If You Start It, Are You Gonna Continue It?
Certified Financial Planner Lyle Greig from Bridges Financial Services has produced a multitude of professional videos across his awareness phase and his education phase of his business. And now, more recently, he's doing more DIY videos for customer retention.
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Chris: Lyle, tell me about the DIY videos. Businesses are being preached to. It's all about producing content. It's all about getting that out there. What are the pros and cons of DIY through your eyes?
Lyle: Yeah. Well, I guess the pro is the cost. You can do it yourself but be careful. I wouldn't sort of overcapitalize on your equipment too early and spending money on sound and lighting is probably more important than actually the camera. I'm currently just using the front camera on my iPhone 7, and the resolution on that is enough. So, I wouldn't run out and buy a digital SLR. That would be my first tip.
I suppose the con is, yeah, it's a steep learning curve. And, to be honest, I wouldn't be able to do the quality of DIY videos without having first done professional videos with Ridge Films and you, Chris. So, going through that...
"on camera training was vital to get that confidence in front of the camera"
and also do a number of videos with Ridge Films which builds up your practice and so forth. Yeah, it's definitely a steep learning curve.
One thing is, yeah, I sort of do a monthly DIY video and it's really around market updates and it's trying to inform clients on what markets are doing and then just topical subjects. I must say, I suppose the scripts aren't the same as my more professionally done ones. These ones are a little bit more technical and...
"there's always a juggle between getting good quality technical information out and trying to keep the client entertained and make sure they're not switching off."
I guess one other thing is if you start it, are you gonna continue it? So you've really got to have a passion for it and have some level of technical expertise. So, I edit my videos on my iPhone through iMovies. It's not that hard, but I wouldn't say it's easy, so you sort of need to play around with it for a while. And, yeah, there's always that danger. I don't want it to look too amateur. You don't want to damage your brand, so I think you've got to have a few test runs. I don't think you really want to just jump in and start pushing stuff out, because it can damage your brand. I've seen plenty of videos out there and I've just seen, I don't know, probably myself personally would not be happy with that sort of quality going out.
Don't Just Start Pushing DIY Videos Out
Now, having said that, when I first started doing my monthly video, I think it was October, 2016, it was pretty rough and ready. So, I'd still preach proliferation beats perfection. So don't try and perfect it. If it's at a certain level, then just go for it, but you don't want it to completely damage your brand. Clients will forgive you if it's a little bit amateur. But I've improved. Every month it's improved slightly.
Chris: Lyle, you've touched on a really important point. Practice makes perfect and that it doesn't happen overnight and it does take persistence. But one of the key things I think that would be important for people to know that are looking to invest into the DIY video marketing, if you like, what is the likelihood of you and your team getting busy and because you are the producer, the talent, all in one, what is the likelihood of dropping out in terms of that frequency? Your clients are now expecting those videos at a certain time every month. What happens? How do you maintain that level of frequency and recency for the content?
Proliferation Beats Perfection
Lyle: I repurpose a lot of content, so I'm lucky enough, with my financial planning group or licensee, there is a lot of information coming out, so I pretty much repurpose it. As far as the scripting, every month there's an economic or investment update. So I get that and the minute that hits my inbox, I pull that apart and I re-write it. I then make it more conversational and then I push it to our social media person at head office, so we're lucky enough to have a dedicated person there. And because the material is already coming out of my licensee, it's basically already approved. So, as long as I don't change it substantially or make any outlandish comments, then it's pretty much automatically approved.
Now, that's not always the case, particularly in financial services, because a client's burden is so heavy and they're so paranoid about what we're gonna say to the public or put out online that it can be difficult to sort of get these things approved. So, I've managed to work around that and with the monthly sort of economic update, that is my prompt to sort of kick in. But it is difficult at times. You still try to run your own practice and get things. So, yeah, to be honest, last month was probably a week late and it started making me think, yeah, is this sustainable? So, yeah, it's not easy. You've really gotta think hard about, yeah, are you up for this? Are you really gonna be able to do it? And so I'm still in there. Let's see if I'm still there in 12 months' time.
Chris: So, look, you've touched on I think a real pain point for people looking to do this and you're a tech savvy person. You like to get your fingers sticky in the technicalities of video creation. Talk to me more about the communication side of this because ultimately this is the mechanism. What you're doing, what you're talking about, is the mechanism for communication or delivery of a message. Now, what has been the focus or the outcome for the viewer? For the people, for the clients, for the people that are actually consuming the content? What are they saying?
"Clients love it, their retention or engagement levels are sort of 70%-80%, so that is pretty good."
I'm trying to keep it to 90 seconds, but unfortunately sometimes it sort of stretches out to 2 minutes, so there's a bit of an issue trying to get it a bit tighter as far as the script is concerned. But it's good feedback. You need at least 12 touch points per with the client is what practice management says, ideally 15. I think I've got potentially 20 or 22 touch points. Our clients are well and truly getting sort of 15, but it's even more now with this monthly video.
It's Another Quality Client Engagement Tool
So, if I haven't seen a client in say, three or four months or spoken to them on the phone, then this monthly video doesn't replace that completely, but I'm still in their inbox. There's my face, there's my voice. I'm still there. I'm still in business. All right, I haven't gone anywhere. And so it's just another quality touch point. It's another quality client engagement tool. And what better way to do it than video which is the new mega trend. Let's be honest. These newsletters, the newsletters I get, they're just boring. Does a client wanna sit there and consume your newsletter you think is fantastic for like 5 or 10 minutes as compared to maybe a 90-second video? I know which one I'd choose every time.
And it also forces you to sort of get to the point. Don't ramble. I might just talk briefly about this, Chris. There's a lot of talk out there should it be scripted or should I just talk off the cuff? And yet a lot of people are saying, "Ah, just talk off the cuff. It's more natural and all that." Well, that's great, but most people that do that just ramble on. Respect your client's time. Two and a half minutes of you jabbering on when you could have probably done it in 90 seconds is, to me, respect to the client.
So I'm a big advocate of scripting. Now, it then comes down to you, the talent, of whether or not you can pull off reading a script and make it sound natural. And so that's where the practice comes in. So, I guess, you know, if you can talk to camera and be succinct, fantastic, but that's finance reporters. That's not us. So, yeah, I'd say start with scripting and maybe go off the cuff if you get really, really good at it.
Chris: Yeah, good on you, Lyle. That's some really great information and it looks like we've trained you very well. Ninety second rule, absolutely vital. Your audience drop off after that first minute is likely to be 50%. This is a key, key thing that you've got to start thinking about. Lyle's got his point. Rambling is not enough these days.
And talking in a language that your audience actually understands is my next point. You have to be able to communicate on a level that is clear, that does not talk over their heads, because otherwise, what's the point? Rambling, as Lyle said, or talking in technicalities is certainly not going to capture an entire audience.
And, thirdly, we talked, Lyle talked about the importance of scripting versus talking off the cuff. Now, I just want to touch on this very, very quickly, because we've had those same criticisms, teleprompter versus talking off the cuff. And here it is as simple as I can possibly give it. The ramble absolutely exists. From a video communications point of view, if you want to pick up anything within that content that is not technically correct, it's near impossible to do with a take that has been just off the cuff because it's hard to find at what point they've gone off message.
So, that is one little issue with talking. Two is the fact that they would just go longer, way longer than they would if they had a tight script, and, you're right, not respecting the time of the audience. So, the flipside to that is teleprompter and actually learning how to read. And then a lot of executives saying...your executives probably fear the teleprompter because it doesn't come across sounding authentic. And that is a continual barrier because then all of a sudden, you've taken something that sounds kind of off the cuff and easy to listen to and you've made it really boring and dry because it sounds like it's been read.
And, Lyle, you have that skill set already because you've gone through the on camera training, you've understood how to use tone, punctuality, body language, inflection, intensity to bring your videos to life. So, that's a consideration, a big consideration if you're looking to do DIY content. It's no good these days just to say, "Well, I'm gonna switch on the camera, get my iPhone 6 and start shooting." You need the mechanism in place, the plan in place to understand how you're gonna be delivering that content, to whom, at what frequency, and then putting in a process to enable that sustainability. Otherwise, it'll be a fad, it'll work, it won't work, you won't know. And all of a sudden, at some point you'll get busy. You'll push the "too hard" button and it'll all fall on its bum.
Lyle: Yeah, I'd agree with that. And I haven't perfected it. This is still a massive work in progress for me because some of my monthly videos, yeah, they probably still are a little bit techie when it comes to the finance component, but I am trying to make it a bit like a finance update that you might see on one of the commercial TV stations and things like that. And I'm trying to show a bit of expertise as well. But, yeah, I probably do need to tone it down a little bit.
The other thing I really think I need to do to make it sustainable is to set the studio up permanently instead of packing it all down, because it doesn't take that long to unpack it. But it'll be beautiful just to have a dedicated space somewhere and I'm working on that when we move office in the next few months where hopefully I can find a space, just have it permanently set up, and that would bring down, I think, a lot of barriers, and might even increase the amount of videos that I do.
Have A Studio Permanently Set Up
I've also toyed with the idea of going on location, but it's just too many variables. It's hard enough in your office and trying to get the lighting right, get some natural lighting, then factoring in wind and sun and all that it's just like, no, forget it. So, I had this thing in my head where I'd get out on the road every month and clients will be like, "Oh, I wonder where Lyle is this month?" But that all fell apart pretty quick. So I'd say, yeah, try and keep your variables down and have a studio permanently set up. It's a good way to make it more sustainable. I think if I was out on the road, it'd just get all too hard, so...
Chris: The way in which businesses like yourself have been preached to in terms of content creation is, to a certain degree, unrealistic. The principles of it is right. Creating an abundance of this out in the marketplace builds personal brand, it creates top of mind for prospective clients, end clients. There's some confidence building that you're doing what you can to continually get in the face of your clients and that because you do have that level of expertise and that brand sense in the marketplace, clients are probably more likely to talk about it in a way as well and talk about you and to share the content.
And I think the basic concept of that, I suppose, is correct. It's now the process in which it's executed is the biggest barrier to entry for businesses. And I know that there's probably a lot of people that have listened to all of this in seminars and, "Get the content out!" and just gone back to the desk and gone, "You know what, I've got to run my business and be a financial planner, not a video producer."
Where Does The Video Live Once It Has Been Produced?
So, it's a steep learning curve as you say. It is something that businesses will need to implement in a way that, like you say, slowly, slow burn, test it, test and measure, see how it works, have a program in place that provides a sense of sustainability, have a built in studio as you say that makes it quick and easy for you to execute and turn around the content, and also amplifying it in a way that ensures that the time that you're spending on it is actually worthwhile. So, for instance, where does the video live once it's been produced? Does it go onto social? Does it go into those video brochures that I've shown you? Is it how you amplify it and giving that video every opportunity to have an existence?
Lyle: Yeah. Well, yeah, it's uploaded to YouTube and then it's pushed out to clients on an email and that's pretty much how it is. I was sort of putting it up on LinkedIn but it's not really the target. I did a couple there, but I just thought, "Nah, this is really for clients' consumption," and this is just something I'm doing for my clients. If people want to seek it out, occasionally I sort of push it out on Twitter, but to me Twitter's not really a big thing for me at the moment. I've got the Twitter account, but mainly my two ones are LinkedIn for professional connections, not client connections, and my biggest social media is still just email for clients and then pointing them to YouTube.
So my two social media are really YouTube and LinkedIn, but really the major sort of connection is to existing clients. I'm not necessarily sort of producing these for potential clients, but they will stumble across it at some stage, but they're not necessarily looking for an investment market update when they're trying to find a financial planner. This is really something for existing clients only.
Where Do DIY Videos Sit Within Your Overall Marketing?
Chris: Just to reemphasize the point before we go, just to reemphasize the point of where DIY sits within your business, knowing that you've already done the professional content across your awareness, across your education which is a big part of your business, just reiterating the point of the DIY, where does it sit within your overall marketing?
"It's going above and beyond and providing exceptional service to existing clients, which then refer other clients."
So, my biggest marketing strategy is to look after my existing clients as best I can for them to be advocates for me. That's really where it sits.
Chris: And just comparatively to the professionally produced content, positioning of that DIY content, where does it sit?
Lyle: Well, it's just a natural progression. So, I guess, yeah, the highly produced ones are there for potential clients and the client journey, then the education piece, and then once clients come on board, as an existing client, now they're getting that DIY monthly. And I think the other thing, too, with the DIY, it's redundant after, say, six weeks. So to some extent, it sort of needs to be produced fairly quickly and timely.
Chris: Good on you. Lyle, thank you so much for your time today. It's absolutely been great. It's been some really, really great insights, particularly focusing on the financial services sector. I love it. I love your journey. I look forward to doing more with you in the future and have a great day. Thank you so much.
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