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Video marketing: The 21st century version of judging a book by its cover

Videos can provide key details about a financial adviser in an easy–to–consume format that many potential clients prefer

May 14, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

By Mark Mersman

We are hardwired to judge a book by its cover, despite what our parents may have taught us. When it comes to attracting new clients, this is a wonderful truth that very few advisers leverage. In fact, most advisers are marketing their "book" (themselves) without a cover.

The 21st century version of a book cover is an introductory video that enables financial advisers to speak directly to potential clients and communicate what I call the TRICK: trust, relatability, inspirational, credibility and knowledge. The best first impression is all about the TRICK.

First impressions

When you meet a potential client for the first time, how do you introduce yourself?

You probably tell them about your background, your business and, most importantly, what you can do for them. Surely you wouldn't read them your biography or detail the full history of your company. These same principles apply online.

Trust. Potential clients need to feel comfortable with a financial services company before trusting that company with their money. Gaining the public's trust remains a key challenge for financial advisers. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer continues to rank financial services as the least trusted business sector.

Unfortunately, many advisers are still relying on an "About Me" page to communicate their trustworthiness. This is the online equivalent of handing someone your resume — it's impersonal and does little to gain the reader's confidence.

Relatability. Videos provide key details in an easy?to?consume format that many potential clients prefer. But you must be relatable to them. The content marketing experts at Sumo analyzed 650,000 hits on their website and found that only 20% of visitors read articles in their entirety. Your company's site must compete with an increasing number of distractions, so holding a viewer's attention is imperative.

Inspirational. Don't search for inspirational quotes and think this will accomplish anything. You need to inspire viewers to want something you provide. This isn't always easy in our business.

Credibility. Your video and/or website should position you as a credible authority on the topic of financial planning without your coming across as pompous. This may include leveraging third?party sources for validation (such as articles or books you've written, or B?roll video of you on television).

Knowledgeable. There is a fine line between explaining modern portfolio theory and communicating a difficult financial concept through an easy?to?understand analogy. Make sure you know where that line is when you create a video.

(More: Why do advisers stink at marketing?)

There's a lot that goes into creating the perfect introductory video. Before you grab a camera and start recording, here are a few tips:

1. Keep it short. Your potential clients are busy. Wistia's research has shown viewers' engagement with a video drops off sharply after the two?minute mark. Aim for a video between 90 seconds and 2 minutes long.

2. Tell your story. Why are you in this business? What story can you tell that might demonstrate knowledge, trust, and credibility while inspiring someone at the same time? Telling them "what" you do is wasting valuable seconds. Focus on "why" and "how" you do what you do.

3. Speak directly to your audience in their language. Keep the tone warm. Be conversational. Focus on being relatable over being scripted and polished.

4. Focus on quality. Some companies may be tempted to create their own video in hopes of saving money. However, shooting your own video can be very time-consuming. Creating a polished video typically requires multiple takes and meticulous editing. Hire someone who knows what they're doing.

According to Brightcove, viewers who watch a low?quality video are 62% more likely to have a negative perception of the brand that published the video. A professional video team can help you capture the right message and let you get back to work while they handle the editing and publishing.

5. Offer a next step — a call to action. Set a marketing goal and incorporate it into the end of your video to persuade your viewer to take the next step. Perhaps you want the viewer to schedule an appointment, sign up for your newsletter or connect with your company on social media. Make it easy for potential customers to take action by clearly providing the details and embedding links.

6. Paint a picture. Use this opportunity to paint a picture for your viewer. Whether you are painting a picture of goals and dreams (inspiration) or the picture of what to expect when somebody meets with you, be intentional about your word choice.

7. Get ancillary marketing benefit. Adding video to your site offers important advantages for search engine optimization. By tagging the video with the appropriate products, services, hashtags and, most importantly, location, you can help your video reach the appropriate audience. Also include any products or services that are discussed in the description to ensure the video shows up in search results for that topic for users near your geographical location.

Adding an engaging introduction video to your website is a great way to humanize your marketing. People do business with people. More specifically, they do business with people that are trustworthy, relatable, inspirational, credible, and knowledgeable. Getting that message across is the real TRICK.

(More: 6 ways to leverage tax reform in your marketing strategy)

Mark Mersman is the chief marketing officer at USA Financial, as well as one of the co?hosts of the nationally syndicated USA Financial Radio Show.

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