Auto Responders That Knock Your Socks Off

I’m a believer that personality plays an important role in selling. I’m a super Type A person, so I prefer to buy from people and companies that are organized, detailed and competent. But I also like people and companies who have a healthy sense of humor. Silvercar is a great example. A few years ago, my friend Chris and I went to breakfast at a conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. He pulled up in his Audi A4 rental car. “Great car,” I said. Where’d you get it?”

emailI’m a believer that personality plays an important role in selling. I’m a super Type A person, so I prefer to buy from people and companies that are organized, detailed and competent. But I also like people and companies who have a healthy sense of humor. Silvercar is a great example. A few years ago, my friend Chris and I went to breakfast at a conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. He pulled up in his Audi A4 rental car. “Great car,” I said. Where’d you get it?”

“Silvercar. The best rental car company. I use them exclusively now.”

“What makes them so good?”

“Working with them is so easy, and they have a great personality.”

So, I gave Silvercar a try, and they have been my go-to rental car company for the past three years. You may ask, “How does a company have a personality?” Good question. Everything they do is hassle-free, technology-based and fun. My last reservation took one minute and 33 seconds (yes, I timed it). When I got to the lot, I scanned my QSR code on the window sticker, got in and drove away. Easy peasy. No lines. Ever. I actually look forward to getting their marketing emails. They are short, to the point and funny.

Silvercar has taught me the importance of making sure my personality shows through in everything I do, even the way I write my out-of-office emails. I travel a lot for work. I turn on “auto response” before each trip, even if I’m not going to be disconnected much. This messaging is a great opportunity to make someone smile and remind them of my spunk and creativity.

I’ve created a repository of responses that I can choose from based on the time of year and what’s happening in our business. Here’s my latest:


Howdy,

At home working by the fire in slippers and comfys? I wish. Rain check for the week of 12/12 when I return from Texas. I’m going to the birthplace of jazz, casino central (Vegas) and to Dallas to find my friend, a tall cowboy with a six-pack (he’s in need of a hot holiday party date).

If my email has not put you to sleep yet, and you are still in need of things to do to make yourself look busy at work, check these out:

  1. Read the book “Never Eat Alone.” I’m reading it for the third time. Top five on my list of great sales books.
  2. Buy yourself one of these holiday suits. It will help you feel better about yourself and might win you Two-Buck Chuck at your neighbor’s Christmas party. NOTE: They hide curves and fat well.
  3. You really want those new Lululemon pants for hot yoga class, but they are $118. You just don’t have that in your budget. Sounds like you need a raise. Use your boss’s feedback to get promoted. You’re welcome.

BONUS: Do you buy print? Does your team buy print? Want to free up their time so they can focus on other activities? Want to look like a hero? Consider outsourcing your print buying to us. We are pretty cool for being in such a boring industry (at least we like to think so).


Since I’ve started writing fun auto email responders, I’ve been surprised by the increased number of responses. Here’s my favorite response from a prospect, “You are funny. I like the culture you’ve created at your company. It really stands out and makes me want to do business with you. PS: You’ve inspired me to rewrite my out-of-office messages.”

I challenge you to write down five things that make you unique. (Think about your hobbies, activities, books you like to read, etc.) Then, incorporate them into an out-of-office message. After you’ve crafted a message that gets positive responses and motivates prospects, I suggest encouraging each person on your team to write his or her fun and poignant auto responder. I know each team member’s unique personality will shine through. In my humble opinion, that is much better than having one company-wide response. Snore, snore.

The art of people buying from people is not dead.

Caution: You and your team members may knock someone’s socks off.

Direct Mail Marketing With Humor?

Yes, humorous direct mail works. Many marketers shy away from it because they are worried about offending someone. There is no need to use dramatic political cartoons when trying to reach a broad audience. Analyze who is on your list and then you can plan out humor that would suit them. The reason that you should try using humor is it works. It is a great way to engage people and get them to share, when it is done correctly.

Yes, humorous direct mail works. Many marketers shy away from it because they are worried about offending someone. There is no need to use dramatic political cartoons when trying to reach a broad audience. Analyze who is on your list and then you can plan out humor that would suit them. The reason that you should try using humor is it works. It is a great way to engage people and get them to share, when it is done correctly.

5 Suggested Funnies:

  1. Create your own comic strip: Create your own fun comic strip with characters that represent fun things about your company or industry. You can highlight real problems people have in a funny way and resolve them. Get creative! This can be really fun for your team as well as the recipients.
  2. Cartoons: Add cartoons in humorous situations that people could get into in your industry. Make them really over the top to get the laughter. Make the message fun, maybe even a play ob words that ties into the cartoon theme.
  3. Images: Find a funny image that makes you and your team laugh. Create a way to integrate that funny image into a problem/solution you can fix. There are plenty of images that can invoke laughter without being offensive.
  4. Real life examples: In many cases, there are real life examples of funny things that have occurred either in the office or with customers that can be highlighted and incorporated into a funny example of what not to do. These are very popular as they are relatable, it could happen to them too.
  5. Jokes: Now, no dirty ones allowed! Clean fun jokes that show how your brand can relate to people on their level and be fun.

First, when you are creating your direct mail and want to include humor, make sure to test your ideas on several people from different backgrounds who are outside your organization. This will allow you to see first if people get it, second if they think it’s funny and third if anyone is upset by it. After your idea passes the people test your next step will be to find ways for people to share your fun. Try creating a landing page where people can go to share the funny with others on social media, text message or email. Keep in mind that the landing page needs to be created with responsive design so that if accessed by a mobile device or a desktop it will look correctly as well as be functional for all.

I really like to use humor in direct mail. People love to laugh and to share what they think it funny, just look at Facebook, people post funny things all of the time. The last thing you need to make sure your funny direct mail is a success is to have your call to action stand out. Don’t get so caught up in the humor that you ignore what is important. Test your call to action with the same people you showed your funny design to. You will learn a lot from them. Consider testing more than one CTA to see what offer pulls the best when paired with the humorous theme. Now it time to go out there and create some really funny direct mail. Do you have an example that you have created or seen? If so, I would love to hear about it!