Financial Copywriting

7 Iron-Clad Rules For Thriving In The Cut-Throat World Of Financial Marketing

At this moment, there’s over $37 trillion (or $37,000,000,000) in notes, coins, and savings floating around the world.

Counting gold and silver, you can add another $11 trillion or so… though that figure changes daily, of course.

Want to throw in what’s invested in the stock markets? Tally up another $89 trillion, give or take.

In other words, we live in a world flush with money.

The problem for most people is that they don’t have enough of it. So they turn to the markets to change their fortunes.

And that’s where you come in.

You help them navigate the confusion and chaos so they can find their slice of the pie, and earn a handsome reward for doing so.

But whatever product you sell to do this—newsletter, program, membership, report, or book—you’re competing against literally thousands of others…

…each with their own newsletter, program, membership, report, or book.

Now, you might already know the world of financial information products is a merciless “killing ground”. Competitors don’t hesitate to go for the jugular. And inevitably, every business in the niche meets their fate…

  1. Many drown after just a few weeks or months, leaving no trace they ever existed
  2. Others cling to life for a year or two before silently slipping below the surface
  3. A tiny handful of leaders dominate the market, cleaning up year after year

But there’s a fourth group: small to midsize players who work out how to connect their audience and offer using the right promotion.

They carve out a fat niche for themselves while staying mostly under the radar. And maybe that’s where you want to be, but you’re not sure how to make your promotion sing to the right people for you.

Maybe you’ve had promo after promo go up in flames.

Or maybe you’re new to the market, and just aren’t certain how to handle your promo, period.

Well, you’re in luck.

Because by following these seven rules, you’ll give your promo—whether it’s a VSL, sales letter, landing page, or email campaign—a fighting chance not just to break even, but to succeed.

So, let’s go through them…

1. Have A Genuine Offer

This type of “lifestyle” marketing some use to promote financial offers sets off alarm bells in the minds of prospects.

Sounds like a stupid place to start, doesn’t it?

But if you haven’t already skipped down to the next point, you may (or may not) be surprised to know that there are a few shady operators lurking in the financial industry.

These guys are usually easy to spot: they pump every dollar into attracting people who just don’t know any better… and then pump those “suckers” dry. You can often find them just by glancing at their Instagram feeds, which are jammed with photos of them leaning against Lamborghinis or lounging on yachts in the Med, bikini-clad girls in the background.

Those types aren’t interested in promoting their products the right way, so it’s unlikely they’d ever read something like this.

However, it’s entirely possible to have an offer that’s not quite ready for market. I’ve seen my fair share of these, and each have had honest, well-intentioned owners behind them. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having an offer 80 or 90% ready and thinking about marketing (it’s the smart thing to do)… so long as your customers get something valuable and usable whenever you launch.

2. Use An Intriguing Idea

Buying stocks and holding for the long-term may be a sensible way to make money from the markets for most aspiring traders or investors… but it’s also seen as boring.

And not many people like boring, even when it works

For example, let’s say you’re selling a report about up-and-coming junior gold stocks. Your promo typically has to be more interesting than “here’s my report about up-and-coming junior gold stocks… want to buy it?”.

This isn’t to say your method or mechanism has to be some crazy, off-the-wall way of making money: see Rule #1. You just can’t necessarily promote it like that… unless your audience is older, white Conservative males. (Then you might be fine!)

So the challenge is: how do you get prospects interested and intrigued by your offer?

Let’s bring it back to the gold stocks. Instead of saying: 

Junior Gold Miners You Need In Your Portfolio NOW!

You could run with:

The 5 Gold Juniors Poised To Upset The Balance Of Power In 2021

(That’s an example used purely to illustrate the point. Let’s include Rule 2a: Making up your copy as you go is rarely going to be A-grade; research and reflection are crucial ingredients!)

Giving prospects a big, unique idea from the moment they start reading your copy is critical. A great idea helps to hook prospects’ attention and gain their interest, so you can pivot to build desire and then encourage them to act on your offer (in other words, it’s perfect for the classic AIDA formula that’s so popular in copywriting circles.)

3. Make Things Simple

It’s a generalisation, but people buying financial products have one core desire:

Make more money.

And while they may be curious about exotic or unusual ideas, they care much less about your 28-page treatise on how to algorithmically time the markets using the Oksapmin base-27 counting system.

(Note: there’s usually a small subset of buyers who will vacuum up every scrap of detail you give and more… but as a rule, getting too far into the weeds in your promo can be risky.)

That doesn’t mean your product itself can’t use financial concepts that go waaaaay over the head of your typical prospect. So long as you can show what your product delivers and give enough detail to satisfy the natural “How?” that pops up in a prospect’s head, you’ll generally have this principle covered.

Here are a few ways you can make things simpler for your prospects:

  • If it’s possible to use a metaphor or analogy when explaining your product, don’t hesitate to do so
  • When writing your copy, ALWAYS remember the prospect’s end goal (i.e. more money) and make sure the copy ultimately serves that purpose
  • Aim for the copy’s reading age to be no more advanced than Year 6 or 7 level, after which the copy becomes harder to read and turns prospects off

4. Play By The Rules

Much like #1, this is such a no-brainer that I probably don’t need to say it, but I will anyway.

Operating in the financial markets means you have to play the rules and regulations game. And sure, some people try to skirt the law, but it often ends badly for all concerned.

If you’re not new to financial marketing, you’re already across this. If this is unfamiliar territory, you’ll want to get up to speed of what you can and can’t do. That in itself is a topic too large to dive into here, but these are three examples of big no-nos…

  1. Pie-in-the-sky claims about earnings or income
  2. “Track records” that boast impressive past returns with zero actual proof
  3. Not including appropriate disclaimers and risk warnings

That said, compliant copy doesn’t mean boring copy… so let’s talk a little more about that.

5. Don't Be Boring

If your prospects quickly get bored while reading or watching your promo, you’re in big trouble.

Sounds suspiciously similar to Rule 2, doesn’t it?

There are two good reasons why this is a separate rule:

  1. “Boring” happens way too often in the world of copy (and not just in financial marketing)  so it bears driving this point home
  2. It’s possible to find an intriguing idea that would otherwise grab attention… but then make it sound as exciting as a one-scoop vanilla ice cream cone

(No offence to anyone who finds one-scoop vanilla ice cream cones exciting.)

An intriguing idea is just the beginning. You have to refine and express it through your copy in a way that keeps prospects reading and reading. If you lose them at any point, you lose the chance of a sale.

So don’t roll out your promo without shaping it in the most fascinating way you can possibly find. Here are few suggestions to get you started:

  • Link your big idea to a strong, easy-to-understand analogy
  • Use a story from the very beginning (I’ll talk more about these in a second)
  • Make a grand prediction or proclamation
  • Talk about a secret that’s relevant to your offer

(Note: This isn’t necessarily a “choose which one floats your boat” scenario: there’s context around when you would use each idea, depending on your market. If you’d like to know more, check out the excellent book “Great Leads”; an essential for any copywriter or marketer.)

So how do you avoid the boredom trap that much of your competition falls into? Here are the two best ways I’ve found…

6. Entertain And Educate

Tell a story and you’re well on the way to getting prospects to hear you out.

If you can either entertain or educate your readers, you’re well on the way to winning their wallet. If you can do BOTH, you’re streets ahead of any competitor.

Here’s the weird thing: on first glance, entertainment and education don’t seem to be that relevant to financial copywriting. But they are. In fact, if you do these right, you won’t need to persuade prospects… both concepts BECOME the persuasion.

Why entertainment?

If you look at the most visited websites, YouTube ranks #2 (right behind Google). People are neurally hardwired to be attracted to entertainment, whether that’s a movie, book, video, or web page. If you can entertain, prospects are likely to stick around… which is 80% of your copy’s mission.

But that leads to another question: what’s the best way to entertain prospects?

Stories are one of THE ways to do this. Humans can’t help but warm to a good story, and that comes with a bonus: stories that hold our attention also build empathy with the characters, which is potent persuasive power in itself.

Now, what about education?

If someone reads or watches your promo and picks up something, they’re more inclined to hang around for any other nuggets you might share. So here’s a secret to give prospects tidbits of knowledge that won’t just keep them hooked, but build desire in your offer too:

Talk about your WHAT, but not about your HOW.

For example, you might talk about how one of the junior gold stocks you’ve found has struck big with an unexpected discovery in Burkina Faso. You might go on to talk about the unstable geopolitical situation and unique obstacles the company in question has deftly handled (along with “desire builders”, such as how the stock will explode once survey results have been officially announced). What you DON’T reveal is the company name or details that would make it simple to find.

Do it like this, and prospects will feel they’re getting a lot from you… but you’re not spilling the beans on a key part of your offer.

7. Test And Test Again

Every email you send, every promo campaign you launch, every funnel you build… is a test.

You release it into the market, and your audience response is the judge of how well it works. And here’s the thing too many copywriters don’t want you to know: not every test is a home run.

The mega-successful campaign you ran last week is no promise the one you’ve got lined up for next month will have the same result. The mediocre results you’re getting from your current campaign doesn’t mean your next launch is doomed either.

(Experienced copywriters might have a “spidey sense” about what works based on our past lessons and projects, but nobody has a 100% record… and if someone claims they do, run!)

It’s also important to remember that these tests aren’t necessarily “win or back to the drawing board”. A sales letter that isn’t converting may only need a few changes done to the lead to dramatically increase response. An email sequence may only need one or two emails tweaked to turn things upside down. So be wary of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when you run your promos. Instead, roll up your sleeves and test, test, test!

* * *

These principles are the building blocks of any financial promo you run. Of course, there are a myriad of copywriting tricks, hacks, strategies, and moves you can (and should) also take advantage of. But even if you follow just these seven, you’ll have a fighting chance at carving out your own lucrative chunk of this cut-throat market.

About The Author

Long before I ever knew what copywriting was, I was reading financial copy every week, mostly in the form of emails (I was a huge fan of “The Daily Reckoning” back in the day). Today, as a direct response copywriter, I have an even greater appreciation of what the copywriters behind those emails did… as well as greater understanding of how they did it.

(And yes, I may have bought the odd financial product or three as a result.)

These days, I’m a financial copywriter who helps businesses to get their products to stand out so they get more leads, sales, and customers. That can mean crafting a seductive email sequence, pulling together a long-form sales letter, or mapping out a full-scale funnel.

If you’re looking for an expert to help create a new promo (or you’re looking to improve on what you’ve already got), click here and book a time to discuss your project.

Dean is fantastic to work with. He’s got brilliant experience and you can tell he also gets deep into a topic to achieve the best possible results. He clearly understood our service and how best to present that to our potential customers. I will be working with Dean again and highly recommend him.

– Robert Barnes, SuperGuide

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