The fine people at JDate received this email from an active user recently and passed it along for me to give some advice, not just for this user, but for anyone with a similar experience. The email asked the following:
I need some help getting people to respond. I have tried email, IMs, chat rooms, and message boards, yet I have not received any feedback.
I really do not have anyone who can take new pictures of me. The only new thing that has happened to me lately is that I got a new job as a bookkeeper.
I have tried my area, yet there have not been any new people. I also expanded my search to other parts of the country, but I feel that these people are still not interested.
Can anyone help me out?
This is a common question: Why am I not getting attention online? I’d like to break it down into three categories:
- The pictures
- The profile
- The emails
1. Less Is More
While JDate allows 12 pictures, that doesn’t mean you need to use all of the available slots. Three to five photos will be plenty for someone to get a good idea of what you look like. You don’t want to be dismissed simply because you have one sub-par photo.
2. Include at Least One Clear “Face” Photo
If you don’t have at least one clear face photo as your main profile picture, your profile will scream, “Hiding something!” You don’t want someone not to click on you because he or she can’t see what you look like at first glance.
3. Use Solo Pictures
You’re already being compared to others on the site, so do not give someone the chance to compare you to the other people in your own profile. If you’re trying to show that you have friends or are social, just say so!
4. Have One Photo Where You’re Doing Something Interesting
Many people have no idea what to say in the initial email, so give them something easy to comment about, or “email bait.”
5. Be Accurate
It happens all the time where you go on a date, and the person looks nothing like his or her photos and profile had indicated. Don’t lie about your looks… enough said.
And the biggest photo myth: Professional photos are frowned upon. Wrong! (Just make sure they are taken in a natural setting.) If you look good, no one will care who took the pictures or whether you paid for them. They’ll just be happy they found someone as good-looking as you are. If you’re having trouble finding a photographer, DatingHeadshots.com is a good place to start. I am also happy to give some recommendations depending on your location.
1. Have a Big and Bold Intro, and a Positive Ending
On most of the dating sites, just a few words of your profile are shown… someone needs to actively click on you to see the rest. For that reason, it’s important to make the first sentence memorable in order to catch someone’s attention and make him or her want to click. And your last line is the last thing they will remember, so be sure to end on a positive note.
2. Ask Questions
Assume the worst: that no one knows what to say to you in an email. For that reason, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to write to you. Just like with the “interesting” picture described above, asking questions in your profile gives them an “in.” Even rhetorical questions work since you are still engaging the person reading your profile.
3. Check the Length
As a general rule of thumb, just a few sentences is too short, but anything over three paragraphs is much too long. People will simply see the length, think, “I don’t have time to read this,” and click on the next profile. No need to tell your life story. Save it for the date… and even then, use some discretion.
4. Provide Details and Specifics
With so many people using JDate, you have to differentiate yourself. No one necessarily cares that you like to cook, but they might care if you claim to make the best apple pie on this side of the Mississippi. Let someone paint a picture of you in his or her mind rather than letting yourself blend into the crowd.
Now, find some people who interest you, and start sending those emails. Both men and women should email potential matches.
Here’s to include in the email:
- Something about his/her profile that caught your attention
- Something about you and how it relates to him/her
- A question (to end the email)
As for the length, a few sentences will be enough to get the ball rolling. And no copy/paste form letters!
These tips should give you a better sense of how to use online dating effectively. Best of luck!