Let’s face it, humor makes a lasting impression. That’s why so many big companies use it in their advertising. Unfortunately, most small businesses avoid incorporating funny copy in their marketing.

Why? Perhaps some small business owners believe that to gain customer awareness and trust they must first be taken seriously. They could also be afraid of getting it wrong and offending potential customers. Or maybe because they’re wearing so many hats, like Dave from the Staples commercials, they just don’t have time to be funny.

Can you relate? If so, relax, let your hair down, and get creative! Adding a smile and a wink to your copy can increase your conversion rate and humanize your company.

A good way to start is to consider the type of humor you want to use. It should suit the product or service you offer and the type of customer you’re targeting.

Below are some types of humor that are widely used in advertising along with hypothetical examples.

  • Enthusiastic: A little funny, a little exaggerative, this humor can get potential customers enthused to buy your product. Example: “Sassy Sneakers: So stylish and comfy you will never want to take them off . . . ever. Seriously! You’ll want to wear them to the gym, to the office, to a night out, to bed . . . yes, even to bed. We’re not joking.”
  • Self-deprecating: We’re all guilty of occasionally belittling ourselves, so one of the best ways to humanize your company is to make fun of yourself. As long as it comes from the heart, potential customers will approve. “We’re not cool, but we make cool sneakers.”
  • Absurd: Using absurdity in your advertising is a great way to get attention. Who knows, you’ll maybe even start a trend. Imagine a picture of hands in a pair of sneakers, the arms acting as legs, with the caption: “Sassy Sneakers: so stylish and comfy, your hands will want to do the walking.” The campaign might prompt people to take pictures of their hands in a pair of Sassy Sneakers and send them to the company.
  • Witty: For the more discerning customer, try adding some insightful humor to your copy. “Hamlet’s question should have been, ‘To wear or not to wear?’ Sassy Sneakers. Trust us, you’ll want to wear them.”

Keep in mind that once you choose to add humor to your copy, it’s important to be consistent with it. Think of it as part of a unique voice that people will come to associate with your company.

Can you think of other types of humor used in advertising? Leave us your ideas in the comment section below.