That’s So Awkward: Why You Should Use Humor in Your Email Campaigns

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Posted: October 25, 2013 | Email Marketing

“So I’ll pick you up at 7?”

If you received an email with that subject line, would you open it?

What if it was from your significant other? Your best friend? Another family member?

What if it was from Jim Williams? You might be asking, “Jim who?”

Heidi Bullock, the Director of Demand Generation here at Marketo, opened it. “I thought it was a mistake,” Heidi told me. “I mean, nobody was picking me up at 7. Ha! I figured it was sent to the wrong person.”

And then she opened the email and saw this:

Influitive email campaign

Did you read it? Did you read every single word? If not, take a minute to read it (again) now. I’ll wait.

Okay. Welcome back. Pretty awesome, right?

You Can’t Convert Customers Without an Open

Before reading that email, had you ever heard of Influitive? I hadn’t. Did you know Jim Williams, VP of Marketing at Influitive? I didn’t, but I do now.

Jim and Influitive were able to cut through the clutter of my Heidi’s inbox, but they took it one step further. An open isn’t trivial, but it’s still just an open. In email marketing, a click is better than an open. And a conversion is still better than a click.

However, a conversion doesn’t happen without a click. And a click doesn’t happen without an open.

The subject line, the email copy, the design, the call to action – all of it – was brilliant. Here’s why:

  • The creative, interest-piquing subject line led to the open.
  • The eye-catching header image drew me in. Can’t you just hear her saying, “UHHHH. WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?” Awkward.  (P.S. Is that Mackelmore in the background?) Interested in designing a good-looking email message of your own? Check out our email design cheat sheet.
  • The personal opening ensured I continued to read. Just like in any great presentation (or first date), your opening is everything. This opening line – “How awkward is that, Heidi? We don’t even know each other and I’m already planning to pick you up!” – ties together the subject line and the header image.
  • The witty, human copy – with some company facts (“5x the rate of other leads”) weaved in – meant I actually read the email. Did you notice the P.S. at the end? Ha!
  • The simple, clear call to action led to a click. There were only three clickable items in this email – two of them led to the demo (the action they wanted me to take).
  • The click led me to watching the 2-minute demo (a mini-conversion, if you will).

I’m now in the Influitive lead funnel … bringing me one step closer to becoming a customer. Well done, Influitive. Well done Jim Williams.

The bottom line?  Using humor, being creative, showing your human side, and being different — these are all smart marketing techniques. 

What do you think of this email campaign? What creative, funny, different, human marketing campaigns have you seen lately? Please share in the comments below!

DJ Waldow is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Marketo, a writer, speaker, and a co-author of The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing. He also hosts two podcasts – The Work Talk Show (a podcast about how work gets done) and The Marketing Nation (Marketo's podcast about all things digital marketing). DJ is a knowledge craver, a sponge, and a lover of beer, coffee, and people (in no particular order).

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Want better open rates? Here's how witty, human copy can boost your #emailmarketing efforts.

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