Back when Anna and I were just a couple of crazy kids with a dream, we had an interesting debate. It concerned our fledgling website – and how we wanted to present ourselves to the online world.
The year was 2001, and we didn’t have the cash to hire a Web designer. We were going to have to build the site ourselves, using our pathetically rudimentary design skills. If something was going to make our site stand out, it would have to be the copy.
The question was, what voice should the copy take? Anna thought we should go the humorous route. But humor is tricky. What’s hilarious to you might be silly, inane or even offensive to someone else. Plus, we were trying to get work with serious organizations – universities, hospitals, financial firms, etc. What if they weren’t amused?
Eventually, though, Anna won me over. Her argument: While some organizations may engage in serious business, the employees there are still human. And some of those people even have a sense of humor. Those are the people who would like our site (and who would probably be enjoyable to work with).
So we set out to write website copy that would be clever and professional. It took awhile, but we like to think we got it right.
In the eight years since, we’ve been very happy with the results. There’s nothing better than hearing from potential clients who found us online and decided to call us because our site made them laugh. Sometimes, they even decide to hire us. That’s especially sweet.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t be afraid to take chances with your website copy. Sure, you could play it conservative, always color within the lines, and drone on and on about “market-leading solutions” and “our proven methodology.” However, that’s probably what your competition is doing too.
Humor isn’t appropriate for all industries. If you run a funeral home, it’s safe to say your target audience isn’t looking for giggles. But funny, clever website copy can be appropriate and effective for more businesses than you might think. Give it a try sometime.
What corporate websites do you find amusing? Let us know (in the Comments box below!).