Educate your clients with “explainer” videos

“Explainer” videos go beyond the standard content that you typically see on websites. They offer up an alternative to the basic fare of periodic blog posts, time-sensitive articles and round-up newsletters.

You can use explainer videos to clarify those complex issues and common misconceptions that can cloud clients’ understanding of financial matters. They’re often designed with a specific audience in mind, with an eye to offering up a solution and positioning the video’s provider as a reliable resource.

High production values are important in explainer videos. But fancy animation and sound effects mean nothing if you don’t have a solid story.

“In any video we produce, it all boils down to the script,” says Brandon Houston, CEO of Switch Video in Collingwood, Ont. “You can have a great-looking video that doesn’t perform well.”

As shareable and “snackable” content, explainer videos can enjoy a lengthy lifespan on the web, especially those that aren’t rooted in the news cycle. As a financial advisor, you might present a video on an RRSP strategy, applying for a certain tax credit or mutual funds.

With the right measure of captivating graphics and a compelling narrative told in simple terms, the explainer video can help you demonstrate your expertise as an advisor.

Houston shares three essential rules for creating an absorbing explainer video:

1. Start with a strong script
Writing a good script is the first and most crucial step in developing your video, Houston says. The narrative grounds the entire process. From the script, all the other pieces fall into place, such as the overall tone, the visuals and the sound effects.

One approach to finding a hook to your story is to draw up a profile of your average client. Then, you can map out “pain points” you’re in a position to address. Houston holds a discovery call with his clients to figure out how best to frame the topic at hand.

Metaphors can be a useful tool in helping viewers understand difficult topics. “Our working memory is fairly limited,” Houston says. “We rely on prior knowledge and shared memories.”

2. Keep it short
Most explainer videos should fall between 60 seconds and 90 seconds, Houston says, otherwise you lose the audience’s attention. He and his staff work to “compress complex information in so few words,” averaging about 120 to 140 words per minute of video.

While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, if you don’t stick to that time limit, you risk losing out on the opportunity to educate your clients.

> Avoid the “talking head”
Think of explainer videos as visual stories that draw heavily on graphics — whether you decide to use animation, photographs or charts — to help illustrate the points. A video that is presented as a one-way conversation will not have the desired effect.

And even though you might be the best qualified to explain the subject, that doesn’t mean you’re the best person to be the face — or the voice— of the video, Houston says. The narrator you choose should embody the right inflections, tone and speed to hold people’s attention long enough that they leave better informed.

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