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In Defense of Fun: Humor Is Serious Business for SMB Marketers

by Anna Sawyer  |  
March 9, 2012

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Why you should include humor in your marketing
  • Seven types of humor (and when to use them) in your marketing

Big brands use jokes to market their products all the time. But, sadly, many small and medium-sized (SMB) marketers have lost their sense of humor.

Why is that? Maybe SMB marketers sense they have too much to lose to throw it all away with a joke. "We're running a business here" may be the kind of thinking that squashes their sense of humor. Not to mention... smaller marketing departments are juggling an awful lot of balls. What happens when you complicate things by adding a rubber chicken?

But running your marketing department—and your business—with a smile can increase your conversions, give your public relations (PR) a lift, and humanize your business. So, let's bring back the funny!

The Seven Species of Marketing Humor

1. Wit

Is wit only for word nerds? Maybe, but a laconic turn of phrase with a sense of humor is universally appreciated.

Witty copy makes your brand appear smart, but it also indicates that you're not wearing a suit—at least most of the time.

Practical application: Use wit in email headlines, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and banner and display ad copy.

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Anna Sawyer is content queen and auteur for Trada, a company that helps SMBs with pay-per-click management. You can find her and Trada on Twitter at @annafsawyer and @Trada.

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  • by Julie Fri Mar 9, 2012 via web

    First site that came to mind was You don't even have to know what they're talking about for this to be hilarious: "Despite certain typographical errors in the manual to your iGo charger, it may not be used for reanimating cadavers. We apologize for any misunderstanding."

  • by Alex Sun Mar 11, 2012 via web

    I couldn't agree more. At Acquisio (Disclaimer: yeah, I work for Acquisio!) we started to use humor right at the beginning. We translated our client pain into the slogan "I Hate Doing This Shit" on a plain classic T-Shirt. Because it was a funny way to show them that we understand and relate to their pain, it became famous & the most requested swag at any trade show we go. We even had to put up a Cafepress store for people to buy their own.

  • by Inga Turcan Mon Mar 12, 2012 via web

    I wonder how Adwords allowed them to bid on Meerkats keyword and use this irrelevant ad...

  • by Nicole Mon Mar 12, 2012 via web

    Inga, they could have gotten around it using a landing page with stuff about Meerkats on it. What I'd *really* love to know is what kind of conversion rates they get with that irrelevant ad, as opposed to their ads served to the keyword "car insurance comparison".

    I'd bet it makes the smart assed approach look pretty unintelligent.

  • by Iwan Wed Mar 21, 2012 via web

    Inga and Nicole, is a UK car insurance company and is responding to the Meerkat-based marketing campaign of its UK competitor,

    So the meerkat reference is not irrelevant and it's not mere absurdity as this article suggests - it's actually a humorous little poke at the company's main competitor and its very well-known TV ads.

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