The video takes viewers into music studios while Adams discusses helping musicians and songwriters with their financial decisions, and to a ballpark and basketball arena where he describes how he helps athletes and coaches prepare for the next phase in their lives. It’s a tidy, 2:04 minute package that ends with the company logo and “Raymond James” on the screen as it fades to black.

The “Meet Our Team” video is the third iteration of an effort that began five years ago. “It’s about me getting more comfortable on camera and wanting to improve the quality of it,” says Adams when describing the evolution of his firm’s video efforts.

Adams employs Nashville-based Snapshot Interactive as the videographer, and says he’s been very much involved in the creative process by writing the script and determining the imagery he wants to use. “I know some advisors don’t want to mess with all of that, but for me, being involved is the reason why the final product came out more authentic and probably more of our brand versus having someone else craft the brand,” Adams says.

He adds he had to run the script—as well as the final product—by Raymond James for compliance reasons. His involvement on the creative side has helped tamp down expenses. He notes the “Meet Our Team” video cost about $5,000 to make. As a rule of thumb, video producers say a simple video where an advisor gives his or her short pitch, and which employs a film crew and simple editing and graphics, can cost around $1,000. More complex productions that include a couple of cameras, nice lighting and maybe a couple of locations with plenty of B-roll, or extra footage, can cost $8,000 to $10,000, and in some cases north of $20,000.

Adams also does quarterly market update videos displayed on the company’s website that are shot with a camera kept in the office. “It’s lower-budget, but it still looks good,” he says. “We do it quickly in-house because we do so many of them.”

But as for his featured video, he acknowledges it’s hard to track its actual return on investment. More than anything, he says, it’s a branding effort that helps connect potential clients with his firm before they even meet.

Bedroom Studio
Kate Holmes has a playful personality, and she likes to feature it on the website for her one-woman firm, Belmore Financial. So when it came to making a video to put on her website that described herself and why she became a financial advisor, she wanted a style that fit her persona. She also intended the video to act as a filter for prospective clients. “[I wanted] to have prospects weed themselves out before speaking with me,” she says. “I have a high close ratio with prospects because by the time they schedule an intro call, they feel like they know me and understand how I operate.”

The Belmore website’s featured video was shot in Holmes’s master bedroom on her MacBook Air. “I think my microphone wasn’t working that day, which means I was using just the speakers on my MacBook Air,” she explains. Other production tools she used included a $60 light set bought on Amazon and free iMovie editing software on her Mac. She set up the camera herself, pushed the record button and let it roll.

The video is no frills, but comes across as a step above homemade. “How great is it that I’ve had a number of people say it looks professionally done,” says Holmes, a certified financial planner in Las Vegas. “I think people make video more complicated than it needs to be, thinking you need to go into a studio and pay someone thousands of dollars, or have everything perfect. I just used what I had and it turned out fine.”

That said, Holmes isn’t happy with her current video and plans to upgrade to a 2.0 version shot with a borrowed professional camera (courtesy of her brother) and in a studio owned by a photographer friend of hers. “One of the things I struggle with in using my MacBook Air is I have to be close to the camera, and you don’t get much background, which doesn’t give me much flexibility for my backdrop,” Holmes says. “With a professional camera, the picture and sound will be better, and by using a studio I’ll be able to create more of an environment to move around more freely.”

Nonetheless, she doesn’t want version 2.0 to be too slick. “I think when things get more polished, it loses that intimate feeling,” Holmes says.