Putting Your Best Foot Forward
I’ve recently started to dip my toe into the dating pool again — after a relationship and a subsequent hiatus — and I’ve come to the realization that dating is very much like brand marketing. You’re putting out the best version of yourself, or your brand, and hoping that it attracts the right person and creates a long-term, sustainable relationship.
Many of you might know that I used to be a very active online dater. And, I used to blog about all of my dating adventures. It was one of the most commented on things from friends who would often tell me, “I love your dating stories.” For the single people it was a way to commiserate, a shared experience of misery and hilarity. For the married or partnered people it was a way for them to either live vicariously through me, or more likely, make them so grateful they didn’t have to wade into the dating swamp anymore.
Here’s the thing: Just like marketing, many people go about dating all wrong.
Trying Too Hard
Any relationship needs to be built on authenticity and sincerity. If you come out of the gate overly effusive or set unrealistic expectations, you’re going to push that person away immediately. A soft and genuine touch is always going to create a more tangible connection than one that feels faked.
Let’s forget the abhorrent grammar and spelling here, and just say that this man is clearly selling something I’m not buying. And while he might have the best intentions, like most brands, the delivery is so off-putting that he’s lost me. I mean, come on, I know I’m a dazzling beauty, but clearly, I’m no angel.
Missing the Mark
Another common mistake many brands or suitors make is not listening to their audience.
In this instance, he was asking me something he should already know. I’m on a dating site, to…wait for it…meet someone. Shocking, I know. This baffled me. And please save me the “he’s just making conversation” argument. Because, he’s making the wrong kind. His audience, potential dates, are looking for someone who understands them and empathizes with them. A better line might have been, “how long have you been on this app?” or “how long have you been single?” or even “aren’t apps the worst?!” When you’re talking to your audience, presume they’re coming to you for what you offer and position that in a way that’s enticing and empathetic. Let them know that you get them and you can help.
Meet Them Where They Are
Here we have an example of miscommunication, but one that could have been saved. [I'm the purple block] I presumed when he said “I’d like to chat and get to know you better” that he meant on the phone. Because chatting to me is talking. So I gave him my number. Clearly by his bizarre response he meant continue to text.
That said, I told him how I want to be communicated to. And he ignored that message. I won’t even get into why a phone call is an issue vs. endless texting, but irrespective, as his audience, he didn’t listen to me and therefore lost the “sale.” As a brand, you have data on how your audience wants to be communicated to. Use it. Are they opening your emails? Do they engage on social? If so, which channels and when? Learn how they want to receive your messages and meet them where they are. Because they are who you want to attract.
As many online daters know, the cut and paste is a tool too many men abuse. I guess since it’s a numbers game, if you send the same message or type of message to different people, one of them might garner the response you want. But if that message is the same as what everyone else is peddling, how will you stand out from the crowd?
Maybe I really am an angel? But seriously, I got at least three messages all calling me an angel. First, they don’t know me. I might be a horrible human being. Second, what’s the response to something like this? Thank you?
With any marketing message you want your audience to take action, and you want to make it easy for them to do so.
Ask a question.
Give them something to respond to.
Remove the barriers.
It’s ok to pay a compliment and be nice, but make it about them. All of these people have access to my profile. Just like you have data on your audience, they can see personal details about me in order to guide the conversation. And, just like you, they should. It shows they’ve done their homework. And that, for any brand or any person, goes a very long way in building on any relationship.