Industries like law and financial services require clients to trust professionals and share highly sensitive and confidential information with them. Unfortunately, surveys show that neither industry is particularly trusted by consumers.
Following the report of The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, consumer trust in financial advisors has suffered. The legal profession’s reputation has been tarnished too. According to a report of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Australian legal sector suffers the second highest breaches of client data. Results from the Governance Institute of Australia’s third annual Ethics Index show that trust in lawyers has diminished since 2017.
If your clients don’t trust you, they may withhold critical information. That hampers your ability to advise them properly, leading to worse outcomes and exacerbating the problem.
It’s impossible to know how many potential clients you may have lost because the perception is that your services are untrustworthy. Because those potential clients are wary from the outset, you may need to put additional effort into building trust at the initial stages.
Building client trust online
More and more consumers are now making their buying decisions based on information they find online. This makes your online presence critical to attracting prospects and retaining clients. When done right, content marketing can position your firm as reliable and trustworthy.
Here are a few ways to use content marketing to build consumer trust:
Don’t get too promotional
Often, marketing efforts are geared towards aggressively promoting the firm and pushing clients and prospects to buy services. This approach builds an impersonal and unfriendly image of your firm and can turn away your audience.
When clients and prospects visit your website or interact with your firm online, they are not always looking to engage your services immediately. Your client base includes people from various walks of life, in different stages of the decision-making process. For example, visitors to your website may be looking to know about their options, researching to make a choice between two firms, or may have already decided to buy from you.
There are some life events that compel people to seek the services of a lawyer, accountant or financial adviser, and in those cases it’s important that your firm appear more trustworthy than your competitors. More significantly, however, there are many more in which they can simply choose not to engage your services at all. For people trying to decide whether to get preventative advice (for example, on their compliance obligations), the perception of untrustworthiness might mean that they decide instead to rely on their instincts, or the advice of friends. In the age of Google, it’s foolhardy to assume that people will continue to rely on expertise, which means the bar is even higher.
Spend time in understanding the “customer journey” of your client base. Put simply, the customer journey is the full set of experiences a customer goes through while interacting with your firm. This will help you create targeted content that caters to the goals of your audience at different stages of decision-making.
Content that doesn’t immediately demand something in return (like an email id) can go a long way in building consumer trust. Allow your client base to get familiar with your firm with high-quality, non-transactional content. It signals that your firm is not all about selling your services, but is genuinely interested in helping clients meet their goals.
Use social listening
Social listening can be very useful in building long-term client relationships. Spend time to understand what your clients and prospects are talking about on social media. Gather answers to the following questions about your client base:
Use this information to build themes, topics, and keywords for your content so that you can provide exactly what your client base is seeking. This can position you as a reliable expert for your client base.
- What are their most pressing problems?
- What do they want to learn more about?
- What types of content do they share and engage with?
- Which industry sources and platforms do they trust?
Clients and prospects are more likely to take advice or recommendations from a source they already trust. Social listening can give you clues about credible influencers and platforms you can collaborate with. Such collaborations can further your firm’s credibility and get it noticed. Use social listening to understand what is working and what isn’t, and funnel the feedback into your content marketing efforts.
Focus on quality
The quality of your content can make or break your firm’s reputation online. Shift away from purely promotional content and focus your content marketing efforts on providing value for your client base.
Consistently providing credible information and insights can position your firm as a reliable leader in the industry. Here are some ideas to regularly create high-quality content:
- Cite trusted sources such as industry and academic experts
- Invite industry experts to create guest content for you
- Interview experts that your client base already trusts
- Get employees who are technical experts to write content
Break barriers to trust
In an attempt to highlight expertise, firms often use highly technical industry language in their content. This can be daunting for the average reader. Keep your content simple, conversational, and authentic. This lends a personal touch to your firm’s online presence and encourages your client base to come to you for help. Responsible businesses can also use content marketing to stand out. Reassure your client base that the information they share with you is secure. Highlighting responsible business practices can give you an incredible advantage and gain consumer trust.
Content marketing for consumer trust requires a steady stream of targeted, engaging, and high-quality content. That is why so many professionals come to us. We create legal content marketing, financial services writing and content for accountants that is easy for clients and prospects to understand and trust, while still being technically accurate. If you’d like to create effective content for your firm, get in touch. We’d be happy to help.
Tanya was admitted to the South Australian Bar in 2006 and practiced for several years in large and boutique firms before starting her own business in legal content writing and editing. Her areas of expertise include contract law, property law, personal finance and personal injury. She relishes the challenge of taking even the most intricate judgement and making it accessible to the interested reader.
Tanya is based in Adelaide. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at +61 400 972 354.