Lowering the Reading Level Increases Client Engagement

When producing marketing materials, advisors often use too many financial terms, big SAT words and complex sentences, Captains of Content founder Matt Ledoux writes on Advisor Perspectives. Complex copy can be difficult to understand and people will not read it, he writes.  

How Advisors Can Improve Their Copy

While rewriting website copy for a large financial institution, user engagement was tracked using the number of clicks a page received, according to Ledoux. The site had more than 10 million prospects and investors visiting each month, and Ledoux found that plainly written, conversational copy engaged people more than complicated financial writing, he writes. Furthermore, concise headlines and articles were more engaging than longer ones, according to Ledoux.

As with any writing, a lower-grade level is often better, he writes. A study by the co-founder of Contently found that books on the best-seller list were an average of a 7th-to 8th-grade reading level, according to Ledoux.

The reading level of copy can be tested using various websites and apps, he writes. One large financial firm runs all its copy through one such app and rewrites anything that comes out above a 7th-grade level, Ledoux writes.

Easy-to-read copy should have short sentences, no large SAT words and be in the active rather than passive voice, he writes. Advisors shouldn’t use too many adjectives and should try to avoid long words, Ledoux writes. Furthermore, advisors should use periods to cut up complicated sentences rather than using commas, semicolons or conjunctions, he writes.

In addition to changing the form, advisors should also examine the content of their marketing copy, according to Ledoux. A study found that clients engage more with copy that is focused on them rather than the advisor, using "you" and "your" instead of "me" and "I," he writes.

Advisors should not be concerned about losing credibility through simple writing as studies have shown that it increases people's interest in the copy and reaches a larger audience, according to Ledoux.


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