How to Get People to Answer Emails_Header

Do you ever come across a profile that you like, want to send a message, and then have a strong bout of writer’s block?  It turns out you’re not alone.

Many people have no idea what to say in an initial online dating email to show someone that they have an interest in communicating and potentially meeting.  For this reason, it’s best to give these potential suitors (or suitoresses?) one more thing to comment about.  In other words, provide them with some “email bait.”

In my old JDate profile (LovesLifeDC), I had a photo of myself singing the National Anthem.  I got almost daily emails asking where I was singing and how I got the gig.  (Answers: A Washington Nationals game.  A good demo and a lot of persistence.  I was the squeaky wheel, if you will, and I got the oil, in the form of the biggest singing night of my life.)  This picture alone gave men the “in” they needed to strike up a conversation with me.

Other examples of clients’ interesting pictures have been:

  • A woman playing ice hockey in full gear
  • A man dressed as a clown since he performs for children every Sunday
  • A woman bouncing on a large “egg” trampoline
  • A man holding a ridiculously large pumpkin
  • A woman posing next to a sign saying “Completely Nuts” (Oh wait – that was me again!)

As a side note, I think I can speak for most of my fair gender when I say that we don’t care how big the fish you caught was.  Compensating for something, perhaps? 🙂

To show a real-life example, I’m going to use the photo I mentioned:

Erika attends a Washington Nationals game.

This is definitely a nice picture of me at a baseball game from a few years ago (older than I’d recommend using for the photo, but it will get the point across), but it’s not really showing anything special beyond my simply attending the game.

Erika sings the National Anthem at a Washington Nationals game.

This picture, instead, shows me singing the National Anthem at that same Washington Nationals game.  It was one of the best nights of my life, and when I used one of these singing pictures on JDate, I got questions and comments about it almost daily.

The moral: Many people have no idea what to say in the initial email, so give them something easy to comment about, or “email bait.”

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.
  1. I love the idea of putting something unique in an online dating profile to help someone start a conversation. It is often difficult to know what to say in that initial email, so this would definitely make it easier to break the ice. Great job, Erika!

  2. Very good ideas. I always enjoy your articles! Kudos!

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