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Five Serious Reasons Why Using Humor in Your B2B Email Campaign is a Good Idea

posted by Margaret Spencer on July 13, 2012

mailing list, managers mailing listB2B email marketers should seriously consider applying a touch of comedy in their campaigns. Certainly, the business world has room for a little bit of laughter brought on by a well-timed email every now and then. As we’ll see, this type of content can earn you more than just a few moments’ worth of giggling from contacts like those in your managers mailing list and can take your campaign to places otherwise unreachable.

This post looks at five reasons why occasionally including comedy in your email marketing isn’t such a laughable idea after all – even for the type of audience B2B marketers typically encounter.

Most of the ideas here have been inspired by Tim Washer, the brain behind IBM’s and Cisco’s hugely successful attempts at incorporating comedy in their marketing and sales portfolios. If a company like IBM, facing a vast army of business buyers, can loosen up and effectively apply a bit of hilarity in marketing, so can you. Here are the main reasons why you should:

1. Everybody loves a good laugh. Yes, everybody – including those contacts in your executive or managers mailing list – appreciates an occasional laugh or two. The fact that business decision-makers are human beings too seems to easily escape the mindset of most B2B email marketers. Check your business mailing list resource if it offers information that can help you identify the right comedic content to include in your emails.

2. Humor gets recognized faster. Comedy catches and retains the attention of your email readers without much effort both from their part and yours. IBM saw this tendency firsthand when, together with Tim Washer, it produced a series of marketing videos based on the TV show “The Office.” The videos humorously promoted its multi-million dollar mainframe system to buyers who, along with analysts and influencers, applauded IBM’s efforts.

3. Comedy breaks the ice. Humor helps you connect with an otherwise unreceptive email audience. It allows you to incorporate human touches to your branding efforts that serve as the building blocks of trust and relationships. Again, carefully check your email contact database or with a quality mailing list provider to see if there’s information to help pick the appropriate comedy content.

4. Laughter is contagious. If you’re looking for ways to get your email content shared throughout your recipients’ networks and connections, then try using comedy once in a while. Humor can help your content go viral in a relatively shorter amount of time. In IBM’s case, blog traffic increased by 2,500% following the release of their mainframe system videos.

5. Humor means fluid. In Latin, humor actually means fluid. Humor helps reduce friction and frees up clogs along the sales pipeline. It enables complex processes to be explained in a simple and interesting way without losing the main points. IBM was able to talk about something as esoteric as mainframe systems in a livelier manner and was able to produce the marketing results it had intended.

Although these reasons point to the application of humor in your B2B email marketing, they don’t give you the license to use comedy without restraint. Comedic content should be treated accordingly as only one item in your content strategy. The misuse or abuse of humor can bring more harm than good to your email campaign. Also, some experts claim that humor may not be as effective or appropriate for marketers in specific industries such as healthcare or financial services.

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