Don't Tell Them, Show Them: The Nuts and Bolts of Using Video to Engage Your Clients

Written by: Dan CallahanFor creating compelling content to reach clients and prospective clients, take a line from screenwriters: don’t tell them, show them.

In a word, video.

Video has the most potential for any tool you can use to engage your clients. In a time when all of us carry around a hand-held video player we turn to more times a day than we would like to admit, the picture, the live testimonial and the how-to video are more powerful than ever.The stats are compelling:
  • Video search is the single most important element on a website, according to Forrester Research . YouTube is the second largest search engine behind its parent, Google.
  • Placing the word “video” in the email subject line increases the open rate by almost 20 percent, according to digital agency Syndacast .
  • For mobile, the future of all marketing, video accounts for 60 percent of all traffic and will grow to 75 percent by 2020, Cisco
  • Okay, okay, you’re saying. I’m sold. Now what?

    Well, it’s easier than ever to produce video, but it’s another matter to make it compelling and market it to your clients in ways that will make sure it is appreciated.To start, you need a script and someone to present it. Scripts are essential. The best ones come across as conversational, honest and devoted to a topic your target audience cares about. To get started, you should consider the topics on which you have expertise that relates to your clients. Using current events is a great way to get attention, but it also can date them quickly.The script should be short, like the attention spans of most viewers. The easiest videos to shoot and produce are one-person videos where you tell a simple story in one take. If you’re going to do this, consider developing some graphics to illustrate the key points you’re making.Finding the right person to present on-camera will take some tryouts and practice. Often the first choice is not the right one, especially if the choice is based only on looks. The best presenter is the person who can make the information come alive in front of the camera, a talent that can be learned, but only after a lot of work.I’ve included some technical tips at the end of this piece that can help with production that include the cost of equipment to create top-notch videos.Once you get the shooting and production out of the way, there is the marketing. You should set up a channel under the name of your firm through one of the video portals. YouTube and Wistia are the leaders in this space and they allow you to track and measure traffic and engagement among your target audience.You’ll want to post the finished product on your website and push it out to the social media you use. An emailed video is a great way to reach out to your clients. It will also get you to produce content on a regular basis, consistency being key to all content marketing.Related: Cut through the Noise! Five Steps to Make Your Content HeardRelated: 5 Ways to Create a Smart Growth Strategy for Your Financial and Insurance Practice

    Finally, here are those technical tips for creating videos that will stand out.

  • iPhones can capture HD video and audio, but they are not perfect. Consider taping audio on a separate device (Zoom Audio: $220, microphones up to $50) and syncing the video and audio tracks in post-production on video editing software (Final Cut Pro software for Macs: $300, Adobe Premiere for PC: $240).
  • For even better video, consider using a DSLR camera for the shoot. Video is now standard on these cameras and the professional lenses produce the best images (variety of cameras ranging in price from $300 to more than $1,000).
  • Find a quiet place to shoot, but don’t worry too much about the backdrop. You can use green screen in post-production for that.
  • Good investments include: a solid tripod ($25), high-quality lights ($50 to $100), backdrops that include white, black and green curtains ($50 to $100), some basic makeup to powder away blemishes and sweat ($10), and an iPad teleprompter that can help anyone look smart on camera (teleprompter $100-$400).
  • You don’t have to do it all in-house. A good freelance video editor who can do the work quickly is worth paying, especially if you want to use digital graphics and green-screen technology to help tell the story right.
  • Dan Callahan is Director of Communications for GWG Holdings’ companies that include GWG Life, Life Epigenetics and YouSurance.