If you work in finance, we don’t need to tell you that ROI matters.
But when it comes to direct response copywriting (content marketing like ads and landing pages), ROI is more important than ever.
After all, why throw money at a campaign that won’t break even and could actually lose you money?
Enter direct response copy. Effective, engaging copywriting is an ROI-backed marketing strategy that’s essential to every industry. In finance, good copy builds trust and is often what gets prospects interested: your words draw in new business prospects and help convert them into clients.
But how do you create successful financial direct response copy? It starts with understanding exactly what direct response copywriting is (and isn’t).
What Is Financial Direct Response Copywriting?
Outbound (customer-facing) copywriting falls into two buckets: traditional marketing content and direct response copywriting.
The goal of general or traditional marketing is to increase a brand’s online presence, awareness, and reputation. This type of content introduces a business (as well as its products and services) to a target audience that may not know about it, attracting new leads to the business.
Examples of general marketing content include educational blog posts, webinars, and website copy.
Then there’s direct response marketing, which—as the name implies—is very direct. Direct response copy has only one goal: get readers to take a specific action.
Unlike general marketing content, which may or may not increase sales, direct response copywriting aims to quickly and effectively convert leads into customers.
In other words, the effectiveness of a direct response campaign is based solely on sales.
Examples of financial direct response copywriting
Landing pages and ads are two of the biggest types of direct response copy.
They draw in the target audience and persuade them to take immediate action. The “calls to action” (or CTAs) of these campaigns vary across different financial institutions:
|If You Are…||Your CTA May Get Leads to…|
|A bank||Open a checking or savings account, explore credit cards, or explore loan or mortgage options|
|A brokerage||Invest with your brokerage, or explore new trading products|
|A financial publication||Sign up for your newsletter, or read a particular article|
|A family office or financial services firm||Schedule an appointment or exploratory call|
|A fintech or blockchain company||Download your app, open a checking or savings account, or start investing in crypto|
Note: This is absolutely NOT an exhaustive list.
Understanding the goal of your direct response campaign (what action you want your prospects to take) will help inform the copywriting itself.
How to Recognize Great Direct Response Copy
Successful direct response campaigns should have a few key features:
1. Empathize with your reader
The hallmark of all good copywriting—direct response or otherwise—is understanding what your audience wants to hear.
The only way to do that is to put yourself in their shoes: explore their needs and wants and figure out how your company can solve their problems.
It’s not enough to simply explain your offering or service—you need to convince readers that what you offer is the best possible solution for their problem.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Of course, understanding your audience’s needs goes way beyond offering a solution to their problems. It also involves anticipating their needs ahead of time.
As an example, the following are two different approaches a financial advisory firm may take with their direct response copy. Which would motivate you to take action?
- Option 1: “Set up a call with X Financial Advisors today!
- Option 2: Ask yourself: what does financial security feel like?
While there’s no “right” answer, Option 2 will likely be more successful.
Why? Because it doesn’t just offer a service (as Option 1 does)—Option 2 taps into the reader’s desire for a specific outcome: financial security. Beyond that, Option 2 also prompts the reader to explore the feelings they associate with financial security: freedom, confidence, empowerment, etc.
Empathetic copy understands its audience’s needs and wants and invites them to explore how a company’s offerings can make their dreams come true.
2. Guide readers on a distinct buyer journey
You know the old adage: “It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.”
Although financial direct response copywriting is, ultimately, about the destination (CTA), it’s equally important to consider the customer journey.
You must take your prospect—who has a short attention span—on a clear, easy-to-follow journey from start to finish.
This means taking readers through:
- Identifying their pain / biggest problem: What’s wrong? What problem are they looking to solve?
- Showing them the gain / ideal solution: What’s the best fix? Well, it’s your product or service, but you’re saying that just yet…
- Quelling doubts and objections: Show your reader you understand their hesitation—because maybe you’ve been there, too. Empathize and reassure.
- Showcasing your product: Present your offering as the best possible solution to your reader’s biggest problem.
- Building trust with stats and testimonials: Show, don’t tell—let your results and happy customers speak for themselves.
Here’s how all this might look on a bank’s landing page:
- The problem/opportunity: “Sick of big banks charging you all those deceptive fees and giving you next to nothing in return?”
- The ideal solution: “Your bank account should work for you, not against you.”
- Doubts/objections: “Big-name banks ride on their reputations—but that doesn’t mean they care about you. Hidden costs. Overdraft and “maintenance” fees. Banks should help you grow your money. But the sad truth is they’d rather nickel-and-dime hardworking people like you to make rich shareholders even richer.”
- Your product: “eBank is how fair, modern banking should be. Zero costs, no hidden fees, and no minimum balance required. We’re the bank built with your wallet in mind.”
- Stats and testimonials: “Hear from a few of the 500,000 people who’ve made the switch to better banking with eBank.”
Ultimately, with successful direct response copywriting, you’re taking a potential buyer from a non-believer to a zealot in a single landing page.
3. Use direct, everyday language
In most cases, direct response copywriting is most effective when it uses second-person language like “you,” “your,” and “yours.”
Remember, you’re not talking to a random person—every single line of copy should be crafted to address each and every reader directly.
A conversational tone is often your best friend when it comes to direct response copy. This doesn’t mean “dumbing it down” or speaking like you would to a friend, necessarily.
Instead, your copy should be informal, approachable, and inviting while maintaining a knowledgeable and professional tone.
And since your goal is to get readers to take action, you should use active verbs and commands in your copy: “See for yourself,” “Get to know us,” “Take charge of your financial future,” and “Learn more” are just some examples.
Commands are especially useful in your ultimate call-to-action. CTAs are usually a distinct action, like, “Book a meeting,” “Give us a call,” or “Download our app.”
The Right Copy Leads to Action
Direct response copy is the bread and butter of successful marketing. It gets readers to take action and provides tangible, measurable results (sales or conversions).
That said, successful financial direct response copy is some of the toughest copy to write. It takes a knowledgable, experienced copywriter who’s written plenty of financial copy before and who has the portfolio to prove it.
Tailored Ink’s award-winning team of financial copywriters can sell readers on whatever you’re looking to market. We work with all types of financial institutions, from banks and brokerages to insurance companies, private equity firms, hedge funds, crypto startups, and more.