4 ways your content should be building customer trust
BY: Marc Acton, Associate Creative Director
Your customers have poured their lives into building their wealth, so convincing them to part with it takes a tremendous amount of trust. Building that trust is the challenge that the financial industry faces every day, and it takes more than an active Twitter feed to surmount. Here are four ways (plus one bonus tip!) you can use content marketing to fund trust (get it?) in your financial business.
1. Don’t just educate, collaborate.
Your customers don’t just want info. They want a guide. They need clarity. And they’ll only buy if they trust you.
As a customer, receiving info without explanation in a complex industry is like trying to build an IKEA crib with Swedish-only instructions. Who could possibly feel comfortable placing their trust in something they don’t understand? And even if they are comfortable, how could they act on that?
Whether you’re selling get-out-of-college-debt plans to millennials or secure-your-legacy investments to seniors, educating your buyers is only the start. The future masters of the financial universe will be integrating interactive elements into their content to give users a more curated, individual experience that mimics the value an actual human would provide. They’ll be using a combination of print, digital and video media to help people learn in various ways. And to top it all off, they’ll be using a conversational tone to build emotional connections with their clients and customers.
2. Go to your audience.
Don’t make them come to you.
Too many businesses are stuck doing things “the way they’ve worked before.” If you wait for your customers to find you, you’re already losing.
Contact Southwest Airlines' online customer support, and you’ll receive a recommendation: Reach out via Twitter for quicker response. They haven’t publicized why, but we can guess.
One reason is certainly that the nature of Twitter limits interactions to short and sweet messages, which reduce the customer service manpower needed for responses. But let’s face it: Twitter also just happens to be cooler than email, with a younger audience. It’s a signal to current and future customers that Southwest is forward-thinking. Indicators like these help position a brand for future growth.
We’re not saying you should use Twitter (or Snapchat … or Instagram … or any other new social platform) as your primary method of communication. But here’s a fact that has been true since the newsies were selling local papers on the street corners: It doesn’t matter how loud you’re shouting your headlines; if you’re on the wrong corner, you’re not going to sell anything.
Instead of standing on your lonely corner, meet your customers where they are, and the value of your content will be magnified.
3. Embrace long-form—and, increasingly, video.
The internet will kill print, they said. Today’s consumers only have 15 seconds of attention span, they said.
But then, leading news organizations started bringing back departments tasked with creating long-form material for the web. In fact, even BuzzFeed, long the internet darling of listicles and kitten-based photo essays, has had their own long-form editor since 2012.
It turns out that customers are still entirely willing to engage with long content.
In our 15 years in the long-form business, we’ve discovered an often-overlooked contributing factor to marketing success: the imputing factor. Simply put, this means that the way in which you deliver your message sends both conscious and subconscious signals to your would-be clients. In other words, the medium imputes value on the message.
This is why Apple spends bajillions developing perfect packaging for their high-end products—and why you’ll never see a Lexus advertisement on the back of a urinal.
Similarly, your marketing medium should match the quality of the message. If you’re trying to get your audience to hand over the keys to their financial kingdom, you can expect them to have questions. They’ll need an investment from you in their emotional security. One great way to serve these needs is through long-form media.
Increasingly, media companies are also turning to video, often for the same reason. Video still has an inherent association with value. Whether you invest in long-form content or video content, the result will be the same—you’ll send your customers the subconscious message that your content is valuable and, by proxy, that your product is valuable, too.
4. Connect your content dots.
Don’t throw out the old brochure yet. Instead, shorten it. Add some links to it. Then turn it into an email. Then create a landing page for it. And link to it on social. And connect everything with your analytics platform.
In the old days, it was enough to put out one piece of killer content at a time. Today’s smartest marketers are building content ecospheres, where each piece of content works together to serve a specific purpose—feeding off each other so that the sum of your content parts are greater than the whole.
In the finance world, building trust comes from consistent messaging, and creating these interconnecting, coordinated pieces of content is the best way to maintain a consistent messaging strategy. It’s also the best way to shepherd consumers through a difficult sales proposition. Like, for example, “Let us hold onto your money for a while.”
Bonus tip: Manage your online ratings.
Today’s consumer is increasingly review-driven, but you don’t have to be at the mercy of a fickle online mob. Consider requesting reviews from happy customers (or at least make it easy for your best customers to leave them). And don’t be afraid to respond to any negative reviews. Professional, empathetic responses to upset customers can work wonders mitigating the blow of negative reviews. Plus, they demonstrate a keen sense of awareness, which likens your brand to a guardian clients will feel can look after their funds as well as (if not better than) they can.
If you could benefit from building the trust level in your customer base, you’re in luck. It’s our specialty. Let us know how we can help.
Marc Acton was born at a very young age in a moderately old town in Florida. Some other stuff happened, and then he became iostudio’s Associate Creative Director. For us, he proudly pokes and prods projects for the Army National Guard including social media and web, writing and strategizing content that converts. He is a fan of the Oxford comma, saying more with less, and helping write bios for extremely talented iostudians. He also flies helicopters for the Army National Guard. Which reminds us, how can you tell if a helicopter pilot is at your party? (He’ll tell you.)