I am betting that your inbox is similar to mine and you manage most of it from the subject box and snippet on your mobile device. I know if I read every single email in my inbox once, the majority would follow similar templates and formats. I subscribe to a couple of newsletters that after opening the first couple I could now not tell you what they sell as it is easier to delete than unsubscribe.
Yes, if I had more time I could plan an hour or two to unsubscribe to the many that I do not now open and read. Why do I not open these emails? They lack the human touch and personality. They almost read like they were autogenerated by an algorithm. All brands have a quirky side, have an element of cheeky to them, that little something that makes me want to read the next campaign that they send. It is not always about selling selling selling. It is about knowing your target audience and having the same quirkiness and cheek as they do. Matching your brands sense of humour to them. Now most small businesses the owner is the brand and should reflect their personality. Look at what the major successful brands are doing are most are trying to be human.
Many people say humour is a dangerous thing when it comes to marketing as it can offend as quickly as it makes people laugh. I say with the correct research and staying with certain boundaries humour will make you more memorable than a generic info email.
A mentioned you need to research where the line lies with your audience and do not cross it. You can go too far, and when you go to far, you can offend someone. If you offend them, you alienate them. If you alienate your customers, they buy from somewhere else, and some of them make sure to put in a nice lengthy complaint before they leave.
Those that oppose humour within marketing will argue that humour is not a ‘one size fits all’ endeavour. Facetious subtlety or satire may go over some heads, and direct scatological farce might seem inappropriate to others. The last thing an email marketer wants to do is come across as though he is “trying” to be funny, particularly if they are already unsure about their customer’s sense of humour. You can understand their reticence really. Why put yourself through that?
Well because humour is funny.
Those writing email marketing campaigns with a few sly witticisms aren’t script-writing for a comedian, they are not trying to make you roll around your office with laughter. They are going for a smile, moderate recognition that an email had a humorous moment that might just be worth sharing, which is one of the objectives of email marketing free seeding, at the very least you want it to be memorable, once you have done a couple then the subconscious will do the rest. I can think of many good reasons that an email marketing content writer should begin using humour, but here are just a coupe to get you started after all it is your humour not mine.
WHO DOESN’T LAUGH AT THE INTERNET?
Let’s be honest, we like the internet because it makes us laugh. The internet is that box of tricks where you can share a meme, after posting a GIF, directly after splitting your sides with a cat video on YouTube. Not that I am making any judgment, but the average social media user is a part time satirist, and almost everyone’s feed is littered with humour. The internet is the place to go when you are looking for some light relief.
Be supportive to your customers share some humour they may have missed, use your email to get them to share their humour with you.
JUST WHAT US HUMANS DO!
There is nothing more Human than the ability to craft humour. That’s not to say that humour isn’t random either. We laugh at the antics of our pets, tears stream down our faces at the laws of gravity, but to intentionally craft humour is very Human. This is what a little light hearted chuckle brings to email marketing campaigns. It humanises your company, makes them seem more approachable. As I said before look at what brands like amazon are doing to humanise their brands.
How to stand out from the other 50 emails? Do not commit the crime of mediocrity, these companies have lost out on potential sales.
CONNECTION AND RECOLLECTION
There’s some good science behind this point, illustrated quite eloquently in Kieth A. Carlson’s ‘The impact of humor on memory’ found in the International Journal of Humor Research. A publication I am sure exists on everyone’s coffee table. However, his article contains the results of a study arguing that “humorous material tends to be recalled at higher rates than non-humorous material “.
There is something folkloric about humour. It stays in our memory, and we pass it to our friends and children, and the stories we tell are often remembered most when they are funny. It is the very way that jokes and limericks work. As well as remembering what makes us laugh, we also remember who made us laugh. It is natural for us to connect humour to the source, and to form a connection with the person who made us laugh. We like to laugh, and we like people who can make us laugh.
I am not saying your email campaigns have to be outrageous. I am not suggesting you turn your marketing department into a circus looking for cheap laughs – you still have a company to represent and you must remain professional. There are three golden rules when you connect to your customers through humour.
1) Keep it clean.
2) Give the widest berth possible to Politics, Religion, or any social prejudices that could cause offence.
3) Humour is better used in moderation. Overuse might just make you annoying to some readers.