Updated: Oct 18, 2021
The average consumer’s financial purchase journey has evolved. With technology catalysing the speed of communication and exchange of experiences, consumers are more equipped to make discerning choices and assessments of your brand.
In this digital age, consumers prefer to ‘pull’ information instead of having businesses ‘push’ it to them through traditional advertising and customer relations strategies. The modern consumer actively cuts through advertising, relying on search engines to discover products and online content to educate themselves about brands.
Amidst the influx of fake news and false advertising, companies must set themselves apart by managing their online reputation and securing brand trust. This is particularly true for personal financial products/services, where the consumers are more cautious about their purchase, as it involves a larger sum of money and affects their livelihood.
Here, we share a 4-step plan for personal finance businesses to build trust and credibility online to nudge prospects in their direction.
Step 1: Understand your buyer’s financial purchase journey
Mapping your buyer’s financial purchase journey is the first step to planning your marketing and customer service strategy.
Consider your purchase journey when making a financial purchase. Are you really convinced by a company’s flashy advertisement? Is price the only thing you consider? We doubt so too. As consumers, we’re using a variety of methods to actively seek out product information and experiences to make informed decisions.
We’ve identified 4 stages of the modern consumer’s financial purchase journey below.
Stage 1. Need Recognition: A prospect requires a financial product/service and is exposed to your financial product/service through a variety of channels. Forbes claims search engines are the leading channels that consumers use for product discovery, at 39%, far ahead of digital and brand advertising.
Stage 2. Information Search: Prospects search for more information and real user validation about your financial product/service.
Stage 3. Product Evaluation through Social Proof and User Validation: Prospects read and compare user-generated content, as well as the businesses’ response. BrightLocal found that 97% of consumers that read reviews also read the company’s response to them.
Stage 4. Purchase: Prospects make a purchase decision
Gain insight into your prospects' purchase decision-making journey and learn to optimise your Seedly Product Page to influence their purchase decision.
Step 2: Be active in Personal Finance Communities
We know that consumers get online to learn more about the business, yet digital advertising alone won’t cut it because buyers trust earned media and are convinced by social proof. This means that financial products/services need to be connected with their prospects and customers online.
Consumers want a different relationship with brands and crave a deeper interaction with the company and its customers. More than just discounts and swag, First Insight Inc found that product and service quality most heavily influences purchase decisions amongst 53% of consumers as compared to price at 38%.
Personal finance communities are a dynamic platform to build relationships with consumers, authenticating your brand messaging and improving your discoverability. Every interaction with your prospects and customers is an opportunity to nurture trust.
In a casual poll conducted during Facebook Summit 2021, 78% of marketers believe that conversations with consumers help to build trust, loyalty and generate leads.
Start a conversation with prospects by interacting with their discussions on personal finance platforms
Consumers keenly observe a company’s online activities and are sensitive to a brand’s motivations. Rather than just being the occasional commenter or the profit-driven participator, businesses must actively contribute relevant and useful information to these communities and put the consumers first.
Being a part of a brand community isn’t solely a marketing or customer service strategy and instead, must be a business strategy to support all business goals.
Step 3: Increase User-Generated Content
With HubSpot reporting that 88% of people value user-generated content as highly as recommendations from family and friends, we see that everything circles back to authenticity and trustworthiness. Nielsen also reported that 92% of consumers trust non-paid media over other forms of advertising, with online reviews as the second most trusted source of information.
If it isn’t already obvious, user-generated content, motivated by the modern consumer’s need for social proof, strongly impacts a buyer’s purchasing decision.
Here's a simple way for financial products/services to grow user-generated content on personal finance communities.
Step 3.1: Nudge your customers to leave a review through a reviews collection practice
But don’t just stop at amassing content. Looking ahead, financial products/services can also harness the power of user-generated content by proudly displaying them in marketing collaterals and other platforms.
We present 2 ideas for you to repurpose user-generated content.
Idea 1: Embed reviews on your website
Idea 2: Display reviews and ratings on your social media collaterals
Here's how you can Optimise your Marketing Performance by Embedding Reviews and Badges.
Step 4: Empower your business with MarTech tools
Building an online reputation and growing brand trust may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools, it’s a simple and straightforward task. We’ve built SeedlyBusiness, a solution for partners to effectively strengthen their social proof, foster brand trust and convert prospects into customers. SeedlyBusiness is founded upon Seedly, Singapore’s largest personal finance community. With 1 million monthly unique users and 100k SeedlyReviews viewed monthly, there’s no better platform to interact with your prospects and customers and host user-generated content.
Features like Claiming your Product Page, engaging the community with a Verified Business Profile, and establishing a reviews collection practice with an Automated Reviews Collector Tool will get you started.
Building trust is essential for financial products/services to not only survive but thrive in the competitive industry. It doesn’t take much for businesses to foster brand trust online, just consistency and authenticity toward their prospects and customers. We can help improve your online reputation and foster brand trust, just trust us 😉