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Email Marketing Tip – You Think I’m Funny? (Using humor in your email campaigns)

Consumers love humor – and marketers love humor, too. There is nothing like getting your audience to smile, chuckle, or actually laugh at your content – when that is your goal. Humor is a long-established and highly effective way to connect with your audience, engage with them on a personal level, and generally put them in a positive mindset for your communications. But, using humor in marketing isn’t so easy.

There’s a classic scene in the movie GoodFellas where one of the main characters asks a waiter if he thinks he’s funny. Safe to say, the scene itself doesn’t generate a lot of laughs. But, it points out a few of the key challenges in using humor. 

Humor isn’t Universal

We’ve all experienced discovering a joke, video on Facebook, or other meme on social media and finding hilarious. Then, when we show it to a friend or family member, they just shrug. Because for some unknown reason, they can’t see the humor in it the way we can. (Obviously, their sense of humor isn’t as developed as ours.  LOL!) The point is that not everyone finds the same things funny. No matter how well-written your funny content ends up being, not everyone will actually respond to it the way you want. In and of itself, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. But, it’s a good thing to keep in mind as you craft your content.

Get it Wrong and it Can Backfire

Along with some people simply not sharing your sense of humor, it’s possible that your content can actually upset or even offend some members of your audience. If this happens, your attempt at humor can completely backfire. No matter how edgy a brand or marketing campaign is designed to be, you don’t actually want to alienate the audience. With most marketing campaigns, marketers may feel pretty confident that the messaging is on point, without having too much input from other people at the company, let alone consumers or other people. But, if your attempt at humor is even a bit edgy or controversial, it may be wise to gather feedback from a wider than usual group. This may help you catch a potential issue with your content before it reaches your email recipients. 

Writing Humor is Hard

Last, but certainly not least on this short list – writing humor is difficult. There may be some brilliant comedians out there who can quickly write funny content, but for most of us, it takes work. You might think that is counter-intuitive. Some well-written humor may feel effortless. Just some quick and funny observations or a great joke. But most professional comedians will be the first to say that actually writing content to make people laugh can be an arduous process and many of the jokes they write don’t end up working. So, if you’re writing humor for the first time, give yourself some time and leeway. Experiment with it a bit, get the feedback mentioned above and you may just find a great way to engage with your email recipients. 

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