This quick guide gives you a basic framework to help you start a dating app.
So without further a do 8 steps on how to start a dating app:
2) Market Research inc Focus Groups
3) Company Formation inc SEIS/EIS
4) Bootstrapping/Friends and Family Funding
5) Building an MVP
8) Feedback, Analysis and Iteration
Chances are if your reading this article you already have an idea for a dating app. You will need an original idea which is new and different to help you stand out from the existing crop of dating apps. Think about the dating process, what is missing, what do people not enjoy, what are their problems and pain points how will your app solve them? What do people enjoy about dating how can you bring that to your app experience. Once you think you have your idea check there isn't already an app doing your idea. If there is and they are doing it well maybe you will need to continue the ideation process. If they are not doing it well maybe there is room for you to move quickly and overtake them.
2) Market Research
Next you need to find out if your idea has a chance of succeeding in the market. You might think your idea is great but it's best to get some real and unbiased opinions.
Market Research and Focus Groups are one of the best methods used by companies to help develop companies. However, in recent history it has been an under utilised method by dating apps. Founders and CEO’s of apps often seem set on their chosen USP (unique selling point) with little room for movement.
Only recently Klik (formerly CLiKD) set upon over a years worth of market research. Their findings helped determine the best way to develop a newer model of their app that would ensure a greater expression and presentation of their USP, and an overall improved branding for users.
How did they do this?
The first move is accepting humility. It takes an apps team and founders to appreciate that the app can be improved and what they’ve done to date has only got them so far to realise that their app may need significant change.
B) The Mom Test:
The Mom test is the foundation upon which all good market research and focus groups are created. The Mom Test (which you can learn about online) teaches you how to speak to your customers in order to ascertain the most important information in order to make positive changes to your company. It also proves the significance of basic communication even before you’ve looked at any deeply technical parts of your app.
C) Understanding Qualitative and Quantitative Data:
Whilst the two polar opposite forms of data are seemingly obviously different, understanding how and where to gather the data as well as what to do with the data is what complicates it. For example you can gain quantitative data from focus groups, but the data itself will be expressed and therefore interpreted incredibly differently due to body language compared to a more basic tick-box 0-10 scale survey. Similarly you can gather qualitative data from surveys and questionnaires, but not everyone expresses themselves as well in text as they do verbally.
D) Surveys and Questionnaires:
We’ve all done surveys or questionnaires and thought “well that was a waste of time I didn’t really care too much about the questions”, bear that in mind when you make one for yourself. With surveys or questionnaires you need to consider how you would answer a question that was put in front of you. Then consider how that response would change if you also knew very little about the company giving you the survey. No one chooses to write essays out of academia. Therefore think short, direct and immediate with the questions you ask. Use scales in questions for quantitative data, use short answers for multiple choice questions, and 1-2 lines for more lengthy written questions.
E) Focus Groups:
Focus groups can be broken down into 3 parts: question design, recruitment, and reporting. Design the group first through picking what you are looking to gain from the group, then use that as a way to identify the audience you need to interview. Recruitment can then be done either buy yourselves or using a recruiter. Once you’ve recruited your attendees go ahead with the group and process a concise report of your findings.
3) Company Formation
So you've had an idea, no one else is doing it, your research tells you people like it, it's time to start your dating app company.
4) Bootstrapping/Friends and Family Funding
5) Building your MVP
6) Pre- Marketing
When it comes to pre-marketing the launch of your app it really is a three part story. Luckily all of these ideas work off each other in a somewhat reasonable and understandable way.
Your pre-marketing begins with working out your messaging and the story you want to come with your app. Through your ideation you would’ve worked out your apps USP and subsequently what makes your company stand out from all the others. During pre-marketing you want to push the most concise and punchy story of your app to make an audience of potential users excited about trying it. When doing this consider elements like any unique features your app has, any niche audience that you’re trying to target as a company and any quirks that make you different to competitors.
Once you have decided on the messaging you want to push to an external audience you now need to think of how you’re going to get it out there. This is working out which marketing channels you are going to effectively use to reach the audience you have identified as your ideal starting user base in your ideation. This will definitely mean focusing on which digital channels to use including social media platforms and Youtube. You’ll also want to make sure your website and blog are up to a good standard with all the relevant information and firm SEO footing being established as this will be where your new audience will learn the most about you.
Now that you have established the messaging you will be using and the best channels to connect with your audience you can now think of engaging and eye catching pre-marketing plans. Given that no one knows about your company yet you can consider everything from in person events like pop up stalls - though these may be better utilised post launch - and online activations like setting up a pre-launch registration. By setting up this pre-launch registration you will create a buzz around the app before users have any idea about it bar what’s shown on your website. Be prepared with a pre-launch registration to have prizes and gifts available to make the pull of joining the app even more appealing.
7) Launch (Open Beta)
8) Feedback, Analysis and Iteration
Feedback is a vital step for any dating app, as its nearly impossible to release a “perfect” app on the day of launch. By collecting feedback and listening to user’s concerns, leads to continuous iteration and that helps in achieving perfection which is a gradual and steady process. Users shed light on their pain points, which might have been overlooked by your team. Your team’s task is to identify those pain points, meet user’s expectations and evolve the app with time. By asking daters their honest opinions about features and functionality, it helps you shape your dating app and build brand loyalty. Also, it generates referrals and recommendations, this type of word-of-mouth marketing still beats all other marketing channels.
Feedback analysis highlights the type of functionality and content the users prefer. This analysis is critical in understanding redundant functionality and boredom leading UX / content that might hinder user engagement on your dating app. Its important to keep user engagement and activity high, so new users can interact with a rich and active community, without which dating apps become dormant. Framing the feedback is critical at the same time, and questions need to be open-ended, clear, concise, and straightforward. And basically, help your app to reach the pinnacle of perfection when it comes to active and prosperous dating community. The data acquired after the launch helps in understanding user’s needs and assist your team in making more defined, strategized, logical, and data-driven decisions. By continuous improvement and capturing meaningful insights, it improves customer experience and user retention. And for dating apps, retention correlates to higher conversions and premium subscription users. To maintain consistent in-flow of feedbacks and low bounce-rate from users, incentives can be offered. This will motivate the users to be loyal to your dating app and will have to complete trust in your brand.