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Some financial advisors win because they’re great at selling. When someone answers the phone or sits down in their office, it’s hard for the prospect not to hire the advisor. 

But if you’re in meetings and phone calls all day, you’re a salesperson, not a financial advisor. 

That’s why copywriting is awesome: If you can write persuasive copy, you’re selling 24/7, attracting clients and getting appointments with them. 

In this episode, you’ll find out how to write copy that sells—and 3 scientifically proven ways to supercharge your copy and attract a horde of clients. 

Want to sell by writing instead of being stuck in calls? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • How writing copy lets you scale your client attraction without scaling your effort (3:31)
  • The “Curiosity Gap” strategy that makes readers click, read and convert (6:42)
  • Why changing a single number in your headlines gets you more readers. (9:39)
  • The weird reason length is more important for cold email success than the words you say(15:39)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: Hey, financial advisors, hope you're doing well. This week's episode is going to be all about copywriting. And this will be the first time I've ever directly talked about copywriting itself on the podcast and that's because a lot of you have requested it. Several people have asked me if I write my own emails. Yes, I do. I've been emailing every single day for a long time. And I write my own emails. I've also written emails for financial advisors to use. I've talked about my email marketing campaigns on the show before they work, because I know how to write emails, that set appointments. You can have the best software in the world. You can have the best times to send the best niche so on and so forth. But if you don't know what to say in your emails, you're probably not going to get the conversions that you want. But this episode is not going to be just about email marketing. It's going to be about copywriting. Again, I don't wanna stress that it. You can use copywriting skills in multiple arenas. You can use it in direct mail, email marketing, so on and so forth. [01:29.1]

And in the marketing world, copywriting is often referred to as sales applied to the written word. Imagine taking a company salesperson and stuffing that person into the written word and the written word in front of thousands of people. That's why copywriting is so important. It's all about getting your sales message across to the reader and having good copy can make the difference between a monster winner and an absolute failure. And it makes a huge difference. Like I said, not only with email and direct mail, but with websites, social media pages, online ads and more, I, I don't like complicating things. So, I'll keep it super simple. [02:10.3]

The goal of copywriting is to get someone to do something. If you and I each write online advertisements and they both get shown to a thousand people and I get 40 clicks and you get 20 clicks, my ad is twice as effective as yours, assuming everything else is equal and we're statistically significant. The explanation for why my ad performed better has to come down to the words I used to sell my message. I simply sold the click better than you did. And the nice thing about me talking about copyright writing is that I write copy all the time. I would say that I've written copy every single business day for the past six years at this point, at least six years. And before that I would write copy sporadically. I had some other businesses and did some work for personal finance websites and was even a semi freelance copywriter as a teenager, which I have mentioned on the show before. I've also talked about one of my first “real jobs”, which was in the marketing department of a casino. And in that role, I would essentially use the written word to persuade people to come in, lose money. [03:19.0]

Well, I mean, that's not what, all of what I did, but that is a part of the job description. And my friend, if you can do that, you can do anything. My promise to you is that if you learn to harness the written word, you will be able to scale more effectively because you will get more of whatever it is that you want. Remember copywriting is about getting someone to do something so that could be clicks, opens, appointments, whatever. I don't care what it is. These copywriting tips that I'm going to share with you can be used everywhere. So, let's get into it. [03:52.1]

The very first tip I have for you is when in doubt use curiosity, and I think this is the best beginner tip I can give anyone hands down. Chances are, if you're a financial advisor listening to this, you don't know much about copywriting, you have no idea. You might think that copywriting is like getting a copyright for a product or a service or a term or something. No, no, no. Copywriting is sales applied to the written word, it to imprint. That is like one of the stories that gets told in the marketing world. That's fine, if you don't know much about it, I am here to help you. A good starting point is to inject more curiosity into whatever it is you are writing. Curiosity gets clicks, opens, and phone calls. If I'm feeling lazy and I don't really wanna work on any given day, I will use curiosity. I personally default to curiosity, if I don't feel like thinking, if I don't feel like working that hard. [04:48.2]

For example, a lot of my email subject lines have curiosity sprinkled in them. Let's take a look at some of my subject lines. One subject line that I have here is here's how financial advisors can succeed in the next 365 days. That gets people curious when people view that they're like, well, wait, what can I do? Why 365 days? Is the information time sensitive? People begin asking questions. The curiosity gets peaked. Here's another subject line. What financial advisors can learn from Tony soprano? This works well with Soprano's fans. People might be wondering, well, who the heck is Tony Soprano? What? Tony's soprano? Isn't he like the mob mafia guy? Why, what do financial advisors have to do with Tony Soprano? So, curiosity gets peaked there as well, many listicles. So, listicles is the term for articles with list in them. These things also use curiosity. If you see an article with the title, like 10 unorthodox ways, this financial planner helps Arizona residents plan for retirement and, and you're an Arizona resident, you're probably going to click because your curiosity should be peaked there. [05:52.0]

If you're an Arizona resident and you see the 10 unorthodox ways that someone is helping Arizona residents plan for retirement, well, you're probably going to get sucked in. And what gets really cool is you can advertise that on social media and you can target by geography and you can target by geography pretty much anywhere, I mean, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, go Google. On Twitter you can even target the followers of certain newspapers. So, guess what? You can advertise to people following newspapers in Arizona and it will quite literally do the targeting for you, but I don't wanna give too much away. That's some pretty high-level stuff, just know that that's possible. About a decade ago, a company called Upworthy was killing the content marketing game. They had had article after article, after article go viral and they analyzed their own success to see what they did well and what they didn't do so well. [06:44.2]

And they found that every viral article headline, no exceptions whatsoever, every single one had a curiosity gap. And that's their term, that's not mine. That's what they used to describe it. They basically said very successful article that they had had this “curiosity” gap. And this meant the headline didn't give away the whole story, but it was still tantalizing enough to get someone to click. And since this was about a decade ago, the example that they gave from their own study, seeing what they did right and what they did wrong. It was about Mitt Romney, I mean, remember him? God don't even get me started. They compared these two headlines. The first headline was Mitt Romney says something bad again. It's like, nah, it's not so good, there's not enough curiosity there. And headline number two was Mitt Romney says, I want the middle class to be tied to the roof of my car. Well, now we're talking, that's a lot of curiosity. So, if someone sees that on Facebook, they're probably going to click because why in the world would MIT Romney say this thing? And that is essentially how it works. [07:47.6]

If I could just give beginners one tip and they wanna become better at copywriting, it would be to inject more curiosity into whatever it is that they're doing, whether it be their LinkedIn profile, whether it's the website, the homepage, us contact page so on and so forth. Emails, of course, direct mail doesn't matter. Seminar invitations, wherever you have writing wherever you're trying to get someone to do something put more curiosity in it. Show people in your friends’ group, show people in your family, what your writing, give them a sneak peek. And if they ask you if they can learn more, then you've got enough curiosity. [08:24.7]

Number two, put more numbers in your copy. There are several reasons why numbers work well in copy and I'm gonna outline a few of them here. I talked about listicles, listicles work. Some of the most viral articles ever are listicals. If you go to Buzzfeed, for example, I mean, Buzzfeed is another company that does extremely well in content marketing. They do extremely well, advertising their articles and they have ads within the articles, of course, but they do very, very well. And if you look at these articles, you will see that nearly all of them are listicles. Studies have been done, which have found that headlines starting with a number, get shared more than those that don't. There are articles that say things like five easy ways to and so on, so forth. Or 10 simple things you can do to blank. And a lot of people hate on listicles, it's kind of in right now to hate on them, but they do work. [09:18.4]

If you scroll through the titles of this podcast, the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast episodes, you will see that many of them have numbers in them. This is done intentionally. I'm not just randomly putting numbers in these titles. I know titles with numbers are more likely to get listened to. Even this episode is going to have a number attached to it. Studies have also found that higher numbered list were shared more than lower numbered lists. So, if I had an article with 100 copywriting tips for financial advisors, it would probably get shared more than an article with seven tips. And I found this to be true in my email as well. So once in a blue moon, what I'll do is I'll sit down and I'll make a list of 20 things about a subject. It may be 20 things I wish financial advisors knew about referral marketing or 20 mistakes financial advisors make with their content marketing, stuff like that. And when I use those as subject lines, they invariably get higher open rates than the sub subject lines with lower numbers. [10:17.8]

So, here's some value from this podcast. I know people, they complain, they whine about, oh, he doesn't give much value. Like he's talking about these high-level philosophical things that I can't understand. And I'm just gonna project that onto other people. Here is the value. If you want to set more appointments, I want you to sit down and I want you to write an email subject line with a number 20 in it. It could be 20 things you wish people knew about you. 20 reasons why you love your niche. 20 financial planning, myths, people believe whatever it is, get 20 down. They don't have to be long-winded explanations either you could have one sentence for each. If people want the explanation, they can hire you. That's how this works. If people want more good stuff, if they want the how, rather than the what, then they can give you money. But write that out and use that as an email. Then I want you to take the money you make from the clients you get from that email that I'm telling you about right now and subscribe to the inner circle newsletter. It's the circle of life baby, keep that money circulating. You also wanna put more numbers in your copy because numbers can beef up specificity and simply put specific copy sells, better. It converts better, it just does better all the way around. [11:34.1]

Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.

Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [11:56.7]

In one of my newsletter issues, I started it off by explaining that I was writing it from my hotel balcony in Nashville, Tennessee, and I was about a block away from the country music hall of fame and that I could hear music playing. I could have just said, ‘Greetings from Nashville or I'm writing to you from Tennessee’, but I didn't do that. Why? Because I wanted to be specific. If you're talking about the appointments, you have this week, how many do you have? Give me a number. How many, how many clients do you serve? Exactly, how many people in your niche do you reach out to reach on a regular basis or either you reach out to, or they reach out to you? Sprinkle those numbers throughout your copy. Other numbers that work well on copy are times and dates. So instead of saying something like I parked my car on a winter morning, you could say it was 7:30 AM on January 18th when I pulled into my office parking lot. It's the same seen from you to your reader. It's just that the reader is getting more. The reader can envision more and it makes it better. [13:00.9]

The one about, you know, 7:30 AM on January 18th when I pulled into the office parking lot. It it's far more impactful than just saying, oh, I parked my car on a winter morning. If you can get more specific, your copy will better. And one of the best ways to get more specific is to put the numbers there. So, January what? January 18th. What time of day was it? That's a number 7:30 AM. Okay. So, this is kind of like what I want you to think. I want this to be ingrained. I want this to be a habit for you. [13:31.1]

Now number three, the third tip I'm gonna give you here is to make it easy to read. I know, this seems like common sense. I know people are probably gonna brush this off, say, okay, make it easy to read, like, oh, just another high-level tip from James. But if you study my copy, this is like something I actually do. So, whether it's sales pages, whether it's emails, anything I've written, you will see that my copy is incredibly easy to read. And there are many different reasons why I'm gonna give you a few here. I will break it up using bullet points. I'll use short paragraphs. I'll use a ton of white space, things like that. Sometimes I'll have an entire paragraph. And then the next line will be one sentence. Sometimes it's even one word. For example, I will set up an entire story and then I will ask a one sentence question, like why or how? People see these short paragraphs sprinkled in between the rest. And the reason that works is because it's not as intimidating as one long paragraph after another. They see the long paragraph they read reread, but they know that they have a little reward at the end because it's just a break. [14:33.5]

So, I could say something like financial advisor should listen to the financial advisor marketing podcast, because it's one of the best podcasts that you can listen to if you're a financial advisor. Period. And then I go to the next sentence, it's, you know, enter next paragraph. And the next paragraph is why. And then enter, you know, next paragraph, the financial advisor marketing podcast, I just go on and on and on and on it. Like it it's, it's just so much better than a paragraph of four sentences and then a paragraph of four sentences and then a paragraph of four sentences. You wanna have a paragraph with one sentence and then four sentences and then two sentences and one sentence and then one word, and then maybe five sentences. Like you vary it and it just works. I've done so many different heat map tests. I have tracked opens. I've tracked clicks. I track the time on page for websites. It's just this type of writing this style, the way that it looks, it just performs so much better. So, you could take the exact content that you already have. Let's say that you already have websites or web page ages. You already have emails. You could just break this up, break it up, make it easier to read, and you will get better results. [11:34.1]

Let me give you another specific tip that can put more money in your pocket. Did you know that one of the biggest predictors of a cold emails’ success is its length? Again, this is a cold email. This is not an email from an autoresponder sequence, they are different. A cold email is an email that you're sending to someone who did not opt into your list. Doesn't know who you are. It, it is cold, right? An autoresponder sequence is when someone opts into your email list, they're raising their hand. They're saying, yes, I wanna hear more from you. Please send me some stuff. So, you send them some stuff. So, one of the biggest predictors, just like I said, of a cold email of success is the length. This applies to outbound messages on LinkedIn as well. So, there is a direct correlation between message length and the likelihood of receiving a reply. The shorter the message, the more likely it is to receive a reply. [16:31.3]

And copywriters when it comes to making it easier to read, making it less intimidating, they also talk about having what's called a greased slide or bucket brigade copy. And this comes from the old days of firefighting, which if you don't know what a bucket brigade is, brigade, I should say it's when a bucket of water would be passed along the line from person to person until it was tossed on a fire. If you see some of these old movies or old cartoons, you've probably seen one before, if there was a firefighting scene. The bucket just kept going from firefighter to firefighter, to firefighter. That's what you want your copy to do. Every sentence has a job and the job of most of your sentences is to get the next sentence read. In a direct mail piece, the headline gets the first sentence read. In an email, the subject line gets to email opened then the first sentence gets someone to read the next sentence and so on. All the way to the end, where the entire email sells the person on clicking. Then the person clicks, the person goes to a landing page. What does the landing page do? The landing page sells the person on setting an appointment, doing whatever it is you want the person to do or whatever it is. [17:38.0]

Like it doesn't have to be an appointment, it could be something else. For financial advisors, it's almost always going to be an appointment that is almost always. I'm careful to say always, so I'm gonna say almost always the best and highest use of a financial advisor's email real estate. If you're brand new and you've never focused on copywriting a day in your life, I'm going to give you two tips right now that can get the bucket brigade effect in your copy. First, shorten your sentences and your paragraphs. Whatever you're writing, I don't care what it is, it's probably too long. This is one of the most common criticisms I had of websites when I was doing website critiques and I still see it all the time in direct mail, all letters, social media profiles, and more. Shorten, whatever it is you are writing right now or whatever you've already written, chances are it's too long. I know, you're probably thinking no I'm good. No, no, no, no, no, you probably are not. Whatever it is, it is probably too long. [18:32.6]

Next, ask more questions. Put them in your copy where people would ask questions anyway. This is a very high-level tip. I'm not a hundred percent confident in myself that I can explain this the best way that I would like to, but I'm going to try. For example, you might say I've been named one of Denver's top 40 financial advisors to watch then instead of continuing on whatever it is that you were gonna say, I want you to insert this question. What does that mean? And then you insert credibility in there. You beef it up even more. So, the copy becomes transformed into this. So, I'm gonna tell you as if I'm reading it from a sales page or an about us page, whatever it is. I've been named. One of Denver's top 40 financial advisors to watch. What does that mean? It means I am in the top 1.9% of Denver's 2,221 financial advisors and I have a bunch of qualifications, including, and then you list the qualifications. So, take note of the specificity here too. Top 1.9%. Denver's 2,221 financial advisors. So, these are very specific, it makes it more believable, it just makes it makes better copy. You're inserting questions where people would ask them. So, if you let's say that most people don't know what the CFP is. So, when you introduce the fact that you're a CFP, you could literally say, I am a CFP. What does that mean? It means, and then you tell them what it means [19:58.8]

Or I'm a fiduciary, lots of people throw the fiduciary term around, but what does it exact, what does it mean exactly? Or you say that you're from a little town outside of Denver called whatever. I don't know any towns outside of Denver. And so, the question would be where's that exactly? Oh, it's about 40 miles south of Denver. And you just explain and explain and explain and explain, you, make it more believable. You're addressing the questions as the reader, ask them. That is an incredibly, incredibly powerful tip. And another one I wanna give you is to make the copy better and make it easier to read is to put your copy through a reading level test. If you are writing college level, copy it is probably not easy to read. There are many places online that will let you see your reading level. You could just Google reading level test or copywriting reading level or website page reading level. You can probably copy and paste, whatever it is that you're writing, or you can insert the URL. And it will spit out the reading level. [20:55.7]

I personally aim for about eight, nine and 10th grade. There are a lot of marketing sites that say you should stick around eighth grade. It, it really does depend on your audience. Some audiences are more comfortable, but don't fool yourself into thinking that just because you have college level writing that your audience is gonna be okay with it. Make sure you actually know, make sure you get the facts and when it comes to writing, copy that converts, you want to stick on the side of easier to read more often than not. I could talk about copywriting for hours, but I'm going to stop here and let me tell you why. [21:28.1]

If this episode does well, I would like to turn it into either a product where I really, really, really go deep into copywriting. And I basically tell you everything that I know, and it will be one of the most valuable things I've ever created, but it will take me some time because I would have to write everything out. I would have to plan it very well and I would have to make it worth your while, or I would turn it into a series of four episodes, which would still be good, but I couldn't do as deep of a dive. It wouldn't be like a five-hour program or anything like that. So, if I do the four-part series, it means for an entire month, the financial advisor marketing show will be about copywriting. And even those several people have asked me to do a copywriting episode, I don't know if there's enough demand for me to make an entire series about it. And I don't wanna invest a lot of my time into making a paid product. Let's say that it takes me 80 hours to create a copywriting product and I sell it for, I don't know, 500 bucks and I sell 10 copies cause that would be terrible. I, I would feel like crap if I only sold 10 copies, but 10 copies for like 500 bucks. That's $5,000. Like I, I just can't work 80 hours for $5,000, right. So, I need to know that there's demand there. I don't wanna create anything if people aren't interested in the copywriting and I don't wanna have my listenership drop off. I don't wanna put all that time in it. I hope that makes sense. [22:48.1]

So, if you have enjoyed this content and you want me to create either a paid product or a four-part series about copywriting and using the written word to get more of what you want and to get people to do stuff, please let me know. You can do so either by emailing james@theadvisorcoach.com or leaving a review, wherever you listen to podcast and let me know, enjoyed the copywriting content. Make sure you, you let me know that. Don't just say, enjoy the show, enjoy the podcast, whatever. Make sure you let me know that it's the copywriting stuff that you like. And if enough people are interested, I will move forward. If I don't get enough interest, I won't do it, that's why I test these things. So, thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you. And I'll catch you next week. [23:28.2]

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