Writing is one of the most important elements of marketing. Whether you are producing printed collateral or digital content, what you say and the way you say it has a huge impact on your financial institution’s image. It  affects how your organization’s message is received and shared by your target audience. Strong content also impacts search engine optimization and where your financial institution ranks in search engine results. 

Last month, we began a two-part series on the importance of strong writing in marketing by definingwhat good writing is, providing the scientific effectiveness of good writing in storytelling and demonstrating the value of good writing for search engine optimization (SEO). This month, we share tips for improving your writing, which ultimately should improve your marketing content 

Know Your Audience

The way you speak to your customers or members in writing impacts their willingness to continue reading. If your business lending copy and your kids club newsletter have the same tone, that’s a problem. Speak the language your audience speaks, and promote the benefits most valuable to that audience. Your job is to sell them on the value of your financial institution. You can’t do that if you’re offending them or losing them in translation. 

Be Concise and Complete

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages. They are everywhere – online, on billboards, in stores, in the mail and on television, among others. People are not interested in weeding through paragraphs of copy to determine what’s in it for them. Say what you need to say, or better yet, what they need to hear, but get to the point quickly. Make your most important point first. Keep your sentences brief – shoot for a maximum of 20 to 25 words. Whenever possible, break up copy with headlines, sub headlines or bullet points. The faster you convey your product or service’s benefits to the reader, the more likely you’ll keep them reading. 

Use Testimonials and Stories Whenever Possible

We touched on testimonials last month, but it bears repeating. Testimonials, when written well, evoke the emotions you want the readers to feel. Be selective, though. Don’t just fill your website with generic compliments from customers or members. Use their real-life situations to demonstrate specific examples of how your financial institution takes care of people. 

Big Words (and Thesauruses) Are Over Rated

Big words do not equal smarter copy (or a smarter writer for that matter). If you can say something with fewer words or letters, you should. For example, ditch the word utilize and replace it with the word use. It means the same thing, and most people say “use” when they speak. Use “free” instead of “gratuitous.” Replace “approximately” with “almost”, “about” or “nearly.”

For more valuable tips and more detailed information on improving your marketing writing, read the June issue of my monthly newsletter. You’ll also find the link to a humorous video about the downfalls of using a thesaurus, among other valuable resources.