The serious business of humor

by Peter Bestel 18 replies
Do you use humour in any of your copy and is it a good idea?

I see attempts of humour in plenty of sales pages and emails – some get it
right and others miss the mark (in my opinion)


I believe, when used well, it can increase readability, build rapport,
increase sales, to name but three, but what else?


What considerations do you make when using humour? For example,
cultural differences have huge implications as does gender of your market.
And are there ‘no-go’ areas of your sales page, can you joke within your
guarantee, for example?


Interested to hear your thoughts.


Peter


Notice – apart from the title, this post uses the term humour with a ‘u’ – that’s because that’s the way I spell it!
#main internet marketing discussion forum #business #humor #serious
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    I try to be 'me'...

    If that includes an obscure Monty Python reference, so be it!

    I reckon it's more important to be yourself than worry about how people will interpret your copy.

    Test and measure, though, obviously.

    Steve
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    Not promoting right now

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    • Profile picture of the author ExRat
      Hi,

      I see attempts of humour in plenty of sales pages and emails – some get it right and others miss the mark (in my opinion)
      I see these regularly too, but I get the uncanny feeling that they were actually attempts at salesmanship

      with a ‘u’ – that’s because that’s the way I spell it!
      You spell 'it' with a u?

      I reckon it's more important to be yourself than worry about how people will interpret your copy.
      Apparently, that's exactly what Jmo said the last time he was lecturing to fortune 500 companies on his latest white paper - 'Market penetration and customer aquisition via visual representation and interruptive advertising, live guru surgery and spit bubble documentaries.
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      Roger Davis

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      • Profile picture of the author Corwinnx
        Humor is best used in marketing as a way to disarm your audience. IMHO

        -Marcus
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by Corwinnx View Post

          Humor is best used in marketing as a way to disarm your audience. IMHO

          -Marcus
          Quite right, too. When I speak, I don't want anyone allowed in with weapons


          Frank
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          I've just put Richard Branson's number on speed-dial. I call it my "Get-Rich-Quick" scheme.

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          • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
            We all know that humour is another one of subjective things, and we can use it get a point across or 'disarm' as Marcus said. But is it advisable to use it, for example, in or around your call to action? I saw somebody use it, a little clumsily, in their WSO guarantee. I didn't find it off-putting, but somebody thought it brought ambiguity to the statement.

            Is it simply a case of being yourself as Steve mentioned and all will be alright, or do we put a bit more conscious effort into it? What if you outsource your copywriting? How do you inject your brand of humour into that?

            Peter
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            • Profile picture of the author Chipt
              Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

              We all know that humour is another one of subjective things, and we can use it get a point across or 'disarm' as Marcus said. But is it advisable to use it, for example, in or around your call to action? I saw somebody use it, a little clumsily, in their WSO guarantee. I didn't find it off-putting, but somebody thought it brought ambiguity to the statement.

              Is it simply a case of being yourself as Steve mentioned and all will be alright, or do we put a bit more conscious effort into it? What if you outsource your copywriting? How do you inject your brand of humour into that?

              Peter


              Hey, Peter [and others] -

              In my personal experience, humo[u]r can be a 'thin ice' situation or a universal connector... and is in the eye of the beholder like 'beauty' and 'value.' When humor is put forth...

              Some people 'get it' while others 'miss it.'

              Some might chuckle, but others could possibly be offended.

              For some, humor is 'dry' and for others 'wry.'

              Some prefer it subtle, others like 'slapstick.'

              For some it is 'intellectual' and for others 'gross.'

              So IMO the risk/reward scenario is in my experience very high, because it can seal the deal or break the deal. Done well, your 'voice' is heard well, but done poorly it looks obviously contrived and out of place... and can PO people and push them away...

              So in my experience, when humor is done well it is almost a 'magic sauce,' but done poorly it can also be a 'poisin pill.' The trick, as I have personally observed, is finding that point of universality wherein people are amused or entertained, but definitely not offended... and those who 'have it naturally' like F.Kern blend it in as part of their true voice and delivery... and it can work great.

              Years ago when I met Frank and his very first statement on stage was, "I'm a lazy *******," the place fell apart. It was funny for sure...

              Comments? Thoughts?

              Chip Tarver

              PS - As an aside, having recently pondered this very topic over the last few weeks - as well as its best applications - I've been assembling and finishing a brand new prodiuct that I'll soon release based on "humor in marketing" and some of its most important situations...
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              • Profile picture of the author Tristan Bull
                I use humor in some of my copy. It's more of a natural thing, i'm not telling knock knock jokes but a few funny things here and there can really help.

                It builds rapport and adds that human element to things.

                Look at Frank Kern he is funny as hell...
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                • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
                  Originally Posted by Tristan Bull View Post

                  I use humor in some of my copy. It's more of a natural thing, i'm not telling knock knock jokes but a few funny things here and there can really help.

                  It builds rapport and adds that human element to things.

                  Look at Frank Kern he is funny as hell...

                  I'm going to start using those knock knock jokes in my sales letters as soon as the Internet become more interactive.

                  "Knock, knock"

                  "Who's there?"

                  "Orange"

                  "Orange who?"

                  "Orange you gonna buy my e-book?"
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                  Kevin Riley, Kevin Riley Publishing, Osaka, Japan


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              • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
                Originally Posted by Chipt View Post

                Years ago when I met Frank and his very first statement on stage was, "I'm a lazy *******," the place fell apart. It was funny for sure...

                Comments? Thoughts?

                Chip Tarver
                Yeah, I like Frank too. I think because he's set his stall out as the guy who will make quips like that he can not only get away with it, it's expected. I guess you have to be consistent too.

                I remember when I had just left school, the group of friends I hung around with had this 'brand' of humour that was largely based on sarcasm. It pre-dated the 'bad is good' and the 'interesting - not' type humour so it wasn't wildly used outside of this clique. I can recall bumping into an old school buddy who wasn't part of the gang. He told me about his new fantastic job. I immediately congratulated him by saying, "You *******!" He was most offended, walked off and left me wondering what I'd done wrong!

                Know your audience is the message.

                Peter

                PS. I like to think my sense of humour has grown up since then. If I educate myself enough I hope to understand the intellectual humour of Kevin Riley
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              • Profile picture of the author Peggy Baron
                I think when humor/humour is used well, it makes the sales page feel more casual and less like you're being "sold to".

                Personally, when I see humor done well, I think the writer a very clever person and I appreciate his/her witty words.

                Peggy
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                • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
                  Humor can be tricky. It's particularly difficult to use effectively in print, whether online or offline. Frank Kern slips in a lot of humor in his videos. He does it well.

                  I've seen others try the same thing and it can seem awkward or inappropriate. If its just words on page (not video) it can often be hard for the reader to know if you;re kidding or not.

                  Even smile faces don't always convey what you want. :-)

                  ________
                  Bruce
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                  • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
                    I can see this becoming another Paul Myers' competition

                    "Define humour . . . "

                    Martin
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                    • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
                      Originally Posted by Martin Luxton View Post

                      I can see this becoming another Paul Myers' competition

                      "Define humour . . . "

                      Martin
                      Ah please, don't tempt him. I understand this thread just fine as it is.

                      But having said that...

                      Come on Paul, give it your best shot !

                      Peter
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                    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                      I can see this becoming another Paul Myers' competition

                      "Define humour . . . "
                      No way! Some mysteries are better left unexplained.


                      Paul
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                      .
                      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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                • Profile picture of the author Eric Johnson
                  Just be yourself...if you are an ultra serious dude, then be an ultra serious dude. If you like to act ridiculous then act ridiculous. I dunno, but I'm just not going to be going out of my way anytime soon and acting like something that I'm not.

                  Fortunately for me, I happen to be one of the coolest guys on the planet so this works out.

                  Your mileage may vary...
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      • Profile picture of the author WinsonYeung
        Yes, humor do make reading interest and people will get attracted to it
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris W. Sutton
    Well, when I started the Hillbilly Marketing personae, I was amazed how popular that became. I was getting emails and personal messages wanting more from the Hillbilly! Unfortunately, I had to cut back because he was getting way too many proposals from the ladies and he didn't like hurting their feelings when he said "no."

    Oh well, all good things must come to an end!
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