How to write great emails and build the relationship

In part seven in the Time to Shine Online Dating series we are going to be getting ready to take our first leap of faith.

Woman typing on laptopIf you have been following this series, you should now have a really well-crafted online profile with great photos to go with it. Your levels of self-love are sky high and you are now ready to start connecting with new people.

By now you will have done some research into all the different types of dating sites that are out there (there are literally hundreds) and chosen one which you think will work for you based on what your priorities are. If you’re unsure you can just choose to go with one of the more well-known sites.

Now that you’ve uploaded your great new profile and photos, what next? Well you can sit back and wait for the emails and ‘winks’ to land in your in-tray, or you could be a bit more proactive. Today I want to give you some tips that will help you craft that all-important first email so that you can take control of your dating experience.

In case you’re wondering, it’s perfectly acceptable for women to write the first email or send the first wink. I would say that it’s still the norm to wait for guys to ask girls out on dates, but if you prefer to be in charge then don’t let this hold you back.

Crafting a great first email will really up your response rate, ultimately saving you time and doing wonders for your self-esteem.

A numbers game

We are now getting to the point where you are ready to put yourself out there into the world, take that first leap of faith. It’s exciting, isn’t it? There are lots of possibilities and opportunities.

But it’s worth reminding yourself that whenever you expose yourself to new opportunities and experiences, there are the usual downsides too. With online dating, rejection is par for the course. Everyone gets rejected at some point.

If your self-esteem is a bit rickety right now, then now is not the time to put yourself out there. Online dating is a numbers game; you win some, you lose some. We’ve covered the importance of having high levels of self-love in an earlier part of the series, so revisit this if you feel you need to.

Right, with no further ado…

Top tips for writing a high response first email

woman smiling1) Be brief

You are writing to someone you have never met. Before you start writing, put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to read a long essay of an email from someone you’ve never met? No. In fact your email only needs to be a few sentences long. Great news, huh?

2) Start with hello

Just because you’re crafting a short email, doesn’t mean you can forget your manners. You’d be surprised how many people send emails without a ‘hello’, just launching straight into it. Starting with hello helps to create an emotional bond between you.

3) Focus on them

A huge number of emails I used to get were from guys who would just highlight some key points from their profile and then ping that over to me, hoping I’d like what I saw. This tactic didn’t have a huge success rate as it made them come across as a bit self-centered and full of themselves, which I’m sure wasn’t their intention. I knew instinctively if I went on a date with someone like this – they would do all the talking and I would most likely be bored to tears.

The emails that caught my attention were the ones which focused on me. When you start messaging back and forth, you’ll know what I mean. I was much more likely to respond positively to emails that made me feel special.

With that in mind, I’d recommend making your first email focus on them, perhaps what you like about them or what made you write to them.

4) Show you’ve read their profile

The aim of this email is to make them feel good about themselves, and make them think you have things in common and there is a connection there. Go through their profile with a fine-tooth comb if you have to until you find something that strongly resonates with you and find a clever, funny or meaningful way of referring to that in your email.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the online data crunchers out there in the ether have confirmed that emails that include the following expressions yield high response rates:

I notice that
good taste
you mention that

Those expressions are just ways of alluding to what is in their profile, so this is a crucial step in composing your email. For this part of every email you send, you will have to write something unique and specific. You can probably cut and paste the rest of the email every time you send it.

5) Be complimentary

Everyone likes to get genuine compliments. It puts them in a more receptive frame of mind. I would suggest avoiding making compliments about their physical appearance, instead focusing on their personality if possible.

6) Copy their tone

Copying is a form of flattery but it also helps to create the idea that there is a bond between you. Both of these things work in your favour.

Reread their profile and check the tone that they have written it in. Is it funny, serious, sarcastic, cautious? Figure out what tone they are using and then copy it in your first email.

7) Make it easy for them to respond

OK, so you have impressed them so far with your carefully chosen sentences which focus on them, are complimentary, reflect their style, show you have manners and demonstrate your interest in them, but now to reel them in you have to make it super easy for them to reply to your email.

All you need to do is make sure you include a couple of short but intriguing questions. Hopefully your questions will make them want to respond right away. Put yourself in their shoes again – which questions would make them want to get back to you?

8) Signing off

Finally, don’t forget to sign off either using your real name or your online name. Many people don’t bother with this because it’s such a short email, but I always think good manners get you a long way.

Key things to avoid

Here are a couple of points about what you should avoid when creating your first email:

1) Be wary of how you use humour

woman smilingIf you can be funny in your first email, that is fantastic, but I just wanted to remind you that emails can be read in different ways. If you don’t know someone there is a lot of room for misunderstanding, which you want to avoid at all costs.

As a sense of humour is quite difficult to get across in a brief email, just make sure you double check how it reads. It might be worth getting a good friend to read it, too.

2) Avoid slang and text speak

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of this but I’m going to just in case. Emails which include text speak like ‘u’, ‘luv’, etc consistently get low response rates, so do avoid this at all costs.

3) Be wary of flirting or being too eager

OK, you’ve been brave and written the first email. You don’t need to flirt or come across as too keen now – let’s just see what they come back with. All you’re doing is starting a conversation and showing you’re interested, so don’t flirt too much until you’ve met them because it’s only then that you know whether they are worth flirting with.

So, there you have it. Some simple pointers to help you craft a great first email. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

woman using a tablet for online dating

Back to Time to Shine Online Dating series:

 

Saskia Nelson

About Saskia Nelson

Saskia Nelson is London’s one and only dating photographer, 'hey saturday'. She supports men and women to find love at all stages of their lives by working with them to create some gorgeous images for their online dating profile and by running a blog, which provides practical online dating guidance. She learned a lot about online dating from her own personal experiences, in her long and bumpy, but ultimately successful, online search for love. Happily, she is now settled with her long-term partner (spotted on Guardian Soulmates) and has two stepchildren (who are awesome). She is passionate about helping London’s single people to shine online.