A question advisers often ask me is, What sort of videos do we need to produce to win the most clients? Content marketing, as I’ve said many times, is not an exact science. What works for one firm may not work for another, and the best results are achieved through iteration.
But having specialised in video content for the advice sector for the last seven years or so, I do now have a good idea of the types of video that attract and convert the most prospects.
First things first. You need, more than anything else, a short explainer video — ideally on your homepage — that sets out very simply what makes you different from the thousands of other firms out there offering (from the viewer’s standpoint) pretty much the same sort of thing.
Testimonial videos are also very effective. When people are weighing up whether to use a particular firm, they’re searching for “social proof”; they want to see that other people, just like them, are using it too.
You should also have some educational videos. Educating people about the value of financial advice and having a financial plan, how the markets work, and, crucially, the need to take a disciplined and long-term approach, is a vital function of a modern advice firm.
But you mustn’t assume that having first-class educational videos will bring clients swarming in. That’s not the point of them. Yes, they will show your authority and help to engender trust, both of which are very important. But ultimately, people decide to become a client on an emotional, not an intellectual, level. Sure, they’ll use intellectual reasoning to justify and reinforce it, but the decision itself will be triggered by an emotional response.
Appeal to emotions
The question then is, how do you appeal to people’s feelings and emotions? There are, in fact, all sorts of ways of doing it. One, for instance, is to confront people with the consequences of not investing for the future. They need to know that if they don’t put enough money away (or start doing it early enough), they’re at serious risk of running out of money before they die. It’s a scary thought that advisers plant in people’s minds far too infrequently.
You might also want to warn people about the dangers of not taking professional advice, or of using an adviser who doesn’t have their best interests at heart. The risks of both of those things are very real, and they need spelling out.
Reasons for seeking advice
Of course, as well as the downsides of not using your firm, you should also focus on the positive benefits. Jason Butler recently wrote about a new book by a Canadian neuropsychologist and executive coach, Dr Moira Somers, entitled Advice that Sticks. In it, Dr Somers lists what she says are the real reasons why people seek financial advice. They do so, among other reasons, to reduce complexity, offload unpleasantness, increase their confidence, receive encouragement, and to feel safer.
When planning their content strategy, advice firms should focus on each of those items, and on helping potential clients to imagine what having all of those boxes ticked might feel like.
To quote Jason Butler: “If you craft your communications around the real reasons people take advice, existing clients will become real advocates of your firm, and potential clients will choose you over a competitor or a commoditised offering and gladly pay your fees.”
Tell your story
One final thing. Throughout the ages, humans have communicated through storytelling. We all have a story to tell, and the single most effective way to appeal to emotions is to decide what your story is, and what it is about your story that will really resonate with your target audience. Once you’ve done that, you need to keep on finding new and engaging ways of telling it.
So, perhaps you worked for a big hedge fund and stockbroker and saw at first hand how low a priority the clients’ interests were. Maybe you have a religious conviction and feel called to help other people of faith to manage their wealth. Or perhaps you work exclusively with women or with LGBT clients because, in your experience, they’ve been poorly served in the past. Whatever your story is, tell it — and keep telling it. Believe me, the clients will come.
ROBIN POWELL is the founder and editor of Adviser 2.0. A freelance journalist, he runs Regis Media, a specialist content marketing consultancy for financial advice firms around the world. You can follow him on Twitter and on LinkedIn.