10 Ways to Build Your Credibility in Direct Mail, Ads, and Brochures

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Consumers prefer to do business with banks and insurance companies they perceive as being trustworthy, paying competitive rates, flexible, and easy-to-deal with. For financial planners and money managers, consumers want advisors who are investment experts and make money for their clients. Here are some points you can make in your copy to show you have the desired characteristics:

  1. Align yourself with a well-known and respected brand. An investment advisor in Canada, for example, is also a vice president to a major Canadian bank. Many investors prefer Vanguard to funds they have never heard of.
  2. Show your recent successes. Real estate agents, for instance, let prospects know that the agent is in the million-dollar club. Or they highlight recent sales of homes in the area.
  3. Track record. Track record is your performance either since inception or over a specific period of time. Track record can show high returns of individual investment or compare annual gains to the S&P 500 or other benchmarks. For an accounting service, it might be percentage of clients getting a tax refund.
  4. Credentials. These include licenses, certifications, awards, honors, training, college, degrees, and other evidence of how qualified, knowledgeable, and expert you are.
  5. Let them know you act as a fiduciary. Always act in the investor’s best interests and not in your own. Marketing and sales promotions should say that this is how you operate, and if possible, give examples.
  6. Community. Because so many financial services firms serve clients within the same geographic area, supporting the local community builds goodwill and makes people like you more. And doing good work always raises your star.
  7. Unique methodology. By offering a smart investment methodology or special financial instrument many people don’t know about (e.g., private lender mortgage notes), or a strategy that seems different and innovative, you demonstrate that you know something that your competition seems not to. And all else being equal, people prefer doing business with an expert.
  8. Media proof. By media proof, we mean being covered, in a positive way, by the mainstream media (e.g., TV, radio, newspapers) as well as digital media (e.g., e-newsletters, blogs, websites).
  9. Social proof. Social proof means demonstrating that people think highly of you. This can be anything from you being the biggest bank in the country, to getting five-star online reviews, to being praised by influential bloggers
  10. Testimonials and endorsements. Testimonials are favorable comments about you from your clients. Endorsements are favorable comments from industry associations and your industry peers. Suggestion: Say what the endorser’s key financial credential or fame is. Reason: Though you may think everyone knows who the endorser is, often many people do not.

** Bonus tip: Get them to act now instead of later. Reason: with direct mail, a decision deferred is a decision not made.

You can create urgency by citing an actual deadline date; e.g. April 15 for making their IRA contribution. If there is no specific date, stress a benefit to the investor of acting promptly, e.g. refinancing the mortgage while interest rates are low. This tactic increases your revenue while also demonstrating you are a fiduciary.