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The big 4 of financial services copywriting

By 29 January 2021February 10th, 2021No Comments

I’ve got 4 for you here, the big 4 tips for financial services copywriting. If I had time I’d do 100 for you. Read this if you’re new-ish to either finance marketing or writing about it.

1. These* things bite

Let’s say the brief talks to all these marvellous features that will save the customer money. Ooh-la-la!

The thing is, if there’s eligibility criteria (and there’s gonna be), customers must be given the opportunity to understand what’s involved before they sign onto a product.

Yes, you could squeeze the criteria into the small print and add one of these* to draw the eye from the body copy, and many banks do this. However, when you don’t place the info where the customer will read it, it could come back to bite you.

  1. Grumpy customers
  2. Emails from regulators
  3. Lost trust
  4. Hastily written apology emails
  5. Missed opportunities

Trust is big in financial services. Rather than hide the curly criteria, try to surface it in the body copy, the headline/sub, or somewhere else where the customer can easily see it. It’s the decent thing to do.

2. Don’t believe the hype

You’ve already got your work cut out for you when selling financial services. If tempted to throw in a hyperbole or 4, you could come off as accidentally dodgy without intending to. It’s that trust thing again.

For example:

  • Is it “everything” they’re looking for?
  • How “easy” is it to apply for that 20-year contract product?
  • Will you look after “all” their needs?

In short, overstatements and ambiguity impact your believability. The Royal Commission happened for a reason.

3. Formal-ese

We all know the ‘cut the passive voice’ rules to engage readers and make the message easier to understand. Just have a flick through the Australian Government Style Manual – they have a cracking section on formal speech.

Please do pay this some heed. It can be sooooo easy to fall back to the safety of the high school English rules. Long words and sentences make you sound smart, right? Not anymore.

Writing in a formal way creates distance between you and the person you’re talking to. It can make you sound like you enjoy lording it up over someone. That you, in all your mightiness, know more.

Also, it can make you hard to understand; the precise opposite of what you’re trying to do.

Tiny word changes can make a big difference in tone, attitude and comprehension. Ask me for examples.

4. Pretend friends

On the flipside of formal-ese is over-familiarity. Now me in this blog right now, I’m talking to you as Lisa, as I would in conversation over a brief or a feedback session with you. This voice here I’m using, it won’t suit everyone’s copy needs.

For example:

You might be selling share trading apps to C-suite types, or term deposits to small families, or transaction accounts to new entrants to the workforce. These folks don’t want you to be their friend. They want to know that you’ve got the goods.

It’s a delicate juggle, finding the right voice for your audience and brand. You might be a combination of Interested, Respectful & Light-hearted, or not like any of that at all. If you’d like to more about this, I can help you explore the way forward for kick-arse communications in my brand voice development service. Or we could just have a chat.

Time’s up, I gotta post this thing

A word of caution. I’m no lawyer; this post in no way constitutes legal advice. Tell me though, any watchpoints you’d like to share? Let’s have a copy convo.