Find your Jew boo and app success this Hanukkah


The app market is saturated; there are thousands of games, tools, and niche apps, and many of these just get lost in the crowd. Building a niche app is still a valid plan for finding success in the app marketplace, but you need to build a tool that can help a community connect in a new way.


Unique sensibilities

Growing up Jewish, I experienced first-hand the pressure of my family to settle down and find a “nice Jewish boy.” I thought these pleas from my mother and grandmother were archaic, and Hanukkah’s eight nights of candle lighting was just another opportunity for my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to find ways to not so subtly hint that it was urgent that I find a Jewish man to propose. Because of this, I understood how the traditional models of dating and even existing online dating companies still catered to the ideas of previous generations — that you didn’t date; you got married.

Being a part of the team to concept, create, and release Yenta, a Jewish dating mobile application that provides single Jewish individuals with the opportunity to find other nearby Jewish singles, has been a lesson in creating a product for a specific community — one that shares certain characteristics, experiences, traditions, and needs. Here are a few key ideas that will help you to find success in the niche app market:


Understanding identity

A community is held together by certain commonalities. An app that succeeds in connecting a community should:

  • Understand those commonalities. The characteristics of an app should be genuine and true to the identity of the targeted group. What customs, entertainment, and struggles unite that audience?
  • Enhance the shared experience by filling in any gaps that exist between a community’s actual experience and their digital world.
  • Create products that truly tie into the tapestry of the community and achieve loyalty among users.


Succeeding in the niche market

Niche markets can be hit or miss. The mass marketing approach to gain momentum will not work. A focus on marketing through the specific media and social channels where you community already exists and interacts is paramount for success.

  • Research the intended market for the product. Intimate knowledge of that market helps to eliminate any stereotypes or falsities within the app or product. In turn, a backlash within the community is avoided. There are plenty of stereotypes of the Jewish community, some closer to the truth than others. By knowing these and playing them up, we were able to bring a fun and playful attitude to the app — one that helped us focus on dating and not just marriage. It makes the users feel an instant connection because we understand the heritage and nuances of the community, yet they realize immediately that this is not their grandmother’s dating game.
  • Be active in the community. Success in catering to a niche community is based on knowing the trends, topics, and touch points of that audience. Being or becoming an integral part of that community online and in the non-digital world is vital in predicting where that community is headed in terms of technology and needs.

Use the eight days of Hanukah to understand how building a community-based app is more than just identifying a market and creating a tool that they might use. You can find success in the app store; you just have to find your shtick.

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Hannukkah” image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Written by Luba Tolkachyov

Luba Tolkachyov is the founder of Yenta, a free location based mobile phone application that connects Jewish singles with other singles near them. Luba is also the co-founder of Findr Interactive, a full service digital agency focused on growing brands digitally.
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