online subscribers to fulfill 100% of offline revenues.