“Video killed the radio star,” declared a 1979 song that pronounced the demise of radio and ushered in the era of music videos. Today, video is rapidly replacing not just audio but the written word, too.
By 2015, according to eMarketer .com, 76% of the Internet audience, or roughly 195.5 million people, will be viewing video online on a regular basis. As much as we like print (most of you are reading this, after all, not watching it), videos are more powerful than words simply because people think visually.
When we read, our minds convert printed scribbles into visual images that we encode with emotion and remember. When information comes directly in the form of an image rather than words, our minds can grasp more and make more connections because it's not doing any word-to-image translation. Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research Inc. makes that point in his research, which found that one minute of video equals 1.8 million words. In a single frame, therefore, a video can deliver the same amount of information as three pages of text.
While video is unlikely to erase the written word — just as it didn't entirely replace radio — the inherent strength of the visual medium and the ever-vanishing technological barriers to its creation have powerful implications for financial advisers.
Advisers should embrace the power of video and not procrastinate in making it a core component of their overall marketing strategy. Financial planning is a personal business in which an adviser's role often morphs from consultant to personal confidant. Be-cause clients entrust advisers with their life savings and dreams, relationships have a large emotional component.
Video, far better than words, enables an adviser to appeal to the visual and emotional part of a client's brain, thereby facilitating a better understanding of concepts surrounding money and investments. More importantly, video establishes an emotional bond that even the best-written material cannot achieve.
Video also can be a powerful component of an adviser website. A concise and informative video captivates users, inducing them to stay on your site.
Videos can help advisers attract and retain new clients or generate new business from existing ones. Sending to a prospect a 60-second video underscoring an adviser's expertise, investment approach and recapping the specific issues discussed during a first meeting can be an effective and highly personalized follow-up strategy. Also, a short video introducing an investment opportunity, articulating its benefits and featuring a clear call to action could be instrumental in generating new business from a current client.
Advisers also can use video to deliver timely market updates, commentaries and insights on breaking news, educational segments on specific investment instruments and to convey their thoughts on specific subjects. Instead of traditional greeting cards or e-mails, some advisers are beginning to use video to send anniversary best wishes, thank-you messages, invitations to special events and seminars, and to introduce new hires and practice capabilities.
According to recent research conducted by YouOn TV — a global media and information technologies company — web surfers spend 48 seconds, on average, on a specific website. When a site features a video, however, average time spent jumps to five minutes and 50 seconds, which is 5.33 times longer than a visit to a traditional text-only website. Simply put, video provides a one-stop shop for information that reduces the need to navigate to other sites and keeps the user engaged.
As market volatility and uncertainty endure, the need to initiate and maintain client communication is self-evident. Video is an easy and cost-effective tool that increases an adviser's face time with clients and adds a personal touch to client relationships. Indisputably, while producing a 60-second video commentary on breaking news takes effort, as well as some commitment of time, being able to reach 50, 100 or even more clients via video instead of individual phone calls or in-person conversations saves significant and invaluable time.
Complementing a traditional communication effort with video enables advisers to enhance the perception of their expertise, extend their brand, foster trust among clients and prospects, and differentiate their firm. And don't forget one additional element — while it's becoming more and more a part of the way we all communicate, video still is cool.
Claudio Pannunzio (claudio@ i-impactgroup.com) is a communications and social-media consultant to financial advisers, broker-dealers and other financial services firms.