Add Humor to Marketing to Make it More Effective

Most sales pros know it is easier to sell to customers when they have established a good rapport. And there’s no better way to break the ice than to make people smile or laugh. They let down their guard and become much more open. humor (pic final)This not only works in sales, but in marketing as well. Your company becomes relatable and your brand becomes more memorable when the audience connects through humor. Furthermore, a little amusement can go a long way in setting the stage for building your customers’ trust.

How can marketers add humor to their marketing communications and make it more effective?

Use humor for better positioning:

If you target local audiences with a narrow focus, you have the advantage of communicating to prospects that have similar demographic profiles (e.g., florists, mechanics, grocery stores, etc.) and who are all likely to understand your references. This enables you to build relationships by using “insider” humor. Positioning yourself as an industry insider is a powerful way to build credibility and authority in your niche.

When you make existing customers laugh, it can help position your brand as the “fun” or “futuristic” alternative to stodgy competition.

This is an amusing way to attract summer travelers to book trips through Eurostar.

funny ad by Eurostar

Add a dash of personality for better website engagement:

Most business websites are used to announce products, prices and contact details. But if you think back to the news this morning, what you remember are likely to be the most sensational or funny stories. Despite this, most companies don’t use humor on their websites. That’s why it is no wonder that most business sites are detached, uninspiring and without personality. A dash of laughter can make your content and your brand real rather than a faceless, corporate machine driven only by numbers.

MailChimp got the 2013 A Site to See Award for Best Website. They incorporate humor in almost everything they do. Through Freddie, the animated MailChimp monkey mascot, the company has added some mischief to a product category not known for much of anything.

funny website Mailchimp

The most important tip before adding humor to your website content is to know your audience—what they would appreciate and what might backfire. Business jokes will be more effective if they relate to your business. And customers must be able to see that connection. If you can be funny about the business world your customers live in, it makes you look perceptive and connected. On the other hand, jokes about fashion on a real estate agency’s website might put serious questions about your credibility in the minds of potential customers. So if there is any doubt, leave the humor out.

Improve your bond with emails that talk to customers:

Email marketing is one area where marketers can build a continuous dialogue. But regularly scheduled communications can get boring to subscribers. Adding humor can turn things around and make people eager to receive your emails.
You can bring a quirky twist to industry headlines, discuss interesting traits of business/famous personalities and develop personas without diluting your brand. Today’s social consumers expect more of a human face from the brands they love and buy. They expect to deal with real people. Audiences are most receptive to humor when they think it’s natural and relevant, and they can connect with the joke. People respond to short, quick sentences and phrases. Most of us don’t have time to read long stories. Make it quick and fun to get attention.

Scott Hardigree explains in his blog post that a funny play on words can make people stop and give extra thought to your emails.

funny email

Season your blogs with a pinch of humor:

Incorporate humor in your blog posts with natural language, interesting real life examples and funny quotes that share your point of view. You can place amusing design elements on the sidebars of blog pages. Feature a daily cartoon or your take on business headlines to give your readers a reason to come back. Pictures and videos are another wonderful way to convey humor, mainly because people can’t resist watching them. A bonus tip is to keep them short. Even readers sharing their stories and experiences can bring people some laughs.

The Harvard Business Review regularly posts cartoons in their blog that reflect the corporate culture and instantly connects with their business audience.

funny HBR cartoon

How are you using humor to attract your customers and form a better connection?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

6 Responses to Add Humor to Marketing to Make it More Effective

  1. Ray Hasto says:

    Kriti, a good article! I think most companies shy away from humor in marketing due to fear: Will they offend?; Will the target get the joke?; Can we be funny without appearing stupid?
    All good questions. Conceptualizing and writing “humor” is hard work. But, for all the reasons you laid out, its a VERY effective way to connect and be memorable. Thanks for this!

    • Kriti Adlakha says:

      Thanks for reading and liking the blog post! Hope you continue reading our future posts and share your thoughts and suggestions.

  2. It’s like you read my mind, Kriti! I was just trying to figure out the best way to incorporate humor into a marketing campaign, and this blog outlines the rules and necessities perfectly. Thanks!

  3. Nice. I found this topic very interesting and knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing this valuable tips and information with us, Kriti. Looking forward for more interesting and informative articles from you.
    ~cody

  4. Pingback: Five Ways to Use Humor in Marketing and Five Ways Funny Can Fail - iPost - Engaging Consumers By Making Them Laugh

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