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3 Email Marketing Lessons From Tinder

Lizette Resendez
Copy Director

About three years ago, I was having drinks with some friends in Tribeca, when one of the girls pulled out her iPhone to show us married gals how Tinder worked.

We were hooked.

It was so easy to swipe right, swipe left, swipe right again; trying to find a match for our friend. We must have swiped for a good five minutes (even if she didn’t necessarily approve of all our swipes).

Today, there are an estimated 50 million Tinder users and 1.4 billion swipes a day.

And it’s easy to see why. The app’s UX is incredibly simple. In just one second, maybe even half a second, a user can decide if they want to see more of that person and swipe right, or if they never want to see that profile pic again and swipe left.

That type of quick decision-making is similar to how a subscriber interacts with their inbox. And if an inbox is like Tinder, then the emails you’re sending are essentially your profile photo. Would a reader swipe right to see more or swipe left to ignore?

How Would Your Emails Perform in a Tinder-verse?

Whether you love it, hate it, or still think Tinder refers to what you need to start a good campfire; there’s plenty you can learn from the app when it comes to sending great emails.

1. First Impressions Are Everything

You’ve got just as much space and time to make a good impression as you do on Tinder. GQ magazine suggests that to create a successful Tinder profile, all you need are “a few pictures, a little bit of text and that’s it.”

Well, to design a great email, all you need is a nice image or graphic, some clear, concise copy, a CTA—and you’re done.

And unless you’re putting together a monthly newsletter where readers expect to find a variety of content, your regular weekly emails can be short and sweet.

If you find yourself wrestling with multiple departments or competing interests all vying for a spot in your email, you need to ask yourself, “What’s relevant and what’s relevant right now?”

You also need to streamline your words. If a reader can’t get the gist of your message in a quick two-second scan, you’ve lost them.

Need help editing? Steve Krug, author of Don’t Make Me Think, suggests “Get rid of half the words…then get rid of half of what’s left.”

2. Don’t Move Too Fast

On Tinder, you probably want potential matches to know what you do for a living and maybe what you like to do on the weekends, but they don’t need to know that you already have your future kids’ names picked out or that you were the arm-wrestling champion of your hometown in 1998.

Similarly, when it comes to email marketing, you don’t want to give away too many details or ask for too much too soon.

Remember that your email, just like a Tinder profile pic, only needs to get your reader to the next destination, the landing page, where they can learn more about your offer, service or company, and decide if it’s a real match.

Think of your email as the movie trailer trying to get people into the theater.

3. Just Be Cool

In Tinder-land, this does not mean uploading a photo of you wearing sunglasses in ‘da club’ (I’ve been told that’s not cool). What I mean is, just be real.

One of the most important things both Millennials and Baby Boomers say a company can do to engage or interest them is “to be authentic.

Don’t try too hard. Stuffing your subject lines with emoticons or, heaven forbid, starting them with “Re:” or “FWD:”, and then filling your actual campaign with too many animations and flashing CTAs can make your company look, well, desperate. 

Just be direct (after all, it’s called direct marketing), be friendly, and make it easy for your readers to take action.

And that’s it!

Do you see any other similarities between Tinder and the inbox? Let us know in the comments below.

(And now, much to my employer’s delight, I will stop searching phrases like, “How Tinder works”, “Tips for Tinder,” and “How to create a great Tinder profile”.)

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