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Making Online Marketing Sexy

When you hear the word sexy, what comes to mind? Is it good-looking vampires, a quiet dinner for two or a head-turning lingerie model? The point is, sexy means something different to everyone and yet, marketing research is unanimous when it comes to what sells: sex.

In business, sexy can be a bit tricky because you’re trying to appeal to a wide demographic range—meaning that you want to capture the attention of those customers who would find overtly sexy marketing efforts intriguing, while at the same time, avoid turning off customers who might be offended by them. When we talk sexy in terms of marketing, we’re really talking about content, images and e-mails that are engaging—those that stop viewers in their tracks and get people talking. Sexy social media posts get likes, dislikes, tears, hearts and laughs, as well as hundreds or, if you’re lucky, thousands of shares. Sexy social media posts are often the ones that go viral. Engaging e-mails are those that get opened, read and shared, rather than randomly deleted.

Sexy…But Appropriately So

So, how do you create social media posts and e-mails that make people say, “Whoa…check that out! I want to see or know more”? The first questions I suggest you answer are:

What makes you stop what you’re doing to view or read something?

What elements would it need to contain before you’d share it with friends and family?

Personally, I’m a sucker for anything that includes an attention-grabbing subject line and/or dramatic before-and-after photo—the kind that makes people say, is that too good to be true? Could a facial treatment, body contouring treatment, etc. really work that well? For me, seeing is believing and visual confirmation is mandatory. Even better is when someone can assure me that the photos are unretouched and that results are authentic (throw in a couple third-party testimonials and you’ve definitely got my attention).

Another way to keep the sexy alive in social media posts and emails is to seduce viewers with provocative words and images—think of these things as similar to wining and dining a person you want to date. You don’t just throw on sweat pants and order a pizza for them; you make a reservation at your favorite romantic restaurant, buy a new outfit and plan out the entire evening. Sure, they may already like you enough to have said “yes” to going out with you, but the more effort you put into creating a memorable evening, the more success you’ll likely have.

What’s provocative? Anything that creates emotion in the viewer—whether it’s happiness, sadness, compassion, anger, shock, etc. All of these emotions are the epitome of what’s considered sexy in social media and e-mails—and sexy gets shared. Even if it’s something that angers someone to the point where they’re practically spitting nails, it created enough emotion in that person that they just had to share it with others. I would discourage you from trying to start riots among your customers; it’s generally considered bad for business. But you get the idea. If sex sells, then certainly so do emojis.

Humor Can Be Very Sexy

While sexy may be in the eye of the beholder, there’s one characte­ristic that many would argue is the sexiest of them all and that’s a great sense of humor. Ask any friend whose relationship you admire or envy what she or he finds sexiest about their partner and they’ll likely say, “She/​he makes me laugh.” When we’re young(er), we’re often drawn to others’ physical qualities, but after we’ve had our hearts crushed more than once by great-looking people with incompatible personal­ities, we realize that humor, in the long run, is way sexier than any physical traits. And humor lasts a lot longer, too.

The same concept can be applied to your business’ social media posts and e-mails. When customers realize your company is a happy place to be, and they see your sense of fun and humor through the information you put out there, they’ll be drawn to you—and eagerly anticipate your next communic­ation. What will you do to make them laugh tomorrow?

Planned Vs. Unplanned Sexy

Some experts will say that planned social media content looks more professional, while others will argue that spontaneous content is more inviting as far as engagement goes. My advice regarding planned versus spontaneous content is to provide both types on a regular basis, and mix them up.

Planned content provides the opportunity to educate your viewer, perhaps with a lengthy post on the benefits of a certain procedure, including facts that are backed by industry resources.

Spontaneous content, on the other hand, can showcase your business’ sparkling personality and provide levity in contrast to your more formal posts. A meme or quick video of a smiling customer with glowing skin, thanks to your services, can be just as powerful in social media terms as a 1,500-word blog about skin care.

It’s a good idea to create a posting/e-mailing schedule well in advance, so that you can track the types of information you’re sending out as well as what gets the best results. Whether you create a word processing spreadsheet or go with a social media platform site such as Hootsuite, the choice is yours. However, you must know ahead of time how, what and when you’re communicating with viewers and customers to reduce the possibility of redundant posts, grammatical errors and “posts just for the sake of posting,” which may hurt you in the long run.

Visual Sexy

Speaking of videos, visually-driven content is especially important today, given our brief attention spans. Plus, people love watching videos and looking at photos. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2019, about 80% of internet traffic will be video-driven. However, if you’ve spent time on Google or YouTube searching for useful information on how to do something, you know that the results are a mixed bag.

There’s no shortage of videos out there, but many of them don’t offer much in the way of substance or even entertai­nment. Think about your content before you post or e-mail, and be sure it’s something really worth watching or reading. Ask a few friends in advance for their opinions: How is your pacing? Is the video too long or too short? Is the video’s technical quality acceptable? Are you the best person to do the talking, or should you leave the talking to a bubbly co-worker?

Sexy Subjects

Think about subject lines in e-mails. Are you posing interesting questions that will make readers want to open up the e-mail, or delete it without thinking? Are you offering them a can’t-resist special? Is there something in it for the readers, and is that something immediately clear and visible? Test out subject lines so that you don’t risk your best marketing efforts ending up, unopened, in a virtual trash can.


Staying in front of your customers through online marketing is easy, inexpensive (often times even free!) and effective—but you have to know how to stand out in a sea of images and content. Be sure that each and every one of your e-mails are engaging, and your social media posts sizzle. Isn’t it time for your marketing efforts to catch fire?