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How I Learned To Be a Better Email Marketer Through Online Dating

Sarah Corley
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing
Published on February 12, 2016

It might not seem like an obvious comparison, but lessons learned about online dating can help improve email marketing. Read on to learn more.

If you’ve ever taken the plunge into the world of online dating, then you know the anxiety of receiving a new private message. Aside from uncertainty about what to expect, there’s the added pressure of composing a message to a potential future date or responding to one already in your inbox.

There are over 40 million Americans looking for love on the web, according to Match.com. Two years ago, I was one of them—caught up worrying about which picture to upload, wondering how to best describe myself in my bio, and combing through my search results. Luckily I found love online, but that’s another story.  

When you sign up for a dating service, like Match or eHarmony, you receive an inbox—an inbox that seems full of hopes and dreams, but is usually full of disappointment. This inbox can be similar to your personal email inbox in that you can send and receive messages and get unsolicited emails. However, it’s different because it’s much easier to achieve inbox zero and there’s no CAN-SPAM option. So without further ado, here are a few lessons on how I became a better email marketer through my online dating experience.

Write for an audience of one.

When I first started online dating, I found a lot of really short private messages from potential suitors, like “hey” or “tell me about yourself.” While these might have genuinely been interested people, I automatically assumed that messages like these were just copied and pasted. To me, they seemed so general and broad that I didn’t feel they were written with sincerity.

Similarly, when writing emails for your audiences, pretend that you are writing to a friend. Use your personas’ knowledge and personalize your message when possible. Try not to make the language sound so broad that your message is mistaken for spam.

It’s all in the subject line.

This is crucial. In fact, Litmus found that your audience will only spend 3-4 seconds deciding if they are going to view your email. HubSpot recommends that your subject lines should be 50 characters or fewer to make sure readers, who scan their emails, will read the entire subject line.

Use action-oriented verbs to create a sense of urgency and excitement. Make your subject line so compelling that people can’t help but click to open your message. As email marketers, it’s our job to evoke action through our email messages.

Establish relevancy.

Once your reader opens an email, it’s important to establish why the reader is being emailed. Did the reader request an eBook? Do you have a special offer for them based on a previous purchase? Why should they continue to read your email? The faster you establish common ground with them, the more likely they’ll be to continue to interact with you.

The same was true of my online dating experience. When people wrote me who had taken the time to read my profile and referenced something I mentioned about myself or my interests, I was far more likely to continue to read their email and respond.

Have 1 goal per message.

I read many “About Me” sections when I was dating online. People wrote about who they were and what they were looking for in an ideal mate. The more profiles I read the more I noticed that something very critical was missing—a call-to-action (CTA). As crazy as it seems, isn’t the point of online dating to tell people about yourself, while encouraging interested people to reach out to you? Exactly. So that’s why I snuck in a clever CTA at the end of my bio, and it worked—I started receiving more messages!

Make your email message simple, clear and concise with one strong CTA. Remember that people are busy and will most likely skim your email anyway.  If there are too many things for them to click on and too many things pulling their attention in different directions, you make not receive the click-through and engagement rates that you’re trying to achieve.

Don’t ask for something too soon.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me clarify. I just finished a date with someone I’d met online, and while on that date, he asked me out for another date. Whoa there! Let me finish this one that we’re currently on and gather my thoughts before committing to another two hours.

Do likewise with your emails, marketers! Just because someone submitted their email address to you doesn’t mean they also want to be included in your weekly newsletter or company announcement emails. Some of your readers want to take it slower, and that’s okay. Build out solid lead nurturing emails. Don’t assume your readers will immediately give you all their personal information in exchange for all your free content offers.

Email marketing is similar to online dating. People don’t like to be pushed into something they don’t want. You will have less than five seconds of a consumer’s time where they will decide if you're worthy or not. Take your time in crafting your emails, write for an audience of one, establish relevancy, and don’t ask for too much info too soon. Then, you might find yourself with one hot lead.

Download our free HubSpot email template!