What Web Designers Can Learn From Dating Websites

If you have online clients, you are in the online relationship business. And what better place to learn about online relationships than dating websites? Just go with me on this.

Okcupid.com analyzed over 500,000 first contacts on their dating site. Analysis focused on keywords and phrases, how they affected reply rates and what trends were statistically significant. A lot of this information is useless for building business relationships (but still fun to look through). However, general trends reinforced a lot of what we already practice in our initial client communications. Quick overview of information:

Research disclaimer: My time on these websites has been strictly
research. And I have already cleared this with my CFO and wife, Sandy.

What to Say in Your First Message (or First Client Message):

  1. Don’t use Netspeak
    Netspeak, bad grammar, and bad spelling are huge turn-offs (Ex: ur, u, wat). Exceptions to the “no netspeak” rule are expressions of amusement. (Ex: lol, haha)
  2. Salutations
    The top three most popular ways to say “hello”  (Hi, Hey, Hello) were all actually bad beginnings. More unique “How’s it going?,” What’s up?” and “Howdy” all scored significantly higher
  3. Be Engaging
    Use effective phrases that engage the reader’s own interests, or show you’ve read up on them. Use engaging phrases like “Curious what…,” “Noticed that…,” and “You mentioned…”
  4. Be Self-Effacing
    “Awkward,” “sorry,” “apologize,” “kinda,” and “probably” all made messages more successful.
  5. Keep it Short
    Short messages get the best response rate. Reply rates go down as messages length increases. Messages approaching 360 words or 1800 characters start to lose their effectiveness.
  6. Keep your Shirt On
    Guys, listen up. Shirtless pics of your pecs get a lower response. I concur, this was an embarrassing phase of early Back40 client prospecting. Enough said.

Back40 Blog - Online Relationships

Check out OKCupids blog for more trending information. http://blog.okcupid.com/

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