There aren’t many business websites that’ll make you laugh out loud, but the ones that stick in your mind are those that raise a smile or tempt you to share with friends, such is the smart way in which they present what would otherwise be dull information.
Humour doesn’t work for every business or organisation. Professional bodies, for example, generally work best with a neutral tone. But if you work in an industry that doesn’t deal with serious situations you can probably have a bit of fun.
People want to be entertained, educated and feel welcomed online, and if your business website is full of stodgy language, acronyms and relentless business speak, it won’t get you far.
In this post, we’re going to consider how any business can inject humour and personality into its website without coming across as unprofessional.
5 ways to inject personality into your website content
This is where it all starts, because without personality, your business website is just another bunch of boring pages on the internet.
1. Define your brand personality
Who is your brand? If you met them in a pub on a night out, what would they be like?
If your business is already established, you can take a shortcut here by asking your customers. Send out an email asking people to describe your brand in three words.
Some of the responses might be hard to bear, but within them, you should start to form a picture of how the business is presenting itself. If you like it – make more of it. If you don’t – work on creating a personality that you’d happily spend time with.
2. Keep the audience in mind
Creating a brand personality that you love but your audience hates isn’t going to get you very far, so make sure you keep them in mind throughout then process, too. A personality that is too brash for your conservative audience just won’t work, whereas if your audience is always game for a laugh, a personality that’s always erring on the side of caution will quickly bore them.
The personality you inject into your website should in part mirror your audience.
3. Tell – and re-tell – a story
A personality doesn’t work without a story.
People love stories, and one of the most powerful ways to inject humour into your website is to consistently tell the same story. Every time you write a blog post, how-to guide or simple piece of page copy, re-tell parts of the brand story.
This should be relatively straightforward, because any content you add to your site will in some way link back to the story of the business. The story itself should be what sets your business apart and how your products can make a real, positive change to someone’s life.
4. Write in first person
Using words such as ‘I’, ‘us’ and ‘we’ will make your brand far more relatable, giving people the chance to instantly warm to it. Referring to the business in the third person removes any form of personality – don’t do it!
5. Speak directly to one member of the audience
This advice is used regularly, but for good reason.
If you write content for your website as though there’s just one person reading, it’ll naturally form into a piece that oozes personality. Do this by regularly using words such as ‘you’, ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ and relate every feature, benefit or piece of advice to the person reading. What’s in it for them?
5 ways to inject humour into your website content
Let’s have a bit of a laugh, shall we? Business doesn’t have to be stodgy, and by threading a bit of humour throughout your website, you’ll grab the attention of far more potential customers.
1. Know your audience
Before you get creative, get to know your audience. Getting humour wrong can have disastrous consequences, therefore you need to find out what does and doesn’t make your audience smile.
If you haven’t already, mock up a customer persona (a fictional character) and list the things that they’ll find funny and those which will either bore or insult them.
2. Make fun of stuff
Chances are, you know your audience’s pain points, and by picking fun at them in a lighthearted way which shows you know exactly how they feel, you’ll quickly demonstrate that you’re on their side.
A typical problem can be made far more interesting and solvable when taken more lightly.
As the old saying goes, “you’ve got to laugh…”.
3. Use plenty of imagery
You can make people smile or laugh with words, but you can do an awful lot more when you combine them with words.
Memes are a great example of content that rides high in popular culture due to the way it fuses imagery and words to make people laugh. Don’t be afraid to use them on your business website.
Remember – if your web page or blog post features tongue-in-cheek imagery, it’ll probably stand more chance of being shared, too,
4. Keep it light
As noted, the goal here is to attract the attention of the audience, not shock them (unless that’s the goal of a marketing campaign, of course!). For this reason, it’s best to keep any humour light and airy, and you can do this by writing in a conversational tone that clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The harder-edged you go with humour, the more risky it becomes. Some brands do this brilliantly , but, once again, your audience must lead the way here. Most audiences combined are quite conservative, but they’ll enjoy a laugh occasionally, so try and avoid stepping over the line.
5. Give it a test
Never assume you’ve got the humour on your website right first time – it’ll probably need a bit of work. Test it out by using it in other forms of digital marketing – for example, on social media or within email campaigns.
Monitor the reaction of the audience; what happens when you turn the humour dial? Do engagement rates drop or increase? Do you receive any direct feedback on the tone of your communications?
Where to inject humour and personality
As far as personality goes, you can – and should – inject it throughout your entire website.
Humour, on the other hand, probably won’t work everywhere, but there are a few places you can use it that you might not have though of:
The 404 page: If a page can’t be found on your website – have a bit of fun with the message.
The ‘About Us’ page: Show the people behind the business and use this page to write irreverent, funny bios for each team member.
Newsletter sign-up forms: “Yes, sign me up”, “No thanks, I don’t want to become more awesome thanks to your advice” – that kind of thing.
FAQs: FAQ pages are often rather dull, so why not spice yours up with funny images or text that still offers answers but does so in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously?
Have fun with your business website: The more you entertain passers-by, the more likely they’ll be to drop in and become loyal customers.