People love to laugh. Adding humour to your website is a great way to engage with visitors. It can be a very effective way of strengthening interactions with your brand, by giving you the ability to create a memorable experience out of a routine site visit. You will gain the advantage of standing out amongst the onslaught of vanilla digital communications that today’s consumer is faced with.
However, it’s important to know your audience. You don’t want to appear disrespectful or distasteful or the whole thing might backfire on you. If in doubt leave it out! Here are a few simple ideas to inject a little humour to your website:
Text. Use natural language; plain English is a simple concept but it can be very effective. This is a particularly good option that most Kiwis would appreciate, as it appeals to our typical laid back approach. This can be as easy as adding casual phrases to your automated out of office emails, confirmation emails, sign up or unsubscribe pages. There are some very funny Out of Office replies out there, like “I’ve run away to join the circus. A different one.” Or “On annual leave, hope to win the lottery and never return.” A good example of natural language in an automated email response is R & R Sport’s Order Confirmation it contains the following text:
“Thanks for shopping with us here at rrsport.co.nz, we’re absolutely stoked you chose us for your purchase! Now that we have your order in the system, we can begin running around like crazy trying to find the contents of your order.” And “Once we get your order on the courier we will send you an email to let you know your new gear has been dispatched.”
Pictures. Photographs, cartoon pictures or animations are a great way to convey humour in a visual way. An excellent example is often on your Google search page – they are constantly updating their logo on their homepage with new designs and animations. There are even some short interactive games at times. An easy place to add cartoon pictures is in your blog posts.
Video. Try featuring a short animation or quirky video to entertain and catch you customer’s attention. Not only is it a great medium for creating funny content, the visual elements allow for personal creativity and enable the opportunity to involve staff members as well. Here is a site that has posted YouTube clips that relate to its business; or take a look at this one where they have filmed an actual series of funny but informative ads.
Pop Culture. One of the most effective ways to inject humour into your website is to incorporate elements of pop culture. New Zealand is blessed with a number of seemingly evergreen pop culture icons (think “always blow on the pie” from Police 10/7 or the infamous “nek minute” craze). Incorporate elements of these veritable giants of Kiwi humour and culture into your website and marketing campaigns … nek minute you’ll find your audience loving your site more than ever. Don’t be afraid to look further abroad at international pop culture icons as well. This website generated viral buzz by putting together a Halloween costume guide for one of the hottest pop culture icons of recent memory – Psy’s Gangham Style. Done right, humor based on pop culture has the ability to liven up your website and generate social buzz.
Memes. Internet memes are images, catchphrases, activities, or any piece of media that spreads from person to person on the web. Once you understand the meaning and application of a meme, you can deploy it as an effective marketing tool that leverages the power of humor. The best way to learn how to use memes as a humor device on your website is to spend time exploring the “meme community”. Know Your Meme is a great website that will tell you about the history and use of just about every popular meme on the Internet. Once you’re ready to make your own memes, give Meme Generator a try. Successful meme campaigns can generate a lot of traction. Just ask Hipchat, who built a massive following on the back of their offline, meme-based billboard campaign. The key to success with memes is to know exactly what they mean before using them – nothing sinks faster than a website or company using a meme incorrectly and for overly-promotional purposes.
When humour is used effectively it has the ability to create a big impact with a relatively small amount of effort. It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, plenty of people may not only pay more attention, but share your amusing content with others which ultimately generates more site traffic for you.