I was reading an article in The Times today; it was talking about the decline of Christianity in the UK. It raised an interesting point. Is Christianity in decline or has it just become unfashionable? When I was growing up in the 70’s it was still very much the done thing to go to Church on Sunday, the audience was much larger. However, was the high attendance due to social requirement to be there or were they really committed Christians. Has there just been separation of the wheat from the chaff, has the church not just exchanged quantity for quality.
When you know that everyone in the Church on a Sunday is a committed Christian, it becomes much easier to communicate and connect with that group for the people running the establishment. When the church or anything becomes too broad in appeal then the message has to become diluted and inoffensive, leading to apathy and decline in the long run.
What, I hear you ask, has all this got to do with the Online Dating Industry? Well I think it’s an interesting parallel to the decline the big mainstream dating sites are seeing right now. This isn’t because there is a reduction in the opportunity that is online dating, it’s more because the big brand sites like Match.com are trying to appeal to the biggest audience in the world, everyone. If you try to produce something that appeals to everyone then by definition it will be bland and inoffensive, or in other words boring.
It is much easier to produce a compelling experience for a niche audience. The people who embrace that niche will be much happier with the experience and enjoy coming all the more, very much like the hard core of true committed Christians who still go to Church on a Sunday morning in the UK, they are proudly unfashionable. The production of content becomes easier as you don’t really have to worry about upsetting the people who don’t “get” the niche. Your communication will be better received and the responses will be much higher to the messages you are sending out. A more targeted message stands a better chance of converting the non-committed if it doesn’t have to pull the punches it would have to if it were going for a broader audience.
So if you are really looking to develop an active and more importantly profitable community, make sure you do try the niche approach. Communicate often and with highly relevant messages to your members and you margins will soar.