230: The hero of the story isn't you - with Charles Alexander
Meet Charles Alexander
Charles Alexander’s mission in life is to help busy professionals stand out in a crowded marketplace that is filled with “me too” advisors. He does this by creating story-based explainer videos for busy professionals, like Financial Advisors, Insurance Agents, or anyone else that is in an advisory role, that helps them explain what they do and show personality.
How do you create the perfect little story?
I always work with clients who are usually in an advisory role in some way, shape, form or fashion. One thing I always want to get across to them a lot of the video out there right now is just somebody staring mindlessly into a camera rambling for about 10 minutes hoping to eventually land another point. More than anything we need stories in our videos. In my particular case, I have folks fill out this really simple six question form and from there is where I'll write the story. And what I want people to understand is that the hero of the story is your client or potential customer. They're the ones that need to see themselves in the story in the video. They're the ones that get to take this hero's journey, so to speak.
What are some of the best ways to incorporate videos in your marketing that ultimately help you just generate the best ROI.
I tell them first and foremost, your website needs to have video, primarily video above the fold on the landing page of the first thing that someone else sees, because even though there are a dozen different ways to drive traffic to your site, one of the most common ways from somebody in an advisory role or any small business or whoever it could be is still word of mouth or referral. The first thing people do is go to websites. They don't necessarily pick up the phone, they don't email they visit them online. When they do that if they go to your site and it looks like everybody else's, they don't really have a good reason to call you. You didn't stand out, you didn't speak to them. One of the very first places I tell people to put video, put it on the homepage, take off all of the jargon take off all of the used stock photos, get rid of it, put a video there.
What are some hidden do's and don'ts when it comes to video?
One don’t is don't make a video that sucks. I know that should be a given and I do want to give people leeway because you've got to get started somewhere. I create animated videos. And there's the opposite of that is the talking head video. And if you'll scroll through any social media platform, you will see countless talking head videos. So the don'ts for those is, don't skip the storyline. Don't go in without a script. Don't go in without a plan. And there's a lot of people that just hit the record button. So do your point. Have good audio. That's one key ingredient that a lot of people skip. We will watch a grainy video with a good message as long as it has good audio versus a Hollywood produced video with bad audio. We won't watch it. We'll turn that off. So make sure you get you invest a few bucks in a mic.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I can tell you about one of the very first networking experiences I had, and we'll talk about what worked and what didn't work there. It was a chamber of commerce leads exchange. It's kind of an entry level networking place where you'll go in for 60 seconds, everybody will introduce themselves and do their elevator pitch. Nobody told a story. Nobody asked how they could really help anybody else. I think the best overall out of all of them was a florist at the end, who hopped up told a story about how they had just helped somebody. And that was it. Everybody wants to go speak to him afterwards. And everybody blew off all the high-power folks with nice ties.
How do you stay in front of or best nurture your network in your community?
Primarily through content marketing that goes as much or more through email marketing and utilizing the LinkedIn messaging platform as much or more than anything. What works primarily is speaking to somebody as you would speak to them in real life removing all of the jargon, all of the sales pitches. Just speaking to somebody like you and I are having a conversation right now. If you will speak to somebody in a plain language in the way that you want to be spoken to, and you'll nurture the relationship, that way I send out one every couple of weeks, I'll throw in animated videos, or sometimes just text and sometimes I just ask them questions and hope to get a response. And that's an individual way it takes a little bit of time, but it's totally worth it, to reach out to people on a one on one basis.
What advice would you offer that business professional who's looking to grow their network?
Do it specifically. When I'm going out and making some new connections, I look specifically to people that I want to work with that are like clients that are my favorites, not necessarily even the highest grossing or highest revenue ones, but I tend to stick within a niche. So what you're wanting to do is find your tribe, so to speak, people you have a lot in common with. Look specifically for those people on your social media platform of choice. Or when you go to a networking event, don't go to just the generic ones that have one of every industry in it, go to a trade show, go to a convention of that target market and be the only digital marketing expert at the dry cleaners convention this year and be the one that talks directly to them about what they don't know.
Let's go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?
With regard to the professional career, I would probably would have told him to consider getting an actual internship in a field to see if that's what you wanted to do or not. But quite frankly, a lot of the things that I got wrong, one of the things that I got right, was to allow myself to be open to whatever was going to come my way. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just knew I liked people and I've been more into training and content creating ever since that point, so probably one of the better things I would have told him would be to study more and drink less.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the 6th degree?
Seth Godin. And surely I could, I'm connected with 17,000 people on LinkedIn. Look, I got a couple of high profiles on there. I might have a second-degree connection.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
You want to be different. You want to speak to people in a way that you know resonates. Not speak down to them or try to sell them just talk to them the way you'd want to be spoken to make sure that you actually have a real niche and that you can clarify. Of course I'm going back again that's why I like animated videos so much and explainer videos because you can work those in there.
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