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When you study copywriting, most books will teach you how to write formulaic copy. Now, formulaic copy isn’t bad… but is it the best?

No, it’s not the best because in order to write the best copy, you need to deeply understand your market. That’s why, for example, headlines that break all the copywriting rules tend to do the best.

This lesson doesn’t just apply to copywriting either. It applies to every piece of content and marketing you put out.

And you know what?

Financial advisors, perhaps more than any other industry, are uniquely skilled to tap into this next level of copywriting.

Listen now to discover how to tap into this next level of copywriting, and eliminate your competitors.

Show highlights include:

  • How to write stronger, more captivating, and more revenue-boosting headlines by simply asking questions (3:51)
  • The “just ship it” secret for pumping out the most revenue out of your hectic day (4:39)
  • Why making people feel noticed unlocks the true power of copywriting magic (and why financial advisors are especially equipped for this, even if you’re not a good copywriter) (6:08)
  • The “FDD” method for making your financial advising clients feel like you’re the only advisor who actually “gets” them (9:57)
  • One of the most powerful forms of proof you can put in your marketing (and why it’ll never get you hassled by compliance) (14:19)

Want to watch some of my appearances on other people's YouTube channels and listen to me as a guest on other people's podcasts? Head over to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/media

Want access to my 57 favorite financial advisor marketing ideas? Download the free PDF at https://theadvisorcoach.com/57mt

Want to become an expert at niche marketing and put growing your business on “easy mode?” Then join my niche marketing program here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/niche.html

Need help getting more clients as a financial advisor? I created a free, 53-minute video outlining the steps to my “CLIENT Method,” which helps financial advisors land more clients. Watch the video before I take it down here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/theclientmethod.html

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.

Want to transform your website into a client-getting machine? Go to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/website to get The Client-Getting Website Guide.

Want a masterclass training in running effective Facebook Ads? Head to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/ads-training.

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 advisors 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 advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.

James: Yo, financial advisors, what's good? I hope you're doing well. This week, I want to chat with you about copywriting and niche marketing. I'll be giving a lot of copywriting examples in this episode, but you will see how it ties into niche marketing. [00:46.0]

But first, did you know I have a media page where you can watch some of my appearances on other people's YouTube channels and listen to me as a guest on other people's podcasts? It's true, and you can find it over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/media. Right now, there are over eight hours of additional marketing content where I talk about everything from content marketing to digital marketing to email marketing and more, so if you can't get enough of these podcasts, god help you, and you want even more, go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/media and check it out.

Now, why am I talking about copywriting when it comes to niche marketing? Copywriting is a passion of mine. I've been studying it for a long time. There was a period in my life where I would look at old-school advertisements and I would hand write them. I would write them out, every single word. I would write the headline, the subhead, the lead, the offer, everything, because I wanted the rhythm of the ad and the pattern of the ad to get meshed in my brain. I've spent, gosh, tens of thousands of dollars, probably over 100 grand at this point on copywriting training. I've been in everything from in-person groups to online courses and more. Books, obviously dozens and dozens of books. [02:01.7]

I actually have a sales page on my website that has been reviewed and critiqued by A-list copywriters, which is a wonderful experience by itself. These are people that I’ve read about and I’ve studied, and I got the chance to work directly with them. That was an honor.

Also, think about how strong that page must be, because three separate world-class copywriters got a chance to rip it apart and improve it. I also took copious notes during that and I tried to apply what they said elsewhere, so if they said, “Hey, you should do X,” then I’d be like, Oh, if I do x on this sales page, I should do X on the sales page, this email, this social media post, and I really soaked up a lot of info from everything that I’ve done in the copywriting world.

In case you're new around here, I have also been writing daily emails for many years. If you do anything every single day for years, you'll at least get better. If you try, you'll get great. I'm always improving and I definitely see where I can get a lot better, but I have been told by numerous people that they consider me the best email writer in the financial advice space . . . and, well, who am I to disagree? [03:04.2]

I've also written, gee, I don't know how many online ads and maybe two dozen different long-form sales pages for The Advisor Coach alone. These are not little itty-bitty sales pages. These are thousands of words. I'm telling you all this to let you know that I’ve been through a lot of copyrighted material and I’ve practiced it for years, so you should kinda sorta listen to what I’m telling you.

When you go through a copywriting training or read a copywriting book, you'll begin to notice that a lot of them treat copywriting formulaically. They will tell you how to write a headline, then how to write an opening sentence, then how to write body copy, then how to write bullets, then how to write a strong call to action, just as an example, and there are formulas within each of those things. [03:48.3]

For example, there are several headline formulas that people can follow, so not only is the headline part of a formula, but there are formulas for writing headlines. One formula is to use the word “how” at the beginning and then list a benefit. Another formula is to ask a question. A lot of the best headlines ever written were actually questions, like “Is the life of a child worth $1 to you?” and “Do you make these mistakes in English?” Both of those headlines were monster winners.

And don't get me wrong, formulas can be good. They can serve as fantastic baselines, meaning, if you have nothing else, then formulas are good to get you started. If you locked me in a room and forced me to come up with a decent sales letter in a few hours, I'll admit, I would use mostly formulas. I would say, “Okay, this is what a headline should look like. This is what bullet points should look like,” and so on, until I was finished.

I still use formulas to this day. I use them in my emails, because it's not like I can sit down and spend four or five hours really making sure that the email is just absolutely amazing, and I get it you're good enough and then ship it, good enough and then ship it, and that's how I’ve been able to write daily emails every single day for years. It would be impossible for me to just crank out the absolute best, because that would take a lot of time and a lot of effort, and, quite frankly, it wouldn't be the best use of my gifts, because my gifts are involved in helping financial advisors in other areas. [05:10.0]

Following formulas and these step-by-step trainings and plans, they will help you create good copy. I'm obviously proof of that. So are many other people. People have been doing it for years. But what I’ve realized is there is another level of amazing copywriting that I think financial advisors are uniquely equipped to master. It's a level that increases your chances of having a winning marketing campaign and converting far more leads. Sounds too good to be true? It's not. What am I talking about? I'm talking about knowing your market.

This is one concept, knowing your market, but I’m going to give you a bunch of examples, because this isn't some tactic that you can plug and play into your business. This is a concept, a strategy that only you can embrace for your market, so I want to share it with you in a bunch of ways so I make the most of this opportunity and help you internalize it. [06:06.6]

To begin, let's say you're selling a supplement that protects against memory loss. If you follow the headline formula, you might crank out a headline like “7 Proven Ways to Protect Against Memory Loss.” It has an eye-catching number, 7, and a strong benefit, “protect against memory loss.” Any copywriter worth his or her salt would give that a solid seven or eight out of 10 rating. They'd look at it and they’d say, “Wow, that's a decent headline, good for you. You follow the classic headline formula.”

However, what if you change that headline to something like “Have You Ever Walked in a Room and Forgotten Why You Walked in?” That is a 10 out of 10, because even though it is a question and questions are frequently used in copywriting formulas, it is not the question itself that works the magic here. What works the magic is the statement that people feel, notice and worry about as they age, walking into a room and forgetting something. It taps directly into that market. [07:05.2]

Another formula that copywriters might try to follow when addressing the memory-loss market is something like this: “Studies have found that 42% of adults aged 60 and older suffer from short term memory loss” or something like that. But when you talk to people about memory loss, what do they say? They say things like this.

“I can't remember people's names. They're always on the tip of my tongue.”
“I misplace my keys, my wallet, the TV remote and other household objects.”
“I worry about being a burden to my children one day.”
So, other headlines could be “Tired of forgetting where you put your keys?” or “This one thing helped me stop forgetting names.” That sort of stuff is way more powerful than some headline formula that you can crank out by using a copywriting book. [07:48.7]

Now, of course, I want to be very clear, these formulas are good. They work well. I personally use them frequently. However, it's like comparing a $10 million dollar mansion to a $15 million one. Both are incredible, but one has a little bit more to give and it's more valuable than the other. I just want to make it clear that the formula stuff is not necessarily bad. Obviously, there's something to formulas if world-class copywriters are teaching it. Still, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult for people to teach “know your market” without talking to you one on one and actually, well, knowing your market.

I’ve definitely seen that with my Inner Circle members, for example, the ones who serve specific niches. I’ll have one who serves farmers, another with engineers, and another with dentists and another with pre-retirees in Tampa, Florida, and another one with-- so on and so forth, right? I'll give you an example. For someone who serves conservative pre-retirees in Wyoming, that won't necessarily work for corporate executives. It’s just you have to know the market. This is not something that I can just teach and give you as a tactic. I just have to tell you, you need to do the research. You need to do the hard work. You need to know your market and you also need to fill in the blanks. [09:00.0]

You see, the key here isn't just about addressing the surface-level problem. With memory loss, it would just be “Hey, are you forgetting stuff?” It's about connecting with the audience on an emotional level. It's about addressing their deeper fears and desires. And this connection isn't only for headlines. It's for every aspect of your marketing. The same principle applies to your emails, your social media posts, your sales pages, everything.

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 $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

Let's take another example from the finance industry. You could say “Grow Your Wealth with Proven Investment Strategies,” which is okay, it's not bad and it might actually get you hassled by compliance. But what if you dug a little deeper and you considered what is really on your clients’ minds? What are their fears, their dreams? Perhaps it's ensuring a comfortable retirement, affording their kids’ college education or leaving a legacy. [10:10.3]

So, instead, you might say, “Concerned about Your Retirement or Kids’ College Fund? Discover Strategies to Safeguard Your Family's Financial Future and Achieve Peace of Mind.” that is a solid 8.5, maybe an eight out of 10. It's a lot better than just the formulaic ones. It speaks directly to the audience's deeper concerns, and obviously, the ideal here is to go directly to your market and, whatever they say, put it back in there.

I'm reminded of an example from the prostate niche, prostate health, because a lot of men, middle-aged men have trouble and so on. I don't want to get into details, but a lot of the formulaic copywriters will say things like “Here are the 10 Biggest Predictors of Prostate Issues in Men.” I think that's not bad. It's a good headline. But the world's best copywriters that know the market will say things like “Are You Tired of Getting Up Four or Five Times Per Night to Pee?” or “Are You Afraid That You'll Dribble on Your Daughter's Wedding Day?” or something crazy like that, but it's just that it's a real fear. [11:10.8]

And dribbling on the daughter's wedding day, that's actually a real example. I think that is from Ben Settle. I’m not sure, so don't quote me on that. I just know that that's a perfect example of digging deep into someone's insecurity and amplifying it, because it is a real concern, and it is a game-changer because it speaks directly to the audiences’ deeper concerns. It's not just about copywriting or sales pages. It's also about content marketing. If you're writing blog posts, social media posts, podcast scripts, YouTube videos, anything, you need to speak the language of your market.

This concept isn't just about making your marketing better. It's about being a better financial advisor. The best advisors I know, the ones who have the most loyal clients and the biggest practices, they are the ones who know their markets better than anyone else. They know the deepest desires, the darkest fears and the biggest hopes of their clients. They're not just offering generic advice or marketing, or whatever. They're providing targeted, relevant and effective solutions that meet their clients exactly where they are. [12:11.8]

They're more than just financial advisors, right? They're guides. They're mentors. They're trusted partners. I know that stuff sounds kind of cheesy, like, Oh, I’m a guide. I’m not just a financial advisor. I’m a mentor or I’m a trusted partner. But in this case, it is true.

Now, this might seem like a lot of work, and I won't lie to you, it is, but it is worth it. Not only will this make you a better marketer and a better financial adviser, but it will also make you stand out from everyone else because people rarely do this. In a world full of generic one-size-fits-all marketing, a financial advisor who really understands his or her market is like a breath of fresh air—and let me tell you, people notice. Of course, they notice. In the prostate niche instead of the 10 predictors of prostate problems or whatever, if it says, “Are you afraid of dribbling on your daughter's wedding day?” they're going to notice that, you know what I mean? [12:58.3]

In the financial services industry, with financial advisors specifically, the people will trust you more, because they will know that you know them. They will listen to you more for the same reason and they'll be more likely to become clients for that same reason.

Here, I'll try something on you just to prove that this is a real thing and it is true. Do you know what the term “farrier” means? It's spelled F-A-R-R-I-E-R. Farrier. It's someone who puts—what do you think it is? It's someone who puts horseshoes on horses. Chances are you had no idea what that was unless you are involved in the equine world.

Next example. Let's say you're targeting school administrators. You could model the classic headline “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” and say “Educators, Do You Make Any of These Common Retirement Planning Mistakes?” and that is a solid headline. [13:53.3]

There's an old saying that nobody gets fired for buying a Xerox or nobody got fired for buying a Xerox, because it was a trustworthy brand and people didn't want to take a risk, because if they took a risk and it didn't work out, then it was their fault. But if they bought a trusted brand like Xerox and it didn't work, then it was Xerox’s fault. Nobody got metaphorically fired for using copywriting formulas. But what if you could make it a lot better?

You see in Delaware specifically, there's a software that schools use called eSchool, and eSchool frequently releases updates requiring school administrators to take time out of their busy days and relearn what they've already been doing. The process is extremely frustrating for them. So, what if your headline said, “Wow, That Last eSchool Update Was Bad, Wasn't It?” That's a much better headline, because it speaks directly to the market and it gives subtle proof that you are an insider to their world, because nobody else outside of that world even knows about eSchool, like farrier. People outside of the horse world don't know that about farriers. Chances are you didn't know what it was. [15:02.0]

This is one of the most powerful forms of proof you can put in your marketing and it's one of the many reasons why I tell financial advisors to focus on a specific target market in the first place, because until you have a specific target market, you can't do stuff like this. It's not even an option for you.

Another example, one of the things I like for financial advisors to do is to reveal information about themselves. This includes their hobbies, where they like to travel, their favorite foods, and more. This type of stuff works really well on websites’ About Us pages, and even better, in email autoresponder sequences, because it helps to build trust, credibility, and rapport. But you can take this to a whole new level if you serve a local market.

For example, let's say you're in Tampa, Florida, and you serve the Tampa market. I'm completely making this up, but let's say the number one pizza place that all the locals know is a place called Tony’s Pizza, meaning, all the tourists come in and they go to the beach and they go to some other place, but everyone in the know recognizes that Tony’s is the best. Okay? [16:03.8]

What you want to do is say something about Tony’s in your marketing. This could be a photo of you eating at Tony’s in the About Us or in your social media. It could be the opening line in your email or an entire story. Heck, it could be your subject line. Your subject line to an email could be “What a large Tony’s pizza can teach you about compound interest.” Then you could talk about how one 16-inch pizza is actually not just double the surface area of an 8-inch pizza. It's much more.

There's a joke. I’m going to go off on a little bit of a tangent here, but there's a joke I once heard about a man who ordered a 16-inch pizza and the pizza place told him, “Hey, we're out of 16-inch boxes. All we have are 8-inch boxes. Can we give you two 8-inch boxes or 8-inch pizzas instead?” and the guy responded, “Um, no, that's not how math works.” The formula for calculating the area of a circle is pi r2 (π r²). If you're curious, that's what it is. [17:01.8]

Also, if you're curious, the area of an 8-inch pizza is roughly 50 square inches. If you do π r² on that, that's what you get. The area of a 16-inch pizza is roughly 200 square inches, so even if you got three 8-inch pizzas, you'd still be getting a bad deal. Anyway, that's my math lesson for the day.

Speaking of pizza, I actually do have a food example I’d like to share with you. A long time ago, there was this promotion that ran for this book called The Chef's Secret Cook Book. I remember seeing this all over the place to get, not the ad, but the book, because my mom had one, my grandma had one, and my aunt had one. This thing sold like crazy. It came out in the ’70s and a whole bunch of people bought it, and I didn't realize it was a wildly successful marketing promotion until I started studying copywriting and I found an advertisement for it.

Do you know what the headline was? It was “For people who are almost (but not quite) satisfied with their own cooking—and can’t figure out what’s missing.” My goodness, that's an amazing headline. It doesn't really follow any copywriting formula or anything that you'll find in some copywriting book, but it was a huge winner. Why? Because it called out a market and it dug deep into what that market was thinking. [18:20.8]

When people cook a meal and they're not quite satisfied, what do they say? “Something's missing.” Obviously, they can't figure out what's missing, because if they figured out what's missing, they would put it in. Don't you think that this could be applied to financial advice and financial planning? I'm just spitballing here, but what if you did something like “For airline pilots who are almost (but not quite) satisfied with their retirement plan—and can't figure out what's missing”? Wow, that's pretty good.

Or what about “For do-it-yourself investors who think they've structured their investments correctly, but aren't quite sure”? Oh, man, that's good, too. I'll try one more. How about “For young fathers who know they need life insurance to protect their children, but aren't sure where to begin”? I hope you're getting the overall message here of knowing your market. [19:07.0]
I can't teach you the specifics because I don't know the specifics of every market. There are hundreds of niches out there and financial advisors help all sorts of people. Each group has its own insider lingo and language it uses to describe its problems. The whole point is to find that language and amplify it in your marketing.

An example. I’m going to wrap up the show, but an example from The Advisor Coach is lead gen. Whenever I talk about lead gen, it gets advisors’ attention. I could talk about generating leads, buying leads or getting more leads. Generally speaking, advisors will perk up. But if I went to a group of retirees and talked about generating leads, they would fall asleep. They wouldn't care. It is entirely market-dependent. Even if I use the best formula ever on retirees and I talked about generating leads, they still would not care.

I hope this has helped you. I know it's not some sexy tip, trick or tactic, or some button you can push, but it is a powerful strategy that should flow through all of the marketing you do in your business. The bottom line is, know your market. And I’ll catch you next week. [20:11.1]

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