Using Humor and Emotions in Email Marketing

May 30 2019

“If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything.”

This quote by Marilyn Monroe reflects a bit of truth even for your email subscribers. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, 17% customers unsubscribe from boring and uninteresting emails. You can use humor to make it more engaging for the readers and get an edge over the competitors. Same makes sense for emotions too. By tapping on the emotional instinct of the reader, you can enhance the open rate as well as build loyalty. A tinge of humor and emotions would make the emails memorable and create a stronger rapport with the prospects.

Let’s understand how to instill these elements in your email marketing strategy with the help of some examples.

We shall start with HUMOR.


1. Using familiar humor in email

If you want to play safely while using humor in emails, you can use familiar humor. It mostly includes one-liners, clean gags, and dad jokes. Often, your brand personality might not go well with adult, topical, and dark humor. At such times, you can use something as simple as

Son: Can I watch the TV?

Dad: Yes, but don’t turn it on.

Now, that’s some innocent humor, right?

Here’s an example of simple humor used in the welcome email by Honey.

humor email

2. Include visual humor to make emails more impactful

50% of your brain becomes active because of visuals. 65% of people remembered the information associated with a visual three days later. Visual humor engages the audience better than a wall of plain text. This is evident by the popularity of funny videos, GIFs, and memes in recent times.

Often, marketers struggle to make their dull newsletters compelling and fun to read. Humor is the best way to do so.

Check out this example by Poncho. They send customized weather alerts to the subscribers. The email copy, as well as images, have a touch of humor to them, and that has made the email unique and worth remembering.


3. Incorporate humor in cart recovery programs

Cart abandonment is the worst nightmare for every marketer. To make things lighter, you can add humor in your cart abandonment email and make the subscribers complete the purchase with a smile.

Whisky Loot has taken a humorous and witty approach to the entire scenario and informed the users about the benefits of Whisky Loot box. Take a look.

Some pro-tips to add humor in your emails

  1. Make sure it is relevant to your subscriber list, the purpose of the campaign, and your brand image.

  2. Remember that a joke without a marketing message is nothing more than a joke. Make sure your funny tone is persuasive enough to drive click-through rate and conversions.

  3. Start with subtle humor and monitor the email metrics. If it works, you can continue the practice and take it a level up.

  4. Always A/B test between a serious tone and a humorous tone if you are not sure how it will perform.

Moving on to EMOTIONS

Emotional triggers in emails drive feelings and encourage the subscriber to take the next action. First of all, determine the objective of your email campaign and then the kind of emotion you want to evoke.

  • Make your reader feel hopeful

It is a great idea to address a problem by making the reader feel hopeful about getting a solution. This goes a long way for non-profit organizations who are looking forward to donations and raise the funds.

Here’s an example by Charity: Water with effective imagery supported by a concise copy that oozes positivity. It also creates a sense of belonging in the reader by expressing gratitude to the email readers.

Charity Email

2. Reengage the subscriber by “FOMO” effect

Use a cute image to bring the dormant subscribers back and prompt them to take action. Create “Fear of Missing Out” effect and encourage the email recipient to click-through.

Teespring uses a sad puppy face to reengage the subscribers. They also include the past progress of the subscriber, followed by a clear CTA.


Bonus Tip: The same emotion of being heartbroken can be used in the “unsubscribe” landing page like EmailMonks does. Just make sure, it goes well with your brand personality.

3. Leverage occasion-based marketing with emotions

You can add an emotional touch in emails for occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Your email recipient is likely to spend for their loved one in these days and sending an emotional message would convince them to make the purchase.

EmailMonks has created a beautiful Mother’s Day email and reinforced the importance of physical presence, thereby tapping on the emotional instinct. The sole objective of the email was to wish the reader and not to sell.

Wrapping Up

Humor and emotions impart a human touch to your emails and convey the message more effectively. The only thing that you should take into consideration is that your message should come off naturally and not sound very manipulative (like it does in the examples above).

The bottom line is: Understand your audience well and do not deviate from the purpose of the email campaign in the quest of making the email humorous and emotional.

Author Bio:

Kevin George is the head of marketing at EmailMonks, that specializes in crafting Email Newsletter Design Templates, PSD to HTML conversion, and free mailchimp email templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.

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