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Last Update: Thursday December 14, 2017

Key Idea: Find an Advertising Strategy

Radio then television proved to be the way for eHarmony to reach singles.

Key Question:

A: 

"If you build it, they will come" was not working for eHarmony.

The site was up and running. Some singles were signing up. Dr. Warren's reputation and his best-selling book was established, and he had a bit of a following; however, the paying customers were not getting enough matches so everyone was discouraged.

Just before they thought they might quit, they tried advertising on the radio.

Q: What is the risk with advertising and how does a company find the right form of it?

A: The risk is that thousands of dollars can be poured into a campaign that doesn't pay for itself. There are plenty of ad agencies who get your money whether their ideas work for you or not.

We don't mean to bash the advertising industry but they certainly make money by spending your money and unless you track results, they could end up with all of your hard-earned profits.

Do what Dr. Warren and Greg did -- test an idea on a small scale before you roll it out in a big way.

eHarmony's advertising budget was up to $20 million in the year 2004 but that is because their very first radio spot, that cost them just a few thousand dollars, worked.

They slowly increased the number of markets in which they buy time.

Here's Greg telling the story. "In early 2002 we started looking at radio. It's easy and it's not too expensive. It's a matter of cracking the code. We built 13 difference radio spots. Some of them never reached the air.

In September 2002 we launched a radio ad that popped. Here's what's amazing -- the same ad has been running for over 16 months. It had some legs. It's working. It started:
'Hi, my name's Sarah and I met my husband on eHarmony.com.
Hi, my name's Debbie and I met my husband John on eHarmony.com.
Hi, I'm Cindy and I met my husband Bill on eHarmony.com.'

"Right there we positioned ourselves as building marriages -- giving people hope that they can develop a lasting relationship. It wasn't about dates and quantity and guys with great jobs and cute girls.

"Then Dr. Neil Clark Warren comes on. He has a special voice, credibility and a meaningful message. We closed with another gal talking about her husband.

"Then we figured out we needed to give people more than hope. We needed to give them a free personality profile. That was a wonderful direct response tool. We had a call to action. Write this down and get the free profile. We tried some agencies but Neil wrote the best eHarmony ad ever written."

Q: What are the four parts to the successful eHarmony ad campaign?

A: First they use real customers, not actors, who speak about their experience in their own words. Second, they use Dr. Warren because he is the voice of authority. Third, they repeat the name of the company four or five times. And fourth, they offer a call to action that is obviously irresistible to singles.

We took the free profiles ourselves because we needed to tape the process for the television production. We are not "legal" prospects for eHarmony because we are married. However, we can report that once a person takes the free offer made in the ads, eHarmony has a friendly and what we would call a hard-sell follow up e-mail plan.

The ads are bringing in thousands of prospects a day, but eHarmony has to work hard to convert them to paying customers.

Think about it

What is your current advertising plan? Should you try some new avenues? Where do you think eHarmony would be today without its radio and TV ads?

Clip from: eHarmony

Pasadena, California:  Meet Dr. Neil Clark Warren. He has always been an excellent marriage counselor;  failures in marriage bothered him.  He decided to look into the broken heart of divorce. He probed and researched 512 couples -- divorce autopsies -- and discovered most of these people married the wrong person. He wrote a book about it and that book was selling well, until Oprah invited him to come on her show. Of course, sales exploded. When his son-in-law challenged him to expand his reach, they took that business to the web and almost lost everything.  That was 2001; the dot.coms had become dot.bombs.

Go to the key ideas and all the videos...
Go to the homepage of this episode...

eHarmony

Neil Clark Warren, Founder

300 N. Lake Ave.
Suite 1111
Pasadena, CA 91101
6267954814

Visit our web site: http://eharmony.com/

Office: 6267954814

Business Classification:
Service

Year Founded: 2000

Find an Advertising Strategy

NEIL: So we came to two conclusions: one was we had to just stay relentlessly to the task. That is keep our eyes on the goal. And the second was that we had to avoid the leaders of organizations and jump over the top and get to the end user.

And as soon as we did that we began to have a lot more success. And, you got to just wait for you chance. And here's what I think the secret is.

Figure out how it is that you can take your idea and you can reach a large number of people. And then begin to build your cadre of people to the extent that you can afford it.

Get some financing along the way if you have an idea that other people respond to and then run down the line. Just keep going until you find your opening.

And we found our opening in television and radio.

CUSTOMER (clip from a spot): As soon as I saw Paul, I knew he was the one.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The four part formula to their winning ad campaign is, one, happy customers.

CUSTOMER#2 (clip from a spot): I love my husband.

NEIL (clip from a spot): Hi, I'm Dr. Neil Clark.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Two, Neil Clark's credibility. Three, repeating the business name.

CUSTOMER#3: With eHarmony.

NEIL: At eHarmony.com

HATTIE: (Voiceover) And four, a call to action.

NEIL: (Voiceover) Personality profile absolutely free.
 
NEIL: And so I do think that idea of just, just keep working your dream. Just keep trying as much as you can and wait for your moment where the line opens up and you see some daylight.

HATTIE: Wow, 15,000 a day.

GREG STEINER: New people a day. HATTIE: New people.

GREG STEINER: And that's growing at, you know, 15 to 20 percent a month so that's...

HATTIE: Have you ever said to the marketing people, stop it?

GREG STEINER: Occasionally, yes.

HATTIE: It's like I can't take it anymore.

GREG STEINER: It's a constant battle.

HATTIE: You're killing me.

NEIL: Forty-three percent of all people over 18 in this country are single.

HATTIE: Okay.

NEIL: Now, most of them have never been around a single really good marriage, but do they want it? Oh my gosh. I mean they are so pulling for a good marriage for themselves.
 
 
 

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