By Dylan Alexander
In online dating, few things are more important than that opening email you write to someone you are interested in, hoping to get them to read your profile.
So you were skimming profiles and found someone’s you really liked, perfect for you in every way, and gorgeous too! You pound out a quick email and send it off, crossing your fingers.
Half an hour later, just for fun, you check your inbox to see if they replied. It can’t hurt, right? No reply. Oh, it did hurt, just a little.
Another hour passes... well, they might have returned your email this time. You check, but find nothing...
Another hour... again, nothing.
This goes on all day and you get more and more frustrated every time. Finally, you decide that they weren’t that hot, and weren’t worth your time. You email someone else.
Repeat from beginning.
So why doesn’t that hottie write you back? What was wrong with your email?
The truth is, you just didn’t get their attention. This is the first critical step of any online dating advice... GET THEIR ATTENTION!
So how do you do that in an opening email?
Let’s start by looking at the average email a guy sends a girl on an online dating website.
Now, I’m not accusing you of writing one of these, but just in case you *might* have, we should take a quick look. It goes something like:
“Hi, I saw your profile and you are really cute! I like your hat in that picture, it’s really nice, where did you get it? Anyway, please come take a look at my profile and if you like what you see, email me!”
This email fails in three distinct ways.
The last thing an attractive person who gets 10-20 emails a day wants to read is another average email saying another average thing. Also, ban “cute” from your vocabulary. Cute is so bland and overused, it barely has any meaning anymore. Besides, people want to be sexy. Not cute.
“I like your hat” is a good example of the bad online dating advice given out by MSN and Yahoo online dating “experts” (COUGH). They say “find something in his/her profile or photo and ask about it.” That’s a great idea if you just want to be friends, but it doesn’t make any kind of connection, so forget it. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Probably 80% of opening emails end with “please come take a look at my profile and if you like what you see, email me.” What’s wrong with that? First, everyone does it. Second, you need to end your email with a command, not a suggestion! Salespeople and marketers call it a “call to action”, like “BUY NOW!” You don’t need to go that heavy, but realistically, anything commanding and interesting is better than a passive “if you like what you see...” You’d be better off ending it with “rabid monkeys are eating my fingers as I type, email me back or they’ll finish me off!” Actually, I kind of like that one. Feel free to try it out.
Thus ends our “Anatomy of a Bad Email” lesson...
Online dating profiles are important, but without email writing skills, you’ll never get a date.
Now let’s write a great email!
Rule 1 when trying to get someone’s attention... BE INTERESTING!
As we’ve seen in Part 1, most people write nearly the same emails over and over. If you really want magnetic attention from your desired reader, combine these two things:
1) Have a sense of humor.
2) Be insightful.
How to have a sense of humor... Writing funny emails is an art, but it can be learned!
The first step is to really read their profile up and down, back and forth. Pick out something that is completely unique to this person, and ignore all the common stuff that you’ve seen written in dozens of other online dating profiles.
For example, in their profile, they write: “I’m smart, funny, unique, love baseball, study medicine, and also work on a chicken farm.”
Forget everything but the chicken farm. The chicken farm makes them unique! Let your brain come up with the craziest, funniest observations you can. You might write something like:
“A chicken farm? I love chicken! We’d be the perfect couple... You could poach extra chickens from work and I could fence them on the chicken black market. Eventually we could build up a nest egg and fly the coup to sunny Chichen Itza!”
That’s the worst set of puns I’ve ever written, but you get the picture. You are touching on what makes them unique, the little point that most people ignore in order to go for the easy and obvious stuff like “I like your hat.” Picking out the unique points alone will get their attention, and having a sense of humor will win them over.
Point 2: How to be insightful
Most people barely read online dating profiles. Sure, we skim them over a couple times and look for points to talk about, but we don’t read between the lines. We don’t really look for the depth of the words, the subtext of what people are really saying and asking for. Let’s go right to an example.
Here’s a snippet of a profile:
“I’ve been here before, perhaps too many times, each time a little more jaded. If only we could be more honest with each other, the world would be a better place. I’m looking for someone who is kind, faithful, and sincere.”
Are they saying they are looking for a kind, faithful, sincere person?
Only on the surface. What they are really telling us is...
“I’ve been hurt.”
How do you get that out of the above paragraph? They’ve come back time after time, even more jaded, which means they’ve gone through numerous relationships, each of them having ended badly. They are wishing for more honesty, which means they have faced a lot of deceit. And they are looking for someone who is kind, faithful and sincere, which heavily suggests that they know what they want because they have done time with a lot of people who have been unkind, unfaithful, and insincere to them.
So, when you read this profile and see someone who has been hurt... do you present yourself as someone who is kind, faithful and sincere?
You can do even better...
Instead of being the person they want, be the person who UNDERSTANDS THEM!
Forget everything about what people say they want on the surface! Deep down... they want to be understood (we all do!) Being that person in their life who really gets them, understands who they really are and sympathizes with them, is much more powerful and rare than simply matching some criteria in an online dating profile.
To display this, you could write something like:
“I read your profile and couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness at your words. We all seek happiness in life, but disappointment certainly seems to find its way in often enough. Like you, I simply seek a bright sunny day in a cloudy world.”
You don’t need to confront their issues directly, a subtle nod is all it takes to get their attention and let them know that the potential is there.
This would certainly stand out against everyone else writing “I’m sincere, honest, and faithful.”
Cheers and happy dating!
PS. Check out Online Casanova for a ton more email writing techniques!
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