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  • Orit Wittenberg

Show people they're worth joking around with, and they'll stick around

Connect with your customers through humor.

To spunk or not to spunk

I was recently asked by a client to de-spunkify some of my copy. "People are busy," the client said. "Make it quick and easy."

Apparently, even when it's on-brand, there's a fear you might lose leads by inviting people to “mosey on over to your site” instead of just giving them the meat and potatoes – site name, link, finito.

My response? Yes, but…

I respect my client, and I know they say the average person’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, but I just can’t agree with her on the appeal of terse copy, and here’s why.

People are tired of chop-chop copy

People are tired of copy that says its piece and runs on home.

In a world of click heres, download nows, and sign up todays, copy with a human touch offers a refreshing sense of relief – Wait, you mean you think I’m more than just a click machine?

Offbeat, oomph-y writing communicates an important meta-message to readers: you are someone worthy of joking around with!

Consider the people you speak playfully with on a day-to-day basis. Your family and friends. Co-workers you get along with.

Those nice folks helping you out at the post office.

But what about Grumpypants on the treadmill next to you at the gym or CEO Nitpicksalot at the office? Unlikely.

As a rule, we speak playfully with people we like

Following that rule in your business copy sends the message that you like your clients. That they’re your intelligent equals. That the two of you have a relationship going. And a warm one, at that.

That’s why funny copy does so well.

Master spunkster Laura Belgray uses buttons like “me want” and makes claims on her site based on “an unscientific but totes accurate study.”

Voice maven Justin Blackman’s site includes phrases like “you smell nice” and “gadzooks!” for no good reason at all, and uses buttons like “poke this to get better copy” and “Yes! I want loveable copy that protects tree bears”/”No! Crush the koalas.”

It’s human. Totes human.

And here’s the clincher

Even if those leads never do turn into sales, I’d bet my pet goldfish those would-be clients left with a better feeling, and a better impression of your brand, than they would have had you spoken to them like you do to Nitpicksalot.

Everyone’s inbox is overflowing.

Stand out by offering connection, and meaning it.

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