Home > Email content > So You Think You Can Funny? The Do’s and Don’ts of E-mail Marketing Humor

So You Think You Can Funny? The Do’s and Don’ts of E-mail Marketing Humor

This week we have a guest blogger. A former colleague and friend, Julie Kraut is a professional writer and one very clever marketer. She succesfully weaves humor into her writing for a wide array of audiences. Here she offers some tips on how to effectively use humor when communicating with customers through email marketing.

A little humor goes a long way in e-mail marketing. Consistently providing a giggle in addition to the valuable content, information, and deals you e-mail out can make your brand more relatable, spur open rates, and encourage message forwarding. While in general I like to think that funny is in the belly laugh of the giggler, when it comes to e-mail marketing, there are some do’s and don’ts of humor writing. Follow them and you’ll be laughing all the way to your analytics pages.

Here we go:

  • Make funny, not fun—Anyone who’s ever been to a high school cafeteria knows that poking fun at others is a super easy way to get some laughs. After all, with fat people, dumb people, Yaris-driving people, the jokes write themselves. But remember that you’re not sending out this e-mail solely for laughs. If you offend someone into unsubscribing before you convey your message, your e-mail is a total fail. So, be funny, but not at anyone’s expense. Especially vegans. They’re super sensitive. Trust me, I know from experience.
  • Funny ain’t perfect—Humor is a lot about delivery. The funny needs to flow and feel natural. Don’t over-edit your jokes to the point where they lose all sense of normal speak. People are going to be focused on what they’re laughing at. They’re not going to care that the sentence at which they’re meant to be laughing ends in a preposition. Being funny means kicking some grammar rules to the curb. Sorry, grammar Nazis, but there’s a reason you don’t have your own show on Comedy Central.
  • Hedge your bets—Not everything that tickles you is going to translate to chuckles from your subscribers. That’s ok. There’s no such thing as a guaranteed laugh, but don’t let that intimidate you from attempting to get some. Instead, let the fact that not everything’s going to work encourage you to try a lot. If you only put one joke into your e-mail, you’re not helping your odds at giggle success. Insert tons of humor and know that even if a reader doesn’t get some of your jokes, she’ll get a few. I imagine this is the strategy of the writers of Two and Half Men. At least 75% of their jokes thunk like a pet rock in cement boots, but it’s still one of the most successful show on television. You probably don’t even have to find a way to make a convicted criminal endearing, so you’re one step ahead of those writers.
  • Know your limits—Humor can be a helpful means for communicating your message, but it’s not for every message. Think of humor like cream cheese frosting. That stuff makes almost everything taste better. Almost. It’s actually really quite disgusting on pad thai. So, you need to be thinking, is your message like rice krispie treats, toast, or asparagus—something that can be enhanced by cream cheese frosting—or is it more of a pad thai message? Your business might not lend itself to humor. That being said, you don’t need to be a zany slinky manufacturer to be funny. I’ve seen humor used by investment companies, career counselors, and non-fiction books. But there are limits. And “Putting the fun back in pet funerals” is well beyond them. Again, I know from experience.

That’s all she wrote on the Commandments of Funny. Go forth and get laughs.

Julie Kraut is a writer for hire and the co-author of Hot Mess and author of Slept Away. For more, check out JulieKraut.com.

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Categories: Email content
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