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Mind Your Business: The Intricacies of Writing and Marketing for Financial Services

Business is, well, big business, so it should come as no surprise that an important segment of our clients at Spade Design include the suit-and-tie-clad who provide various financial services to major businesses and professionals across the country. Though we serve our clients with equal amounts of ample T.L.C., it should be known that those […]

Written By Matthew Martin

January 2, 2019

Business is, well, big business, so it should come as no surprise that an important segment of our clients at Spade Design include the suit-and-tie-clad who provide various financial services to major businesses and professionals across the country.

Though we serve our clients with equal amounts of ample T.L.C., it should be known that those we serve often have us searching new terms, creating audience profiles and otherwise scouring the earth to fully understand the all-important “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “why” of their worlds.

As you’ll see, financial services are most certainly their own beasts (we mean that in the nicest way), offering up marketing challenges and unique quirks that help to keep our nine-to-five hours anything but mundane.

WHAT MAKES FINANCIAL SERVICES MARKETING UNIQUE?

 THE VOICE

No, we’re not talking about the America’s Got Talent/American Idol spinoff (save the singing for Karaoke happy hour, please). Finding the voice that speaks to your target audience is unbelievably important to creating content that works.

Because our financial services clients deal both with groups from execs in charge of sums of money that end in many, multiple zeroes to doctors, teachers and police officers that are simply looking for the best way to prepare for retirement, the voice can vary pretty drastically.

Some constants, however, include a voice that exudes a sense of trustworthiness and empathy, along with a careful balance of jargon for experienced trustees and straight-forward verbiage for the less familiar.

HALT, WHO GOES THERE?

Unfortunately, there is no single, blanket audience that we can attach to all financial services. Even within the segment of financial services, there are nuances and niches — too many to list, in fact.

However, in the case of our clients, audiences include investment board members who understand much about finances, investment plans and the like, down to soon-to-retire teachers who, like many of us, couldn’t pass the 101 class.

LIKE A SNOWFLAKE

What makes our financial services clients a unique challenge? First, we have to realize that much of these clients lean heavily toward business to business, meaning our content must meet a business-centric (as opposed to customer-centric) approach.

Secondly, if you don’t know about compliance, you are about to take a crash course. Getting our content approved by FINRA, the SEC, the FBI and CIA (OK, we’re just kidding about those last two) is no easy task.

These alphabet soup organizations have a responsibility to ensure that our clients do not promise what they cannot substantiate. It’s an important job, no doubt, and one that they take very seriously. Thus, we need to take equal measures to ensure that the copy we craft stays within dictated guidelines. As the idiom goes, time is money, and the longer it takes for content to be approved, the worse off our clients are for it.

To complicate matters further, some financial services aren’t even allowed to openly market their products. Yes, this throws quite a monkey wrench in our efforts but does not mean that we can’t find ways around this major stipulation; that is kind of our job, after all.

Through strategically timed announcements that fall outside of the especially highly regulated fundraising periods and leveraging PR initiatives that focus on the success of past funds, market the company’s branding or garner attention with a new website, we are able to get just enough information out there to entice our target audience.

What have we learned from working with a list of stellar local and national financial services? Quite a lot, actually. From learning to write with an extremely specific set of rules to cementing the importance of knowing your audience and writing to their voice, these clients have shown that they can teach much more than investment and financial planning best practices.

Through it all, the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that research really matters. Financial services are not something you can guesstimate or stumble your way through when it comes to marketing efficiently and effectively. No, this is a field that earns its worth in precision, strategy and, frankly, doing your homework — all best practices that our friends in financial services have helped us {find} and {win}.

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