You know how hard it can be to grab your audience’s attention.
It’s even more difficult to keep them engaged. Sometimes it feels like there’s no way to attract enough attention or interest from your audience.
That might be because your copy seems dry and unexciting. It might sound bad, but there’s some good news. You see, humor is a great way to hook your audience and keep their attention until they get to the CTA.
You may think funny copywriting is gimmicky and distracting. While that can be true, it’s not a rule. Instead of only entertaining your audience, you can build stronger relationships with humor.
Think about it:
If you feel like your copy isn’t resonating with your readers, don’t lose hope. You can use these tips below to get laughs from your audience while leaving a lasting impression on them.
Check out the rest of this article if you want to start using humor and wit in your copy to build a closer rapport with your customers today.
Before we get into specific tips to make your copy funnier, let's brush up on why funny copy works. Again, it’s not only about entertaining your audience — it’s about forging a connection with them. After all, people tend to gravitate toward funny people.
Why is that, though? For one, humor has a disarming effect. That’s why stories often have characters that break tension with comedic relief.
Stories and real life are full of conflict and tension, and laughter helps you release it. Not only that, laughing makes you feel more relaxed and even releases endorphins.
Humor also works because it’s a way for humans to bond together. Humans feel an intrinsic need to belong to a group. That’s why the fandoms for shows such as The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Friends are so big.
People love to be in on a joke. It makes them feel like they’re a part of a larger community that has something in common.
Try to reach the same goal with your copy. Use humor to connect with your audience and make them feel like they’re a part of your brand.
Now, I get it: becoming a copy comedian may seem a bit daunting. After all, being funny seems like a natural talent. The thing is, it’s a skill. One you can develop using the tips down below.
Let’s find out how to start building a deeper rapport with your audience.
The first thing you need to figure out is your audience’s sense of humor. There are tons of different humor styles. We have slapstick, deadpan, sarcasm, parody, dark, topical, highbrow, and nonsensical, to name a few.
It’s no surprise that not everyone finds the same thing funny. So, think about your target audience. Toward what kind of humor do they gravitate? What do they think is funny?
If you’re not sure what makes your customer laugh, try creating an ICP, or ideal client portfolio. Consider their age, interests, and priorities. Once you have this information, think about the content they consume.
For example, which movies or TV shows do they watch? What kinds of books or magazines do they read? What types of music or podcasts do they enjoy?
After all, humor hinges on the culture’s context. So, you want to figure out what parts of culture your audience likes.
To help your research, try finding where your ideal clients hang out online. You can check out platforms like social media or public forums. See what they like, what they’re saying, and what they’re sharing.
If you can get a sense of the type of humor they like, you can use that in your copy to appeal to them.
Don't do stand-up in your copy and shoot off random jokes that may or may not land. Find out the right kind of humor you need to reach your audience.
Learn how to do proper audience research here.
Now that you have a better idea of what your audience thinks is funny, try to sound like them.
Humor is a way for people to make connections. You tend to gravitate toward people, shows, or texts that have a similar sense of humor as you, right? This rule also applies to your readers.
If your customer recognizes that your brand shares their humor, they’ll feel a connection to you. So, try to imitate what they think is funny.
Let’s say your ideal clients are young adults who love dark humor. If you’re trying to sell them life insurance, try incorporating that in your content to attract them.
In an ad, you could use a picture of a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign with an icon of a person slipping. Only instead, change it to read “Caution: Banana Peel.”
Then write, “In 1927, a man died from slipping on a banana peel. Protect yourself. Get a policy from Banana Insurance today.”
This ad gets to the point in a short time and is macabre. Sure, it may put off some viewers, but again, you’re appealing to your target audience’s sense of humor. Not everyone’s.
The point is to make your target audience laugh. And for someone who enjoys dark humor, seeing that ad and reading such a random fact will make them chuckle. It might even convince them to buy your Banana Insurance.
If you’re still unsure of how to copy your target audience’s sense of humor, refer to the research you did before.
Check what funny posts have the most upvotes from your ideal customers on Reddit. See which GIFs or memes have the most likes or retweets from them on Twitter. Take note of what comments get the most laughing emojis.
These websites are helpful because you can see your target audience’s real reactions. You can learn what kind of humor lands with them. That way, you’re more prepared to incorporate some of these things in your copy.
The internet is a funny place. There are so many different niches for various interests. You can find communities for fitness, gaming, parenting, fandoms, and even mechanical keyboards. Here's the kicker: each niche has its particular way of speaking.
Even if it’s wrong from a linguistic standpoint, internet jargon can feel so right.
So, get clear on how your target niche speaks.
For example, if your business sells banana protein shakes to gym buffs, words like “Git gud scrub!” (adolescent gamer language) won’t connect with them. By the way, don't worry if you don't know what that means, I'm not 100% sure either.
Indeed, your target audience won’t relate to what you’re saying, and they won’t find it funny. They’ll even feel alienated from the words you use and will look for a different brand instead. That means you’ll not only lose a one-time sale, but you could also lose a customer for good.
So, use the right kinds of improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Let's go back to the banana protein shake example. What kinds of words do you think will resonate with that target audience?
You could create an ad to promote your banana protein shake with the slogan, “Join the swole patrol!”
Swole is a real word, but it’s used incorrectly in that sentence.
The important thing is that it’s funny to the target audience. It makes fun of gym bros in a playful way since their top priority is getting stronger, or “getting swole.” That’s how many gym buffs talk, so this slogan could work well.
A word of warning: be cautious using any kind of deprecating humor. Some people may have no problem laughing at themselves, but others may be more sensitive.
For example, if you refer to your protein shake customers as “meatheads,” you run the risk of offending them. People use that term in a derogatory way and it could imply they aren’t smart. It’s a balance you need to strike for your brand.
The main point is to think about how your target audience speaks. What kinds of informal words or phrases can you use to resonate with them?
Learn how to audit your copywriting for better conversions here.
Get your audience to imagine something hilarious.
You might try relating to a common everyday experience. Or it can be something more fantastical.
For example, imagine you’re in the middle of giving an important virtual presentation. You’ve practiced it for weeks, you’ve prepared your best clothes, and it’s all paying off.
Then, your cat materializes and struts into the room. It walks all over your keyboard, messing up your presentation slides. It meows, full-force, at you. No matter how many times you shoo the cat away, it keeps smacking you in the face with its tail.
It’s embarrassing, it’s funny, and it’s cute. It’s also not too far-fetched to imagine. It’s a great instance to use visual language, bring the scene to life, and help the reader imagine it.
Imagine you use this scenario in an ad to sell toys for pets (banana-shaped toys, of course).
This example might seem hilarious to your target audience of people who work from home with pets. This scenario will tickle them, and they’ll be more likely to buy your product.
You can get even more outlandish with your examples, too. One thing: make sure they’re not too ridiculous. The last thing you want is to run the risk of being unfunny, unrelatable, and childish.
Refer to your research on your target audience. Determine what their general age range is. That’ll help you get a better idea of what kinds of pop culture they consume.
For example, is your target audience more likely to watch Game of Thrones? Or The Office? How likely are they to be fans of the Marvel Universe?
If your customers like these things, you can use references from them in your copy.
For example, imagine you sell a security system that lets customers check on their homes with an app.
You can refer to your customer’s sense of anxiety as “spidey senses” (assuming the term isn’t trademarked). If their “spidey senses” activate, they can check the app on their phone and get some reassurance.
Or, if you’re selling heating devices, you can use a variation of the phrase “winter is coming” from Game of Thrones.
Let's say you’re selling banana-flavored jello. You can mention office products in reference to the jello stapler scene in The Office.
Pop culture references can associate your product with an emotional attachment. This is an effective and powerful buying mechanism.
If you can make your audience laugh at the same time, they’ll identify more with your business.
Ensure that the references you want to use aren’t trademarked, though, to avoid any legal issues.
Puns. Whether you love or hate them, they can help your copy stick out to your reader.
For example, if you’re selling bananas, your copy needs to “appeel” to your customer. You want to make sure your products are ripe for the picking and that your customers will go bananas for you. Otherwise, they’ll split.
See what I mean? Puns help readers make stronger associations between your brand and your offer.
Being punny is an art in and of itself. Coming up with puns may seem intimidating at first, but it’s a great way to exercise your creativity.
So think about your niche. What are some topics, keywords, or phrases you can turn into puns?
Clever wordplay shows your target audience that you understand their interests and preferences. If you’re funny, it’ll make them gravitate toward you more than your competitors.
Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Once you’ve mastered the puns, you can make sure your brand comes out on top of the bunch.
These refer to the colloquial words your target audience uses to express themselves.
I don’t mean swearing like a sailor (though, I suppose that does depend on your target audience).
I’m talking about misusing words as your target audience does.
For example, imagine selling banana-flavored gummy snacks for children. Now imagine that these gummies are in the shape of hippos (for fun). You could then create a jingle for your snack that sings “hangry hangry hippos.”
Hangry is a word that combines hungry and angry. It’s not something only children experience, but you can use the word to relate to children, i.e., the jingle’s hippos.
The great thing about made-up words is that there are so many of them. Think about it: you can use words like sheeple, athleisure, and staycation, to name a few.
You see, these words may not exist in the dictionary, but they’ll still resonate with your target audience.
This point relates to understanding how your ideal customer speaks. Every niche has specific jargon. And that includes abbreviations and acronyms.
Some common examples of abbreviations include lbs. (pounds), appt. (appointment), and vs. (versus).
Acronyms span from STEM, to LOL, and, yes, all the way to YOLO.
Abbreviations and acronyms are similar. They’re shorter forms of common phrases that your target audience uses. You don’t need to get stuck on the exact difference between them, though. You have to know how to use them in your copy.
Here’s why they work: they save time, they’re colloquial, and they’re recognizable by your ideal customer.
Again, you want your brand to feel relatable to your audience. So, use the same kinds of shorthand they use.
If you’re not sure which abbreviations or acronyms to use, online forums are your friends.
Check out where your target audience communicates online, and analyze their language.
If you’re unfamiliar with some words, type them into your search engine. Language changes all the time, so more often than not, someone will have explained it. Bottom line: the more you learn to sound like your core buyers, the easier it’ll be for you to match their humor.
Sometimes words aren’t enough alone to be funny. Paired together with the right meme, emoji, or GIF, though, can enhance your copy’s comedic impact.
For example, you may have seen the GIF that zooms into the lady’s face as complex equations pop up in front of her. (Search for confused math on Google if not, it's worth seeing.) It’s popular, recognizable, and funny. You can use this image to build relatability with your audience.
Think back to the banana protein shake example. Imagine your target audience doesn’t have time to count their protein intake every day.
You could show the confused math GIF as a way to relate to them. Using that GIF could show that, yes, it’s annoying and tedious to calculate your macros all day. Write some supporting copy and you could have a winning ad with minimal effort.
Show that you understand your customer’s concerns and position your offer as a solution. Show them you have a quick and easy way to ensure they’re getting enough protein in the day.
The other good thing about using these images is expressing your ideas with fewer words. Sometimes an image is all it takes to make a message impactful.
Again, humor is all about connection and relatability. Using any random image may not land with your reader. And using many will be overkill.
Use the right meme, emoji, or GIF at the right time and your copy will have a better chance of landing with your audience.
We went over many tips in this blog post, but you don’t have to use them all at the same time. It’d be better to use these tips with some restraint.
Think about it this way: too many jokes can get tiring.
Imagine meeting someone for the first time, and they kept making joke after joke and pun after pun. After a while, it can get to be too much. You’d have to stop yourself from rolling your eyes in front of them (yes, this comes from personal experience).
The same applies to your copy.
Funny copy can attract your audience and even help you keep them reading all the way through. Too much of it can put them off. Your job is to strike the right balance for your brand and your audience.
Again, you don’t have to be a professional comedian to be funny. Show that you understand your audience’s concerns, where they’re coming from, and why you’re the right brand.
Learn how to make your copy resonate better here.
Now you’ve got all the tips you need to start writing funny copy.
Remember, funny copy is about more than entertaining. It’s about building an approachable rapport with your audience. Funny copy should break the ice and establish a common point of interest.
Good copywriting is about selling, but it’s also about leaving an emotional impact on your reader. Humor is a great way to do this. It’ll also help you leave a lasting impression on them.
Funny copy will foster a sense of goodwill, comfort, and security with your business. If you can associate yourself with positive emotions, you’ll be able to build and keep a loyal customer base.
Want higher conversions on your landing pages, sales letters, emails, or ads? It might be time for you to work with an expert copywriter. I’ve driven tens of millions of dollars in revenue for hundreds of clients over the past 10 years — including some of the largest B2B companies and digital brands in America.
Using my words, I’ll tap into your prospects’ deepest desires, deploy my menagerie of psychological sales triggers, and prime them for the sale. The result? More wins for your business and more revenue and profits in your pocket. Sound interesting to you? Click HERE to learn more about my copywriting work and see if we’re a good match.
High-converting neuro-response conversion copywriting for America's largest B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.
📍 Los Angeles, California