Financial Advisor Explainer Videos: Five Common Mistakes to Avoid

Financial Advisor Explainer Videos: Five Common Mistakes to Avoid

A financial advisor explainer video is a great tool to promote your services. Why? Because most potential buyers of full-service financial advice don’t truly understand what you do. More importantly, they don’t understand how your service can make a huge difference in their lives: more clarity, feeling organized, and feeling confident financially.

But how can you possibly expect a stranger to sit down and listen to you? You can’t, but you can do something better: tell the story on a short whiteboard explainer video.

Statistics back that up. According to Social Media Today, 90% of consumers report that video helps them make buying decisions.

And it’s not just younger viewers who are watching. According to Digital Information World, 59% of senior executives surveyed said they would watch a video over reading text if both options were available.

Don’t Blend In; Differentiate!

Even more importantly, an explainer video can be used to show why you’re different from the other advisors.

First, having an explainer video in itself can be a differentiator. It can definitely make your firm seem more approachable and easier to communicate with, which is important.

Second, the video can also be a great way to highlight how your firm is different. Specialize in incorporating tax planning with financial planning? Great! A video can tell that story effectively. Are you GIPS-compliant? Let a video explain that somewhat abstract topic in terms that make sense for someone who has never heard the term before. Do you work with a particular niche? Tell the details of how you help in the video.

But Do It Carefully

We do a lot of explainer videos for financial advisors, so we’ve learned over the years what works and what doesn’t. Here are the most common mistakes we see out there when firms try to do it themselves, or with a firm that doesn’t understand the financial advice industry. Stay away from these missteps that can harm your video’s effectiveness:

  1. Not telling a story, verbally or visually

Storytelling has been used throughout the ages to share information and to educate people. It’s no different for financial advice (yes, even if you are targeting high-net-worth audiences. First you need to effectively communicate your message and storytelling is an amazing way to do it. Walk the viewer through a story showing how your services have changed an imaginary person’s life. It works!

Sometimes, however you may be trying to explain a benefit that might not lend itself to a full story. In that case you can structure the visuals as a story, while the narration itself may go more of an “explainer” route, walking the viewer through some educational process on a topic.

But don’t underestimate the power of a story when you are marketing to consumers. The story keeps people’s attention.  

  1. The video is too long

The second common mistake we see out there is to make the video too long. If you click “play” on a video on a random site, pay attention to how long you stay interested. It sounds strange, but I struggle to pay attention longer than a minute. Research shows that many people drop off after viewing for 60 seconds. A few more make it to 90 seconds, but after that, few watch until the end. With infinite content on the internet competing for your audience’s attention, your opportunity to keep them and their short 21-st century attention spans is brief. Keep your video to 90 seconds or less to give it the best chance of working for you (and as a side benefit, a shorter video will also cost less to produce).

  1. Not prioritizing the script

The third mistake I see most often is not prioritizing the script. The message is the most important part of your video. The video can look visually amazing, but if the messaging isn’t right, it won’t have the impact you are looking for. If budget is an issue, emphasize the script and keep the animation simple. With financial advisor videos, a well-scripted, simpler design can outperform a beautiful video that lacks a clear message.

  1. Using too much industry terminology

The fourth mistake we see frequently is that the video makes use of industry jargon. Here’s the thing: the best videos explain things in the consumer’s language, not your firm’s. Saying you offer “comprehensive financial planning” or “evidence-based investment management” doesn’t mean much to a consumer looking for an advisor. What is meaningful? Explaining how your services can help them improve their lives and reach their goals. Or, if you’re trying to differentiate why a fee-only financial advisor can help them, you need to explain it in simple terms. Otherwise, it may be a struggle to follow along and understand. Oh, and remember that infinite competing content out there? Your audience does. By talking to a consumer, and not to another financial industry member, you keep their attention longer.

You can use one or two terms as long as you define them for the viewer. In fact, offering a couple definitions is a valuable feature of an educational video.  Just don’t overdo it.

  1. Using a Video Team that Doesn’t Understand Your Industry

As importantly, be careful who you hire to make your video. Selling financial advice is very (very) different from selling other services or products. There are great video animation teams, but if they don’t understand the industry, you may not get the effective result you want.

Additionally, you may end up with compliance headaches further into the process that drive up costs. Ideally, find a financial advisor video provider with the experience and insight to help make your video a success.

          If you’re not employing videos on your website, you’re passing up an opportunity to connect with your audience. But if you do post videos but you’re not using them the right way, you’re squandering your audience’s attention. And who can afford to do that?

Jeanne Klimowski is the founder of Wavelength Financial Content Inc.  Wavelength is a provider of marketing and financial wellness content, including explainer videos, for financial advisors.