I visit the Good Men Project fairly regularly where I read your articles. You helped me write my profile, and I receive your automated emails advising women on dating. From my perspective, I see a significant disconnect. It seems that women have a rather difficult time finding the right person. What confuses me is that this man, with a profile written you’re your professional help, has an abysmal first response rate.
I am on multiple dating sites and have sent out more than 200 messages to the various matches and search results with very few responses. If there are so many women looking for their true love then it seems to me I should be getting more first responses.
I do take time to write my first message based on her profile. I know I am not the life of the party type of guy but have never written anything crass or presumptuous. I am tall, slender, maybe even athletic, and have a full body picture on my profile. None of my pictures are home mirror photos and none look like selfies. And yes, all are fully respectable.
As I see all these sites about women having difficulties finding someone to date, why do I have such a low response rate? Ok, let’s say it is me. What might I be doing so wrong?
I do consider the possibility of making the error of living in Panama City, Florida. Moving just to find dates is a bit extreme, although that is now a serious consideration.
Lonely in Panama City
Dear Lonely in Panama City,
Online dating is not for the faint of heart. Many emails go unanswered. People disappear after a few messages. But in spite of the pitfalls, I believe online dating is still the best way for anyone over 40 to find love.
Thank you for hiring me to write your profile. A professional profile definitely helps add to your online dating success. However, you say you’re still not getting the results you want. Let’s try and figure out the root of the problem.
Should you move? I don’t think that’s the answer. People in large cities have trouble finding love online, too. They often have the opposite problem—the paradox of too much choice.
Is it your photos? I haven’t seen them, but you say you’ve posted good pictures, no selfies, and no bathroom mirror photos. I’m imagining you also have no photos of yourself holding a large fish, dressed in camouflage, or hunting? All good on that front.
So, if it’s not your location, your photos, your profile, or your location, what could the problem be? I’d have to guess that your emails are ineffective. Or you’re emailing women who are not a good match.
Here’s my 5-step formula for how to write effective online dating emails
#1. Greeting or no greeting?
On most sites, all you know is his/her screen name/username. It’s pretty awkward to open your email with, “Hi, loves2laugh_007”. I recommend skipping the greeting and going right to the body of the email. There was actually a research study conducted by OKCupid that showed that emails without a greeting get more opens and responses. Go figure!
#2. Make it personal.
When you’re searching for love online, you need to scroll through tons of profiles. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the few you’re interested in, you will still be interacting with complete strangers at first. In other words, online dating is highly impersonal until you get to know someone.
To stand out from the crowd, instead of sending a generic, impersonal, boring message, it’s important to establish a personal connection. You want to pique his/her interest. How? Read his/her profile, find a thing or two you both have in common or something that resonates with you. Do you both love to swim? Are you both artists? Does her love of adventure excite you? Each of these is a potential way to connect. Mention one or two things that stood out the most in their profile, and why it resonated with you.
#3. Ask a question.
You’ll get a better response if you ask a question. For example, “I have a dachshund named Tony. He warms my feet at night. What kind of dog do you have?” or “I’m reading the biography of Thomas Jefferson. What surprised me most was _______. What are you reading?”
#4. Ask for a response.
People don’t necessarily understand that you would like a response to your email unless you ask for it. Crazy, right? It may seem obvious to you, but you’ll want to make it clear by including a casual, low-pressure statement that shows you’d like to hear back (without sounding desperate or demanding).
You can say something like, “I look forward to hearing from you” or “Later!” What not to say? “Hope to hear from you soon”. That can make you sound a little insecure.
#5. The signature.
Sign the email with your first name.
What not to do:
- Write a long email describing yourself. Your bio belongs in the essay, not the opening email.
- Tell people to check out your profile. If someone likes your email, they will check out your profile. When you ask them to check your profile and see if there’s interest, you can come across as lacking confidence.
- Be generic. Don’t say, “Nice profile. You look interesting.” Be specific to show that you actually read the person’s profile.
- Focus on a woman’s looks. “Hey beautiful!” or “You’re gorgeous!” doesn’t flatter as much as connecting to something about her personality.
- Get sexual. A classy woman doesn’t want to be objectified, especially not in an opening email. If you want a response, connect to her heart, her passions, her soul, not her body.
I hope these tips help you have more success at online dating. Please don’t give up hope. There’s a wonderful woman out there for you. She’s just an email away from meeting you!