How should you talk to people as a financial planner, especially with regards to your website content?
Finding the right “tone of voice” is crucial for your brand and marketing. Think about it in a personal situation. If someone comes across as abrupt, overbearing or self-obsessed at a party then you are likely to want to avoid them as quickly as possible!
On the other hand, if they speak in a respectful way whilst also listening and showing an interest in you, then you will probably want to hand around.
However, tone of voice goes much further than common norms of etiquette when communicating with your prospects and clients. It also has to do with your brand “personality” or “character”. It refers to how people perceive or “imagine” you when they hear you talk or see your written words.
Examples of Tone of Voice
For instance, what springs into your head if your financial adviser website welcomed people with:
“Greetings dear visitor; you are most welcome to our website.”
Compare this to:
“Yo bezzies! Ta for coming to my amaaaaaazeballs website. Totes excited to have you!”
Did you cringe when you read the second one? We did as we wrote it!
It’s important, however, to consider our reactions to these two tones of voice. In the first case, it is quite likely that the writer will be perceived as “formal”, “upper-class” and possibly “pretentious”. In the latter example, however, the tone likely signals someone who is “young”, “full of energy” and probably far too informal/casual for a financial adviser!
These two examples clearly illustrate two possible extremes when it comes to tone of voice in financial copywriting, and are, therefore, unlikely to be adopted. However, what are some other possible options available to financial advisers when it comes to creating their persona to readers and listeners?
The “SaaS” Tone
Software as a Service (Saas) is often a feature of a financial planner’s service offering to clients, perhaps in the form of an online portal or investment management software.
A particular tone tends to accompany SaaS companies and similar value propositions. For instance, the headlines and calls-to-action are often “cool and casual”, such as:
“Rest easy. Your investments are in safe hands.”
Quite often, this SaaS approach will often rely less on text; instead opting to “show” the product or service through compelling imagery, screenshots and “how-to” videos.
Features are often presented in a short form, perhaps as a series of bullet points. Large “blocks of text” are generally avoided, whilst descriptions are kept relatively short and simple.
This tone of voice can be useful for financial planners who rely heavily on a “robo-advice” service offering, for instance. The danger, however, is that it might come across as a bit too simplistic for prospects who are looking for tailored financial planning services.
The “Vulnerability” Tone
Since 2002, Specsavers has used the famous “should have gone to…” strapline to great effect. It’s also a perfect example of the “vulnerability” tone of voice, which combines fear and humour to great effect.
In the case of Specsavers, the tone presents plenty of opportunities to be funny (e.g. the 2014 “Luis Suárez” Twitter campaign, which compared footballer Chiellini to the famous dish cannelloni). However, it also plays on the customer’s fear of missing out on a full life due to having the wrong glasses.
For a financial planner, this tone of voice can work and can make you stand out in a marketplace which is commonly perceived as a bit “boring” and “very old and serious”.
Furthermore, playing on people’s fears might not sound nice, but it can be a powerful motivator:
“Are your assets at risk? Strengthen your portfolio today.”
“Is your family protected? Create a financial plan for every possible future.”
However, this tone of voice does run the risk of coming across as uncaring or incompetent. Playing on customer fears can backfire, moreover, and using humour can cause offence.
The “B2B” Tone
This is probably the most “serious” tone on our list, and it’s probably the one which intuitively appeals to a lot of financial planners. Many in this sector believe that to be taken seriously, they need to come across as serious. Yet that is certainly not the case.
You do not need to be stiff-lipped, boring or constantly speaking in jargon to be taken seriously, or to adopt an effective “B2B tone”. For instance:
- You do not need to dress, behave or present your writing in a formal style. Rather, it’s about finding a balance between what is professional-sounding and also human-sounding.
- The aim isn’t to try and come across as “highly-educated” or “posh”, but to speak to your readers as if they were present in your office or at a face-to-face sales meeting.
- A balance between formal and informal tones is sought.
Here at CreativeAdviser, we specialise in copywriting services for financial planners. So if you are interested in taking this discussion further with an agency who understands your sector or niche, then we’d be delighted to offer you a free, no-commitment consultation for your content strategy.
If you are still at the point of wanting to familiarise yourself with our content and educate yourself further, then please continue to visit our website for more helpful articles such as this one. We’ve only listed a handful of possible tones of voice, remember!