Lead generation and online dating are strikingly similar. While users on Tinder or Match.com may not be busting out the data analytics tools or buyer personas, they still have similar journeys. Both require extra attention to branding, knowing who you’d like to meet, and nurturing the relationship to see if it’s a match. Here’s a further look at what online dating can teach us about lead generation:

Defining Who You Are

Creating an online profile is the ultimate practice in branding. Just think about it – you only get so much space to tell potential dates who you are, what you’re into and why they’d be interested in you. Even selecting the best photos is part of cultivating a strong dating profile.

It’s the same with lead generation. As Inc. explains, a clear message generates more interest. “Whether you're online dating or trying to decide on which vendor to buy a product from, you won't pay much attention to the 50 messages that look and sound identical.” This first step is all about sharing what makes you unique and stand out. A strong visual brand and consistent messaging lets your customers know your brand values and who your products are best suited for.

Choosing Your Target Audience

Author and entrepreneur, Marie Forleo, often says that “if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.” In the world of online dating and lead generation, the same holds true. Ever tried juggling multiple dates and remembering everything you learned about them? At some point, your wires are bound to get crossed. That will not make for a very positive dating experience. With online dating, you usually go in with an idea of who you’re looking to connect with. This usually happens as early as the sign-up stage, where you’re asked your age, sexual orientation, and location.

With lead generation, it’s a bit more intentional, yet still just as tailored. “You do not cast a wide net and try to catch as many fish,” digital marketing company, OnlyB2B, affirms. “[Marketers] draw a detailed buyer persona (which are like the Tinder specs – age, gender, industry, job title, etc.) and use them to qualify accounts.” Buyer personas make creating a marketing strategy easier because then you know which publications are best for advertising and which communities you’re most likely to find ideal clients. From the start, online dating and lead generation makes sure you’re reaching the right target audience.

Ensuring You’re A Match

Once you’ve crossed the first two off the list – defining who you are and choosing your target audience – you’re ready to see if you’re a match. With online dating, this means striking up a conversation and seeing if there are things in common. Or set a time to meet up and learn more about each other. Lead generation and sales intelligence company, DiscoverOrg, suggests one simple tip for better leads in your marketing and online dating: “To attract a qualified sales lead, or date, learn to listen.”

Listening is a crucial step for lead generation. What are you listening for? In this part of the process, you’re looking to hear customer challenges, desires, and previous experiences. This will tell you a lot about what your customer is looking for with your business and how previous solutions have fared. They’ll also let you know what they’d like to see – such as new products or features – that can guide your prospecting. It’s a good sign when your future plans are in alignment with what the other person desires!

Nurturing The Relationship

A match is a cause for celebration! But, this isn’t the end of the road. When personal interests, lifestyles, and goals align in online dating, the next step is to nurture the relationship. This is when you’re able to see how it’ll work for both of you in the long-term and give you an opportunity to see how each of you deals with real-life situations. As you nurture the relationship, communication and connection will grow.

On the marketing side, nurturing a sales lead can happen through emails, social media, or online products (such as webinars or courses). Backlinks, for instance, is one way to nurture a qualified lead and create the ideal partnership. “The importance of having the right associations spills over into our SEO efforts, where we ideally want to pair with websites that have a high number of quality backlinks.” With so much noise on the internet, it’s important to stay top of mind. Paying special attention to these leads helps your company find businesses that keep you front and center and drive more traffic.

How many of these online dating tactics have you experienced in your lead generation? While at first glance the two may seem to be worlds apart, they’re actually more similar on further inspection! Both online dating and lead generation are about identifying a unique strength, defining your target audience, aligning your interests, and building trust. When all of these come together, a beautiful relationship can bloom for the long-term.