1. Use good pictures. There are thousands of people on these sites, and there is going to be someone similar to you who has better pictures. And he is going to get the woman you want. If you want to meet good people, you need to have good pictures. It’s that simple.
Your photos need to be clear and recent. Your dark, artsy photos are great as a supplement, but she needs to see what you look like in the light, without a hat, and without sunglasses. She needs to see you close up (a headshot), and from a little distance (a full length shot). If she can’t see what you really look like, you’re not going to get her phone number.
2. Write to people who are looking for someone like you. It is important to remember that online dating is not the same as online shopping. When you’re shopping, you can pick out whatever you like and make it yours. When you’re dating, the person you choose actually has some say in the matter.
Before you take the time to compose your message, look through her profile and try to view things from her perspective. Would she want to date you? Of course you’re great, but are you a great match for her? Do you fit all, or most, of what she’s looking for? And are you in her desired age range?
I often receive messages from men who seem to overlook the preferences I’ve stated in my profile. “Funny, I didn’t think my age would be an issue.” Really? Did you read the part where I listed the age range with which I’m comfortable? Last I checked, 50 is not in the set of numbers from 30-44. “Maybe I can win you over with my charm!” Or, maybe you could write to the fabulous 50-year-old women on this site who are clearly underappreciated.
Match.com has “Reverse Match” and “Mutual Match” search features to identify the people who are looking for someone like you. But if you insist on writing to those who aren’t, keep in mind that the site also has email filters to automatically send your messages to a special folder for unwanted mail, based on your age, height, location, and a few other criteria.
3. Don’t tease someone you don’t know. It comes off as insulting. “Props on your (mostly) sane Match Question answers.” Mostly sane? And which answers do you deem insane, oh wise one? That I wouldn’t let a dog sleep in my bed? Or perhaps that I think it is a choice, not an obligation, for a woman to shave her legs? Oh wait; I don’t really care what you think. I’m going to reply to this other guy. He has better pictures.
4. Ask good questions. This means you have to read her profile, and pay attention to what you read. Don’t offer to help her fix her bike, when the story in her profile is about her success in fixing her bike. Don’t ask her what she likes to do for fun, when she has already filled out the profile section that says “For fun I like to…”