OPW INTERVIEW - Nov 1 - eLove was developed by traditional matchmakers, and by the former CEO of LoveAccess.com. I caught up with eLove’s founders, Brad Megahan and Paul Falzone. (Full Disclosure: eLove is a former client of Courtland Brooks) - Mark Brooks
You’ve been rather busy over the last year or two. What matchmaking companies have you partnered with in the last year?
We have partnered with Julie Ferman’s Cupid’s Coach, who was voted the #1 matchmaker last year at the iDate Awards. Julie’s presence in the L.A. market, her expertise and coaching, as well as running a lot of symposiums on matchmaking would be advantageous to us to partner with. We have also partnered with Singles Station, Charlee Brotherton’s company, which is now eLove. And there are others that we’re still looking at.
We’ve targeted 10 markets to pursue over the next 6 to 12 months. They are all relatively large markets – Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Atlanta, Seattle, Pittsburg, Portland, Orlando, and Cleveland. And as more of our marketing is starting to take a national nature, we feel the need to have a larger footprint so we’re putting all the people in place to be able to support those additional locations. We have 50 physical offices in 42 cities in the US.
Tell us a bit more about eLove. eLove is really more about matchmaking. How have users benefited from your many years of genuine matchmaking experience on eLove? What is the user experience for them?
We look at eLove as a lifestyle company where our matchmaking is more of our concierge service. We’ve got 5 matchmaking centers across the US and we have a centralized matchmaking center where we are willing to work with people one on one and coach them. So we’re basically a life stage company that is going to encompass everything from coaching to long term relationships.
How is the matchmaking industry doing as distinct from the internet dating industry? How do the two industries compare and contrast in terms of the trajectory of growth?
The matchmaking and the online dating industry need to work in harmony as opposed to bid for the same traffic. We feel that working with matchmaking companies, as well as online companies, which has been a huge growth spurt for us. We do rev shares with these companies and some of these companies are making more money working with us and supplying us leads and getting percentages back from us on a rev share than they’re making doing their own venues.
Conversion rates are similar to the online companies. We’ve got the ability to grab the traffic and generate leads for ourselves. So we’re self sufficient all the way around.
How much do you charge?
We charge $3000 – $7000, depending on the level of service. Our average cash per membership is probably $3,000, but we’re dealing with a little heavier volume because we’re aggressive with our marketing. A lot of these matchmakers that are charging $20,000 to $25,000 plus are dealing with a very limited number of members so they don’t have any real volume to generate revenue. The industry gets black eyes and reputation starts being questioned if sometimes people take other people’s money for the sake of taking their money and not trying to get a good result. You have to have good intentions of what you’re going to do with the member once you bring them in. That is the beginning of your relationship, not the end of it.
Yes, it is so important to set expectations. I have to tell you if I were single I would be using a matchmaker. I would use Julie so I’m so glad she’s on board with you. Julie will go beyond her database. She will actually look beyond her fold of members. That is kind of a limitation with some matchmaking firms.
Julie Ferman is a perfect example of someone who is not in it for the money. Julie will do WIT “Whatever It Takes” to make that person have a relationship. And Julie is smart enough that she will not take business on the terms of: “Hi I got $25,000 and I’ll give it to you, find me a girl that is 17 years younger than me that wants to have babies immediately.” Don’t take that person’s money because the chances of that happening are very slim.
So let’s talk about numbers. Let’s say I’ve got half a million unique a month and I’ve got several thousand paying members and I can quite easily send you 1,000 good leads a month. What is that going to be worth to you? I ideally want to get paid on a per registrant basis within net 30. I send you a lead and I get the money within a month. On that basis what can you pay me?
We can pay you either by the lead, give you a check for $20,000 or give you a rev share at 20% of the value of the memberships that we sold off of that database. We’re converting 7 to 9% of our traffic just like online but at a much higher price point. And we’re getting them that money within 7 to 10 days after that has been executed.