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Online Dating Mistake #2: Telling Her You're Smart and Funny

Every freshman writing teacher will tell you to "show; don't tell." And almost every online dating profile we've found violates this principle by talking about how smart and funny the writer is, but showing little to back up the claim. We can't count the number of profiles of men (and women) who say that they're funny, but never make a joke.

I'm not saying that you aren't smart or funny. It's that everybody says they are, and unless your profile actually demonstrates that you are, you're just one of a thousand men making the same claim.

So how do you stand out from the crowd? Don't just throw in the words "smart" and "funny" and leave it at that. Prove it! Crack a joke, make an astute observation or drop a reference for your readers to discover. Your profile will be much more interesting, engaging and believable.

It does take more effort to write a profile that shows your personality rather than just talk about it, but it's an effort that will be well rewarded. Make a woman laugh, make her think, and she will begin to imagine what it would like to be with you in person.

The Kitty Cat Experiment

One of the best places for testing online dating profiles is craigslist, since its posts are not linked to a unique identifier or username. Anonymity makes it possible to post two different ads and determine which one gets more responses. (At the same time, craigslist is a terrible site for finding actual dates or relationships.)

The Kitty Cat Experiment illustrates the point I make in Online Dating Mistake #1: Being Vague About What You're Looking For, which is that it's important to be specific about what you're looking for in a partner.

My first few ads tried to describe me in safe, general terms that would appeal to any woman. The response rate was okay, but not phenomenal. So I threw caution to the wind, and wrote an entire ad focusing on one specific (but true) aspect of my personality. The headline was "Here Kitty, Kitty," and here's how it began:

My two cats taught me everything I need to know about love. No matter whether a cat wakes me up at 4 a.m. to beg for food, or pees on my pillow when I'm away, it's completely useless to lecture a cat, get angry at a cat, or make it act against its nature. All you can do is feed it, pet it and accept it for what it is—because you make a conscious choice to accept and keep such a loving and delightful creature in your life, day after day and year after year, even when bad things happen. I'm looking for a woman who I can have that kind of relationship with... except for the part about peeing, because I'm not into that sort of thing.

It's the kind of ad that makes many women think, "This guy is insane!" I even got a few responses from women who complained that I compared them to animals. But a small percentage of women who read it thought, "Yes, finally! This guy will be able to understand me," and those are the only people whose opinion I care about. A generic profile will never get that response—trying to appeal to everybody appeals to nobody—but a highly specific one will. Ultimately, the Kitty Cat ad got twice the response of every broadly targeted ad we tested, and was one of the most successful ads we ran.

Online Dating Mistake #1: Being Vague About What You're Looking For

Online dating is a numbers game. Among the tens of thousands of women in your city who are looking for a partner online, there are at least a dozen who want to meet you and who meet your criteria for looks, brains and personality. But how do you find them?

The first step is to become crystal clear about what you're looking for in a woman and a relationship. Have you ever noticed that when you're thinking of buying something—an MP3 player, a style of eyeglasses, a motorcycle—all of a sudden, you start seeing it everywhere? It isn't that the universe conspired to bring the items to your proximity. You were always surrounded by them, but your brain filtered them out because they had been unimportant.

So the first step is to decide what kind of woman you want in your life, and make it important that you find her. Create a clear image of what she looks like, how she acts, how she thinks, how she spends her time, etc. Then hold the image in your mind as you're browsing through online profiles, and you'll find that you can quickly sort through the obvious misses to find the hits.

At the same time, don't broadcast all of the details to the world; they're for your benefit, not anybody else's. When you describe your ideal woman in your profile, be mercifully brief. Nobody likes to be rejected preemptively.

It might seem contradictory that you can attract more women by being more selective, but we've found that it's true. The more clearly you define your ideal woman, the more likely it is you'll be able to recognize her when you see her, and the more likely she'll recognize herself.

And yet, we've seen online daters repeatedly make the mistake of being vague about the person they're looking for. They specify a huge age range (like 20 to 45) out of fear that they might exclude a match who would otherwise say yes. Instead, they look either desperate or wishy-washy to everybody, including the women in that age range. Even worse is saying "I'm not looking for anything in particularly—I'll just see whoever comes up." That's a virtual guarantee that few women will respond because, given the choice, nobody ever wants to be "whoever comes up."

Being specific doesn't mean you have to be demanding or close-minded. It just means you have a clear idea of what you want, which is attractive in itself. If the right woman views your profile and sees that you're a perfect fit for reasons other than general criteria like age or musical taste, she'll just ignore your criteria. And chances are, you'll be happy she did.

What Qualifies Me to Help You With Online Dating?

What qualifies me to teach you online dating—and to lead this company?

The answer goes back a few years. One of my first jobs out of school was to ghostwrite books. Most relevantly, I wrote a book with Sydnee Steele called Seducing Your Woman about how to meet more women. For each of the books I wrote, I would interview subject experts, step into their shoes, imitate their writing style and write books in their name. Because I received cover credit on all of the books, I was technically a co-author more than a ghostwriter, but my function was the same: I had to get my own ego and style out of the way, so that I can present the author's ideas and stories accurately, transparently and effectively. That's what we do at Done For You Dating.

After I paused my writing career, I delved head-first into marketing. Not the kind of marketing they teach you in college, but the kind that puts your own money on the line and forces you to get results or face bankruptcy. Done For You Dating is the third company I've founded—the first is The Morpheus Clinic for Hypnosis, and the second I'm contractually obligated to keep secret—and I've made all of them work through effective, street-smart, direct-response marketing. In this blog, I'll teach you how to apply what I've learned about marketing to messages you write on online dating sites so that you can benefit from higher response rates and more dates with the women you desire.

Most recently, as a hypnotherapist I've helped many men who had anxiety approaching and interacting with women. Universally, they were all great guys: smart, funny and kind. Once they got past the first hurdle, they did just fine. But the first impression they left with women didn't represent them accurately or enticingly.

As CEO of Done For You Dating Inc., I'm applying my knowledge and experience from all of these areas to help single men and women get better results from online dating. This blog, DFY Dating Labs, will report the latest findings from our work with clients and my analysis of those results.

Introducing Done For You Dating Laboratories

Which of the following do you think gets the most responses from women on online dating sites?

  • Long or short messages?
  • Posed or candid photos?
  • Humor or directness?
  • Sexual suggestiveness or playing it safe?

The test results might surprise you. Every small change can mean a drastic difference in response. Coming from a background in direct marketing, we know how important it is to test the messages that we send to prospects and carefully monitor the response.

That's why we have a division of the company that's devoted to testing new communication strategies for getting the best possible response from single women. The discoveries that come out of DFY Dating Laboratories let us use our time efficiently, and it means that you have the best possible shot with every potential match online.

We have online dating down to a science, and we're eager to let our discoveries benefit your dating. For a free consultation, contact us today.