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

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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.

Join our conversation (335 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 21
    happygirl

    I am currently taking myself of 3 dating sites I was on. It was not easy in the beginning to get decent responses. But I am getting a great number of them now.Some of them I have met for coffee, but it did not go any further. Some I have gone out with for more then one date if I thought I should see if something would be there so that it can develop into something. I can honestly say that over time it is progressively getting better. However right now I feel I just need a bit of a break. Even internetdating is time consuming and can burn you out.
    There are men out who will keep sending you flirts, yet will not after my response, have further communication. I try as much as I can to respond to emails. Sometimes I will respond to flirts, depending on what I read in their profile, pictures etc I do try to be polite and feel that I should at least acknowledge that someone took the time to email me.

    Look forward to more questions to answer Evan

    1. 21.1
      Bryan

      We need more happygirls 🙂
      thanks for being kind to my fellow men

      1. 21.1.1
        Matt

        I agree. Thank you for having the respect to respond even it is it thanks but no thanks. 🙂

      2. 21.1.2
        SimplyBeautiful28

        Bryan-

        Your intellectual comments truly have me taken back. I’m not an online dater; I’m not on FB or any other site dealing with the Internet. I just happened to stumble across this article; I must admit I love reading blogs.

        Your comments definitely stands OUT! I enjoyed your reply to Candace; it sounds like you know what you want and it’s nothing wrong with that. You replied in such a detail manner; I’m not a smoker and I wouldn’t tolerate that for 2 seconds; nothing against those that choose that way of life; it’s just not me. I’m very athletic myself, I definitely wouldn’t want a couch potato. AGAIN, nothing against a couch potato if that’s what floats anyone’s boat.

        After reading the comments on here if I do decide to “online date” I have truly learned a lot! You all have been a wonderful source of information!

        Thanks to Everyone!

         

  2. 22
    JuJu

    Kenley,

    I don’t know about the others, but I personally only said it when I meant it. Interesting people are hard to come by, and if a see a combination of intellectual AND genuinely kind, I’d be more than glad to add them to my circle. Now, I’d rather they were women, as I don’t have any female friends, but I don’t go on dates with women. 😉

    I realize, however, that if the man truly wants me, the suggestion will insult rather than flatter him, so perhaps I am going about this all wrong, anyway.

    1. 22.1
      Bryan

      JuJu,
      I understand you points. Sometimes a man will hope to change your mind or will not take the rejection well. But, since it is a numbers game, you are missing out on the exposure to new propects that a new friend can offer. If you are unselfish, genuine and smart you can offer something of value, social interesction to the person you rejected. Google “the corridor theory”.
        

      1. 22.1.1
        Bryan

        *social interaction *

  3. 23
    Karl R

    To answer Evan’s second question, I probably respond favorably to 5% to 10% of the e-mails and winks that I receive. Breaking that down further, it’s 0% favorable to the poorly written e-mails from women who didn’t bother to read my profile, and about 20% to 25% favorable to the articulate e-mails from women who read my profile.

    And to clarify my earlier answer, the 20% response rate only referred to favorable responses. “No thanks” or “I’m starting to get serious with someone else” don’t count.

  4. 24
    Evan Marc Katz

    JuJu-

    No need for constructive criticism. If you’re going to respond, respond with class and gratitude. Otherwise, just ignore.

    My two cents.

    EMK

  5. 25
    JuJu

    Sorry, Evan, not sure I am understanding you – you mean, to the men who write me?

  6. 26
    Evan Marc Katz

    Yes. He doesn’t need to hear WHY you’re not interested, unless for some insane reason he asked for your feedback in his initial email to you. My policy was always to write thoughtful, polite rejection letters to those who wrote great emails, and to ignore everyone else.

    Life is too short to be an HR department.

    1. 26.1
      Ampresandman

      How is it insane to want feedback? No one wants to make the same mistake twice with someone who might otherwise be genuinely interested.  

  7. 27
    A-L

    RE: Kenley’s #20 and the “let’s be friends” concept.

    I’ve only tried it very rarely. One guy and I managed to remain friends for a year before he admitted he still had feelings for me and had to break it off. And I’m currently optimistic about another guy with whom I’m having my first “friend” meeting tonight, as neither one of us was feeling a romantic connection but could easily have been part of my close friends in college (had we attended the same university).

    For a guy to go into the friend category things could never have gotten physical, or at least not very physical, or else I think there’s always that reminder/temptation there, which can also lead to a certain awkwardness. At the same time, you have to have gone out with the person enough times to know that you both have a lot in common, connect well, and like each other. You need to have a certain amount invested already in the relationship (Evan said this somewhere…don’t recall where).

  8. 28
    Lulubell

    I just don’t email guys – maybe it’s a generational thing (I’m 49) or that I like or need to be pursued. But, I do think it’s important to be polite and strive for a kinder/gentler online world, so I respond to all polite emails (in proportion to their email).
    I have a question – Who responds to a wink and why?

    1. 28.1
      Bryan

      Thank you lulubell. The world is a better place with you in it.

  9. 29
    JB

    Lulubell- “Who responds to a wink and why?”

    I’m sure most men will a lot more often respond to a wink than women because they get so few responses of any kind they get excited about any they get.

    Plenty of women also respond to winks if the guys photo is “hot” enough and the profile is short,safe and generic. Although they might just wink back ….it’s still a response…lol

  10. 30
    Eathan

    I’m very picky on who I email. So I would have to say it’s about 80% response. I keep my emails short and sweet. I usually get replies even if they aren’t interested.

  11. 31
    Cilla

    Ditto what Eathan said. As I get more selective about whom I’m emailing and my letter writing skills get a little cleverer, my batting average increases. (See, sports reference–guys love that–LOL.) If I make even the slightest sexual innuendo or double entendre, I’m almost guaranteed a 100% response (cheap, I know, but it’s reality).

    If a guy has a long-ish profile, I don’t worry so much about keeping my letter super short. Otherwise, it’s 4 or 5 good sentences (reference profile, include humor, no big grammatical errors, no soulmate talk, etc.). I try to end with a question so they can lob the ball back into my court (sorry–couldn’t resist).

    I’m lazy (and maybe a little shy)–every once in a while I’ll use a wink to feel out a guy I think might be too young, too hot, too far, etc. If he winks back, then I’ll send an email.

    1. 31.1
      SGT Ted

      If I make even the slightest sexual innuendo or double entendre, I’m almost guaranteed a 100% response (cheap, I know, but it’s reality).  
      No…NO! It is NOT cheap! It is called “flirting” and guys like that, because we like sex and we want a sexy woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and male sexuality for a partner. A sexy joke shows you aren’t a prude, or stuck up or frigid. It shows you have a   sense of humor, which is a turn on to men. Laughing women are beautiful.
      I have also had great response when making sexy  and humorous  comments to those I show interest in.

  12. 32
    Seitensprung Finden

    I’m short end polite in my emails and I ever get an answer – even if the chicks are not interested… This system works absolutely here in Germany… 😉

  13. 33
    christina

    I have been on match for about three months and have gotten responses and met two guy’s. I have e-mailed as well as winked to a few guys and I have gotten only a few responses. I know I am not unattractive could it be that my being the first to e-mail is to forward and scares them away? Or maybe it is my profile, but I don’t think they really read it to much. I too am also only e-mailing the ones that interest me and fall into both our profiles. I have to say i am starting to feel a bit insecure from the lack of responses.

  14. 34
    Tom

    I use Match.com, I have done over the last few years, and met 3 people from it to whom turned into girlfriends or 7 – 10 months each.

    My experience is that women just do not reply, I take the time to write a nice customised email to the people i think are nice and fit the bill etc, but nobody responds. I can see that they have read the email too. Im a descent bloke, not bad looking, have a really good quality profile. I have emailed over 100 women, nice emails, and got 2 reponses and not heard anything else.

    However, i set an account up as a womnan (No im not a cross dresser) to see how many blokes emailed me, and i have been getting about 10 to 15 emails every single day from different blokes.

    My conclusion of Match.com is that women pay to use it and just wait for blokes to contact them, they do not ever initiate the first contact and will only respond if you look like brad pitt. Women are extremely shallow and think they can get any bloke they want, well that appears to be the case with the people on Match.com, im not saying they are all like it, but nobody seems to have the manners to respond to say no thanks, or even have the courtesy to reply.

    1. 34.1
      Johnny

      Absolutely the same opinion and experience. I wouldn’t go as far as calling the girls shallow, but they definitely get such a huge amount of emails that if you don’t look like a model you don’t stand a chance.  
      I sent already 154 messages so far. From those, the vast majority was a good template I had which I modified slightly to fit the profile I’m sending it (I have better things to do in my life than staying 24 hours a day in front of online dating sites). In about 15 occasions I wrote a customised email because I identified myself with the girl’s profile a lot. Got 0% feedback. From the templates I got 4 answers. Two girls answered and we exchanged for a bit messages and they vanished without saying anything. 1 is from the other side of the planet although she stated she lived in my town. And 1 date which was not a girl which I really liked it.  
      Just as note, I’m a guy with an exciting job and quite interesting life background. I would say I’m not ugly either, I’m fit, I had a few beautiful girlfriends, and from time to time I get lucky in clubs. The only drawback I could state is that I’m 5’7 tall.  

      1. 34.1.1
        Isaac Solomon

        I am in exactly the same position as you. Good looking, well presented, good job, couple of properties . 5ft 8

        get around 5% response rate on match maybe 10% on okcupid

        The reason is that women get 100,s of messages Internet dating favours the women, they have the pick of the crop

  15. 35
    Karl R

    Tom said: (#34)
    “Women are extremely shallow and think they can get any bloke they want, […] nobody seems to have the manners to respond to say no thanks, or even have the courtesy to reply.”

    Some of these women are getting 50 to 100 e-mails per day. How many hours per day do you think they should reasonably spend sending out courteous replies?

    christina asked: (#33)
    “could it be that my being the first to e-mail is to forward and scares them away?”

    No. It’s much more likely that your pictures or your profile don’t interest them. Even for women, it’s a numbers game. You will only receive replies to a fraction of the e-mails you send out.

    ————–

    On an interesting aside, I signed back up on match.com after 15 months off. Several days after signing back up, I received an e-mail from someone that I had initially e-mailed 16 or 17 months ago. Initially I hadn’t received any response.

    I’ll be calling her tonight to set up a first date.

  16. 36
    FrogPrincess

    I’m on Match and admittedly I don’t email first. I do wink first, but only to guys I find both attractive and seemingly a good match. I’d say the response is about 20%. And 80% of that is “thanks, but no thanks”. Which is, admittedly, somewhat disheartening sometimes.

    As for guys who contact me, I respond 100% of the time, even if it’s the auto-reject button. At least on Match. I did recently join Borders (Which I loathe and have already cancelled my account.) which does not have an auto-reject button. I do respond to every thoughtfully written email on Borders, even if it’s to tell them we’re not a match. Except the guy who wanted to know all about my feet and what colour I paint my toenails. Yeah, I deleted him.
    .-= FrogPrincess´s last blog ..To Plan Or Not To Plan =-.

    1. 36.1
      Joe

      Do you respond to guys who just wink at you?

  17. 37
    Kristyn

    @ Karl R

    Did she remember you from your initial contact?

  18. 38
    Karl R

    Kristyn asked:
    “Did she remember you from your initial contact?”

    Yes, even though I’d changed the name I was using, I’d changed my main portrait (a couple of the other pictures were the same), and I’d rewritten 1/3 of my profile.

    Nothing ended up coming of it, but I did get an interesting story (or two) out of it.

  19. 39
    Beccy

    I am new to dating, just got separated.. ok
    I am totally discouraged. I actually met a guy on eharmony and he and I dated and had a great connection, we went out, and had long walks, had great physical passion.. and it was over a period of a few months.. ok, then he dumps me by text.. and I am crushed. I swear I got on match. com and was amazed that he is online all the time. I am super sweet and attractive. I have alot of people emailing me and I try to email them back but I feel so scared that I now have a disease since when we were together a few times, protection did not seem to last.
    I am scared to death I have a major disease. I have tried to email this player and he now ignores me. I want to throw up.
    He also dumped me by text and now it turns out we are mutual matches. I think he is a complete pig and I am in complete numb shock over this as I was falling in love. I took my pictures off and I dont know if I will put them back up. I am very sad.

    1. 39.1
      ty

      im so sorry about that Beccy…he is an idiot…no offence. i hope you have gotten tested?

  20. 40
    datingsux

    About me: late 30s, graduate education, stable career, 5’10” w/athletic build and all my hair (though honestly at best average looking). Otherwise a decent profile with pictures and plenty of text. Random stats from my experience, which is substantial (~300 emails in the last 8 months): Virtually 100% of my emails are read within 20 minutes (HUH?). 90+% of those emailed did not check out my profile. Response rate less is than 5%. Once there is a response chances of a first date are better than 50%. I’ve never received a “thanks, but not interested” email. One average the 8 girls I’ve met were more attractive in real life than their profiles suggested. All in all, online dating has made dating even worse, if such a thing is/was possible. I don’t recommend it for anyone; I found it to be far too much work for far too little yield.

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