Financial advisors are always looking more effective ways communicate with current and prospective clients. Recently, many in the personal financial services industry are turning to video content to showcase their brand and investing approach. With high consumer demand, it’s clear that creating personable, tailored marketing videos can offer an efficient and powerful way to attract new clients.
The Power of Marketing Videos
The written word is efficient, in that a financial advisor can say exactly what they want and distribute it to many different people; but it can’t express all those non-verbal things you get in conversation. Video, while not perfect, is more personal in that those non-verbal qualities can come through visually. When the message comes directly from the financial advisor, in his or her own voice, there is the possibility for a greater visceral connection and a trust-based emotion.
Video is scalable as the financial advisor can send the message to dozens or hundreds of people at the same time, and it’s repeatable in that the client can watch it as many times as they’d like. It persists through time if posted online; if anyone wants to revisit it or share the clip with a friend or family member, that message is out there until the financial advisor takes it down. It is available any time, day or night.
“If your message is going to last, it must do so in the memory of the other person,” says Andy Millard, a financial advisor in Tyron, N.C., whose low-stress-investing series he regards as an effective way to leverage his time and talents.
Since participating in an FPA social media boot camp I lead in 2010, Millard has been recording a variety of educational and entertaining videos, typically with just him speaking directly to the viewer, via the comfort of his office desk. While it helps that Millard has some acting experience, he has perfected his delivery and personal style through trial and error.
Since starting his low-stress-investing video series in 2010, Millard has heard repeatedly from clients, prospects and others on his email list, which is one way he disseminates the video links he creates, that they feel more of a kinship and trust with him than ever before. The email newsletters he sends out, which contain a still image of a video frame and a short summary of the video segment, are easy to forward to a friend or colleague.
Millard also places the videos on a low-stress-investing YouTube page as well as his own blog; these online placements improve the firm’s organic search engine page rankings and provide a convenient location for interested parties to which to link and share on social media sites.
Millard has gained some PR notoriety over the years, thanks to his videos. He is now asked to lead social media and video creation sessions at industry conferences. His video series has been featured on the WSJ.com, and due to requests from other financial advisors Millard has developed a video training boot camp he calls The Video Advisor.
Financial advisor Gordon Bernhardt participated in one of Millard’s video training boot camps. While Bernhardt has yet to purchase the list of equipment Millard provided to the course participants so that they could set up their own in-office recording space, the skills he learned were “transformative.”
While Millard prefers to shoot and produce his own videos in-house, Bernhardt has taken a different slightly different two-pronged approach.
For his firm’s primary video, which serves as a compelling introduction to the firm and its people – and is placed front-and-center on Bernhardt’s company website – Bernhardt used a professional videographer he met through local contacts; his PR firm helped create the script and overall theme.
For short, personal videos such as birthday greetings or emailed individual communications, Bernhardt simply jots down a few notes and turns on his webcam; he embeds these simple videos into a custom-built video player bar, developed by his PR team and loaded onto a video email system called TalkFusion, that contains his firm’s branding and contact information.
Clients are delighted to receive a video email from Bernhardt congratulating them on a life event or informing them of an important strategy change. They are likely to be sitting in judgment saying to themselves, “Well this video has low-production value – looks like he shot it on his webcam.” Instead, they tell Bernhardt that they appreciate the personal touch. These simple remembrances remind them that Bernhardt is sincerely interested in them as people, not just clients.
Polished Not Necessarily Better
David Edwards, president of Heron Financial Advisors In New York, has also embraced video as a means of communication. He leverages media interviews such as television and radio clips (to which he adds a few visuals that interest to the audio), on his website and social media. He also worked with one of GuideVine’s relationship managers to shoot a series of introductory videos aimed at prospective clients. The GuideVine videos, while nicely done, are not high-end professionally produced clips containing music, captions, fancy transitions, and the like.
“Slick, high-end videos are not necessarily better,” says Edwards. “Clients and prospects are interested in seeing and hearing from the financial advisor. They are taking stock of the advisor and deciding if they like and trust the advisor as an individual. Overly slick videos can actually be detrimental in my opinion. We don’t want the viewer to feel that we are trying too hard or attempting to manipulate their feelings,” Edwards says.
Prospective Clients Expect Videos
Practice management guru and technology columnist for Morningstar Advisor, Bill Winterberg, has this to say:
“Over the next five years, prospects are going to have expectations that they can watch something on advisors’ websites, whether that is an explainer video or a video biography that helps me figure out who you are and how you can help me,” says Winterberg, who was a financial planner before forming FPPad in 2008 to educate advisors on technology. “Advisors who don’t step out and create videos are going to miss the opportunity to convert these prospects to clients.”
“As a prospect, I want to know why this person is an advisor and why they wake up every day to be involved in this business,” Winterberg says, adding that a printed biography doesn’t cut it because it doesn’t convey “the human element” like video. It’s the mannerisms, the passion and it’s the way they say things — their expression — that does not come through in a written biography,” Winterberg concludes.
The main takeaway is clear: financial advisors are wise to use video as an effective way to enhance current and prospective client communications.