Creating a profile for online dating sites requires some skills that weren’t needed in previous generations. Had we lived in a traditional society it would be your aunt or neighbor helping to “promote” you in the society and filter candidates before any introduction is made. In the modern world you are on your own. Each individual is left alone to do the job of trying to appeal to another. It might not be the most romantic way to look at the process, but creating an effective online-dating-profile is actually self-marketing. You are the product and the marketing person at the same time. You want to create an appealing profile that will attract the right person for you. In this interview I’ve asked marketing expert Melinda Rodgrigues to apply her commercial approach for marketing to the personal realm and share her advice on how to write an effective profile.
Melinda Rodgrigues is a marketing and communications professional with more than 15 years of experience helping businesses, from small non-profits to global corporations, promote their products and services, and build brand awareness through multiple platforms. A self-confessed “marketing nerd,” she started 278 Marketing, and now specializes in helping small businesses determine their marketing needs, create a plan and turn that plan into action. Not only will she help small business owners identify the biggest marketing challenges they face and provide solutions to help resolve them, but Melinda also teaches marketing tips and techniques to those business owners who are interested in doing their own marketing. She is the proud Leader of the Lynnwood Chapter of Business Among Moms.
From a marketing point of view, what is the first step when creating an online dating profile?
Marketing is all about attracting the right people, your target market, to consider your product. When creating a profile on an online dating site, you are at the same time the product and the marketing person. You want to attract the right people to consider having a relationship with you.
To do so, you need to show people who you are, what you are about, and what you’ve got to offer. You have to do some self-evaluation and define who you are as a person. Many times when people write their profile they start in the middle; they start by describing what they like to do, like - fun loving, love to hike, love the outdoors, like to watch the Seahawks or the Sounders. That is very generic. I suggest to first start from the basics, and think who you are as a person.
From a business perspective, when I look at a company as a marketing person, I start by asking who is this company and what are the company’s values in order to define the company and its products or services. The same applies when writing a profile; you want to describe your personality, your values, what is important to you. You want to let your perspective mate/client, know who you are, right at the beginning.
It’s important to be authentic and honest when describing yourself. Marketing often gets a bad reputation; it’s words that are supposed to increase sales. That is why it’s important to be honest from the get-go. In business it can be something like – we are not going to be the cheapest but we are going to be the best for you. On a personal level it can be a statement like - I might not be the most easy-going person, but I’m very passionate and very supportive. Whatever it’s going to be, be authentic.
What if writing a very specific and detailed profile will turn off many people?
Like in business - not all people are going to be the right customers/fit for you. When you develop a relationship you want to make sure that you do it with someone who is compatible with you. It’s important to represent yourself correctly from the beginning in order to grab the right person’s attention and narrow your options down. After all, to have a relationship you only need to find one person that is right for you and for the type of relationship that you want to have.
Many women on online dating sites choose to hide their desire to find someone to marry because they are afraid of scaring men away.
In marketing we believe that false statements lead to disappointments. It is important to set the right expectations to attract the right person for you, whether it’s a client or a mate.
Let’s take an example of an insurance company. If the company is looking for people who can pay their bills on time and are low-risk, they are going to appeal one way. If the company decides to appeal to just anyone, they might get a much larger piece of the market – but it might not be the best for their business. Eventually it might cost the company more than if they had started by limiting their target market and appealing only to the right type of clients.
I keep on going back to authenticity – it is very valuable. Some people are afraid to say that they want or don’t want children. At the end of the day, if your value is to have a family with children or to just be a couple– you should be honest enough to declare that, even if you might not get as many people interested in you. Maybe you will turn off 75% of the people, but that is 75% of the people who are not right for you in the long run.
How do you appeal to your target market in online dating?
That is probably the bane existence of marketers. What is the appeal, the hook, to get people to look at your product? A lot of times it’s almost an equation of having a good product/self description to attract the right customer/mate. Describe who you are and what you can bring to a customer/personal relationship; define the kind of a customer/person you are attracted to and want to do business/have a relationship with.
The other part of the equation is to find out what is the commonality between you two and hopefully that would be the hook that will bring them in. It could be the information and image that you are going to share on your dating profile. When I say image, I don’t mean the photo, but the value and benefits that you offer. How you are going to make the other person’s life better. Provide the necessary information that will help to attract the right people to you, but don’t write too much. You also want to create some curiosity about you and make people want to know more about you.
How do you create curiosity about yourself when writing a profile?
You don’t tell everybody everything right away. Create curiosity. Answer them in a way that will intrigue them enough to want to learn more about you: when someone asks you what you do, instead of saying I am a matchmaker, you can say “I create love in the world,” or “I create lasting romance.” That will make people curious and ask more questions about you. It’s so much more of a conversation starter.
That is what the hook is all about – create the desire to know more. Make someone want to ask more about you. Putting too much information, with the intention of giving people a clear picture of who you are, or what you think you are, is not a good hook. Let people want to spend some time with you and figure you out for themselves.
How do you invite a person to imagine themselves being a part of your life?
This goes back to content marketing and painting a picture of what your product might be, and what life would be like without that product. We ultimately go to worst-case scenario: in relationship, we can survive in the world if something happens to our partner. But having someone in our life opens doors, it creates more, we feel more fulfilled. Now the question is, how do you show that in the description? It all goes back to self-introspection: describe the qualities that you offer, the things about you that stay after all the glow and excitement of the initial discovery has past.
Once we achieved the initial hook, what is the next phase after marketing?
Closing the “deal” and then Customer service – that is how you maintain the relationship. It’s not always about how you take care of a customer when everything is going great, but how you take care of a customer when things are not going great.