From the April 2002 issue of Startups

(YoungBiz.com) - There's a saying in the advertising world: "Humor sells." That's why most commercials are funny and why many companies and products have funny-sounding names. You should be thinking of ways to use humor in your business, too. Here's why.

  • Humor helps customers remember you. Your friends may know that your yard cleanup business is "Bobby's Yard Care," but a customer who can't recall your name can look at his yard full of leaves and easily remember it if it's called "Leaf It to Me."
  • Laughter makes people feel good. When customers laugh because of your funny company name or the silly picture on the package, they associate that good feeling with doing business with you.
  • A sense of humor is an admirable quality. We like people who can take their business seriously while taking themselves lightly.

OK, you're convinced that humor sells. How can you use it in your business? Here are four easy ways:

1. Business name. Look for a familiar saying that sounds similar to your product or service. If you have a bicycle repair business, you could change the phrase "Love at first sight" to "Love That First Bike."

2. Promotion. Spice up your flier with a humorous picture of you doing your job. For example, if your business is decorating cakes, ask an artistic friend to draw a cartoon of you dressed as a painter painting a cake.

3. Packaging. Your product may not be funny, but that doesn't mean it can't come in a funny box or bag. Your handmade animal earrings might catch a customer's eye if they're displayed and delivered in a plastic eggshell with cracks painted on the outside.

4. Product. Sell something that makes people laugh, like funny greeting cards, cartoon T-shirts, clown noses, caricatures or crazy neckties.

So put on a funny hat and start thinking about ways you can use humor in your business. Remember, humor sells.and sells.and sells. A customer wearing a smile is the best free advertising your business can have!

NEXT STEP

The benefits of using humor in your business are no laughing matter.

  • "Comic Relief" will help you get a grip on closing the sale using humor.
  • Read the story of Bethany Martin, a teen who used her sense of humor to a great advantage in business, on YoungBiz.com.