What Percent of People Respond to Your Initial Emails on Match.com?

As you may know, before I became a dating coach, I was a prolific online dater.

I tried every site around, starting in the late 90′s. Matchmaker.com. Nerve.com. JDate.com. Match.com. eHarmony.com. Chemistry.com. And probably a few others that are escaping my memory right now. These days, PlentyOfFish.com and OkCupid.com are the two free online dating players worthy of your consideration.

But from both my personal experience and my coaching experience, I’ve learned that most people tend to fail in online dating and then blame the website.

This is like blaming the gym because you didn’t lose weight.

Site are just big boxes of single people who are trying to meet each other. Nobody shows them how to come up with clever usernames. Nobody teaches them what photos to post. Nobody illustrates how to create a unique, compelling online dating profile. Nobody teaches effective email techniques based on actual research.

This is the way normal people talk when they go to parties. They don’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “You look cute. I think we have a lot in common. Let’s go out.”

The closest anybody gets is OkCupid – and all they do is give you test results – approximately 27% of people respond to first emails, overall – they don’t show you HOW to write great first emails.

So if you’ve been frustrated with your results in online dating (and one look at the comments below indicates that you ARE), there are a number of things you can do differently to get different results. One of the most powerful ones has to do with writing first emails. Consider what most people say:

Subject: Hi

Text: Hey Pat102. I read your profile and you seem really cool. I liked your photos. You have a great smile and I think we have a lot in common, too. I noticed that you have a dog. I also have a dog. What kind do you have? Where do you like to walk your dog? Maybe we can get together sometime. So, check out my profile and if you like what I have to say, I really hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely, Chris.

If you’ve ever received an email like this, you know it sucks. But then why do you also WRITE emails like this as well? My theory is because it’s easiest – it’s what comes naturally to you. So you don’t put much thought into it, and, not surprisingly, it doesn’t get very good results. Why would it? There’s nothing funny, interesting, compelling, or different about such an email. Plus, it compliments the recipient too much – as if Chris is just praying that he/she is good enough for Pat102. No wonder Pat doesn’t respond to this display of weakness.

First emails are best when you offer your opinion of something specific in the person’s profile – but instead of doing what you normally do: “I agree. I like popcorn, too!”, you actually say something disagreeable, controversial, silly, or playful. Make an observation. Be sarcastic. Come up with a joke. Anything other than, “I like you. I like what you said. Please, please, please consider going out with me.”

For example, if someone says in his profile that he likes Costa Rica, you think about all the things you know about Costa Rica and search your brain for a humorous angle. Something other than, “I’ve heard it’s beautiful there! Tell me more!” Personally, I don’t know ANYTHING about Costa Rica, but I do know that all of my left-wing, liberal, neo-hippie friends go on yoga retreats there. Literally, the only reason I’ve even heard of Costa Rica is because of yoga.

So I use this in my email:

Subject: Yoga-Retreat Island

Hey, Pat. I have to be honest with you. I don’t know anything about Costa Rica; I think it’s in the Caribbean or Central America or something like that. All I know is that all of my left-wing yoga friends go on week-long retreats there every year. Which makes me wonder: what does it look like when you fly in at the airport? As the plane is descending, do you see 25,000 people doing down dog at the same exact time? Are there 25,000 more people who are ziplining from tree to tree? Inquiring minds want to know.

Talk soon, Chris.

You didn’t talk about yourself. You didn’t talk about the person you were writing to. You didn’t compliment the other person. You didn’t brag about yourself or sell yourself or ask anyone on any dates. You just made a silly observation about Costa Rica.

This is the way normal people talk when they go to parties. They don’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “You look cute. I think we have a lot in common. Let’s go out.”

It all starts with a little bit of witty banter.This technique is known as the Opinion Opener technique and it’s worked like a charm for thousands of women and men who’ve bought my Finding the One Online audio series.

If you’re sick of online dating – all the wrong people writing to you and the right people not writing back, here are four simple things I will teach you to do:

* You can come up with a new username/headline.
* You can post different online dating photos
* You can write a better online dating profile.
* You can improve your email technique.

All of this is explained in fascinating detail in Finding the One Online – with 7 hours of audio, a 180 page transcript and a 35 page workbook.

Click here to see for yourself how to make more people respond to your initial emails on Match.com.

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Comments:

  1. 181
    M.L.

    You know what would be helpful on sites like match (but which they’d never do because it would drive so many way)? Provide incentive for users to rate other users’ looks. A big part of the problem with these sites in in addition to all the other issues such as scammers and fake profiles) is that people tend to overestimate their attractiveness. Guests what, most people are 5s, not 10s, and if you’re desperate enough to resort to online dating sites, you’re probably even lower. Yet we all imagine we are at least a 7 and try to get the attention of 8s and 9s.
    If we had a more realistic sense of our own attractiveness (or lack thereof) we’d choose our targets wiser and get more responses.
    Here are some objective indicators of attractiveness however:
    - If you are overweight, you are not good looking; don’t delude yourself otherwise
    -If you are acne scarred, you are not good looking; don’t deluxe yourself otherwise
    - If you have kids, most people will not be interested
    -If you seek dates outside your race, ethnicity, or religion, you will likely be rejected. (or attract only people with a fetish); sad commentary on society but true nonetheless
    - If you have been trying online date sites for several weeks and get no significant positive results, you aren’t good looking. Sorry, but it’s true

  2. 182
    jhc389

    You don’t know anything about me, dude – least of all what I look like, so maybe you should stop speaking about things you don’t know anything about.

  3. 183
    M.L.

    I don’t need to know what you look like; if you were really an 8 or 9 you wouldn’t do as bad as you stated on match. I’m not trying to be a jerk here, I’m just being realistic.
    I personally am under no delusions that I’m a hot guy. Most women look at me and think “meh”. I wasn’t exactly swamped with suitors when I was on match, and had numerous ego bruising rejections, many from women I didn’t even find attractive but just saw something that intrigued me in their profile.
    Yet I had a date with a really good looking women the first week I tried match and would hook up a with reasonably attractive women on a fairly regular basis there when I was using it (1 or 2 a month). And to be honest, my profile sucked. A half assed hastily thrown together thing with some crappy android pics. 
    And trust me, I don’t like online dating sites and am not here to defend them. Full of scammers and creeps and oddballs (man, I can tell some stories). And yeah, you gotta contact a LOT of women before you snag one and learn to steer clear of scammers and nuts. But you seem to have done especially poorly on there. If you’re really an 8 or a 9 you must be wearing a Nazi uniform in your profile pics or something because you would definitely do better than you say you have.
    I think you make some good points here but it really shouldn’t be as hard a time as you’ve admitted to. If you really are as hot as you mere must be something really off about your profile that you aren’t aware of. The Nazi uniform bit is a joke, but could be something else. Seeking women far outside your age? Other races/ethnicities/religion etc.? A lot of women will just not date someone who isn’t of their preferred demographic.
    Honestly, even if you were but ugly you should be doing better than you say; you’re doing something wrong.

  4. 184
    jhc389

    Yeah, you’re right. I am doing something wrong. I just can’t figure it out. The whole thing is a mystery to me, and I just find it so awkward and strange when I can’t read peoples’ body language or facial expressions. Maybe that’s part of it.

  5. 185
    M.L.

    A general comment about looks, not directed at jhc389, that really impressed upon me just how important looks are to people. The cardinal rule of course on dating sites is that you muse have a pic. People don’t respond to picture less profiles.
    But when I first went on match, I was concerned about people I know seeing me on there. So naively, my first plan was to have a witty but pictureless profile and provide pics to women I was interested in. I knew I on omen wouldn’t initiate contact with me without a pic, but that was fine; I wanted to control who saw me.
    There were a few problems with this approach. One was that match makes it surprisingly difficult. You can’t simply attach pcis to “talk match” emails. You have to do something like provide a link to a website with your pics. Match sometimes edits out links, and sometimes they just don’t work. And a lot of women are still spooked by a pic less profile anyway and won’t bother, or will think it’s spam or some such. In short, it just doesn’t work; you gotta post pics.
    That said, during the brief time I was approaching women this way, I managed to get responses from some very interested, very attractive women. I guess I have a good rap, because a few tried really hard to find a way to see my pics. I generally either would use a humorous approach or else, believe it or not, pick up on something they said about their beliefs in their profile and lay some philosophical musings on them (believe it or not, a lot of women really like that). I have a couple of fairly substantial rounds of communication with a few hotties on there, who were really interested in me based on what I wrote to them alone. I guess I should be someone’s Cyrano DeBergerac, lol. They all said more or less the same thing: “I usually never respond to profiles without pics, but I’ll make an exception in this case” or something to that effect.
    Anyway, in every case, when these women finally saw my pics, the interest was GONE. Yeah, OUCH! Kinda ego bruising. And it also leaves you somewhat disillusioned about humanity in general, to be somewhat melodramatic perhaps. Because some of these women were actually pretty intelligent, and had some interesting things to say. And when I would say to them something like, “what if you don’t like my picThey they invariably would say something like “oh, looks aren’t all that mattesuch or some such. They LIE, lol. 
    Now, I have a few friends who are bonafides studs with the ladies. Guys who can and do walk away with the hottest girl in the room whenever they’d go bar hopping or what have you. Babe magnets. And when they used match, which they would now and then, they would get swamped with hotties contacting them. Real girls, not Russian scam profiles. And their profiles were inane, and they were both really dumb guys. They had no capacity for witty banter or humor. Just “Yo, wassup” more or less. Basically, these guys were “guidos” (I’m from NYC).
    So, yeah, looks matter, a helluva a lot more than wit or intellect. Looks are very important. In fact, a real good looking guy with no job or a very crappy job who lives with Mommy at age 30 will STILl hook up with hotties. They won’t want a serious LTR with a loser like that, but they’ll sleep with them. Repeatedly.
    A guy with a lot of money can afford to be less attractive, but I’ll tell ya right nevent women will usually take a hot guy with a modest salary over an unattractive man with a mint. Both choices are shallow (one os for looks, the other for gold), but the ugly unvarnished truth is just that: people ARE shallow. We like to think we’re higher minded than that, nobler. But romantic attraction is driven by our most base, animal urges and instincts. 
    It occasionally snows Florida and lightning sometimes strikes twice so there may be the occasional exception that proves the rule, but in the main thems the facts. Unattractive people usually end up settling for what they can get. Or if they’re lucky they can meet a fact chick who’d be hot if she lost weight and slim her down ( i.e. a “project”), or a good looking women with poor social skills or low self esteem who doesn’t realize she’s cute, or maybe a foreignor who thinks any Amercian is attractive. There are some women with ethnic fetishes, that just go for certain ethnic types whether the dude is good looking or not. These are the loop holes.
    As for ugly women, well, they’re kinda screwed. Figuratively. If they want the literal variety they can dress like a street walker and hang out in bars late at night and wait for the beer goggled patroboring get horny.
    Cyncoal enough for ya? Oh, aren’t people horrible? Lol…

  6. 186
    M.L.

    [Yeah, yeah, yeah, the autocorrect gods really killed me on that one. Oh, a kingdom for an edit button, Katz.]

  7. 187
    Steve

    In my case, over 850 women looked at my profile. One winked, we met for coffee, nice lady, she was too tall for me (I’m 5’6″, she’s 5’10″ and a big 5’10″ at that). One sent a ‘like’ for a date idea and met me for coffee and it turned out she wasn’t attracted to me. One went out with me for four dates but didn’t seem interested in being anything more than just friends. Out of the 35-odd emails I’ve sent to women, all have been ignored save for these three.
    I must be super, super-ugly to get such poor results. I’m off to a therapist to try and rebuild my shattered self-esteem (fuck you very much, Match!), and then I’m off to the Philippines or Thailand to find someone who will actually appreciate me for who I am and not expect me to be this mythical knight-in-shining-armour Mr. Perfect. Western women are incredibly selfish, spoiled, and unreasonably picky and they treat men horribly. I see a future involving lots of loneliness and lots of cats for most of them, because men aren’t going to put up with this kind of garbage for much longer!

  8. 188
    Jay

    I don’t really send out emails anymore on Match. Mine don’t even get read before the 30 days passes.

  9. 189
    Ces

    Hi,
    I got on Match last year because for about two years I did not met anyone I was interested in, everyone I met seemed too young, or in a relationship, or not a match at all. A friend’s friend just got married and met her husband on Match. So I was, why not?
    I was active in Match for like 3 weeks. I was approached (winked or emails) by about 400 I think, and from those about 120 mails or so. I emailed back if the grammar was decent, the mail was OK, and according the profile there could be a match. I had rules like guys with pictures of them in a mirror was a big NO, for instance, or guys showing off their muscles, etc. I had an email conversation with about 35 guys. I met like 12. But then I met a guy who seemed so genuine, and even though it was not crazy attraction from date one, he pursued me, and he was so nice, and fun…that well I started liking him more and more. We started dating almost right after. After about a year we got engaged, and now happily married. I had good experiences with the people I met, most were pretty cool and seemed normal. Only one out the 12 was kind of weird.
     

  10. 190
    ryan

    I rarely  get a response i’m 1 for 60 or so…or they may respond but once i try to take it to the next level and try to meet in person…they never write back,  I don’t send mass emails, I read way too many profiles, try my best to be social, and nothing.  Match has made me 3 times more depressed.

  11. 192
    SparklingEmerald

    I am surprised to hear how many guys say they get no responses. I must admit, I do not reply to all of my e-mails (I am just overwhelmed, I can’t reply to them all ) I reply to men who’ve intially contacted me, and then never hear from them again. Or we e-mail for awhile, and they disappear. Of they ask for my phone #, then don’t call. Or they break a date the day before. And no, I’m not an uggo or illiterate.

    Of course, I have successes to. I have gone out on many dates with good guys who just weren’t a match for me. I have also met several couples who are together due to online dating. So since every couple I know consists of a man and a woman, it has to be working for some men.

    1. 192.1
      iridium_moon

      Hello SparklingEmerald,

      I just wanted to say what a lovely username: an excellent start which makes you sound interesting already. You deserve to succeed in your quest.

      I’m sorry to hear of the lack of second e-mail responses. You can obviously write, so this sounds inexplicable. Perhaps you’ve been replying to ‘shotgun technique’ men who aren’t really serious.

      And date-cancellation is absolutely unacceptable (except perhaps in the case of direct meteorite-strike, with attached photographic evidence.) Delete and block this fool immediately!

      Have fun and good luck,
      Mark x

  12. 194
    Rick

    I’ve been on Match.com for about 6 months with a 2 month break in the middle.  In the beginning, I didn’t really know what I was doing and sent out way too many emails.  I estimate about 20.  I got 1 response: thanks but no thanks.  I decided to get better at writing emails and narrow down my prospects.  After that, I sent very few emails and ending up getting 3 dates.  The first two were of no interest to me and the third I enjoyed very much but the feeling was not reciprocated.  Very frustrating!  The thing that bothers me the most is that I’ve received so many winks, likes, and interests, but no woman has ever actually written me an email and initiated a conversation… what is with that?!

  13. 195
    iridium_moon

    Hey, ML – whoever you are – you write a lot of sense. And well-written, literate, correctly-punctuated, humorous sense to boot. That helps a lot if you want to attract women!
    I used Match for a time and found it huge fun. It was not difficult to get responses to the majority of emails I sent, 80% plus. I am saddened to hear that this doesn’t happen with all of my fellow men :)
    With one single exception I always replied to incoming mail, but never to winks. Nor did I ever insult a woman by sending a ‘wink’. If a man can’t be bothered to write a few lines to a woman, what kind of a lover is he going to be? A lazy-arsed selfish twit I’d have thought. Do you really want to advertise that fact? :)
    I’ve had quite a few dates in my local area, and all were massive fun. But I did pre-select for those who could write, and sometimes even demonstrate their profound sensuality by use of the semi-colon :)
    I found my long-term partner online: she’s beautiful, fun, has an IQ off the scale, and is bisexual too, which I, being something of a voyeuristic perv, found a huge bonus :)  This indicates that dream partners ARE out there, but they have to be snapped up quick!
    I think one of the ‘secrets’ is not to try too hard. Desperation is extremely unattractive: even to those who are desperate themselves. And Match does have a fair percentage of people from that particular demographic …
    The other important thing is to craft an interesting profile. On two occasions I’ve sat at a date’s home and, with much laughter – unfair I know – been shown other chaps’ profiles and initial emails. It’s a cliché, but it’s not hard to see why some guys are single. 
    I mean, lines of x’s and nothing else, sexual stuff on first contact, ‘your hot, lets meet’ (sic), and so on; does this stuff ever work? Gentlemen, there is a LOT of competition out there for attractive women on Match. You must do better than that.
    All the best and good luck!
    Mark

  14. 196
    iridium_moon

    Oh and while I’m in didactic mood, here’s some (perhaps presumptuous, but there it is) advice for the women.
     
    I adore and respect women – most of my friends are of the female persuasion – and would rarely ‘reject’ any matchgirl who writes to me, even where I saw no chance of physical or romantic attraction (either way).  I genuinely am happy with the friendship thing.
     
    But there were/are a few criteria which cause immediate rejection. Of course I don’t know if this is just me, or a more general feeling among the men. It would be interesting to discuss.  So here goes:
     
    1. Too beautiful a picture. Yes, it’s true!  Supermodel profiles belong to scammers. Always ignored and blocked immediately.
     
    2. No picture at all. This demonstrates either a supremely ugly woman (rare) who compounds this by taking no care of herself or, more likely, a lack of confidence. Neither trait is attractive.
     
    3.  No smile, just a blurry glare/swivel-eyed lunatic stare taken in a mirror, often with a flash in the picture. This is, quite simply, terrifying.
     
    4. A picture showing greasy/dirty hair. Yes, really.
     
    5. This is the BIG turn off! (For me, anyway.)
    Pictures of cats. Or other bloody animals. Please don’t misunderstand – I do like animals (and find many species delicious) but I’m on a dating site to meet a human female, not an animal. I may be a bit of a perv sometimes, but there are limits :)
    Perhaps those pictures are supposed to demonstrate how lovely you are; how showing yourself cuddling two cats, or hugging a big smelly dog, makes you appear a kind and caring person with so much love to give. This may well be true. But no animals on a dating site please. It’s a big and immediate turn-off. Men will think you are a sad, lonely, desperate potential bunny-boiler. You will attract only the male equivalents.
    (One exception might be working dogs on a farm, or horses, as these indicate less of the creepy sex-substitute paradigm.)
     
    To be fair, the male Match equivalent is a picture of some saddo standing (oh so proudly) next to his CAR!
    And that applies even if it is an Aston Martin: surprise her by picking her up in it, don’t talk about it or show it off, as that makes it appear it’s ALL you’ve got; and that you’re probably a boring w*nker :)
     
    6. Pictures of groups of giggly girls. Although obvious to you, it is usually impossible for the casual viewer to discern which individual is you. It may also provide the impression that you can only ‘do this’ if put up to it by your drunken mates. This does not demonstrate maturity, and is not a good look.
     
     I could go on. And on. And often do :)
     
    But I also have to eat.  Have fun and good luck!
     
    Mark x

  15. 197
    kris

    What a man writes to me, or how well he writes his profile is not that important at all to me.
    If he has has the right statistics, and shares some things in common, and I am attracted….I will write back!
     

  16. 198
    Brandon

    I really don’t think it matters that much what you write in a message. If the person is already attracted to you, nothing you write will change that much. Some one I’m attracted to writing me a “boring generic” message will always be way more awesome than some one unattractive writing me the wittiest, funniest first message ever. I think almost everyone has been there, yeah?

  17. 199
    Karl R

    Brandon, (#198)
    I can’t really relate.
     
    When a beautiful young woman sent me the standard boring, generic email spam, I assumed she was either trying to pull a scam, or trying to obtain a green card.
     
    Neither of those strike me as “way more awesome” than a witty, funny message. If I found the woman unattractive, it still wasn’t going to go anywhere. But at least it meant that I was drawing the genuine interest and attention of women who were capable of being witty and funny.

    1. 199.1
      Brandon

      Karl R (199)
      That’s great and all, but it still doesn’t change the fact that some one I’m attracted to writing me a “boring, generic” message will always be awesomer than some one unattractive writing me the wittiest, funniest first message ever. But, to each their own.

      1. 199.1.1
        Mark Ribbands

        Karl R, I’m with you on this one.
        Brandon, how can you know if you’re really ‘attracted to someone’ without a few back-and-forth emails, preferably with some substance?  Are you suggesting that just looking at a few pictures and reading a profile is enough, and that, conversely, you wouldn’t be put off by receiving an idiotic, thoughtless e-mail?
        If so, that strikes me as a spectacularly shallow way to gauge true attractiveness.
        Unless, of course, you are looking only for a quick shag – an acceptable aim in many circumstances :) – but not, I suspect, what this site is about.

  18. 200
    Alaina

    First off, I will say that as an attractive women (40) I get a lot of emails from men who I would NEVER date and it is very confusing. The reason it’s confusing is because if these men really read my profile, they would instantly know that we were NOT right for each other. On the RARE occasion that I do get an email from an interesting man, starting off with “Hi, I’m ____.  can I have your number?” will get you nowhere. Men who write emails who refer to things I’ve written in my profile and then tell me WHY they liked it or HOW something I said is similar to them in some way DOES work. Men shouldn’t ask for a woman’s number until you have had some time to chat back and forth for a while and get “a feel” for who that person is! Then, the man should be a gentleman and say something like , ‘I’d like to get to know you better. Do you feel comfortable giving me your number? Or, would you prefer to email more?” Something like that will make a man stand out. I know it seems obvious but most men that I have encountered don’t get this.

    1. 200.1
      Matt

      I must be writing the wrong women then because I always read to see if there’s a glaring mismatch, then I refer to things in the profile like you say. I’d never ask for a # right away. I would just be happy to chat with someone to start, but I never get responses, even from women who said they were interested first.

  19. 201
    Reza

    Hi Evan,
    my case is a weird one . I have tried almost all the dating sites . I have sent about 300 requests but I have received less than 10 responses so far . I am a professional , active, intellectual and sportive guy and according to what my friends says , i am good looking although I see myself as an average looking guy . Every girl who knows me says how come you cannot find a partner !
    I think I have most of the qualities a girl may look for and I am looking for a serious relationship but this extremely low rate of response makes me think maybe it is really the question of looks.
     

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