Funny How Serious Email Has Become

one grumpy email copywriter!

Is this your email marketing personality?

You want your email to have cut through, right? Then try this. Lighten up. Have fun. Don’t be so serious. It’s not like you’re announcing a hike in train fares.

Make your audience smile. Brighten their day when they check their mail and they’ll be thankful for it. And they’ll remember you. Which is good because while you might not always have the best offer available to make them buy from you, you can always have charm. And charm works.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, offers are crucial. They’re the bedrock of most emails. But if all your rivals are making similar offers too, then don’t you need to give your audience an extra reason to choose you?

Which is why the email creative that works best also beguiles its audience. It lowers their barriers because it makes a connection between them and the brand. It connects at a higher level than the percentage discount – the level where relationships are made. And that’s what you’re after isn’t it?

Think of it like this: wouldn’t you like to be less dependent on offers in your email marketing? Because would you EVER define your brand in terms of the offers you make? No, I thought not. Your brand has to have a personality that charms your audience so they stay loyal to it.

It’s about wit, not sh#t.

The £1 Fish Man

Come on ladies! £1 Fish. Or 6 for £5!

So have fun. Because if you get it right, and it’s appropriate, it’s a natural way to start communicating your brand and it’s personality and to make it relevant. It makes you the approachable, good natured person they want to be around, and to do business with. It makes you HUMAN.

Most importantly, it says that the reason you’re making these offers is that you understand them and what turns them on, because you are turned on by the same thing. So they feel an affinity with you. Which means it’s a relationship between people, rather than a transaction between their wallet and your warehouse. It’s an altogether nicer place to be for you and for them.

Take this email for instance. It’s aimed at signing up new customers.

It proves that you can successfully disarm your audience’s mental spam filter  with charm, and then get down to the job of selling.

Laughter really is the best medicine

CSMA Club is a social club for Civil Servants. It delivers exclusive benefits and partner discounts in travel, motoring, leisure and financial services. So it has to compete with the array of rival savings available online. As well as this, members pay an annual fee to access CSMA Club benefits – not an easy sell.

But it gets a lot easier when you show that the CSMA Club brand personality matches their own:



CSMA email



Here’s the insight: There’s a long, proud tradition in the civil service of being able to laugh at themselves (google it, actually, on second thoughts, no don’t!). So while this email could so easily have been a bland list of offers, instead there’s a strong emotional connection with the reader.

And what’s more, the email recognises that the audience want the offers, without having to be addressed as mere offer hunters. It’s a different sort of approach. And it works.

The email achieved a 26% click through rate with a 10% conversion. Not bad for an acquisition email. Web traffic and page views of the CSMA Club site increased significantly during the campaign and it brought in many new members. The result was a great return on investment, even more so when you factor in their lifetime value as members.

That’s pretty good for an offer email that dares to lead on the brand rather than the offer.

Being funny is a serious business.

To use this approach effectively you need to know your audience, what they want to hear, and then pitch to them in the right way. It’s hard work, and easy to get wrong. Just as you don’t want to tell Frankie Boyle jokes to a Michael MacIntyre audience,  or Michael MacIntyre jokes…well to anyone.

That’s where the craft in email lies, the email has to make the brand  feel appropriate and natural to the people who will invest a few seconds of their life to open it and start reading it. Get some real personality into what you’re saying to them, make them smile a little first and not only will you see a better result, you’ll probably see a better unsubscribe rate too.

And then you’re really laughing.

David Edwards is Creative Director at Daisy

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