I'd definitely give Facebook and Twitter advertising a try. Geotarget,
narrow your age ranges on Facebook, target singles only, and go after those
who are already following/liking other dating sites.
You can play around with the conversion objectives on each platform to find
better rates. Sometimes a promoted tweet, for example, will cost you $4 per
engagement... but that same exact tweet set up as a Twitter lead gen or
website card will average $2 per lead, while gathering faves/follows/RTs at
no additional cost. It takes some experimenting to find what works best for
your specific goals, so don't be shy about trying different methods.
You can also reach out to users manually by searching or grabbing followers
from other niche or geographically relevant dating services. Just take care to mind Twitter's limits; do it manually and be selective. The goal
isn't to do something scalable here, just to get you enough users for a
couple events. You don't want your account suspended for failure to learn the rules before starting your outreach.
While you can typically expect to pay more per click on Google Adwords, you
also reach a much more highly targeted audience who is ready to sign up. It
wouldn't hurt to set up a low-budget longtail keyword campaign. Stay away
from generic terms like "dating app," which has an absurd amount if
competition -- get creative and go for very specific search queries.
You can also try influencer marketing... identify singles with large
followings, young local celebs, or dating experts in your target areas and
reach out to them. Sometimes you'll find people willing to promote your
service for free; other times, offering an incentive will get them on
Might consider taking your promotions offline. Print up some club flyers (you can get 5000 high quality glossy, full color card stock prints for about $100) and hire a "brand ambassador" or 3 to go hand them out where your target
demographic spends time. (Avoid tourist spots! You want locals.)
For all your efforts, make sure you are tracking everything. Your online
efforts need a campaign identifier carried through the whole process and
saved with your user account data so that months from now, you can look
back and analyze your traffic sources vs conversions. You'll want to know
where your ideal users come from so you can replicate the process as you
scale. Get that set up now. For offline promotions, use campaign-specific
promo codes, unique subdomains or trackable QR codes wherever you can;
doing so will help you track the effectiveness and tell you if it's worth continuing with each specific method.