How to Use Humor to Increase Sales

by Roger C. Parker

Learn how you can use humor as a marketing tool.

Using cartoons can help brand your marketing and drive home important messages. Although surprisingly inexpensive to acquire, humor can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.

Humor puts your readers at ease. Readers appreciate a touch of humor in an otherwise overly serious world.

Humor operates on an emotional level, driving home your message in a far more memorable way than words alone. Humor makes sensitive topics more approachable while summarizing and reinforcing points that would otherwise be lost.

Different types of humor work best in different contexts. Many speakers begin with a joke to put the audience at ease, or a story about ‘a funny thing that happened on the way to the meeting.’

But jokes and stories are less appropriate for written communications. Jokes can be misinterpreted and depend on delivery and timing for their effectiveness. Stories can take too long to tell.



Cartoons are perfect for print communications. Readers who typically check them out before reading the adjacent articles appreciate cartoons.

More important, cartoons communicate at a glance. A cartoon can attract your reader’s attention and drive home an important point in a memorable way.

The editorial page of any newspaper shows how effective humor can be in simplifying complex subjects and driving home a point of view.

Humor also adds a visual dimension to your marketing, differentiating your message from your competitor’s. Cartoons encourage readers to look at topics they might otherwise skip.

Where do you get cartoons? One of the best sources is the Cartoon Bank, www.cartoonbank.com. Here, you can license reproduction rights to cartoons that originally appeared in the New Yorker Magazine.

You can select from tens of thousands of cartoons. You can search by topic or keyword. After choosing an appropriate cartoon, you can find out how much it will cost to license it, and then you can download it.

Licensing fees are surprisingly reasonable for most business applications. For example, you can license New Yorker cartoons for use in presentations for just $19.95! For other purposes, the cost depends on where you’re going to use it and how many people will see it.

There are, of course, other sources of cartoons. If you see a cartoon you like in a newspaper or magazine, write the cartoonist in care of the publication and ask about availability and pricing. If there is a particular cartoonist whose style you like, contact the cartoonist about a custom cartoon.

This has worked very well for me and I owned total rights to use the cartoon any way I wanted.

Cartoons are great for the home page of your website, newsletters, training materials and presentation visuals.

In each case, the unexpectedness of a cartoon immediately captures your audience or reader’s attention and visually reinforces your message.

Here are some suggestions for marketing with cartoons:

1. When in doubt, leave it out. If the cartoon does not perfectly support your point, leave it out.

2. Always add the copyright information described in the licensing
agreement.

3. Never run a cartoon without first obtaining a license to reproduce it.

4. Optimization. After downloading, resize and sharpen the cartoon in an image-editing program like Photoshop and export it in the proper file format.

Using humor in the form of cartoons is a powerful way to brand your marketing and drive home important messages to your prospects and clients.


Roger C. Parker is the $32,000,000 author with over 1.6 million books in print. Do you make these marketing and design mistakes? Find out at www.gmarketing-design.com 

 
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