Let’s assume that one of your professional goals is to build a successful advisory practice that possesses the alter-ego of a first-rate marketing firm. If you’ve been around for a few years, it’s likely that you’ve honed your website content, that you “service” your clients as well as any adviser in town, and that you utilize every compliance-friendly angle that the social media milieu has to offer.  

While that’s certainly good … it’s merely a good beginning.

If your marketing is a bit more advanced, and you’re already using print ads, workshops, radio commercials, quarterly mailers and newsletters to reach your target demographic, then better still. But whether you’re a one-person band on a limited budget, or you’re already a household name, when it comes to marketing, where should you go from here?

My marketing plan says head straight to video.

First, some of the biggest potential drawbacks of a digital marketing campaign aren’t necessarily drawbacks at all. True, video’s reputation as a difficult medium to master is somewhat well deserved. Not only can it be expensive (though it needn’t be), it can be time consuming and—difficult as this is for many successful professionals to grasp—the fact is that not all of us are cut out to be in front of the camera.

The other primary drawback of video marketing is that unlike, say, a poorly designed print ad—which practically nobody will remember a mere two weeks from now—a badly executed video that lingers online in perpetuity can seriously damage even the most artfully crafted brand.

In short, what you’re about to read is intended to help keep you from going viral for all the wrong reasons. That’s because, if executed correctly, the rewards of marketing with video should far outweigh any risks and serve to further distance you from your competition.

For our purposes, I’m going to primarily focus on the ins and outs of marketing yourself as your firm, which means covering some basics about creating short, informational video clips which you can post on your website, upload to social media, or email to clients or potential clients.

Utilize Professional Production

Despite appearing simple, actually sitting down and painting modern-art masterpieces takes talent and expertise. The same goes for video marketing. While finding a qualified videographer takes effort, when you consider the lighting, sound and editing requirements involved, you should realize that nothing—not brilliant oratory, nor a perfectly knotted tie—impacts the quality of the final product more than the person or firm you partner with to produce your presentation. So put away your iPhone camera and find someone local who is open to your professional philosophy, understands the marketing constraints of our industry, and has experience helping businesses deliver a strategic message to a mature demographic.    

Clear Introductions

As you prepare for your video presentation, you’ll understandably be thinking about content. But the most important message you’ll convey isn’t actually going to be about interest rates or Social Security. That comes later. The key to the production is actually your personal introduction. Studies have shown that a full quarter of viewers “tune out” in a matter of seconds if they don’t feel a connection to the presenter. Introduce yourself as though you’re speaking face-to-face with another person: “Hi, I’m Carol Jones, principal at Smith and Jones Advisors, and I’m going to be talking to you today about some potential changes to Social Security that may affect your retirement.”

This way, before you’ve even gotten into the meat of your presentation, viewers already know your name, your position, the name of your company and the subject of the video. Think of your intro as an amalgam consisting of your handshake, your eye contact, even your posture, all very much like a first-date or job interview. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression.

It’s important to remember that people who click on your link are looking for a reason to make the call. They are looking to hire someone. Video is effective in this way because it expedites the process of familiarization. And when you consider that a professionally produced video allows you to present yourself to prospective clients 24 hours a day—at their convenience when they are the most receptive to your message—then you begin to understand the power of this medium to build your brand and help you gain exposure.

King Content

After the introduction, you’re ready to showcase expertise. You want to get somewhat granular, but not put your audience to sleep. Keep the presentation concise—no more than two minutes—and squarely on topic. Don’t talk about the history of your firm unless the video is specifically about that subject. Deliver a solid message that, first, provides your viewer with the sense that you’re introducing something important, second, that there’s more to be learned, and third, that you’re a serious professional who is ready to help them deal with the topic you’ve presented. Close the video with a modified repeat of your introduction, followed by a call to action for viewers to contact you if they have any questions or would like to learn more about your services or your firm.

Completing the Video Marketing Loop

A few final things to consider: To help draw traffic to your videos (and your website), make certain your videographer (or webmaster) has advanced knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. The use of specific words and phrases in your electronic marketing helps search engines find you. Also, consider contracting with an email marketing firm (like “BombBomb”) whose applications allow you to imbed the actual video screen (and not just an off-putting generic link) right into the body of the email. This not only greatly increases the odds that recipients will view your video, these companies compile real-time analytics which can show you who opened your email, who clicked on the screen, and even which recipients viewed your presentation in its entirety.  

Previous generations of marketers bemoaned the distance that technology was creating between businesses and consumers. But more recent advances in technology have actually begun to reverse that trend. You no longer have to wait for a referral to introduce yourself to prospective clients. Savvy marketers are using the personalized technology of video to get closer faster to more potential clients than ever before.    

Pat McClain is the co-author of Investment Advisor Marketing: A Pathway to Growing Your Firm and Building Your Brand (Irish Canon Press: 2013). He is a senior partner and founding principal of Hanson McClain Advisors in Sacramento, Calif.