Fintech startups are often great at technology, UX, and design, but tend to struggle when it comes to acquiring customers.
One of the main reasons for this is a failure to recognize the critical role trust plays in customer acquisition. Building trust is as vital to success as the quality or usefulness of a product or service because people ONLY buy things from companies they trust. This is especially the case in fintech, where people’s livelihoods and sensitive data are involved.
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Of course, spending time developing and improving your offering is essential and should definitely be a big focus. But, without trust, even if your company has the best solution on the market, it’ll be very difficult to get paying customers.
You need to fill the trust gap to grow, and one of the best ways to do this is to develop trust signals. These are like indicators or markers which illustrate credibility and trustworthiness to your target customers.
TRUST SIGNAL 1: Valuable Content
Effective content creation is about building credibility and relationships between your startup and the target audience. It’s not about pumping out loads of average content to promote your product or service. You have to be committed to selflessly providing value, or else all your efforts will only get mediocre results. Average content that’s too ‘salesy’ can even make your startup look untrustworthy.
Take a look at these findings.
- When asked why buyers selected the winning vendor over others, 75% of respondents said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decisions. (Demand Gen B2B Buyers Report)
- Content marketing gets 3–5 times more leads than paid search advertising. (Content Marketing Institute)
- Small businesses that have a blog will see 126% more lead growth on average than those that don’t.(Content Marketing Institute)
- Businesses that actively blog have 434% more indexed pages on Google, 55% more visitors, and 97% more inbound links. (HubSpot)
- 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement. (B2B PR Sense)
- 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. (Demand Gen Report)
- 84% of people expect brands to produce content. (Meaningful Brands)
- 95% of buyers are willing to share their name, company and email address in return for content. (Demand Gen Report)
The benefits are clear. But you have to do it the right way.
Here’s the thing about your target customers. They won’t immediately trust your company any more than they would immediately trust a stranger. They want to know you understand how their industry and business works. That you comprehend their concerns, and problems, and have the right solution to solve them. In other words, they need you to show credibility before they can start trusting you.
Content is one of the best ways of communicating your credibility and expertise. It’s also a way to increase your startup’s online visibility. With 67% of a B2B buyer’s journey now done digitally, creating content has never been so important.
Start by developing content that addresses key questions your target audience is seeking answers to. What problems do they face? You could also build content that illustrates knowledge, insight, and expertise on the market, industry trends, etc.
Here’s an example —
If your target customers are banks or other highly regulated financial companies, compliance is a huge deal, right? Creating content which demonstrates an understanding and insights into specific and relevant compliance-related challenges can go along way to developing credibility and speeding up the sales cycle.
The options are endless but all valuable content has one thing in common. It’s useful to your audience. Don’t just create content for clicks or page views, develop content your audience cares about, and aspire to become a trusted resource.
TRUST SIGNAL 2: Social Proof
People almost always look at the actions of others to guide their decision-making process. Social proof is about using a third party to influence your target customers buying decisions.
When you browse a website and see a testimonial from a customer or industry expert, that’s social proof. When you search a company on google and find a customer case study, that’s another example of social proof.
Case Studies: These are vastly under leveraged. Case studies are a data-driven, in-depth report of your product or service’s implementation and the achieved results. By providing evidence of real business benefits and ROI, case studies can position your company as an authority and build credibility. They studies carry a lot of weight with buyers, especially when used at the right time.
Testimonials/Reviews: These satisfy people’s need for validation when making a decision. They make people feel more confident about connecting with your company because they convey credibility through an independent party. According to G2 Crowd, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review. Another study by Trustradius found that 62% of B2B decision-makers consider peer recommendations a powerful purchasing trigger.
Trust icons & Certifications: Did you receive funding from a well-known investor? Get mentioned in a respected industry publication? Maybe you partnered with an industry-leading organization or have achieved some certification? These are significant trust signals which should be shared. Add logos to your website, and anywhere else you see fit to create credibility. However, don’t go overboard. Adding an icon for everything and anything you’re part of will work against you. Keep it relevant and exclusive.
Business Credentials: Promoting your business credentials adds a tremendous amount of credibility and trust to your company. Showing the number of customers you have, or listing well-known customers are two such examples of business credentials. Even if you only have a few test customers, don’t be afraid to share their logos on your site.
Social Media: Developing a presence on social media platforms and building a following adds credibility because it allows engagement with people and lets others see this engagement. Engagement creates trust as it shows you’re reachable and committed to building a long term business that’s passionate about what it does. When it comes to followers, having thousands on your social media profiles can be viewed as a widespread endorsement of your company.
TRUST SIGNAL 3: Partnerships & Collaborations
Financial institutions remain by far the most trusted providers of financial services. They have built up trust through longstanding relationships and decades of visibility. Engaging in partnerships and collaborations is all about leveraging trust from these incumbents and other more established brands. Trust you don’t have.
FinTech firms’ primary competitive advantages are their agility to launch and pivot, their laser focus on customer experience, and their freedom from the burden of legacy systems. However, they also face challenges in scaling their business due to a lack of trust, absence of a known brand, an established distribution infrastructure, capital, and regulatory compliance expertise that, historically, are the strengths of incumbent firms.
— World Fintech Report 2018
Beyond credibility, and trust, partnerships, and collaborations are also a fantastic way to build visibility and an excellent approach to drive innovation and get access to a large customer base.
If you enter into a partnership or collaboration with a well-known brand remember to communicate it wherever you can — on your company website, emails, announcements, and through other forms of content.