What Can Online Dating Teach Us About Digital Marketing?

With the recent news that Bumble Co-Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd has become the youngest female billionaire this month we got to thinking about the parallels between online dating and both Digital Marketing and Lead generation. After all both are connecting “buyers” and “sellers” just in different ways and there’s a lot to learn from Online dating about just how Digital Marketing can help your business.

The more we thought about it the more parallels we see, so we thought we’d bring you a look at what modern CEO’s and MD’s can learn can the world of online dating – Here goes…


Before you start out on either journey you’ve probably got a goal in mind – in Digital Lead Generation it might be generating 1000 new opportunities and 500 new clients with a revenue of £2 Million. In the online dating world it might be “finding the one” or it could be finding 10 new notches for your bedpost 😮 (we’re not judging btw) but in both cases having a clear “goal” is a good place to start. Once you’ve got this established you can start thinking about where to “advertise” yourself and what types of people you want to attract.


You know what you want, now what? Firstly we’re going to think about where you should effectively “advertise” yourself….

In the online dating world there are so many channels and platforms to choose from, each with their own “unique” audiences. For example, Eharmony proudly boast “Every 14 Minutes Someone Finds Love On eHarmony” whereas Match.com touts “1.6 Million people have met their match” – these sites are very clearly targeting users that want to find something serious. On the flip side apps like Grindr and Tinder promote a completely different type of “buying” experience, swift and in some cases brutal.

Much like choosing a dating platform anyone looking for success in Digital Marketing has similar decisions to make, targeting Business Professionals? Head to LinkedIn. Targeting product buyers, Amazon & Google Shopping is for you. Got a broad target audience but want to get as close to the buying action as possible? Exact match keywords with purchase intent could be for you.

What if I’ve got more than one audience? Hopefully we’re still on the subject of Digital Marketing and Lead Gen – for businesses with multiple audiences then promotion across platforms is going to be essential. We recommend checking out your matches ahem, we mean, audiences across platforms to establish demand for your products/ services to build a robust architecture.

Attraction methods

Now that you’ve thoroughly checked out the demand for you and your business how are you going to attract the right audience?

Well in the spirit of what can Online Dating teach us about Digital Marketing then we’ll focus on getting noticed and getting people to “click you”.

Now in the world of digital lead generation we’d thoroughly recommend building detailed buyer personas that help you and your team to understand and engage with your audiences on their terms. Understanding what drives buyers to you and where they are in their buyer journey is a great way to build a relationship with potential customers, building trust and connection with your brand.

Switch back to the world of online dating we’re going to assume that you probably don’t have a data studio dashboard set up to help you understand what types of people you’re attracting and whether they’re a good fit for your brand? If you do call us! We want to hire you! Instead, the attraction options are more limited and so force us to be more specific and thoughtful about the images and words we chose to represent ourselves.

Attention spans are short in both cases here and so being “found” for the things that you really want to be found for is critical. Something we could do to remember next time we launch a new product – who is it that we really want to find this and why? Optimising for critical elements and being super specific. Similarly knowing what you don’t want to found for (see Objectives) is a good litmus test for building your attraction case.

One thing that we see frequently is lack of budget to compete with big spenders – as most of the dating sites we researched have “freemium” products its worth a side note to say that deep pockets and subscriptions will of course give you broader access to your audience but lack of them doesn’t have to kill your chances. Much like optimising your keyword groupings for better SEO performance in Digital Marketing optimising your “profile” in the online dating world will help you attract new potential buyers.


Who doesn’t love a funny dating headline? If funny is what you’re going for then we say go for it! On a serious note though the digital world can learn a lot from some very common no-go’s in the dating world, try implementing these gems to see just how Digital Marketing can help your business.

Getting your visuals right – you’d never post a picture when you’re not looking your best would you? One that was pixelated? One that had Happy New Year 1997? No, then why would you do it when you’re in Lead Generation mode? So often we see poor product shots or generic ads that just don’t do the product or business justice – take a leaf out of the online dating book and brush up your visuals, tell a story that you want the world to hear. Don’t tell the world that you couldn’t be bothered or that you still live in 1997 with your visuals.

Original and Authentic – Most of us, especially if we’re running businesses will be familiar with the need for authenticity in our content, not least because it’s a representation of your brand but because it’s a key driver in generating leads. Think about the last guide you created or the last promotion you ran, was it original? How did it perform?

The same is true of online dating, a cheesy, badly written “about me” section is hardly about to set the romance flames alight and more likely to result in a “thank you next” moment.

Think of it like your opening message to that person you’ve had your eye on, would you even consider sending “Hi, hwo r u doing” No? Well don’t do it with your Digital Marketing either! Get it right first time as first impressions don’t happen twice.

Lead Qualification

You’ve done it! You’ve got a “date” or in our case, Congratulations you’ve got a lead! Far from being a done deal this is the part where it starts to get interesting…

In online dating you’re assessing how much you like this person, are they a good fit? Do you have a good time? What’s their job? Family etc etc. Like it or not they’re doing the same to you – much like in Digital Lead Generation your prospect is considering how well you meet their requirements, can they afford you, will you do a good job as much as you’re evaluating whether they are a good fit for your business.

What has this got to do with Lead Generation and how Digital Marketing can help your business ? Plenty – over the years we’ve seen Lead Generation strategies that simply focus on volume, volume and more volume. Meaning lots of busy sales reps driving up and down the motorway for meetings that never really go anywhere. Good Lead Generation strategies will always include a pre-qualification, typically phone calls that both start to establish a relationship but also understand more about your potential “match” and whether there’s a good fit for both parties. Whilst you may not be looking for “chemistry” with your customer in the same way – you will of course want to direct your efforts and energy where there’s likely to be a positive outcome.


Ironically much like online dating most significant “deals” will be done in the real not digital world however there are a bunch of signals that online daters can teach us about Digital Marketing and Lead Generation.

Your online reputation – in much the same way as your potential love interest is likely to have poured over your social feeds and probably seen that embarrassing pic from your last fancy dress party – your potential customer will be doing their own due diligence about your business. Asking for references and/or checking out online reviews is a critical part in a buyers journey with 95% of customers reading reviews before making a purchase. Thankfully your online date is less likely to request a reference but it’s more than worthwhile ensuring that your brand reputation is positive with a good customer engagement program, especially as 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.

So there you have it – we could all learn a lot from Online dating about just how Digital Marketing can help your business, from picking your platform to making sure your content is in tip top condition we could all learn a lot about Digital Marketing and Lead Gen from the world of online dating.

We cant help with your online dating (sorry!) but if you’re looking to improve your Digital Marketing or Lead Generation performance we’d love to hear from you, give us a call or drop your detail below and we’ll be back to you in a jiffy.

Posted by Helen Brookes on Tuesday 23rd February 2021