Marketing 101 for dating

shopping cartToday I was strolling down the fresh men aisle at my favorite dating site. No one was enticing enough to pick off the shelf and examine more closely. I wasn’t even drawn to read any labels (profiles).

What was wrong?

Lack of marketing.

With very few exceptions, online daters don’t know how to get people to pause and investigate their profiles. What stops eager shoppers from delving deeper?

  1. Poor pictures. Blurry, dark, or the face is covered with sunglasses and/or a hat. I’ve covered this before in “Is that you? Pictures are just a rough facsimile of the real thing.”
  2. Bad title. Most sites allow you a few words to describe yourself in a title. I’ve seen titles that included “lonely,” “horny,” and “desperate.” Don’t you just want to write those guys immediately? And there are the misspellings. My favorite is “intellegent” [sic] which shows up more than you’d think.

If the guy has a decent pic and headline, you read his profile. Many — even college graduates — have a difficult time here. I read one the other day that listed his history back to high school. Others tell you every outdoor activity in which they have ever participated. Some list so many sports they play, I get tired just reading about them. Others include hints at baggage: “No liars, cheaters, or gold diggers.” “Not looking to be anyone’s meal ticket.” “Pass me by if you’re a player.” Can you tell he still has some work to do? And does he really think a player would say, “Oh, boy, I better pass on this guy.” Right.

So how do you turn a boring profile into something more interesting? Here are three tips from Marketing 101.

  • kayakTalk benefits. Paint a picture of what life would be like with you. Don’t just say “I’m fun” give an example: “I have fun at most anything, and we can laugh our way through cooking dinner together, taking a twilight stroll, or picnicking on the beach.” If you like outside activities, don’t just say, “I like tennis, biking, hiking, and kayaking.” Yawn. Try, “We can explore the beauty of the area while getting to know each other through hiking the regional parks, kayaking on the lake, or biking along the river trail.”
  • Use “you” not “he.” Put the “customer” into the copy. So instead of saying “he” when describing your ideal guy, say “you” so he can put himself there with you.
  • Ask for the order. “We should talk if…” or “If this sounds like you, please email me a hello” or “If you want to see if I’ll laugh at your jokes, send me an email.” Something — almost anything — that calls for action. Ads do this all the time: “Call now” or “Reserve your space.” There’s a reason they do this — it works!

Here’s the before of a friend’s profile, followed by the revision after we worked on it:

Before

I am a mature, well-educated professional female, never married with no children. I have been told I am rather witty and I enjoy a variety of activities including reading, writing, painting, playing musical instruments, surfing the Web, managing my online webstore, watching educational television, drinking exotic coffees and having lively debates with friends and family. I am politically liberal with old fashioned moral values and am a bit quiet at first, but can be very talkative once you get to know me. I am a transplanted NYer, a tree hugger, a feminist, a humanist, an animal lover and a strong believer in the innate goodness of human nature.

I’m looking for: My ideal partner would be a well educated fellow professional with a big heart and a first rate sense of humor. Sensitivity and the ability to communicate freely and fully are very important to me, while treating others with dignity and respect is a must. A liberal political mindset is also an important asset. If you are a mature single, divorced or widowed man, preferably without children and are interested, please feel free to contact me. And always, always remember: we are all here for the chocolate…

After:

My man is a special guy. In addition to being well-educated fellow professional, you have a big heart and a first rate sense of humor. You laugh easily, and especially at your own silliness as well as mine. Perhaps you are like me in that you giggle at small children’s unselfconsciousness, or dogs playing, or odd typos in the paper. You pride yourself on your ability to communicate freely and fully and appreciate that I do, too. You wouldn’t consider treating others with anything but dignity and respect. We share a liberal political mindset.

I’ve been told — by people other than my family — that I’m rather witty. Like you, no doubt, I enjoy a variety of activities including reading, writing, painting, playing musical instruments (but don’t worry, not accordion), surfing the Web, managing my online webstore, watching educational television, drinking exotic coffees and having lively debates with friends and family. I’m politically liberal with old-fashioned moral values. I’m somewhat quiet at first, but converse freely once you get to know me. I am a transplanted NYer, a tree hugger, a feminist, a humanist, an animal lover and a strong believer in the innate goodness of human nature.

I’d prefer a man who doesn’t have children at home, so if your daily dad duties are over, and the above fits you, we should talk!

And always, always remember: we are all here for the chocolate…

Try applying these ideas to your own online efforts and tell us if the changes yield different results for you.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Dating after 40, Getting your dating attitude on, Playing the online dating game

4 Comments on “Marketing 101 for dating”

  1. Steve Barr Says:

    Excellent suggestions DG! The bottom line here that many people seem resistant to accept is that you are indeed “selling” yourself in an internet dating ad.

    Now is there anything you can do to help me with my unfortunate choice handle on these sites as “Probasses”? I’m a bass player and not a proctoligist for God’ssake!

  2. Kaye Says:

    Steve, On Match.com, it’s easy to change your “handle”. Go to “my account” tab, and then to “sign up information”. I’ve changed my handle twice without affecting anything else on my account.

  3. Gatti Says:

    The worst handle I ever read (on the UK Guardian Soulmates site, so they really should have had more taste) was “Enema Within”. Yeah, right, like I was going to write to this guy…”Dear Enema Within…”. I don’t think so!

    Gatti, ever so happy she found a lovely guy who also had a sensible sort of screen name:)

  4. LB Says:

    Bravo! Internet dating can be so frustrating yet so revealing. Men who write in capital letters, no punctuation, misspell words, etc. actually say a lot to me about how much thought they put into their post and how intelligent they really are. Where is the humor and a picture with a smile? It says more than their achieved level of education or income.


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