Finances are a crucial and challenging part of life for most people. So when doing financial services copywriting, you’re assured a vast audience hungry for information and solutions. There is, however, one big problem. Financial writing can quickly become technical and hard to grasp in its purest form. Worse, it can get boring and yawn-promoting. Enlivening otherwise dry content is a unique skill, but you can learn it with practice. In this article, we’re going to let you in on some financial services copywriting secrets that will help you attract attention and increase business.
#1: Know Your Audience
Our first tip is hardly a secret but can be easy to forget. You need to know precisely who you are writing to for any copywriting—the more specific, the better. So you’ll need to identify your target. That means you’ll want to know details such as age range, profession, income and net worth, to name a few examples. But what’s next is the critical part: you need to identify their pain points.
Put another way, what keeps this demographic awake at night? If your target audience is busy professional parents, their pain points are probably concern about family and lack of time. Targeting owners of established businesses? Their concerns might also be a lack of time. But further, they are probably worried about high taxes, the next recession, increasing inflation, and finding and retaining workers.
To get further inside your target audience’s mind, ask important questions like:
- What are their values?
- What are their financial goals at this stage in their life?
- What are the challenges they’re facing?
Remember, most people read financial content to solve a problem or improve their lives. So keep the specific concerns of your target market front and center when you write financial copy.
#2: Find an Interesting Angle
Many people dislike finance because numbers and math turn them off. That’s understandable. It seems we’re either born with a math-friendly attitude—we embrace it—or we run screaming away from it. As a financial copywriter, keep this in mind. Unless your target market is composed of financial people or engineers, the vast majority of people don’t want a dry, heavy technical discussion of anything financial. Ditto on the jargon. That’s a quick way to lose readers.
The solution? Take your serious topic and look for an interesting way to talk about it.
Are you writing about the value of asset allocation and diversification? Don’t write like a finance person. Write like a third-grader whose homework is to describe what those things mean. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is an obvious choice. Simplistic, but it works.
Or, if you’re writing about estate planning, tell a story. Talk about celebrities who died without an estate plan and how the courts decided who got their money and assets.
I like to think of that friend or relative we all have who has zero interest in anything financial. Picture that person and write to them.
Keep in mind that some people may be learning about this because they have to, not because they want to.
After all, many financial topics can quickly get boring if you’re not careful, resulting in your audience feeling like they are in a college lecture. Do you miss those? I didn’t think so.
In short, you’ve got to find out the ‘why’ behind someone needing the information you want to talk about. Look for ways to make the topic more exciting or intriguing.
#3 Talk about Benefits, Not Features
We previously mentioned asset allocation. Let’s take another handy-dandy financial term, tax-loss harvesting. If you’re a financial advisor, you might be tempted to play up features of what you do. For example, you might write: we provide continuous tax-loss harvesting, done at least quarterly. Your colleague understands what you mean. Everyone else? No clue.
Let’s step back…what does that tax-loss harvesting do for me, the potential client? It saves me significant money on capital gains taxes. (Now you have my attention!) It helps me turn those unpleasant losses into cold hard cash saved on next year’s tax bill. And, it allows me to immediately replace whatever I sold with a similar stock or ETF, so I hopefully can still make up my loss.
And you’ll do this every quarter for me to keep my tax bill as low as possible.
Now that is music to most people’s ears. See the difference?
Keep your writing, and therefore your reader focused on the benefits they’ll enjoy. Walk them through how your product or services can help them achieve their goals and change their lives.
#4: Add Eye-Catching Headings
With today’s information overload, we’ve all turned into skimmers. We rarely read entire pages. Instead, our eyes pass through words as quickly as possible, and we make split-second decisions as to their usefulness. You have mere moments to get your reader’s attention and let them know you have the information they’re looking for.
If you have an interesting post that hints at a specific benefit, you can get the skimmers to pause for a second and maybe even read your subheads. Titles need to hint at the answer(s) in the post without giving too much information away. They won’t bother reading if they have the answer in the title, so be enticing without blowing the secrets right away.
#5 Split Up the Content
It can be exhausting to look at a wall of text as a reader. Short paragraphs and noticeable headers break up the text nicely, so it’s easier to read.
So this is an easy one….keep your paragraphs on the shorter side. Use bullets and lists to make reading more manageable too.
Also, use visual stimuli like videos or pictures to accent text. In this way, your content is easy to read, your readers can pick up anywhere they’ve left off, and no one has a frustrating experience.
#6 Provide What You Promised
This sixth financial services copywriting secret is another simple one, but we’ve all have seen it overlooked at one time or another. Provide what you promised. Yes, that means to avoid “clickbait,”….where a catchy headline draws people in but leaves them annoyed that you didn’t answer the question or accomplish what was described.
In fact, that’s a good way to lose readers and potential clients. Readers aren’t there to sift through paragraphs of information; they want what you promised.
You need to make sure you are answering your audience’s questions and matching your title to the information in the body of the piece. That way, no one is disappointed or angry, and you even get them to come back because they know you deliver.
# 7 Keep it Conversational
Last but not least, you need to keep your writing easy to read. Unless you’re writing to those in the financial trade, you need to minimize the jargon. The best way to write is like you talk. Make it a conversation.
So that means informal language can be far better. This doesn’t mean you can’t show your prowess and competence in your words. In fact, communicating complicated ideas simply is something that people will appreciate.
So don’t get hung up on grammar; try to communicate more clearly. Here’s one time that breaking a few rules can be a good thing!
And finally, remember the most powerful word in copywriting: you. (You can review our previous article on this topic here).
Putting These Financial Services Copywriting Secrets to Work
Financial copywriting is part art and part science, but it is also a learnable skill. These seven financial services copywriting secrets can help you brush up. And you’ll usually find that the more you practice, the more natural it becomes to write in a way that your readers appreciate.
Looking for help with financial website content or copywriting? At Wavelength, we’ve developed engaging, effective content for many clients, including over 100 Registered Investment Advisory firms, hedge funds, private equity, fintech and precious metals-related firms. Contact us to see if we can help you achieve your goals.