Outcompete Big Name Brands with Financial Advisor Videos

You lead a team of advisors at your RIA. You’re proud of being independent (and should be)! You have an amazing team, awesome culture and you love the way you can serve your clients in a meaningful way–enjoying truly authentic, mutual, human-centered relationships. This is what business can be like! 

But you’re struggling to differentiate yourself from your competitors. And because of that, you’re not growing at the pace you want. 

Maybe you’re stuck in that phase where you really need to generate more revenue to justify increasing overhead for growth. 

You invest something in marketing but don’t have an advertising budget at the scale of Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, or J.P. Morgan.

While these brands aren’t bad – maybe you use one of them as the custodian of your client’s assets–it’s painful to lose clients to them just because they hold household brand familiarity. Maybe what those big brands offer is fine but you know you can offer a more personal client experience. That’s something that really makes you different from them. 

I want you to win business because I passionately believe that thriving small businesses are critical expressions of independence and abundance, necessary for a healthy society. I really want to live in a world where the human, personal-service, underdog, independent RIAs outcompete big name brands!

So how can you do that?

You don’t need a Superbowl ad or stadium with your name on it. 

You need to showcase your humanity.

You don't need a Super Bowl ad; you need to showcase your humanity.

I like supporting small businesses. Supporting a local small business is amazing. But we’re a global society and supporting an independent small business in any community also feels good. Keeping Main Street alive anywhere in the world is better than not. It feeds my desire to do business more equitably, human-human, rather than human to monolithic mega-corporation. This is part of why I chose my own financial advisor. Your potential clients might feel the same.

1. You run an independent small business, not a local business. Use financial advisor videos to expand geographic reach.

Even if you’re not registered with the SEC, your geographic scope is not limited to your local community.

When I finally realized that the scope of my target market wasn’t limited by geography, it was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t think of myself as leading a national company (and definitely not a global company)! But I’ve now served clients for video strategy and production in CA, IL, FL, TX, MI, CO, and even Australia. And I’ve worked with my clients’ clients all over the US and also in Canada and England.

For me, widening my geographic scope was a big mindset shift. And the initial overwhelm of a much wider world was balanced by getting clear on my niche. I cannot serve everyone in the world who needs video or a story-based video. But I can serve RIAs. 

I used to market to a very broad audience at local networking meetings and that resulted in a lot of time spent and zero referrals gained. I had to break out of the local networking group mindset.

With my new approach to narrow my niche and widen my geographic scope, my tactics changed. I share the below so you can consider shifting your own strategy: 

 

  • Instead of casting a wide net in a small geography/group to establish trust, I got very specific about the communities I needed to know and the people I needed to meet on LinkedIn (BTW, the financial services industry has some amazing marketers–I’ve made some really rad professional friends in 30 minute phone calls that have led to ongoing relationships) 
  • Instead of humble bragging about my accomplishments in a room of people at local networking events, I write articles in industry publications and related media to establish my expertise and educate y’all on what I’ve learned. Check out my work in Journal of Financial Planning, NAPFA, Zapier, Vimeo, Hearst Bay Area.

     

  • Instead of waiting my turn to introduce myself to people falling asleep at an early morning Provisors meeting, I teach webinars and have an an online course that is attended only by people who find the information relevant.

     

  • And best of all: my time spent is reduced and my work is amplified without losing a personal touch. All of my efforts are infused with humanity and personality through the powerful medium of video.
Not that all this is a snap. It takes a lot of time and energy. I’m also not claiming video to be the magic bullet you’ve been waiting for that will change it all (I wish!), but financial advisor videos can play a key role in outcompeting big name brands. 

The role of financial advisor videos for RIAs: expand your geographic scope

When your company name isn’t on a football stadium, you need to stand out and differentiate yourself. You need to become known–not to everyone in the world, just to your ideal client and target prospects. 


One powerful way to do that is by having a brand video on your website. Here’s an example:

2. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get your message across in video. But sometimes you need polished financial advisor videos.

Rely on polished financial advisor videos for evergreen content that lives on your website for many years and go DIY for time-sensitive, fast-paced (social media) or very personalized one-one video communication.

If you need to give your clients the “fancy suit” experience for them to take you seriously, focus your attention on first impressions: an engaging brand video on the home page of your website with high quality storytelling, for example. 

When clients hire us for in-person filming, we use 4K cinema cameras (two of them). It’s not cheap but it’s not a million dollar advertising campaign either. 

 

I recommend polished financial advisor videos in these contexts:

 

  • A brand video on the home page of your website
  • To introduce your unique planning process
  • As a library of sales content to address FAQs
  • Client onboarding videos
  • Founder and team bios 

Generally, anything that you consider “evergreen” – company culture and processes that aren’t going to change.

At the same time, you might want to include financial advisor videos that aren’t super polished as part of your strategy. The point is to make a human-human connection. Sometimes the best way to do that is to be a little unpolished.

I recommend less polished videos for RIAs in these contexts: 

 

  • Social media posts
  • Blogs
  • Personal one-one introductions and communications

Depending on your ideal client, the above recommendations are flexible. Client testimonial videos for RIAs can especially go either way–sometimes leaning into a less polished remotely recorded client testimonial can really capture the organic look and feel you need to connect with your ideal client. 

The most important thing about your financial advisor videos strategy–whether cinema-quality or shot on your iPhone–is connection and trust. Are you making an impression that you can be trusted? Video helps you do that immediately. Give a valuable quick tip while also adding the benefit of showcasing your warm personality through video. 

Here’s an example of one of my own social media video posts:

3. Use automation (financial advisor videos) as a tool to amplify authenticity.

We’re all familiar with automation tools that create greater efficiencies in our work. And these tools are increasingly available to all. Yet, advisors still lag when it comes to using the automation tool of video. Other businesses–including your big brand direct competitors–are using video to build more momentum with less effort. So why not you?

According to Hubspot, “embedding relevant video content on a landing page has been found to increase conversions by as much as 86%.”

Financial advisor videos are an automation tool. And when it comes to building momentum with minimal effort, practice leveraging video as a human-centered automation tool. When prospects go to your website, you can greet them with your video, answer frequently asked questions, share your unique process, share client experiences–video is a powerful medium for so many purposes.

When you apply strategy and automation to human connection, you leverage something important. 

 

It bears repeating: video has incredible potential as a human-centered automation tool. And the key to using automation tools effectively is to use them to enhance a human experience. Use video to amplify a very human-centered message. Use it as a way to amplify you. Use it to connect with another human through vulnerable, personal story-sharing. Use it to build empathy and invite relationships.

Leveraging financial advisor videos as automation tools means that you can share your story once on camera and use it for years, sharing it over and over–even passively on your website–to actively engage with prospects curious about working with an advisor like you. 

 

When considering a strategy to use video for RIAs, I especially like thinking of client testimonials as amplification tools because they do a lot of heavy lifting for you–they are basically authentic, automated referrals. 

 

Here’s an example of a remotely recorded client testimonial video:

Key Takeaways for Competing with Big Brands Using Financial Advisor Videos:

  1. Being a local business does not limit you to serving local clients.

  2. Know when to use polished video to support your brand presence.

  3. Video for RIAs can be leveraged as an automation tool in service of amplifying genuine human-human connections, especially testimonials

And finally, you do not need to continue on with strategies that you know aren’t working for you, especially if you’re not enjoying them.

Try something different. Dare to stand out. You can start by making better advisor videos. Add something into the mix that will complement what you’re already doing or take an action that will set you off in a new direction. 

Human-centered video, when leveraged as part of your overall marketing and branding strategy can afford you the opportunity to replace less effective strategies that limit your success. And not only that, it can help you outcompete big brands with corporate-sized budgets. 

All while leaning into your biggest advantage: you–the one and only independent you.