When I meet with clients and ask them if they have ever tried online dating, I generally first hear a groan and then something like, “that doesn’t work” or “I don’t want to put my information out there”. I smile as I listen to their experiences and tell them there is a method to the online dating madness. I then ask them if they’d be open to trying again with the help/guidance of a professional and most times they agree.
Online dating should be part of every single’s dating strategy since online dating sites and apps are what I call “target rich environments”, i.e. most people on the sites are single and many are looking for a relationship. Further, according to the latest statistics, approximately 20% of committed relationships and 17% of marriages began online.
Here are my 10 tips to online dating success:
1) Write a short, upbeat profile describing who you are and who you’re looking for
The key words here are “upbeat and short”. No one wants to read a long profile so write just enough to attract interest and make the reader want to know more. To get you started, think of 5-7 words that describe you and work those into the headline and/or profile narrative.
Use this as an opportunity to learn more about your own likes and dislikes and what you’re looking for in a partner. Update your profile regularly with any changes or additions
2) Post 4-6 recent (within a year) flattering photos
If you don’t have any recent photos, consider having some professional lifestyle photos taken. If that isn’t possible, then ask a friend to take some. Find an attractive park with a number of appealing backdrops. If you’re active, consider posing for an action shot, i.e. swinging a golf club or tennis racket.
Include at least one full length photo and be sure to include captions of when the photos were taken. Include where the photos were taken if the location is interesting.
3) Define and set up search criteria and run search
Be as open as you can so that your search returns enough results. 200-300 prospects is a good number to aim for. You want enough prospects so that after sorting, you can find 3-5/day to write. Be careful to only write to those who are very recently active on the site.
Be curious and enjoy getting to know people. In other words, embrace the adventure that is online dating. Expand your physical preferences to see what is possible.
4) Persistent, consistent activity is a must if you want to be successful online
Try to spend 20-30 minutes a day online. Set aside a regular period of time to check your email, run your search, read correspondence, and write/respond to those that interest you.
Be the chooser. Online dating is equal opportunity ladies. If you like someone’s profile and they’re recently “active”, then send a short ice breaker ending with a question. Try commenting on a photo and asking where it was taken. Or, if you read something in the profile that interests, mention it and ask a question about it. It’s important to let your prospect know you read the profile and have an interest to know more.
Reply to emails as soon as possible. By delaying, you risk missing the opportunity altogether. If you’re on the fence, send a note – you never know.
5) Strive for progress, not perfection
You don’t have to write perfect emails, and it isn’t a good idea to expect others to. There’s no such thing as a perfect profile or response. Everyone has their own ideas about how to write emails, profiles, etc. Also, take spell check into consideration when you are tempted to critique someone’s spelling. We’ve all been bitten by the spell check bug at one time or another.
6) Don’t take this too seriously or personally
While your intent is to find and meet that special someone as soon as possible, it usually doesn’t happen overnight, nor should it. Talk with and meet various people before deciding to focus on one.
Some people won’t respond to your emails, and often, if it’s a paid site, it’s because they are not members and can’t even see your correspondence. Others will pass due to their preferences. Remember, they don’t know you so it’s not personal.
7) Use Law of Attraction thinking
If you’re going to date online successfully, you have to believe that it will work for you or it won’t. Having a positive perspective and thinking optimistically are key. 2 Law of Attraction principles are “like attracts like” and “what is inside shows up on the outside”.
8) Embrace the adventure that is online dating
Be curious and enjoy getting to know people. Expand your physical preferences to see what is possible. While attraction is important, even a spark is something to build on. Often people become more attractive to us as we get to know them and appreciate who they are. Many committed relationships have come out of good friendships.
9) Remember the goal is get offline with those who interest you
After 3-4 timely emails are exchanged, someone should move the action forward.
I recommend a short phone call as the next step. Try to have a question or two ready.
A good phone call will include a fairly even volley of asking and answering questions. If you’re hesitant to offer your phone number, then ask for theirs. Another option is to get a free number like Google Voice, which you can forward to your cell phone.
If the call goes well, set up a time to meet. I recommend coffee, a drink, or a walk in a public place for a first date. Try to limit it to an hour or less. The point of a first date is to see if you’re open to a second date, and you should be able to know that in a short time. If no interest, then thank them, wish them well and move on.
10) Use the online sites as just one of several venues to meet people
Don’t rely on online dating as the only source to meet dating partners. The best strategy is to meet dating partners online and offline. Some offline possibilities are interest based groups, your place of worship, classes, and volunteer projects. These are just a few of many options.
Whatever you choose to do, commit to it and have fun!