Did you know that fewer than 2% of Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are using client testimonials as part of their marketing strategy?
That’s an incredibly low number, and it suggests that firms still don’t understand how best to use testimonials to position their growth. It also means that you have a potent differentiator in your arsenal if you’re using (or planning to use) client testimonial videos!
Back in May of 2021, we posted about the then newly-adopted SEC ad rule change that allowed RIAs to use client testimonials. We celebrated the news, knowing that when your clients sincerely shared their stories, your business would benefit.
It’s hard to believe more than a year has gone by since the rule change, but here we are – nearing the end of 2022 and taking inventory of how RIAs have been using testimonials. And as we just mentioned, they’re not – at least not enough. According to an article published in Think Advisor in May, some 14,000 RIAs filed a Form ADV amendment with the SEC, but 64% of them failed to complete item 5.L (which allows for leveraging new marketing opportunities under the modified rule). And Indyfin – a fintech company – reported that, by midyear, only 2.3% of firms that did complete Item 5.L were using testimonials.
3 Secrets to Great Testimonial Videos
The obvious conclusion? The difference between winning and losing a new prospect will be the social proof provided by client testimonial videos. Including testimonial text on your website is cool to do (heck, we do it too!), but nothing reaches audiences like videos do. You’re probably ready to show your prowess to potential clients. And you know you need to leverage digital channels to market your services. . . but how do you make great testimonial videos?
Here are three tips to create compelling testimonial videos and some examples so you can see for yourself the power real clients provide.
Tip 1: Find Stories That Resonate
Finding the right story is the key to a good video. Start by asking happy clients for a “pre-interview” to understand why they’re happy and how you’ve helped them achieve their goals. This conversational interview will naturally help you craft specific questions to ask during the filming stage of the testimonial. In the video below, Chuck Kessler, a Blue Chip Partners client, talks about how Arizona is his happy place and how his advisor, Dan, helped him through the purchase of his second home there. Without the pre-interview, we would not have known to focus Chuck’s story around easily accessing the earnest money and final payment for his Arizona dream.
With authenticity and genuine appreciation for Dan’s guidance, Chuck projects from the screen feelings of confidence and trust that printed words likely couldn’t capture. His story, told in an engaging 2.5-minute video, elicits positivity and articulates broad results from his relationship with Dan – exactly what you want from a testimonial and what you’ll achieve by employing a pre-interview. Be sure to watch for moments when your client’s face lights up and pay attention to repetitive themes popping up in conversation . . . then construct relevant questions that will guide clients into telling a story (our next tip)!
Tip 2: Use Q&A to Guide Clients in Telling Their Story
Once you’ve conducted the pre-interview, you’ll have a strong sense of what questions to ask your client during their filmed testimonial. To ensure authenticity, we typically don’t provide clients with the questions ahead of time – just let them answer naturally; editing will help keep the video cohesive and succinct.
Remember, to get great answers, you’ll need to ask great questions.
Build on the juicy nuggets that were shared during the pre-interview, like Chuck did in the Blue Chip video and like Bruce and Peggy do in their testimonial video about their Johnson Legacy Wealth Management advisor, Jay Dowhaniuk.
The testimonial centers around their retirement, and you can identify their responses to specific questions when you really pay attention to how they tell their story: “What is your relationship with Jay?” and “How long have you been with Johnson Legacy?” are two introductory questions that get answered in the first seconds of the video. “What is the biggest surprise of retirement?” becomes a transitional slide entitled “The Biggest Surprise of Retirement” that leads Bruce to share about how the amount of money they’ve accumulated was more than they anticipated. Their story provides social proof of their advisor’s effectiveness – their story is centered around their own experience. Potential clients can identify with the joy they see on Peggy’s face and the security Bruce describes. Great questions yield compelling and authentic stories.
Tip 3: Share Broadly!
Once you’ve filmed and edited your client’s testimonial video, remember to share it broadly! With 2 billion logged-in monthly users and 74% of adults active on YouTube, sharing on that platform is sort of a no-brainer. But one of the most effective things you can do after uploading to YouTube, in fact, is to share the video with existing clients. This method might seem counterintuitive, but here’s why it works well: happy clients will pass along the video to their network, garnering great word of mouth business for you.
Shannon Edwards, the President of TriStar Pension Consulting, asked Allan Campbell to appear in a testimonial not only because he’s been a faithful client for over 20 years but also because she knows her target audience.
One of Shannon’s goals in using this testimonial was to attract more small firms, like Allan’s, that were looking to add retirement programs. She knew that when potential clients viewed Allan’s testimonial, they would see themselves reflected in his story.
And even better? Social proof is contagious! Those same clients you share your video with may offer to film a testimonial for you too!
Before you share, be sure you’ve kept the video under 3 minutes and have it evaluated for compliance. You must disclose whether the person making the testimony is a client and if they were paid for their appearance, as you’ll see on all three of the videos we’ve shared here.
It’s one thing for you to talk about the benefits you provide. It’s quite another to have a happy person earnestly raving about you.
Ready to create a client testimonial video for your marketing repertoire? Find out how you can do it … with some expert help from the Idea Kit remote video team.