Financial advisor video marketing – STOP making these awful mistakes!

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Financial advisor video marketing doesn’t have to be the big deal that everyone makes it out to be. The first time I ever did a video, I was a disaster. I was making all the mistakes I’m about to tell you.

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and financial advisor marketing consultant. I have a newsletter in which I send you one actionable, practical marketing tip a day. Please sign up here!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

Financial advisor video marketing doesn’t have to be dry and boring!!!

Most videos get zero traction because they are overwhelming to the viewer. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Videos should present powerful, short snippets that compel the person to take an action – not to drone on and on.

  • There is no need for a teleprompter. It makes you look like a robot. If you are talking for so long that you can’t remember what to say, make the video shorter.
  • People are consuming video in shorter amounts. Instagram and TikTok, YouTube shorts, etc. Use 15 second clips to get people to watch the longer video.
  • Reduce the amount of ideas you discuss. It’s not written down on paper. People can’t hold multiple ideas in their mind. Discuss one idea per video.
  • Lots of energy. I’d rather have you make a shorter video, but have it be super energized and entertaining. Financial advisor videos are typically not, so it won’t be hard to stand out from the crowd.
  • Subtitle the video. Most videos on social media for example are watched on mute.
  • As for the technicals, I did a podcast on this which you can watch here.

Hint: the microphone doesn’t matter

Question from a financial advisor who wants to make videos: “What is the best microphone to use?”

Ha ha you’re gonna love my response!

It doesn’t matter one iota!!!!

Here’s why.

Most social media videos are watched on mute.

Think about it.

?When you’re in line at the supermarket watching a video on your phone, do you really want the 2024 Roth contribution limits blasting for everyone else to hear?


But I see soooooo many of you financial advisors ponying up all sorts of cash for the most expensive microphone.

Nobody cares.

Use an affordable software like Zubtitle (by the way, they have a free plan) so you can subtitle your videos. That way the people watching on mute can read the words while the cashier checks out their asparagus.

How to get the best lighting for your videos

What is the best lighting to use when I am recording a video?

How’s this for some real talk? LoL.

Ignore aaaaaallll those marketing people telling you to go out and fuss over some expensive “halo lamp”.

Natural light is the best!

Record facing the window – never with the window at your back or you’ll be silhouetted.

You want to record when the sun is low to mid range, not at its peak. So the best hours are about 9 to 11 AM or 1 to 3 PM in your local time.

How long should it be?

Question from a subscriber: “How long should a social media video be?”

Keeping it real: as short as possible for you to get the point across. No longer than 30-45 seconds.



  • Financial content is dry and boring, and most advisors will never figure out how to make it otherwise.
  • Videos should be about one topic. Make one point. The content is too technical and overwhelming.
  • Certain platforms such as YouTube will post a shorter video as a “short”, and is given more visibility. You can use a “short” to direct viewers to a longer video on the subject, if need be.
  • Shorter videos are more likely to be viewed, because they are perceived as less of a time commitment.
  • Short videos help you avoid the use of a teleprompter, which is a huge “ick” because it makes you sound like a robot.




Should I even do this???? I’m not sure!

Question from a subscriber: “How do you know if it’s worth it to do video marketing? I’ve heard it’s effective, but just how much more effective is it?”

Okeee here’s the raw truth.

Get ready…

Videos are a great way to enhance your content. For example, if you write a blog, summarizing it with a video that you embed can bring the written words to life.


As a standalone marketing piece for you financial advisors, it’s “meh.”

Real talk: most videos are not worth the time invested. For example, if you were to create a video about Social Security and post to LinkedIn.

Here’s why.

They don’t stop the scroll.

The two largest factors determining a video’s success are:

The thumbnail. This is the preview image that shows when the link is posted.

  • The first three seconds of the video. If you fail to hook the viewer right away, they’ll immediately click away.

On social media, the first few seconds of a video are what determines whether or not people stop scrolling past. So you’d better be doing backflips to get their attention.


Video marketing is very “hit or miss” and can take alot of time and money. If you are going to do it, be intentional about it.

What’s the best background for when I record a video?

Everyone is sick of the financial advisor “default option” – the bookshelves, your CFP® certificate hanging on the wall behind you, etc.

(eyes rolling)

This setup is pretentious and makes people nervous.

Take this action TODAY:

Get something relaxing and comforting that will peak the reader’s curiosity.

  • A picture of you and a pet
  • A surf board
  • An intriguing plant
  • A soft, glowing string of lights
  • A faux fur blanket and tufted pillow set
  • Antique clock
  • Burning candles
  • Lava lamp
  • Fireplace with crackling fire

Sara’s upshot

All the other advisors are going for cold and impersonal – evoke warmth and softness with your video background. It’ll make you more human and that’s why people watch videos (instead of reading a blog)!

What if I get nervous?

There’s a very simple fix for that.

Reduce the demand for information recall by chopping the video recording session into bits.

This will reduce your anxiety and make the words flow.

Take these actions TODAY:

  • Get a list of the points you want to make, and come up with a lead in question that somebody could ask you.
  • Snag your wife, husband, or kid and get them on a Zoom meeting with you.
  • Adjust your Zoom so that you are the only one visible. Hide the other person by disabling their camera.
  • Press “record.”
  • Have your wife, husband, or kid to ask you the first question on the list, and then mute themselves.
  • Answer the question in 30-45 seconds.
  • When you are done, stop recording and take a break. Think about how you will answer the next question on the list.
  • Press “record” and have your wife, wife, or kid ask you the second question on the list.
  • Answer the question in 30-45 seconds.
  • Repeat the sequence until all the questions on the list are answered.
  • Edit out any unintended exposure to the other person.
  • Chop the recording into parts so you have a separate video for each question.

Not only does this take away the anxiety, it creates a ton of content (5-6 short videos) from one recording session.

People prefer short content and you are way more likely to get views on your videos if they are “shorts.”

And that’s all the financial advisor video tips I’ve got for ya!

Alright that’s all for now.

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Or if you want more…

Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.

This is a book about financial advisor LinkedIn messages which contains scripts you can use to get new prospects.

You could also consider this LinkedIn training program which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn.

The Sara Grillo membership is a social media program for financial advisors - but only the cool ones.

Thanks for reading. See you in the next one!

-Sara G


Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use, or the success of any program. Nothing in these materials may be construed as an investment, insurance, or financial recommendation. For such a recommendation, consult with a financial advisor.

Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor. Opinions stated by third parties may not be correct and do not reflect the views of Grillo Investment Management, LLC. Grillo Investment Management, LLC may not be held accountable for any statements made by third parties.

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