Financial marketing gets a bad rap for being cold, impersonal, and littered with jargon. We need to make business feel personal again. By taking a more human-centric approach, you’d get higher engagement and sell more products while having happier clients.
We’re so close to the business and used to talking like a marketer that we sometimes forget how to talk like a non-marketer. We forget others don’t know everything we’re talking about.
One trick in writing your email copy is to think about how you’d talk to a friend. You don’t have to be super casual, but being conversational is the goal. At its core, that’s what email is: a conversation between two people.
Why talk like a human in emails?
Conversational marketing has seen a rise in popularity because it works. But it’s not just for chatbots. Reap the benefits with your emails, too. According to BizJournals, you’ll be able to:
• Create authentic, meaningful interactions with target audiences.
• Build trust and increase loyalty among prospective and existing customers.
• Reduce friction within the buying process to help your prospects move seamlessly through the funnel.
How to humanize your email marketing
First, human-centered copy is not necessarily about warm fuzzy feelings or extremely casual conversation. You can still be professional and have your emails feel more human. Here’s how.
Do speak your clients’ language
Instead of trying to get clients to understand your language, you need to understand theirs. You could literally write or translate emails in your clients’ language — such as Mandarin Chinese or British English — but you need to be more nuanced than that.
What do your clients say when they’re geeking out over investment management? How do they describe their needs?
Listen in on phone calls. Attend meetings. Watch recordings. Actually talk to your clients (past, present, and future). Most importantly, pay attention to how your clients speak.
Don’t speak to everyone
Treat people like individuals. Your emails aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. By focusing on a specific set of professional investors — a.k.a. email personalization — you can better hone in on their language. By trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. That being said…
Do watch for non-inclusive language
Speaking your clients’ language doesn’t mean adopting their harmful word choices. Obviously, right? But certain words are so ingrained in our lives, we may not realize they negatively impact another person. This non-inclusive language treats people unfairly, insults, or excludes a person or group of persons.
Being human means showing empathy in emails, too, so you have to be aware of things like sexist financial terms and be intentional about using language that’s inclusive. For example, instead of saying “grandfather clause,” you could say “legacy” or “heritage,” and instead of saying “chairman,” you could say “chairperson.”
Don’t use jargon or fluff
Jargon, acronyms, and fluff mask real meaning and don’t add value. No matter how smart your clients are, never assume they know what you’re talking about. Even those that do, take longer to understand. Making people think about what you’re really trying to say can turn them — and their wallets — away. Especially in email where you only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention.
“We leverage strategic thinking to help our clients gain a competitive edge by developing solutions that drive better financial wellbeing holistically.”
What does that actually mean? What’s being offered here?
Do use plain language
If jargon is the enemy, plain language is your friend.
However, simplifying does not mean dumbing down. It’s about keeping convenience top of mind. The easier you make it for clients to take action, the higher and faster returns you’ll see. Consider your clients who may be new to asset management, who may be neurodivergent, or even those distracted by kids in the home office.
Dr. Annetta Cheek, plain language advocate responsible for the U.S. 2010 Plain Writing Act, said:
“The . . . burden of understanding is [usually] on the reader. And actually, the burden of understanding clarity should be on the writer. Plain language is audience focused. There are no hard rules, except to be clear to your audience.”
Use pronouns, shorter sentences, and active verbs. If you need some help, Hemingway App is an easy editor that makes your writing bold and clear.
Do provide value
Instead of something vague like, “Your business is very important to us,” show how that is: “We understand there’s a lot of volatility right now, and here’s what we’re doing about it.”
And get ahead of potential friction by answering clients’ questions in your email. If you’re promoting a bond portfolio: Who is this ideal for? How does it work? What’s in it? What’s the expected total return over what time interval?
Don’t be too clever
Humor and cleverness can be useful tools to make your emails stand out and feel relatable — but don’t force it and don’t overdo it. Remember, clarity is key. If you’re dropping a pun, your clients could be missing the point.
That isn’t to say you can’t be clever. Just make sure you’re still providing value, like balancing a clever headline with clear body copy.
Do review your greeting
Think about the defaults in your emails if key information is missing.
With emails that use a stationery style, avoid impersonal fallbacks in the greeting that kick in when a first name isn’t available such as “Dear Valued Client.” Would you say that to your clients if you were speaking to them in person? More likely, you’d say, “Hi FirstName,” “Hi Ms. LastName,” or “Hi there” if you didn’t know their name. In this case, the fallback for no first name could be “there.”
Other data fields to watch for in your email marketing are profile information like company name, last name, industry, city, or state.
Don’t use a no-reply email address
Let’s take another tip from conversational marketing and encourage dialogue within your emails. Meaning, do not send from “no reply” email addresses! You can’t talk like a human in your email marketing if you won’t even… talk. There’s nothing like a no-reply email address to make a client feel like you don’t care about what they have to say. Don’t speak at your clients; speak with them.
Do read your email aloud
Last but not least: When your email copy is ready, read it out loud. Does it feel natural or robotic? Does it make sense without any imagery? Read it to a friend — do they understand what you’re saying?
Making your email marketing feel more human is a great way to connect with your clients and get your message across. Follow these dos and don’ts, and you’ll be well on your way to better emails.
Want more help? Humanize your emails with StoneShot’s email marketing platform and agency services. You’ll get superior customer service with real people who care — not a faceless organization that treats you like a number. If you want to learn more, let’s chat.