Dave, I won’t say I’m desperate, but I’m certainly frustrated. I signed up for a couple of dating / matchmaking sites to expand the pool of potential men to date and I spend lots of time fiddling with my match.com profile, but I still don’t get much of any email and have only been out on two or three dates in months. How can I be more successful with online dating?
Ah, modern times. When I was dating, our big electronic innovation was the Usenet group “net.singles” and it was a discussion group that encompassed single folk around the world. Fortunately, only a few hundred, of which a few dozen were active. Didn’t do much for my dating life, but it was sure fun and the few parties we had, where we met face-to-face, that was very fun!
Dating, online or off, is all about clear communication, matching expectations with reality, and a liberal sprinkle of marketing and packaging. 🙂 In fact, I have two different references I’ll cite to help you understand how to improve your results with whatever dating service you’re using.
The first is from Men’s Health Magazine, which recently ran an article aimed at guys who want to be more successful on Internet dating sites called Find Her Online.
Here’s a summary of what author Lisa Jones had to say:
- Show Good Face – add a picture, make sure it’s not trite or cliche (e.g., no holding babies pics).
- Give Good Word – show, don’t tell: instead of saying you’re funny, write a funny profile.
- Recruit a Wingwoman – before going public with your profile, as a woman to check it. (in your case, ask a male friend or two to check out your profile and give you candid feedback).
- Choose Thoughtfully – only respond to those women you’re genuinely interested in meeting, not everyone who breaths and has the right chromosomes.
- Make Me Care – email messages should be fun, engaging and demonstrate that you’ve read the other person’s profile.
- Calm My Fears – guys can be dangerous psycho lunatics (and women can too), so take it slow with revealing personal information, addresses, etc.
It’s a good article and its “Anatomy of an Effective Pickup” email message is well worth checking out if you find that you respond to people but they don’t ever respond back to you.
Online Dating Secrets
The second reference I’ll pull from is the engaging ebook Online Dating Secrets: The Ultimate Online Dating Guide for Real People looking for Real Relationships.
In “Online Dating Secrets”, the author talks about a standard marketing approach to creating a great profile, highlighting AIDA. What’s that? Let’s let author Joel Comm take over here:
A-I-D-A stands for Attention-Interest-Desire-Action. It is a 4-Step plan for grabbing the Attention of a fickle prospect, sustaining their Interest with powerful benefits, instilling want or Desire for the advertised product and motivating Action to buy or possess their object of desire.
Most dating profiles stink because people try to do everything at once, and fail horribly in their attempt. But you don’t have to, because you are armed with the most powerful weapon in a professional writer’s arsenal: AIDA!
Now let’s see how we can apply AIDA to writing your dating profile:
I. Grab Attention with the Opening Line
A full profile can take up an entire page, so most dating websites display just your opening line and photo on search results. Make sure your opening line makes them want to click! Refrain from cheesy, overused opening lines, such as “hello ladies!” or “girl next door” or “knock knock”
II. Sustain Interest with The Body Text
The body text is the long, descriptive part of your profile. Most people squander away this opportunity to talk at length about themselves. Some fill it with over-used adjectives, such as “I am ambitious, good-looking, athletic, successful, talented and romantic.” (Are you yawning yet?) The trick to writing great, unique profiles is to fill them with detail. Detail is what makes your profile believable – and effective!
Don’t just say “I’m athletic” Talk about that memorable trek in the rain, across miles of slippery hills and dale. Don’t just say “I’m persistent” Tell them how you finally mastered horseback riding after being bucked off thrice. A dash of humor won’t hurt. “If you’re tired of paying a spa $50 for a simple mud bath, try horseback riding.” Don’t say “I’m romantic” Talk about the beauty and magic of love, and how it affects you.
The body text is the part where you tell them: Who you are and What you want.
III. Incite Desire by making a ‘real’ connection
If you want to really connect with someone, don’t appeal to their mind. Get in touch with their emotions.
Add an element of fun. Flirt! If you’re a man, say something flattering that a woman will enjoy. If you’re a woman, find funny ways to point to the absence of a man in your life. Make them laugh with you or cry with you or feel deeply about what you say. That is the key to desire!
IV. Invite Action with a powerful close
It’s not easy to approach a potential date, is it? You don’t know what to say without sounding silly, you don’t know if they’ll say yes or quickly block your advances…
That’s why it helps your readers to know how to respond to your profile.
Make them feel comfortable about approaching you, by thanking them for taking the time to get in touch. Invite them to chat or mail you. Entice them with your idea of a wonderful date, challenge them to answer a funny question. Just use your imagination!
I think that the consistent message across both of these authors is that you really need to spend time thinking about what you think someone else would like to read about you, make it fun, funny, wry, whatever, that reflects your personality, and then ask a few pals – ideally of the same gender that you hope to attract – to read through it critically and help you identify what’s cool and what looks weird or creepy.
And may you have great results and live, as the princesses do in fairy tales, happily ever after.