Creating awareness for a firm is a critical step for prospects to be able to find a business they need. Even if prospective clients get referred to a business, in today's era of "search," where all of us do research online, these individuals will visit a website and make their own initial assessments of your brand, services and expertise.

In a recent Private Wealth article entitled, "Are You An Expert?" the message was clear how high-net-worth individuals want to work with someone who has expertise to create financial solutions to meet their unique needs. However, if the advisor's expertise exists, but it is "hidden," then the advisor's professional brand is not as strong as it can be. In these cases, advisors need to do a better job of communicating their expertise, and videos might be the tools to help.

How To Impress Prospective Shoppers
The best way to make a strong first impression and communicate an advisor's brand for a first-time website visitor is to create and display impactful videos.

Matt Ackermann, EVP at Jennifer Connelly Interactive Productions (the firm that is now producing many videos for, explained, "Video is no longer a nice option for advisors. It is a must-have for effective communications and marketing."

The Zero Moment Of Truth
At the Direct Marketing Association's 2011 conference in Boston for real-time marketers, Alan Moss, director, Global Online Sales at Google, explained how buying behavior has changed. The first moment of truth (a term originally coined by P&G) is when a customer first comes in contact with a product (or service) and makes a purchase decision. The second moment of truth is when the customer takes home the product (or interacts with the service.)


"With the rise of Internet use, many interactions now happen online,"  Moss said. He defined this virtual engagement that adds a new step to the prospective customers' buying process as "The zero moment of truth." His advice:

"Take advantage of the shift."  [Translation:  Clients will find advisors through online methods. Are you positioned to benefit from the change?]
"Your content can be so engaging that it shares itself."  [Translation: Post videos that can be easily shared online. Do you have anything online your clients can and want to forward?]

"Get in touch with the right customers at the right time."  [Translation:  Prospects will search for answers when they hit life triggers. Will you be found online when they need an advisor?]

Before prospects ever interact via an office visit, phone call or email, videos are a clear tool advisors can add to their marketing strategies to be better at engaging prospects at the zero moment.

Videos Provide A Better Connection
Why are videos so important? Andrew Gluck, president & CEO of Advisor Products Inc., said, "We learn in different ways. Some like reading, while others are auditory learners and still others prefer graphics. Video is another medium and it is important because so many people are used to consuming information by watching TV."

Kristina Hahn, head of Display, Financial Services, at Google, agrees. She further explained, "For marketers to take advantage of the power of sight, sound and motion, they used to be limited to TV, which can be costly from a creative and execution standpoint. Because of cost, only larger firms could participate in the conversation. Online video allows for financial advisors to join the conversation in a cost effective and time efficient way."

Hahn believes, "Video allows an advisor to make a personal connection with the user. By placing the video online you can engage in a different way."

Other Benefits Of Videos
Gluck shared, "Posting videos on YouTube improves your chances of showing up in search engine results. Posting a video on YouTube and then embedding it on your company website creates a link to your website. Links to your website are an important factor in search engine algorithms."

Ackermann stated, "Visual communications are critical communications tool for advisors. Not only does video help improve SEO and your overall website appearance, but it can serve as the cornerstone to an effective social media strategy. We are living in an age where YouTube is the second largest search engine."

Hahn added, "Small businesses can play on a larger scale. Now they can compete on higher level because of video."

An Advisor Success Story
Check out 90secondfinance on YouTube. There you will see Tim Maurer, financial planner, educator and author, doing what he likes to do best -- teaching his clients about finance.  Maurer said he initially started creating videos in 2008 when he received a client request during the financial crisis that he wished he could see Maurer's 'face' with their frequent newsletters. Maurer realized that the video showed emotions that the written word could not.  For example, it is hard to pick up sarcasm when writing a humorous piece.  

Since then, videos have been a steady part of Maurer's marketing communications.  As a direct result of his videos, although it was not his main intention, he has received new clients from his videos being forwarded by existing clients.  In addition, Maurer said, "Some new business has come from Google searches."  He shared he has also received many interview requests, as the press come along his videos when writing on particular topics.  

His experience shows that the videos pick up traction over time.  He gave an example of an initial video on YouTube getting 5 views. Then, after some time, he went back and checked and saw that it had 100 views.  So advisors that are looking to try this marketing tactic should have some patience.

YouTube Stats
Here are some facts of why Google's video sharing site has become one of the most powerful means of communication in the world in just over five years.

Videos usage is skyrocketing:
There are over 3 billion global video views per day -- up over 50% from a year ago.
There are over 16,000 channels on YouTube related to investing.
20.9% of those who frequently invest visited YouTube (MRI 1/2011. Frequent defined as performed 50+ transactions in last 12 months)
179 million Americans watch online videos each month, with more than 88.6 million people watching on an average day (Comscore 2/11).
There are over 400 million mobile views a day.
There is more video uploaded to YouTube in a month than all 3 major U.S. networks broadcast in the last 60 years.

Videos are social:
Over 100 million people take a social action with YouTube (like, share, comment) each week
There are 300 years worth of YouTube videos watched on Facebook a day
There are 600 YouTube videos shared on Twitter a minute

Are You Using Videos?
The case is clear, videos are gaining immense online popularity, they help deliver a stronger brand message and they can help a business get found.

Eileen Naughton, managing director at Google, spoke about the digital revolution at the recent FutureM conference and said, "Never before has marketing been so exciting."

If you have not created videos, set up a YouTube channel and integrated them into your website and social media strategies, you are missing an excellent opportunity to market yourself and your organization.

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at Visit and subscribe to Byrnes Consulting's video channel.