By Marcus Roth, Lone Beacon’s Senior Director of Data, Automation & Content.
In part two of this series on benefits-driven copywriting for financial advisors I am going to dive into specific examples of what good benefits-driven writing looks like for independent financial advisors, how to convey benefits quickly, and common pitfalls to avoid.
State What You Can Solve, Don’t State Features
As we discussed in the last article, grabbing the attention of prospects is challenging so we need to lead with our most powerful concept first: a headline that makes the reader realize that they have a problem and that your product or service can improve their life by fixing the problem. Headlines need to answer directly how the reader’s life will be different – save the discussion about specific features for later when they are more invested.
A great frame of reference is to think of yourself as a doctor with all the knowledge to fix a person’s issue. All you are doing is listening to them and giving them the answer, they need to fix their issue. But doctors don’t simply say “Okay, take these 2 pills and leave.” They say “Okay, I understand you have pain in your back, if you want the pain to go away, take these two pills.” They put the benefit first, pain relief, and then the product, 2 pills.
Now, Get to the Point
The next step is to write a headline in as few words as possible. This means each word must be filled with the right meaning and tone you are looking to convey in addition to quickly conveying the benefit. A piece of advice is to write a headline that conveys your meaning directly and then go over every 3-5 words in groups and see how you can shorten that section. I have often seen is copy that addresses the benefit but rambles. Here’s an example: “This book aims to help you address important questions that pertain to your retirement planning needs in an effort to help you get closer to reaching your goals now and in retirement.” Now cut it down while saying the same thing: “This retirement planning book aims to get you closer to reaching your goals now and in retirement”.
Specific Headlines That Make Your Prospects Think “Oh – This is for ME.”
Another piece of advice is to focus your writing on specificity – specificity in knowing your audience and specificity in the benefit. Specificity allows the reader to identify with the advertisement, either because it seems like it is for people like them or people with the same issue, recognize this product or service will fix their specific issue and then pursue the product further to fix their issue. You literally want the reader to think in their head “Oh – This is for ME.”
Here’s an example of a classic situation many business owners fall victim to: Let’s take the classic headline or sign you see on the side of the road: “Grand Opening Today – XYZ Financial Call 555-555-5555 To Book An Appointment”.
Why is this headline “bad”?
Firstly, the headline asks you to book an appointment for what? My taxes? Audit defense? Retirement planning? 401(k) rollovers? If it’s everything, it’s nothing. It’s confusing and the confused mind says no.
Second, no one really cares that your business is new. You have preciously little space in this headline and the “grand opening” isn’t the most powerful benefit – in fact, it might be a bad thing. I would want a wise, experienced advisor at my side, not a novice that is going to make mistakes with my money!
Is inflation gouging your retirement fund? Call 555-555-5555 To Help Protect Your Retirement Accounts – XYZ Financial Call
This headline is certainly going to make more people say “Oh – This is for ME” more than the first version. Inflation is on a lot of people’s minds right now and they are likely thinking about it in some way.
Now let’s Add Another Layer:
Calling All Cambridge Residents – Is Inflation Gouging Your Retirement Fund? Call 555-555-5555 To Help Protect Your Retirement Accounts – XYZ Financial Call
Assuming the newly opening advisory is in Cambridge, this addition to the front lets residents of a wealthy town in Massachusetts know that this advisory is close by AND likely knows the specific issues of a Cambridge resident.
About the Author: Marcus Roth is Lone Beacon’s Senior Director of Data, Automation & Content. Marcus has a unique experience in B2B and B2C start-up companies ranging from enterprise-level market research of Artificial Intelligence to self-defense eCommerce products. His experience in AI market research brought him, and his research, to INTERPOL, The United Nations and Harvard University.