Fear and urgency are frequently used tactics in sales emails to try and garner the attention of prospects and clients. But how much does scaring people into a sale really work? Do people really respond to subject lines like “Your Business is FAILING?” They might, but they’ll respond even better to emails that are entertaining.
If you can get a reader to laugh, you’ll have their attention (and interest) long after they read the email—plus, it just might get them to read the whole message—a rare occurrence in the world of email marketing. In fact, according to a 2015 Global Trust in Advertising Survey, most Americans say that they are most likely to respond to humorous marketing tactics.
Now, not everyone has a gift for entertaining writing; you might think that if you’re not generally funny in person, you can’t suddenly become a comedian for the sake of your marketing. But the truth is, it doesn’t take a lot to craft a memorable email.
Your email lives and dies by your subject line. As the first thing the person on the receiving end sees, a strong subject line can compel them to open the email and a weak subject will put your email right in the trash.
Generally speaking, subject lines that are personalized perform better than those that aren’t. Think about your own inbox. When you see a subject line that reads: “Hey, [your name here]! Check this out!” you’re much more likely to open that email than if the subject had read: “Check this out!”, alone. When someone mentions us by name, it makes us feel special.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember your audience, and what that particular group of people wants and expects from their emails. You wouldn’t send a group of baby boomers a subject line full of emoji’s, and on the other hand, a ‘50s pop culture reference to millennials.
Subject lines should be witty, brief, and eye-catching to the intended audience. For example, if you’re sending a prospecting email to homebuyers looking to upsize, you could use a subject that plays to their current pain points: “Feeling squished by your stuff? (I can help)!” This subject line is vague enough to make the reader want to know more, but plays to their discomfort in their current space.
Keep the humor light
First and foremost, you want the bulk of your email to match your subject line. If the subject is obviously funny, you don’t want an overly serious email—it will throw off the reader. Keep your voice consistent and readers will come to expect a certain tone and feel from your emails, and might even look forward to getting them.
Keep in mind that the humor you use should be as lighthearted as possible. Everyone finds different things funny for very different reasons, and what comes across as humorous to one person may be offensive to another. For this, it’s best to view your audience on an even playing field.
Use your best judgment
When it comes down to it, a funny email versus an overly serious one will win almost every time. People like a break from the mundane in their inbox, and if you can impress them with your sense of humor, you will surely win them over.
Overall, it’s best to use your best judgement when it comes to drawing the line between funny and unprofessional. You know your audience best, and it’s ultimately up to you to tap in to what is entertaining to them. Once you understand what makes your audience laugh, you’d be surprised how easy it is to communicate with them.