In honour of St Valentine, here at Copylab we are wondering: how can you talk to your customers with love?
And we’ve come to the conclusion that the most loving thing you can do for anyone – your partner, your crush, and yes, your customers too – is show just how much you are thinking of them. You’re really trying to see things from their point of view and take their feelings into account.
But what, you may well ask, does this have to do with financial writing?
Well, when writing to a customer about money, it might be worth asking: where is the love? How can I do this with much more warmth? More care? More attention to detail?
Let’s think about the reader and be thoughtful of what they want.
When you’re writing for customers, don’t just think ‘generic retail reader, average age 40–55’. Keep someone you really care about in mind and consider carefully how you would write for them. Warren Buffett addresses the first draft of his famous annual shareholder letter to his sisters, who, he explains, ‘don’t know a lot about finance’.
Your reader might not have a lot of time to read your document. So boil those words down and stay totally on message.
- Maybe mention ‘this is important, and it should only take a few minutes to read.’ Or, ‘this is going to take a little time to complete, but we’ve made it as straightforward as we can.’
- Make sure your reader can get through your information quickly: bullet point the important stuff, use headlines and break text into helpful sections. Highlight any deadlines or actions they may have to take.
No jargon, no bamboozling. Explain the most complex things in detail that’s easy to understand. And be especially considerate when money has been lost. You could try out some phrases along these lines:
- ‘The mechanism is complicated. If you want to know the full story, we’ve put together a detailed explanation on our website. But, in a nutshell, it’s to do with how bond prices have risen over the year.’
- ‘There have been falls on equity markets over the past few months. This may have affected the value of your investments. We’ve added some pages with straightforward information about what has happened, so you can learn more.’
How can you show your customers you know and care about them?
- You have the tools to know more about your customer than ever before, so it’s totally possible to avoid the one-size-fits-all approach and tailor your message appropriately.
- Can you thank long-serving customers for loyalty? Adapt different letters to older or younger customers? Send thank you notes to customers who’ve increased their contributions? If you know useful information about your customers, you should be using it.
The hard sell is dead. Long live the gentle reminder.
- No one wants to be bludgeoned with ‘buy it now’, ‘the discount deadline is tomorrow’, or ‘this is a once in a lifetime price’. Instead, tread gently and thoughtfully with messages like: ‘could this help you?’, or ‘we’ve listened to your feedback and created this with you in mind.’
If you love your customers, there’s every chance that they will stay true.
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