Give Your Emails Some Comic Relief

Posted by Margaret Farmakis on

In the spirit of Red Nose Day—I’ve been thinking about what makes email funny. Other than two great cartoons (see below), which I have tacked to my office wall, I couldn’t really come up with much.

Instead, I’d like to use this post to expound on a few ways to make email fun. Yes, that’s right— fun. As a marketer, this is likely not your primary goal for the email channel. Or even one at the very bottom of your list. Or actually on your list at all. However, I can’t help but think of a famous Groucho Marx quote: “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”

While I’m sure Marx never thought this could be applied to email marketing, there’s something to be said for creating fun, entertaining and witty email campaigns. Standing out in the inbox is getting increasingly harder to do as the email channel becomes more and more saturated, both with legitimate permission-based messages, as well as spam. As a result, it’s not only important to provide your subscribers with value and send relevant content and offers, but to grab your subscribers’ attention, however you can. Sometimes, that means being funny, or at least showing that you’re having fun and you want them to as well.

How to achieve this?

  • Start by injecting your brand with some personality. Social media is a great place to start. When email marketing is done well, it can create opportunities for having a dialogue with your customers and prospects. Social media takes that one step further and provides the opportunity for your brand to have a voice and a personality. Yet, many marketers ignore this by creating dry, static and product-driven social media pages and content. This won’t keep your audience’s attention. They are looking for fun, entertaining and exclusive information, as well as the chance to interact with your brand in a completely unique way. It’s important to treat interactions in this channel differently from what you’re doing via print, broadcast and other more traditional channels. So loosen up—and don’t forget that your content needs to be more about your audience and less about you. Of course, the goal is still to sell, but instead of communicating new product specs, explain how your product can help your audience be smarter, more organised, have fun and ultimately live better lives. If you’re already doing this with your email marketing content, it shouldn’t be too difficult to apply this approach to your social media efforts.
  • Video in email is another great option. Interactivity is always fun and can get subscribers clicking and engaging with your content. The great news is that many studies point to the fact that consumers who watch videos are twice as likely to convert as those who don’t. In addition, ISPs like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL and Hotmail are now allowing YouTube videos to be played directly in the email inbox, so the hurdle for response is significantly lowered from when Flash and Javascript were the only options, which often caused ISP blocks. Marketers can now leverage the visual draw of video in their email templates by inserting an animated GIF or image of the featured video. Simulating video with images can create more visual interest and therefore boost response rates. A variety of companies offer some great options for implementing this. One is Liveclicker, which detects each subscriber’s email client in real time—as the email is opened by the recipient—and only then delivers a compatible video asset directly in the email.

So this Red Nose Day, consider the entertainment factor of the email messages you are sending. Not only will this help you to stand out in the inbox, but you’ll find that it’s the humorous and entertaining messages that go viral. To capitalise on this, be sure to include links for the traditional “forward-to-a friend” option or the newer “share-to-social” option in your email templates, which makes expanding your reach—and potentially growing your email file and your fan/follower base—simple and easy.

This article was originally featured on the DMA UK Email Marketing Blog.


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