Whenever you are out and about, it’s pretty common knowledge how to flirt with people you meet face to face: you make eye contact, offer a smile, start engaging in witty small talk and never hesitate to laugh when you find something remotely amusing. With that said, when it comes to flirting online, people tend to get a bit lost because you can’t really make eye contact and smile at someone. Well, you could, but unless you are on webcam, these things simply do not translate. According to the experts at Flirt.com, flirting online takes on a different form and it requires you to think a little more on your toes.

Here are some key tips that you should take note of when you are trying your hand at online flirting if you want to have success.

Rule #1 – Use Every Bit of Email to Your Advantage

Many people approach sending emails like a mundane task that is just a way to communicate. Instead of treating it like this, treat every part of the email as a way to flirt with your prospective date. For example, instead of using the subject line to say “Hi” or something mundane like, “I saw your dating profile,” try being fun and imaginative and say something that catches their attention. Let’s say you read their profile and noticed they liked to play tennis. In the subject, you could say something like, “Who’s Better? Serena, Venus, or you?” Next, you will want to choose the perfect greeting. You could always go the safe route by saying “Dear (their name),” or you could be cute and say something like “Dear Tennis Pro of Flirt.com.” This line will be seen as charming and it’ll put a smile on their face. When you are closing the email, avoid saying the boring “catch you later” or something like that. Instead, be creative again and pull from the information you may have found on their profile. Say something like, “Until out next discussion over who should have gone to Wimbledon last year,” or something fun and will keep their interest.

Rule #2 – Write Like You Talk

Unless you speak like you are fluent in ebonics and broken English, you should write your email similarly to how you speak. This means don’t fill your email with large words that you normally wouldn’t say in a normal conversation. You also don’t want to use language that comes off as stuffy or too analytical—it just doesn’t translate well when you are trying to flirt! You will want to make sure your emails have a conversational tone to them and they are easy to read. If you aren’t sure if you have a natural conversational tone to your writing, try this exercise. Write what you want to say and then read it back to yourself. Does it sound like something you would normally say while talking to your friends, or does it sound like it came from a text book? If it sounds like the latter, try and reword it so it sounds more fluid and natural.

Rule #3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Use Emoticons

Whoever said that grown adults shouldn’t use emoticons when they are trying to flirt couldn’t be more wrong. Emoticons are able to convey a particular emotion or sentiment that you simply cannot get when you are just typing. Why, you could have just written something oozing with sarcasm, but unless you include that cute little winking emoticon, the recipient of that message could think that you are being rude and downright disrespectful—depending on what was said.

Rule #4 – Don’t Be Stingy with the Compliments

Although you may not know the person personally and their profile may not have the most useful information on it, you still can throw around a compliment or two. It’s no secret that everyone loves to be complimented, so here is your chance to do it—even if all you have to go on is their profile picture, a few random tidbits of information, and maybe a brief conversation via instant messenger. Whatever you decide to compliment them on, make sure it is genuine and you aren’t laying it on too thick—people can tell the difference and they may call you out on it.