Whether or not your site is successful is determined by how populated it is. Your site members are a source of subscriptions, and are exactly what paying advertisers are always after.
The main question is how to build a members database? How to encourage people to sign up for your services when there is so much competition around? I will put Search Engine Optimization, interesting conception, attractive design and dating software platform with abundance of features aside. Let’s assume you have that all (because if you don’t – it’s hard to ever hope for success).
Basically, you can choose one of the two ways:
Populate your site with fake profiles.
We’d recommend you against creating an illusion of a busy site by integrating a fake members database. First of all, people now see way too many sites populated with model-looking members who never return messages. These days only lazy Internet surfers don’t know what a fake profile is. That is why another site full of beautiful, professional photos is likely to make them nothing more than bored and irritated. Potential users will simply not give your site any trust credit, while trust credit is something that can make your community site different, and put you ahead of competitors.
Give up an idea of integrating fake profiles for natural ways of members database building.
‘But who will want to join an empty site?’, you ask. Well, if you follow the five tips given below, the answer will be ‘Quite many potential members’:
1. Offline promotion. Don’t let your ad campaign be limited to Internet marketing, even though the largest part of your audience may be coming from the web. Offline promotion can work wonders for your site popularity, especially if it is geo-targeted. Promotional flyers, ads in your local newspaper and radio station are great tools to attract attention. You might also want to organize an event that will reflect your site conception, and give you a chance to introduce your project to potential members in person. What is especially good about offline promotion is little to no competition. So you get all the advantages of being the first to introduce yourself to an ‘offline customers segment’.
2. Promotional memberships.You don’t expect your site members to start paying right away, do you? You should first deserve
their sympathy by proving that your site is worth coming back to. Offer promitional (trial) memberships with all features and privileges included. The potential users will feel a lot more relaxed about using your services if they don’t risk anything. You can give a free lifetime membership to the first, say, 100 registered members. Or give a free trial to anyone joining your site for a limited time period. And don’t forget to put an attractive banner to your site index page with all the promotional membership advantages listed.
3. Involve your friends at the first stage of creating a members database. Ask them to register on your site, add photos and other content to their profiles. Ten to fifteen active members will be enough not to let the site look empty. That’s especially good for a social networking conception, because your friends will be able to really enjoy online communication on your site not having to imitate activity.
4. Make your site stand out in a crowd. One of the ways to do that is show that you deserve some trust credit (remember, I mentioned that before). As an option, you can show that all the profiles on your site are real, and that your members get exactly what they see. You can do that by using a photo verification tool, and marking the verified profiles as ‘authenticated’.
5. Use the referral system to attract more members to your site. Award the referrers with cash, user points (that they can spend on your site), souvenirs with your site logo (caps, t-shirts, cups, etc), movie tickets and other useful things. Viral marketing is some powerful stuff. Don’t forget to add the share options to your site pages for spreading content through social networks and bookmarking sites.
This is not an ultimate guide for members database building. You will find a lot more ways and tricks to make people visit your site, and stay a part of your community for long. The main ingredients of true popularity is your creativity and will to succeed.