How Wealthfront Humanizes Copy for Robo-advisors

People are more interested in investing than ever before. But few of us know where to start. Wealthfront, an automated portfolio management service, wants to help. Learn how they’ve mastered the art of speaking to Millennials to reach the next

Wealthfront humanizes copy for robo-advisors.

Until a few years ago, investing was something that only people with a certain amount of money and time could engage in. Now, investment portfolios are common dinner table fodder and friends recommend stocks to each other the same way they would TV shows. But while the exploding popularity of no-fee investment apps, personal finance vloggers, and meme stocks did a lot to pull conversations around investing into the mainstream, the average person is still pretty clueless about how to invest.

Wealthfront wants to change this. The company is a pioneer in automated portfolio management services—otherwise known as robo-advisors. Robo-advisor technology uses algorithms to create and manage personalized investment portfolios. Since the service is entirely digital, it comes at a much lower cost than traditional financial advisors and is accessible to a larger audience.

Although it’s a relatively new product, automated investing has gained popularity among the young and tech-savvy. Over 51% of millennials consider robo-advisors a safe way to invest, compared to just 24% of baby boomers. 

Wealthfront is taking full advantage of this with an automated investment product geared towards Millennials. Below we break down how they’re succeeding at democratizing financial advice and reaching the next generation of investors.

Wealthfront knows exactly who it’s talking to

Andy Rachleff, Wealthfront’s co-founder, is credited with coining the term ‘product-market fit’—an idea that’s dominated the tech industry for over two decades. A company achieves product-market fit when it creates a product that customers want to buy because it solves a problem for them. Reaching product-market fit requires deep knowledge of your target audience and its evolving needs.

Wealthfront is very clear on its target audience: young people—primarily Millennials—who have less than a million dollars to invest and are comfortable delegating management of their portfolios. And this narrow focus ensures that their message is highly attuned to that audience’s needs.

As a result, Wealthfront knows exactly who it’s talking to and how they need to talk to them. The brand voice features everything millennials have grown to love: quirky humor and lots of wordplay balanced with just enough details for readers to nerd out on. 

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Wealthfront delights their audience with humor and down-to-earth language 

As a company selling software as a service (SaaS) to consumers, Wealthfront’s challenge is twofold: breaking down a complex software product for readers while explaining how it fits into their lives. Here’s how their website nails copy for robo-advisors:

  • Conversational tone. “Pretend your investments are slices of pie.”

Wealthfront’s voice is that of your favorite college professor who wore sneakers instead of dress shoes and could break down even the most difficult topic into simple terms you could easily understand—while inserting a joke or two. Asides from setting it apart from large brokerage firms, this light tone helps Wealthfront reel in a Millennial audience that’s famously allergic to stiff, generic, and inauthentic messaging. 

Their tax-loss harvesting page, which breaks down how Wealthfront helps users benefit from dips in the market using pie, offers a powerful example of how to break down complex features into digestible terms.

  • Clear value proposition. “Investing is easy when it’s automated.”

There’s no doubt the software behind Wealthfront’s platform is very powerful. But it’s likely that most people in their audience will not have the knowledge to fully understand things like algorithms and AI. In fact, customers seek out Wealthfront precisely because they want to avoid the difficult stuff. So, instead of getting into the nitty gritty of how their technology works, Wealthfront distills its value proposition into a simple set of benefits centered around convenience, ease of use, personalization, and financial growth. 

  • Clear language. “What we do is complicated. What you do is really, really not.”

A big part of why people think investing is difficult has to do with the sheer amount of jargon involved. Arcane language puts people off and creates barriers. And this goes directly against Wealthfront’s mission of democratizing investing. By avoiding complex technical and financial terms, Wealthfront helps readers feel smart and confident and demonstrates they’re serious about making investing accessible.

  • Alliteration and wordplay. “Invest for the long term on your terms.”

Alliteration makes things fun, catchy, and memorable—which is extremely useful for lightening the mood when discussing portfolios and complex financial software. Wealthfront uses just the right amount of it to add some charm and delight readers without going so far that it loses its appeal or confuses them.

  • Emotion. “Save the world. And your time.”

Money is emotional—it’s both a source of stress and happiness. And no one is more emotional about their money than Millennials. Wealthfront’s message puts some of Millennials’ biggest money worries front and center—debts, investing for retirement, distrust of big-name financial institutions, lack of financial literacy, and aligning their investments with their values. 

An investment firm’s website found how to play to its strengths

A rapidly expanding insurance firm, Provence needed a revamped website that reflected its growing stature. Unfortunately, its existing copy missed the mark—only appealing to prospective policyholders, not independent agencies that may have wanted to merge with Provence. But through in-depth interviews, MarketSmiths soon put things right. Provence’s new website played up its strengths and appealed to the dual audiences central to its business plan, giving Provence pride of place in a crowded market. 

Read the full case study >

Wealthfront uses storytelling to humanize copy for robo-advisors

Wealthfront’s ‘About Us’ page may be the best part of their website. The page tells the story of how Andy Rachleff, a former venture capitalist and Stanford professor looking to make investing accessible through software, and Dan Carroll, a former trader trying to do the same, joined forces to build Wealthfront. 

This unique story turns the company into a real standout among its competitors. But, beyond telling a fun story, Wealthfront’s ‘About Us’ page helps them:

  • Build trust. Wealthfront wasn’t put together by suits brainstorming in a corporate boardroom—it was built by two men seeking to help their friends, families, and students. This is especially valuable for establishing goodwill and earning the trust of a Millennial audience that still harbors much resentment against big-name financial institutions. 
  • Establish authority. Wealthfront’s founders are not college dropouts seeking to strike rich with a tech unicorn. They’re two successful career businessmen—one of them a respected professor in one of the world’s top universities—using technology to bring their expertise to a broader audience. 
  • Reiterate their mission. Wealthfront’s software is a means to an end: making good financial decisions easy and accessible. It’s not a gamified product: it’s thoughtfully designed software guided by a clear vision. 

Win by delighting customers

Wealthfront’s product-market fit approach has proven to be wildly successful. The company currently boasts over 470,000 clients in the US. A big part of this growth has been through word-of-mouth. And Wealthfront’s copy does an excellent job at continuing the friendly conversations that bring people to their website, solidifying the brand, delighting readers, and driving conversions. 

Want copywriting that delights and speaks your customers’ language? The MarketSmiths team can help!

Carol Guasp

Carol Guasp

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