Jokes: they're not just for stand-up comedians anymore. Seriously. Incorporating quick wit into an already engaging piece of ad copy only makes site conversion better. However, a bad joke is like kissing someone with bad breath - not only is it offensive, but the only thing you'll be kissing is your sale goodbye. Before you launch headfirst into the copywriting game, tune up your funny bone.
Take a Cue From Brands That Do It Best
Ever read websites like ModCloth, Urban Daddy, or Uber? Ever get emails from these companies? How about Living Social? If you have, you'll know that humor is the cornerstone of these companies' marketing. Without it, dresses wouldn't be as charming, shoes would be as boring as ever, and filling out paperwork for a car rental would be about as fun as watching paint dry.
Even Wish.co.uk incorporates humor into its site. It has to. Think about it - what could be more serious than killing zombies in an abandoned shopping mall? What if you need to exchange the vouchers you buy from Wish? Simple, the company plainly states: "We’ve got rid of the old method of meeting on a bridge at dawn, us on one side with the experience, you on the other with the voucher, then both sides slowly walk towards each other. It’s easier than that now." Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?
Seriously though, there's something that puts users at ease when a company can loosen up the tie a bit and just relax.
Things To Consider
Not everything is funny. You might be tempted to make everything a joke but, at some point, you have to outline terms and conditions in a way that are straightforward and serious. Legal guidelines, for example, often have to be written in "legalese," and prices have to be clear and understandable. You also don't want to "overload" your users with your comedic act because, let's face it, you do run a business. Being cute is one thing. Coming off as a clown is another.
Another issue you face is discriminating between what your audience will find funny and what it won't. If you're serving a certain demographic, learn how to speak its language. NASCAR fans will probably appreciate tasteful car jokes. Stay-at-home moms probably won't. Some forms of humor are inappropriate. For example, it should go without saying, but any kind of sexism or racism off limits for every market and demographic.
Not All Brands Deserve To Be Funny
Can you imagine a funeral home putting up funny ad copy? No? There's a reason for that. There's not much to laugh at at a funeral. Some businesses just don't lend themselves to being funny. Know where to draw the line.
How Do Decide If Humor Is In Your Future
In most markets, you can't look to your competitors for ideas because they aren't writing humorous copy. Take "Big Ass Fans" (yes, it's a real fan company). Their name makes you chuckle a bit, doesn't it? They're in the fan business, and they're serious when it comes to making quality industrial fans. Still, it's quite obvious that the company, as a whole, has a sense of humor.
When trying to figure out how to make humor work for your site, study industries and companies that have pulled it off. There are many ways to incorporate humor into what you do. If your company is traditionally very serious and dry, consider incorporating dry humor. If you run a sophisticated business, puns (or any other kind of "smart" humor) can work very well. In the end, humor should compliment your brand, not define it.
Jack Harding is a market researcher with two decades under his belt. He loves to share his experience and know-how with others aiming to succeed in the online business world. Visit Wish to see good examples of effective use of humor.