Why the Language of Financial Services Brands Matter This Tax Season

Oh, tax season. The dreaded time of year has come again. But why is the process so abysmal? Financial institutions offer digital tax solutions to try to make it easy, but at the end of the day no one really likes digging out old receipts, sorting through W-2s and entering data into tax forms.

While the average U.S. citizen is not pounding down the door of their local H&R Block on Feb. 1 giddy with anticipation, financial service institutions look for ways to make the process more appealing, especially when vying for customers in an increasingly competitive market. In fact, they not only want to make it appealing, but they also need to make it feel secure.

Whether it’s a bank, investment firm or tax solution provider, the financial services industry needs to use language that makes consumers feel secure. Honestly, who doesn’t need some reassurance when it comes to investing and wealth management? And whether your consumers decide to use a service, software or consultant to file, financial companies have an opportunity to reach more customers and gain more revenue with the use of personalized, powerful language.

So, what does that mean? And how has language impacted the way these organizations performed in past years? Persado has the unique data insights to propel results forward.

Breaking it down by emotion

Persado’s AI language and decisioning platform generates content that works better than humans 96% of the time. Marketers can create compelling content that improves conversion consistently over time by using components like emotion, description, functionality, formatting, narrative, positioning and call to action. Using language tags and emotional categories to inform the algorithm, Persado breaks down language by emotions like:

  • Urgency: typically a negative emotion that implies a time limitation
  • Attention: alerting the customer to the importance of the message
  • Gratification: incentivizing by highlighting the value the customer receives
  • Curiosity: directing the customer into the message to get more information
  • Encouragement: motivating the customer toward an action

The language of tax time

So, what does that mean for tax season? Let’s evaluate some emotional performance metrics from our financial services clients.

Sheena Vira, content intelligence manager at Persado shares: “We might expect urgency to perform the best for something that is deadline driven and that requires an action. Instead, we’ve found it to perform consistently well, but it doesn’t top the charts. Given our data, we recommend that you continue to reference urgency in this sort of time sensitive communication, but don’t rely on it exclusively to entice customers to take action.”

Some examples of urgency include:

  • Time-sensitive: details regarding your refund enclosed
  • Don’t delay—2022 tax deadline is approaching
  • Immediate action necessary to file your taxes in time

In addition, Sheena points out that attention performs consistently well overall in the industry of financial services, especially when the intent is for the customer to take notice.

Some examples of attention include:

  • Action Required: Tax Deadline Is Approaching
  • Important Account Information Enclosed
  • Please Review Your Monthly Statement

While attention works well in some instances, it may not always be the right emotion to use when inspiring further action. Instead, emotions like gratification or curiosity can often be more effective in getting the customer to engage.

Some examples of gratification include:

  • We’re giving you an easy way to file
  • Please redeem your sign-up offer

Specifically around tax season, attention performs exceptionally well in getting the customer to take notice, but underperforms when incentivizing the customer to take action. According to our content intelligence team, more neutral emotions such as curiosity and encouragement drive the most response during the weeks leading up to the tax deadline.

Some examples of curiosity include:

  • Here are your next steps
  • See what offers you qualify for
  • Learn more about your refund status

This data suggests that when a known deadline is approaching, customers respond and are incentivized to take action when the messaging is less of an “alert” using negative emotions such as attention, and more of a nudge using neutral language such as encouragement or curiosity. 

Some examples of what encouragement looks like in messaging:

  • You’re still on track for filing your taxes on time
  • There’s still time to file for your refund
  • It’s easy to file, we recommend starting here

When it comes to the begrudging task of doing taxes, financial services organizations should use language to ensure that the process will be painless. This messaging should encourage customers to read the content to get further information about the process and then take action to get those taxes filed and off their to-do list.


Open chat
thank you for contacting us, for more information
please chat