There are two basic types of products in the world of sales: tangible and intangible. An example of a tangible product is a retail item, an article of clothing or anything else the customer can see, hear or touch. Intangible products include most services: office cleaning, insurance, gardening, repair work and even content writing. The only evidence that any work has been done comes after the fact; the actual service remains unseen.
This points to a few distinct issues that service providers in any industry have to deal with. First, consumer confidence is much more important than it would be for a retail product. When shopping for a new computer, anyone within driving distance of a shopping mall can physically inspect and compare numerous models at their convenience. If that computer stops working after half a year, however, the pressure is on and confidence plays a major role in the choice of who provides the service necessary to repair it.
Your Customers Need to Feel Confident in Their Choices
One of the realizations that understanding the difference between tangible products and intangible services leads to is the need to instill immediate confidence when selling services. All services that instill confidence in their customers share a few things in common, outlined below:
- Reputation—Without the ability to physically compare the results of one service with another easily, reputation becomes an important factor. Any customer in any market is more likely to trust a company they feel is reputable than one they feel isn’t, even if the price or convenience that company offers is superior. Reputation is more important now than it has ever been before, according to Forbes, and that counts both for companies and their clients.
- Immediacy—Regardless of what kind of service your company offers, your customers want to know you’re ready to help them as soon as they need it. By the time someone has gone through the trouble of typing, “dishwasher repair in Los Angeles, CA” into a search engine, the clock is on. Does your business offer immediate results? If your website has a large banner that advertises 24/7 services and a 30-minute maximum wait time for on-site evaluation, you’re doing this right. When it comes to content, all of the authority your brand projects should focus on immediate solutions.
- Completeness—This is an important confidence factor that many businesses overlook. Yes, you may have successfully performed the service as advertised, but did your client have to put in any extra effort to achieve that? A complete solution is just that—It is a full-service solution that tells your customers once they call on you for the job, it is as good as done. They need only to enjoy the fruits of your labor and pay accordingly. Your content should showcase the expertise, authority and motivation necessary to claim your service is a complete one.
- Permanence—Demonstrating that your service is permanent can be tricky in some industries, and impossible in others. Nevertheless, you want your customers to believe that when they hire you to perform a service, the outstanding results you offer will last as long as possible, given the circumstances. This is especially true for repair services that typically offer highly competitive warranties in order to build confidence in their abilities.
How Good Content Instills Confidence in Your Service
Now that we have named the four principal elements that make up consumer confidence, it is time to look at how digital content marketing makes use of those elements. Good content—that is, content with a clear, authoritative voice that offers useful information to its audience in an engaging way, builds reputation by portraying the business as an expert in the field. For customers who need complete and permanent solutions immediately, the question of reputation often comes down to a single question: Have they heard of you before?
If an article of yours landed on a reader’s screen just long enough for him or her to register your company logo, you’ve already built a better reputation than a company that reader never seen or heard of before. If that article actually provides useful advice or a free tool, such as these ideas from Forbes.com, you’re already in the clear. If the article further makes it clear that you can actually help solve difficult problems right now and the reader feels like those problems will remain solved for the foreseeable future, you’ve won a new customer. From this point onwards, the choice to contact you for the service you provide seems like their bright idea—not yours.
Keep these four elements in mind when presenting your company, both online and in person. Whether you are an insurance agent, a gardener or an electron microscope calibration specialist, you can use this approach to improve your content, engage your audience and provide lasting value. Your customers will pay you back for it in the end.
5-Star writer Austin M has years of experience working in a high-volume Web development environment, producing sales copy and search engine-optimized web content for small businesses in a variety of industries. He excels at delivering insight and value to his clients’ customers, using careful research to produce content that stands out while providing SEO benefits.
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