To convince a customer or potential client to make an enquiry or purchase, you need to convince them that your brand is trustworthy and that your product/service can solve their problems (in good time, and at a good price). Yet overcoming this barrier can be particularly difficult for financial brands.
This isn’t because financial services are inherently less trustworthy than other sectors/industries such as retail, hospitality or travel. Rather, the primary obstacle lies in the fact that the stakes are typically higher for a financial services customer.
If someone makes an Amazon purchase online they are likely only to lose £20 or so if the worst happens. When it comes to your pensions and investments, however, the customer’s potential loss could be in the £100,000.
As such, financial services companies typically need to work harder to build brand authority with their target audience – from the very outset. This means bringing numerous assets together (e.g. website, brochure and office design) to make a good initial impression and then sustain this throughout the customer’s journey with you.
Below, our team at MarketingAdviser shares 5 ideas to help financial firms build their brand authority in 2021. We hope this inspires you with ideas to nurture your clients and propects towards strong, lasting relationships with you.
If you’d like to discuss your own branding, website or digital marketing project/campaign with us, get in touch today to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation.
#1 Hold Q&A sessions
In today’s digital world customers expect businesses to be open, accessible and easy to communicate with. That includes financial services firms. If your brand is unwilling or unable to take this step then you risk building up a wall of distrust with your audience (who start to wonder: “what are they trying to hide?”).
One powerful way to build trust and relationships with your target clients is to hold live Q&A sessions. This might be achieved through a webinar, a “Facebook Live” or “YouTube Live” session or by sending out a survey to your subscribers via email (e.g. asking them which topics they’d like you to address in your next blog post or newsletter).
Holding Q&A sessions shows that you are willing to get in front of your audience and that you are not afraid to face their questions. This gives them confidence that you “know your stuff” and that you have the mettle to withstand potential criticisms.
#2 Publish insightful, helpful studies/reports
How active is your blog or newsletter? Many financial advisers and planners simply do not run one. Or, they do not share anything meaningful, helpful or original with their clients. As a result, they gradually disengage since there is little content with any value to hold their attention.
On the other hand, pushing out regular, relevant and interesting content is a great way to exhibit your industry authority. Not only does this impress clients but it also opens opportunities to pitch to the media – especially if you’ve taken time to conduct original research which is newsworthy.
#3 Leverage experts on your team
Many financial advice and/or planning firms contain exceptional talent within their office walls. Perhaps some of your team members hold Chartered Status, for instance, or worked previously in a field which gives them an edge (e.g. accounting or law).
Are you putting these people front-and-centre in your marketing? For instance, if your clients are curious to know what might happen with house prices in the coming months, could you draw upon the wisdom of your in-house mortgage adviser?
A great example of this type of marketing is First Wealth in London, who do a great job of showcasing client case studies. Their “Watch” section of the website also features videos of their Director, Anthony Villis, holding presentations within the industry conferences. This approach helps to build the brand around his persona – giving it an audible “voice” and conveying it as an expert.
#4 Draw attention to reviews
What do past and current users of your service have to say about you? Some financial firms are nervous about opening their brand to online reviews (e.g. Google Reviews) out of fear that someone might say something negative.
Here, you need to consider your options.
You could simply bar your audience from sharing their experience. This is not sustainable in the 2020s. As mentioned earlier, people expect to see reviews and grow quickly suspicious if they cannot find them. Moreover, you cannot avoid people expressing their views. If they cannot leave a review on your Facebook page they might simply share it on their own profile – where you may not see it, or be able to respond to it. Opening the door for reviews, therefore, can help you control your public image and give your side to any potential negative testimony that may emerge.
This is, of course, the negative side to reviews. Yet there is also immense power in showcasing positive case studies and experiences with your clients. By leveraging third-party validation your audience does not need to simply take your word for it (a big ask), but can take comfort in what others are saying.
#5 Make authoritative associations
We all instinctively judge people by the company they keep – not just by their own actions, words and appearance. This is the same with businesses. If you can align your brand, therefore, with others which are already recognised and highly respected by your audience then this can immediately give your brand image a huge confidence boost – through the power of association.
Have you been featured in the BBC, The Guardian or The Telegraph, for instance? If so, see if you can attain permission to share an excerpt of their article on your own website. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to include the logo of a prominent, recognised brand alongside it too.