Ep 021

Leveraging YouTube to Grow Your Advisory Business


Dave Zoller

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Inside This Episode

In this episode, I’m talking with Dave Zoller about how to effectively leverage YouTube to build your advisory business.

Not only has Dave built and scaled his own retirement planning firm, but he also teaches advisors how to do the same through his online platform, Streamline My Practice.

And what’s really cool is that he’s successfully using YouTube as a marketing funnel. Last year, his YouTube videos accounted for $60M of new assets for his firm!

Today, he’s going to share the strategies he’s used for getting in front of the camera, creating content that converts, and leveraging video as a way to expand your reach and connect with your audience.

And I know what some of you may be thinking… “I don’t have time for that.” But good news for you. Dave has simplified and streamlined the entire process so that creating and publishing valuable content that speaks to your ideal clients, doesn’t consume your life.

3 of the biggest insights from Dave Zoller

  • #1 Tips for getting past first-video jitters, creating hooks that make prospects take notice, and coming up with real-life ideas for quality content.

  • #2 Strategies for promoting and positioning your content on YouTube or social media in a way that attracts more viewers.

  • #3 How to structure videos to convert your viewers into clients while accounting for your position on the content creation journey. 


  • 00:00 Introducing today’s guest, Dave Zoller of Streamline Financial Services.
  • 06:33 The creation metrics Dave aims for with content across his YouTube channel and email newsletter.
  • 10:48 How can advisors use video to create real-world case studies for their target audience?
  • 15:52 The tech stack for quickly and efficiently creating client-ready video content.
  • 21:38 Why approaching video creation from a mindset of generosity instead of ego makes for more impactful content.
  • 29:02 How does video creation make you a better communicator in other facets of your business?
  • 39:35 An actionable framework for creating client-facing video or social media content from scratch.
  • 49:14 How can advisors approach the creation process to produce content that best connects with their viewers?
  • 58:18 Tips for creating video titles and thumbnails that increase engagement.
  • 1:04:29 How has Dave generated 40 appointments per month from YouTube videos?
  • 1:11:58 A look at the YouTube algorithm and the value of consistency in content creation.
  • 1:20:56 Dave’s “Do Business. Do Life” advice for reducing stress in both your personal and professional life.





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  • If you set your mind on something and you start moving forward, a lot of times there’s going to be something that blocks you from doing it. So, as long as we have that in our mind and remember that and know that disruptions are going to come or things are going to block us, it’s easier to keep moving forward and iterating and trying again.” – Dave Zoller

  • Don’t be afraid to buy back your time by hiring quality people or virtual assistants who do the things that you’re not as good at. Spend the money because there’s a multiplying effect that happens and your family will thank you later because you come home in a different way.” – Dave Zoller

  • “The question to ask yourself at the end of the day is, ‘Did I help someone today? Did I answer any questions for anybody, whether a prospect or a client?’ And then the second question is, ‘Do you think someone else in the world would find that valuable or helpful in some way?’” – Dave Zoller

  • “We could be a 10/10 competency and 10/10 skill, but if we have a 3/10 communication ability, people are going to see us as a 3/10 advisor.” – Dave Zoller

  • “One of the best things about doing content is you pre-qualify all of the people who are reaching out to you so that you don’t have to ‘waste time’ talking to people who are not interested in you and just don’t know it yet.” – Dave Zoller

  • “If you’re going to put content on any social platform or YouTube, do not go straight for the meeting.” – Dave Zoller

  • “YouTube is the best marketing engine out there.” – Dave Zoller

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of the Do Business Do Life Podcast. Dave Zoller here with us today. Welcome to the show, Dave.

Dave Zoller: Hey, thanks for having me. Excited.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, man. This is fortuitous. We were actually both out at Jolt in Vegas just a few weeks back, ran into each other. And actually, I think that was the very first time we ever met in person.

Dave Zoller: Yes, I know.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. And so, it was really cool because we’d known of each other, kind of done a few phone calls, hopped on a few Zooms. And I think there’s a really fun story with how we connected. So, back in the day, I think it was Michael Kitces that originally connected me with Carl Richards. And Carl came on the old show, and at the time you were working kind of side by side with him on the team, Dave, and I don’t know all the details. Maybe you could share those. But one of the things I’ve found in life is get yourself in the right room, surround yourself with the right people. Obviously, Carl Richards is a legend in the space, Behavior Gap, and everything he’s done to just help the advisor community. And I know it was pretty interesting how you guys originally got connected, which then, in turn, connected us. So, I think there’s a life lesson and a business lesson there, if you don’t mind sharing that with the listener.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. Well, let’s see. So, back in 2016 or ‘17, we’ve got the business, the advisory business, and we’re helping people with retirement. That’s the focus. And we’ve got a team there. And then back then, we weren’t doing any marketing, I wasn’t doing anything, well, I don’t want to say creative but there was something in me that wanted to write or create and kind of share the things that we’re working at the advisory firm with advisors. So, I started a blog that was just called Streamline My Practice. It was maybe sending out one blog, one email a week to advisors. People were signing up and then I had reached out to Carl because there was something he was, I think, he was talking about. He’s got so many good frameworks and so many good things for advisors, and I asked him if I could do kind of like a review or a comment on one of these. I can’t even remember what it was. Maybe it was related to COI, centers of influence, and connecting with them. But anyways, reached out to him and he looked at the website and the blog and he’s like, “Hey, we’re kind of doing the same thing. We’re trying to help advisors. What if we started working together?”

Because he had at that time he was just starting this thing that’s now the Society of Advice, which is a great platform, a great place for advisors to go get educated on different communication things and all sorts of stuff over there. So, anyways, we started working together and creating things and then growing the advisor list and that’s interviewing other people, getting people on the podcast, things like that. And I reached out to you because I had been listening to your podcast at the time and it was one of the best ones out there, if not the best.

Brad Johnson: Appreciate that.

Dave Zoller: So, then, yeah, you guys connected, you did the podcast, and that’s our first connection with me and you as well.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. And I remember that and I remember you were just, to me, you came across as a go-getter, a guy that was really in this space, as a career. You weren’t part-timing it is the best way I can put it. And there are some people that kind of dabble in this business and I find the ones that tend to excel. They’re just lifelong students. They’re connecting with people like the Carl Richards of the world and just continuing to grow and evolve and level up as you go. I have to show this. For those watching on video, which, by the way, you probably should because we’re going to be talking a lot about YouTube today. So, if you’re listening to this, you should probably go check it out on YouTube but this little art piece showed up in my mail after Carl came on the podcast. And so, for those not familiar, Carl had a I think it was a weekly sketch in The New York Times called Behavior Gap for the longest time. Is he still doing that? I don’t know if he’s still doing that or not.

Dave Zoller: I think he is. I thought he was. I don’t know for sure.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, this is one of my favorites. I think he calls this one Fear Greed and you can kind of see that the buy low, sell high, it’s kind of the opposite. It’s typical human psychology but what’s crazy is he sent this to me as a gift, it’s a brand after the interview and just finally moved into an office that I’m going to stay in. I’ve kind of been on the Elon Musk plan where I just set up a cot over in the corner and random places in the office. And so, we’re finally going to turn this into kind of our podcast studio but it’s not there yet but that will be going on the wall here shortly. So, I don’t know if you’re involved with that gift or not but I appreciate it.

Dave Zoller: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s so cool. I know you’ve had Simon Bowen on the podcast a couple of times, the old one and the new one. And I think it’s just advisors already know when they’re looking at those sketches and when you draw, you draw people in, right, especially when we’re in virtual. If you can start drawing on the screen, well, actually I’ll share when we start talking about YouTube things, why that’s one of the key things that I think makes a big difference if you’re an advisor and if you’re trying to help people and educate people, we’ll get into that. And I’m probably the worst drawer. My seven-year-old son is better than me at sketches but it almost doesn’t matter. And we’ll talk more about that.

Brad Johnson: Well, I’ll tell you, you’re right. You can have, I mean, I’ve seen some. Absolutely. Like, Carl Richards is actually an artist like his drawings look great. I’ve seen some absolutely atrocious whiteboard skills but they still work better because most humans learn visually. And when you’re like, as you said, Simon Bowen, that’s one of his phrases. When you draw, you draw people in. It also, psychologically, if you think about as a kid, when you are in the classroom, you’re sitting in your desk and the teacher was up on the chalkboard or the marker board or whatever. So, there’s also a psychological element of teaching and framing and authority when you hop up on a whiteboard that plays in as well. Well, cool. I want to dive in because I’m excited about this one. I’m here to learn with all the rest of everybody else listening in. And so, Dave, I knew you were doing some cool stuff on YouTube and you’ve always been one of those guys I think that’s like very much on the front edge of where technology is going in finance. And when we connected out at Jolt, it was one of the breaks and we started talking, and your YouTube channel, which is not that old, when did you launch the client-facing YouTube channel?

Dave Zoller: It was when we were stuck at home during lockdowns, May of 2020. And I was watching a lot more YouTube in those days and I’m thinking, you know, because I mean, we remember and probably vividly how it would have felt like. Anyways, I was and I’m like, man, I bet there’s a lot of other people doing this, too. I just got to go. I knew I wanted to. The one thing I knew was that practicing and trying to get good at video was going to be a skill that would be useful even if there were no results from this YouTube channel. So, I thought this is going to force me to do it. It’s going to help me learn how to communicate via screen and then communicate just one-on-one as well or to group. So, I just did it and it was slow going for a while. Right now, we’ve got, I think, 28,000 subscribers. We have maybe between 100,000, 250,000 views a month and that delivers a lot of ideal prospects and clients to Streamline Financial. But it didn’t start that way.

Brad Johnson: Hey, by the way, it never does. That’s how it works. We were talking about that before we started recording, but May 2020, so here we are right out three years later. That’s some incredible growth. So, I definitely want to dive into that. And for those advisors listening, we’ll start with some results in advance. Dave, I believe you’re averaging about 40 opt-ins, 40 appointments per month currently directly from that YouTube channel. Is that accurate?

Dave Zoller: It is. And it’s people, there’s a lot of different ways to have people opt-in and get them to an appointment. These are people who are just going directly to the website seeking us out, click and get started, and then answering eight questions. And then it’s about 40 people average over the last probably beginning of 2022, it’s been about 40 a month.

Brad Johnson: Okay. So, over the last 17, 18-ish months, averaging. That’s a pretty good track record. It’s not just like we had one month that popped and had a bunch and then it’s been pretty consistent all the way through.

Dave Zoller: It is. It’s been consistent. And then also the email list, we’re sending out a weekly email and that is growing even faster than 40 a month. So, people are joining the group or the list or whatever you want to call it and getting regular communication. Some of those people are then getting to the get started button. And so, it’s all related but the goal is just continue to be consistent with providing one helpful video that we try each week and one helpful email each week. And that’s really our entire marketing engine right now.

Brad Johnson: Love it. Okay. So, we’re going to, with your permission, kind of dissect kind of the content creation, their content deployment. Before we get there, though, so what is the channel? We’ll put it in the show notes but what’s the channel so those advisors listening can go out and check it out? Obviously, give you some thumbs up and likes and all of that.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. Like and subscribe. It’s Streamline Financial. You’ll find the YouTube channel. That’s the one with 28,000 and then the other YouTube channel, Streamline My Practice, is for advisors that’s where we’re sharing the stuff that’s working at our firm, not just marketing but also the communication and sales and then also the operations and the people management and everything that we do to run the practice. So, Streamline My Financial is one, and then Streamline My Practice is the advisor one.

Brad Johnson: Cool. Okay. So, before we dive in and get down in the weeds a bit, I want to just kind of go back and forth here and just make sure philosophically we start to think through the why behind video. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of my favorite content creators. I’ve learned a lot from him over the years, but he has a saying, “Document don’t create.” And literally, to the extent that the guy has a videographer that just follows him around all day, every day, and they just document everything he does and then they just deploy it out on their social. And one of the things that I learned from him was he said, “Get everything on video,” because video is the ultimate content form because it can be repurposed into everything. So, you can look at what we’re doing right now where we’re recording via Zoom. This we will rip the audio. The audio will be a podcast so we can use the video for audio. We can also use the video for if you look at like Joe Rogan, if you want to study his channel, well, before he went to Spotify exclusively, all of his long-form content, he has some super long podcasts, you know, about 2 hours, three-hour podcasts.

So, the full interview would be there and then he had a Joe Rogan Clips channel where like the famous thing with Elon Musk smoking the joint with him. Of course, they clipped that out and that’s the little three, five-minute segment. But they use this little user content that’s a little more TikTok, short and sweet, less attention span required. And they use that to grow the channel and then, of course, get people over the long form content. So, there’s all kinds of ways to slice and dice it. But on your side, because I know you’re doing a lot of that, Dave, what other benefits do you see to video-based content creation?

Dave Zoller: So, the biggest benefit happened. So, we didn’t start outwardly marketing in this way with content marketing until July of 2019. Tim and I, my business partner at Streamline Financial, that’s when we said we’ve got this team that is just operating at top, top state, and everything is organized. Not everything’s perfect, obviously, but things are working. We’ve got freed up time to then do some marketing. So, we started posting, text posts on LinkedIn. A few months later, we just took those text posts, the ones that were more popular than the others, and we started doing iPhone videos of the exact post, except there was video. And then three months after that, that’s when people started saying, “I feel like I know you already because of these videos.” They were consistent about one a week and that alone we weren’t getting new clients or new meetings even from LinkedIn marketing the first six months or maybe it took about three or four months. But when someone was saying that, “I feel like I know you already,” and it’s our first meeting, that’s all we needed to say, “Okay, we got to keep doing video. We got to keep doing this.”

So, that thing you said about document don’t create now, it’s hard for advisors to be recording every part of their, you’re not recording client meetings and then posting it public. But the way to use that as an advisor, I would recommend this because when we look at some of the stats of our YouTube channel or our LinkedIn posts or whatever we’re doing, some of the things, it’s documenting because we’ll have a meeting with someone, they’ll have a question and/or we’re helping them solve this problem related to something related to their plan. So, we’re using eMoney, the planning software, and we’ll look at what-if scenarios or some of the toggles on the left side of, “Hey, what if you retired two years earlier or what if you spent 30K on a vacation each year with the entire family and the grandkids and things like that?” And we would take that, sometimes if it was very specific to them, we’d ask permission and we would create a sample client, Clark Kent or whatever, Lois Lane, and we would show that example and say, “Hey, here’s a scenario that was helpful to one person we were helping,” and post it on LinkedIn.

But what I’m saying here is one of the most popular videos we have, I think has 250,000 views on YouTube, and it’s really just sharing an eMoney scenario and it’s kind of the can-I-retire type thing. People love, now only if they’re interested. If again, all the stuff we’re doing is retirement language, retirement is what people are tuning in the channel for but they want to see what other people are doing. There’s something in our brain, I think, that either wants the validation or just like the look at what other people are doing related to retirement. So, that is a way to document not in the moment, but pretty much what you’re doing that day. The question to ask yourself at the end of the day is, “Did I help someone today? Did I answer any questions for anybody, whether a prospect or a client?” And then the second question is, “Do you think someone else in the world would find that valuable or helpful in some way?” Most likely yes. So, that’s a way to document what you’re doing throughout the day, sharing it with others, trying to give and help. That’s what we started doing and that’s been popular for sure.

Brad Johnson: I love that. Basically, you’re just creating a case study, a real-world case study. You’re obviously stripping out the personal information, just creating a sample client. Many of the firms at Triad already use eMoney, so I love that example, but the scenario is in there. One of the things we coach to that lines up with perfectly really a lot of firms, you do the first visit, the first appointment, whatever you call it, and that’s your fact find. That your, hey, do they have gaps or problems we can help them fix? And it’s like if yes, then okay, let’s meet again. But that second visit, oftentimes we call that “the before and after” because it’s kind of that 30,000 that high-level view and that case study scenario that you’re talking about, it’s like getting ready to retire, don’t have any sort of income stream. So, they can’t spend with confidence, right? Oh, here’s the after that we don’t know the exact strategy, but we feel confident and you can just toggle that back and forth in eMoney. Right there all you’re saying is we’re taking in a sample like that, just recording it now, getting a little bit technical here, but how are you recording the video? Is it on Zoom like we’re on now with the screen share? Or how do you make that intuitive where you can kind of show the study while you talk over it on video?

Dave Zoller: So, kind of get into the tech side, tech stack. Is that good?

Brad Johnson: Yeah, looks good.

Dave Zoller: I think so, in the beginning, what we were doing was mainly iPhone to keep it as simple as possible and a $9 or maybe $15 lapel mic that just plugged into the iPhone. And we weren’t doing anything fancy yet. We were sharing just verbally some helpful tips or questions that we answered that day. And you might even be able to go back. Well, the problem with LinkedIn is you got to scroll a long time once you get to someone’s feed but you can see some of those early videos, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and it was iPhone. But now as we’re talking about this documenting and kind of sharing what you’re doing for a while, we were using Loom, which is record your screen, and then you’re in the corner of the screen as well because it’s recording you from your camera. So, that was the simplest way to do this. Later, once we started getting some traction and people we were starting to grow the channel a little bit, we upgrade the tech and we’re using a nice camera now and then we’re using a software that is kind of like, I guess, you could call it a switchboard, but it’s called Ecamm Live and I think it’s $10 or $15 a month.

And we started doing that because the goal here, again, in the beginning, I didn’t want to spend more time than I needed to. It was all about speed. What’s the fastest way to have an idea and then get it to video and then get it out there? I didn’t want to spend half the week doing marketing. I wanted to spend an hour a week. That was the goal. And so, Ecamm Live allows you to record and then when you finish recording, it automatically there’s a file on your desktop and you don’t have to have any SD cards. You’re like do all this work. It’s right there. And then all we did was drag it and drop it into a software called Descript, and that is AI software that automatically takes out all of the long pauses. Let’s pretend you had five bullet points and you’re at bullet point 3, and you had to kind of think about what the next thing was that you were going to say. You can just, during the video, you’re recording one take and you’re kind of thinking about this next point of Roth conversion or timing or something like that, and you want to think about what you’re going to say. You get it and then you start talking.

What Descript does is it just automatically with one button removes all of the pauses that are longer than 2 seconds or 3 seconds and then creates a jump cut, which is just a very clean transition from where you were to the next scene. So, that sped up the process. For the first two years of doing this, it was just me doing the editing and it was because of Ecamm Live and Descript that made it so fast and easy. Those are two tools I would recommend if you’re thinking about starting a video.

Brad Johnson: Love that. And does Descript because I know now there are some AI tools where you can feed video into it and it will actually put the subtitles automatically onto it. Does Descript do anything like that?

Dave Zoller: It does. It does that. There’s also another one that I haven’t used yet but it even takes your video. We were talking about repurposing and splitting up content. The one YouTube video we have, all I have to do when you think about it, I wanted to do one thing and do it well, and that was creating an idea and getting a video out there that people want to watch. And then now, because it’s actually bringing in income to the firm, we’re able to spend money on it. We have an editing team. So, now I just record the video. They get it, they turn it into a blog post, right? They take the transcript, turn it into a blog post, get maybe three or four clips that go out to social. And they also get the YouTube shorts. You know, they’re taking 62nd clips from it and all of it’s working together. That’s the repurposing. But in the beginning, Descript would be if it’s just you or someone on your team, yes, they can pretty much do all of that. There’s a little bit of a learning curve if you get into that content repurposing. But still, it’s probably I’d say it’s worth $15 for a few months to test it out and try it. I found huge value out of it.

Brad Johnson: I love it. Well, I’ll tell you, it overcomes one of the biggest hurdles I’ve seen with most advisors when it comes to producing video content. I mean, 15 years, I mean, we had a recording studio where we’d have advisors fly in every day for half-day video shoots and you’d be sitting here talking just like we are. And then all of a sudden, the camera pops out and then everybody just like turns into a different version of themselves. Have you seen this where all of a sudden everybody stiffens up and gets uncomfortable? And I saw so many advisors, they just thought they had to like be like a politician, like, polished and perfect on video. And because of that, they’d do a video. They didn’t like it. They’d redo it five times, and then they’d just throw in the towel. I want to get to your thoughts here in a second, Dave, but the beauty of Descript and if you’re an advisor out there and you don’t know what a jump cut is, just go watch any like YouTube short video or TikTok video. And if you just see it like kind of like glitching and like jumping to the next scene, that’s a jump cut.

And basically, any content almost every big-time content creator uses tons of jump cuts because it actually psychologically, David, it’s also been proven to like keep attention of the viewer, correct?

Dave Zoller: Yes, it increases engagement.

Brad Johnson: Yes. So, what are your thoughts? Did you have any of that stage fright? Met a lot of advisors, the first video or two, they kind of have to work through that.

Dave Zoller: Yes. Yeah. The first video I did that I wanted to do well, I knew that it was going to be bad and I knew that it was going to be embarrassing. So, I actually talked about this at Jolt when I did the talk. And there were three things that were barriers for me to even get started. And I think that it’s probably everybody out there or at least advisors. One of them is it’s that so we’re advisors and we’re pretty smart, right? We’ve got this financial expertise or expertise in some area and we might be at the top of our game. And it’s really difficult to go back to the beginner mindset and to do something where you’re a complete newbie and you kind of stink at it. And I think you have to be able to do that. It’s the ego, right? I had it. I had trouble. I was embarrassed and I was worried more about advisors criticizing me than anybody else watching the video. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s the way that I felt when I was doing that. It was that ego and going back to the beginner’s mind and just being bad.

The thing that helped was really focusing on the person that I’m trying to help. Like, if you’re coming at it from a place of generosity and giving and wanting to help people and not a place of doing something for a return expected or for some sort of ROI, if you’re going into it to get 100 views the first video or a thousand views, or if you’re going into it to do three videos and get a client from those three videos, you’re probably going to fail. There maybe are case studies out there where people are able to do that but if you can go into it instead from a place of service and just looking to help, we already know the more value that you put out into the world, the more will come back to you. Most like not always, but a lot of times it does. And that’s what I started doing. And I kind of forgot about the ego, but that first video that I did, it got this, it was around I was talking about tax content, tax planning things back then, and it was around I think it was like using Spotify for business and being able to deduct the costs. Like, companies get to do that if they’ve got a lobby that’s playing music or a store or something like that? So, I was talking about that.

And one of the comments was legal related, Spotify. I think it was an attorney and it was like kind of scary and it was like a negative comment. It was like it reminded me of this thing that I keep hearing, which is whenever you have an intention to do something, disruption always follows intention, right? Whenever you’re trying to, if you set your mind on something and you start moving forward, a lot of times there’s going to be something that blocks you from doing it. So, as long as we have that in our mind and remember that and just know that disruptions are going to come or things are going to block us, it’s easier to keep moving forward and iterating and trying again. So, that was the first video and it was like this. To me, it’s not a big deal at all but to me it was like, “Oh my goodness, I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not putting any more video out there like this. But I was able to get past that and then keep going and then it’s paid off since then.

Brad Johnson: There’s so much good advice right there. And so much of that advice is very similar to my own journey podcasting. I want to just pull a couple of things out of that. The first one, the thing about doing it for others and not yourself. I did an episode with a guy named John Israel on my prior show. He wrote a book called Mr. Thank You and you reminded me of something he shared with me. So, he wrote five handwritten thank yous a day for an entire year and mailed these out. And that book’s incredible and his episode was incredible. It was one of my top downloaded ever. And he shared exactly what you just shared. He said originally, like the first month or two of that journey, he started getting disappointed because he was dropping five handwritten thank-you notes in the mail every day. And he might get like a little text or a note back every other week. And he’s like, “Man, am I not writing these right? Are these people not getting my thank yous? Or they get lost in the mail?” And he goes, “I realized I had focused on the wrong intention in these thank yous. I was making it about me as opposed to about them.” And he’s like, “I realized I can just send gratitude out. And if I expect nothing in return, it’s like a freeing feeling.”

Dave Zoller: Yes.

Brad Johnson: What you just said on you shared this when we were kind of prepping for this conversation, you said, “Hey I might have had like 5, 10, 15 views on those first videos,” and the mindset you went into is, “If just one of those viewers I help them on their retirement journey, I’m going to consider that a win and I’m going to consider that that video is worth doing and putting on the Internet.” And I love that because the truth is, when you start a podcast, when you start a YouTube channel, basically, you don’t have any viewers except maybe your mom, if you’re lucky enough, right?

Dave Zoller: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: And one piece of advice that was given me on the podcast is don’t do your first episode if you don’t plan on doing your hundredth because it’s the long game. It’s the consistency. It’s continuing to show up. And by the way, I remember when I listen to my first podcast episode, I’m like, “Is it possible for a human to say the word “so” that many times in a five-minute span? You know, all your little verbal tics.

Dave Zoller: Oh, yeah.

Brad Johnson: It’s scary to listen to yourself and realize, wow, like, I’ve got these little mannerisms I didn’t even realize I have. But because of that, you get better and you put in the reps just like anything in life and you evolve and you level up and you go from beginner to actually, hey, these videos are starting to get pretty polished. And so, I’m curious, like any other things pop up and just that kind of the long game versus short game mindset or consistency or continuing to grow and like not be your own worst critic? Like, what else comes to mind on your side, Dave?

Dave Zoller: Okay. So, there’s a lot here because it is the long game and I heard this thing too, this quote of all work works and it either works for you and delivers results that you’re looking for, which is views and ultimately clients coming to you as an advisor. So, it either works for you or it’s going to work on you like you were just saying. It’s going to make you the type of person that is able to watch the video, see that you said “so” 50 times in 5 minutes, and then say, “Okay. I’m going to make a little effort in the next video to not do that,” and then you get a little bit better. So, it works on you. It turns you into the person that is going to be the person that gets 100 or 1,000 views on a video. So, that’s a big thing. All work works. And then this idea too, the benefit, you can think selfishly. Like, we’re talking about giving to others and providing help to others. You can also think of it like this where if you have, you know that the best way to learn something when you learn something, the best way to really internalize it is by teaching somebody else, right?

So, if I had a conversation with a client who’s 60, who’s retiring in a year and they’re starting Social Security later on, they have a big taxable account and we’re looking at this Roth conversion sweet spot, right, it’s this period of years where they’re going to have low taxable income because they can use their taxable account. Should we be talking about Roth conversions during that four or five-year period? So, that’s a conversation we have and I’m like, “Oh, that would be helpful for somebody else out there.” So, it helps you then think of, again, you got to do the work. We always want to be performing and being in front of clients and being on stage or on video but a lot of the work, probably 80% of the work is done below the surface. It’s done the thinking and kind of the how do I communicate this, at least if we’re going to be sharing content. So, it forces you to think, how can I communicate this in a way that’s simple that anybody could understand that’s at like eighth grade or lower level in terms of speaking?

So, it makes you a better communicator, not just on video, but the next time you have a client in the same situation as that person, then you’re sharing something that almost sounds poetic because you’ve thought about it, you practice it, and they get it right away. And it’s different than you did it the previous time. You know what I mean? It’s like just doing this on video and practicing or just writing as well, you become a better communicator, you learn it better, and you also eventually will grow your business because of it. So, there’s a lot of benefits to doing this type of video or content creation.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. What you just hit there, there’s a name for it. It’s like a cognitive learning. I think it’s called the Cone of Learning. We’ll throw it in the show notes, but it talks about how people absorb the content and actually retain content. And we’ve all been in a super boring classroom. Maybe it was grade school, maybe it was high school, college. And most of that is somebody drowning out you on maybe a subject you’re not super interested in, which, by the way, reminds me a lot of financial advisor videos I see out there don’t do videos like that. To Dave’s point, make them interactive, jump cuts, drawing, all of that. But the best way I found to learn is to teach because you have to, to your point, you have to communicate it in a way that others can understand it. And typically you do have to take something really complex and break it down to the core basics. And how helpful is that in meetings? So, yeah, I look at it almost like just like stand-up comics.

Dave Chappelle, when he goes up on and does his Netflix special, that is not the first time he’s done that content. Most stand-up comics they’ll go underground and they’ll hit these little clubs that have like 15 people in them and they test their content. They see what hits. “Oh, that one got a laugh. Okay, I’m going to go back to that one tomorrow night.” Then they refine the content until it’s like, okay, I’ve got 60 minutes of content that would have the people rolling in the aisles. That’s exactly what you’re talking about here is you’re testing the content. You have real-world feedback and views and comments and interaction. You’re like, “Oh, this one said no. There’s a lot of people that need help here.” Boom. Dropped that right into an appointment. I mean, it’s the same concept and a lot of people that create content use that in different places, obviously, out there, different industries, I guess, I would say.

Dave Zoller: And you know what’s really cool is after a while, maybe at year-end, people were setting meetings. It took maybe, trying to remember, it took probably a full year before or 8 to 10 months until that’s when things started taking off from YouTube. So, the thing that would happen is we’d have these first meetings, phone calls, and we’d say, “What’s on your mind?” And a lot of times they would say something from one of the videos, and we would just write it down. Obviously, when you’re in the first meeting, you’re writing down a lot of the quotes that they say, so you can repeat it back to them and you have that mirroring impact and they’re connected. But we would write down and then we’d see these themes and the common language that kept being said, and then we would use those in our internal meetings or in our one-page client delivery meetings. And it was just really it’s like the 80/20 the things that have the highest impact and just use only those things and then the whole meeting is incredible. You know what I mean? That was helpful as well.

Brad Johnson: And I’m assuming also the other learning there. A retiree is going to say it very differently. We just did a training with Pat Quinn the other day and he had this little exercise I love. So, Pat Quinn’s a speaker coach for those that are unfamiliar and he said, “When you’re talking, whether it’s presenting from stage at a seminar, whether it’s in appointments, whether it’s YouTube videos,” he said, “I want you to do this exercise where you’re talking to your brother. And I want you to talk like they would talk to you. And it’s not going to be, “Hey, I was up late last night thinking about these RMDs and that minimum required distribution and really I couldn’t get to bed.” That’s not how normal people talk. That’s financial advisor lingo and acronyms. And I’m assuming a lot of what came out of this, Dave, is you being able to phrase things on videos and in appointments in the common language of the retiree versus financial advisor speak. Would you say that’s a learning that came out of it as well?

Dave Zoller: It is. And here’s a quick tool for advisors, which I always mention, and it’s the Hemingway app or Hemingway website. I think if you’re a Google Hemingway word editor or something like that, it should come up. And if you wrote a five-line LinkedIn post about a topic that you just answered for a client, copy and paste it, put it in there, it’s free. And then look at what the grade level is, the reading grade level. If it’s above seventh grade, it’s too confusing is what I found. So, I would try to then reword it, retype it, and try to get it to seventh or sixth grade or the lower the better. I mean, second or third grade works because you’ve heard I think you’ve even had who’s the guy, Donald Miller does StoryBrand. Did you interview him before?

Brad Johnson: Yes. I did on the old show. Yep.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. So, I think that’s where I learned it. If you can communicate at a second-grade level, the brain is trying to, one, help you survive and then also help you use the least amount of energy possible. Right?

Brad Johnson: Conserve calories, yes.

Dave Zoller: Yes. So, when you have to read a big long textbook, that takes a lot of brain capacity but if you can simplify it, people will be more in tune and they’ll stay longer. And the other thing here, like with advisors, it’s so tough because we could be a ten out of ten competency and ten out of ten skill. But if we have a three out of ten communication ability, people are going to see us as a three out of ten advisor, which is too bad because there’s a lot of not-good advisors who are ten out of ten communicators and salespeople, and they’re not giving the best help to the people that are talking to them. So, we need more advisors who are ten out of ten competencies, who want to serve and help people, and then we need to raise that communication level. That’s part of the reason why I’ve got Streamline My Practice. That’s the stuff that I’m teaching people.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, you’re spot on. I’ve seen this. I’ve seen the advisor that’s got five acronyms after his name, CFP, CFA, you know, all of the schooling, all of the technical know-how but as Tony Robbins says, if you can’t simplify the complex and communicate that in a way that honestly is engaging, maybe a bit entertaining, builds relationships, builds trust, you will not be a successful financial advisor. If you are the one selling or building relationships, you won’t be. You can be a great financial planner, a pair of planner or back in the back office building plans, but you won’t – this is a relationship business at the end of the day. And if you don’t work on how to communicate in a way that builds relationships, you’re just not going to be as successful as you can. I couldn’t agree more, Dave. Okay. So, let’s get a little bit into the technical aspect of content creation.

So, the cool thing is these appointments you’re in are your lab for content. What are the common needs or gaps? And I love how you’re pulling the case studies out of those. But if I was where this has gotten to, Dave, and it’s here’s how Dave creates a video, can we go from ideation phase like, okay, this might have popped up and then here’s kind of the notes and then here’s how I record the content and just kind of step us through what that looks like.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. So, it’s first thinking about one concept or one thing you would like to share. So, that’s kind of like what the… That’s the point you want to get across. And maybe it’s three points, three bullets, or something like that. For instance, here’s an example. We started seeing that a lot of people in the first meeting were talking about like my advisor does investments, but he’s not thinking about the tax-efficient withdrawal plan. He’s not thinking about kind of just overall, how much tax am I going to pay? He’s not thinking about Roth conversions or she’s not thinking about it. So, the three things we came up with that also align with your productize idea was people want the income plan, the tax plan, and the investment plan, and they want it all working together. So, let’s pretend when we figured that out, we wanted to share that retirement is not just investments anymore. It’s a different ball game. What was successful the last 30 years is not going to get you to the next 20 or 30 years. Maybe it will but there’s also these other things to think about, which is income, tax, and investment.

So, knowing that, if I wrote down income planning, tax planning, and investment planning, I just want to share that concept with people. So, that’s the meat of the – I’m going to come with this as if I was writing a text post. So, that’s kind of like the what or the how, what I want to communicate. And then the really important thing that a lot of advisors are bad at, I was bad at, or a lot of people, in general, might not think this way is coming up with the bold statement or something that is going to get people’s attention. Because if we’re writing something, let’s say it’s LinkedIn or doing a video, you need the first line or two to be something that is, “Oh wow, I want to learn what that is or that was intriguing or there’s an open loop. I want to find out what he’s talking about or she’s talking about.”

So, after we have the income plan, tax plan, the meat of the content, we have to have something that is a bold promise or here’s a quick hack for anybody who wants to do this. Ask a question as the first line of either your written content or your video. If you’re asking a question, “Hey, I talked to someone today,” and the question was, “What’s the right amount to convert for a Roth and keep going back to that?” But whatever it is, ask the question and that opens up a loop in their head that they’re going to probably stick around for the next line or two. The reason why you already know, people know, all these advisors know that with social media it’s the scroll and it takes a lot to be able to have somebody stop. So, we need that first line to be something that grabs us. So, it’s like, I kind of I’m thinking from Brad here the framework of how we’re creating a video and the framework is the bold promise and then giving some context like what that means. Give a little bit more information about what that means. And then that is basically the hook they call it, right? That’s the thing that’s going to keep someone engaged and then you get into the intro. A lot of YouTube videos from advisors or a lot of videos on LinkedIn, I’ll see. “Hey, I’m Dave Zoller. I’m the owner of Streamline Financial Services and I’ve been an advisor for 14 years.”

Brad Johnson: Yes.

Dave Zoller: And nobody cares. If they’ve never seen me before, they don’t care. They care about their problem or they care about the pain that they have or the question in their head. We want to be able to enter the conversation that they already have that they’re having in their head. I think that’s a quote from Frank Kern or some marketing guy. But if we can enter that conversation, then they’re going to be more engaged. So, it’s the bold promise. Give some context. Then the intro of who you are, keep it to less than 5 seconds or 10 seconds, and then you get into here’s the how, here’s the actual meat of the content, and then just wrap it up. So, that’s how I think about it. When I’m doing a YouTube video, that’s the framework I follow but here’s one for an advisor who doesn’t want to start a YouTube channel right now. They just want to test this content stuff out. My recommendation is go to LinkedIn still because they’re still promoting your post to a wider audience. There’s more viewers or what do you call viewers on LinkedIn than there are creators.

So, that’s a great place to start. And here’s the three-sentence framework. What is the problem they have? You take it from the mind of your client. What’s their problem? What’s the pain that that causes? And then what’s the possible solution? It’s three sentences. Follow that framework and put it into the Hemingway app. See if you could post it and see what happens. Follow that framework every time, and then you’ll have a video that does five views instead of one view, take that, sorry I said video, but you’ll have a text post that has five views instead of one view. Take the one with five and then record yourself just reading that script. Post it up there and start the video process. That’s the framework I would follow.

Brad Johnson: Love it. And there’s something here like the other thing psychologically because I’ve seen a lot of advisors get stuck. “What if this sucks? What if?” You know, sometimes the most dangerous voice to listen to is the one inside your own head with kind of the imposter syndrome that we all have. Every creator has that. And that is the best time to test fail when no one is watching.

Dave Zoller: Yes.

Brad Johnson: Right? So, you don’t have it. When you started, Dave, you didn’t have 20 some thousand viewers or however many you have now subscribers. You had zero. So, that’s the time to test. If you fall on your face a couple of times, guess what? Three people saw it. No one cares. And you grow, you evolve, you get uncomfortable and you level up. And I love that. Another thing I want to just circle back on your advice echoes the advice I got from Amy Porterfield, she’s a prolific content creator. Actually, by the time this goes live, her episode will be live on here. But I think one of the things that she said so she teaches courses online, and I think what happens with advisors is we go to the familiar, which is we’re used to face-to-face appointments. Many advisors are used to dinner seminars and in both of those mediums, you can honestly get away with not being that engaging, right? Because typically, the client’s not going to get up out of the chair and walk out of your meeting in the middle of it.

The seminar, the dinner is at the end, so they’re waiting for that. But your point on how to open, this is the Internet. They’re scrolling. We’ve all been sent a YouTube video where we watch 10 seconds we’re like, “This is stupid,” and we clicked out or we scrolled onto the next thing. Amy Porterfield advised base you, you’ve got to hook them right out of the go, “Hey, are you an advisor out there that wants to create YouTube videos but you don’t know how?” I mean, something like that, right? That’s going to catch financial advisors’ attention that has an interest in creating some form of YouTube content. Not, “Hey, I’m Brad Johnson. Here’s my category in the business and here’s my lifelong bio.” They’re like they’re gone before that thing’s even over, so they don’t even get to the content. So, I love your framing there of like hit them with the hook kind of. It’s kind of clickbait sort of title. It’s like, “Hey, if you don’t know this thing, you might not be able to retire for another ten years.” A retiree is going to click on that. So, I love that advice.

Dave Zoller: We had a person who was not a client but I talked to him, intro call, and he had $5 million in one stock, high-growth tech stock. And I don’t think I knew he wouldn’t become a client but my goal again was service and helping to think in a different way. And I said the line about the last 30 years going great or the last three or five for this one particular stock but then the next 20 years, it’s not so much about shooting the lights out anymore. It’s not about maximum growth. It’s about sometimes capital preservation and income. And so, he got to think a little bit differently by the end of it. Hopefully, he’s going to think about it, and I don’t know what he’s going to do next. But anyways, I shared that story and I got no specific details but that might be someone out there who’s got their company stock that is a big part of their portfolio and they’re thinking, “Oh, I wonder how I should kind of change this up or diversify.” So, like, that’s an example of just, again, you’re documenting what happened that day.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, for sure. Okay. We’ve got kind of the framework that you write out. Now, I go to record and one of the things you said because of the software, the Descript, you actually don’t have to like sit there and do one take and be super polished and do a straight five-minute and you nailed every word. It actually gives you the ability to like clamps down at your notes. And so, talk through kind of like the actual video recording process.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. So, let’s pretend I had that three-sentence LinkedIn text post and I wanted to create a video that would be 30 seconds long. You could have the post on your screen or on a piece of paper here and you could say you could look down, read the first line, and say, “I had a client that I talked to or I had a prospect that I talked to that had $5 million in one stock and he was a little bit worried about what retirement would look like.” That’s the first line. Then I would stop. I would look down again and look at the next line and then look up, say that line, pause, look down, see the last line, and then look up again at the camera and then say the last line. And so, you’re saying something, pausing for about 10 seconds, and then saying something again, pausing for 10 seconds, and then you put it in the script, click, remove the pauses, and then you have one video that’s 30 seconds long and it’s just super clean. That’s how to do it. So, I would honestly do that with a piece of paper or if it’s on your screen and just know.

You could even say, here’s the cool thing. You could say that first line let’s pretend the first line was, “Hey, I talked to a client and he had $5 million in one stock,” and then you could just say it again because you’re like, “Oh, that was kind of lame.” “Hey, I just talked to a client and he actually had, what, $5 million in one stock,” or don’t know. You could change it up. You could say it three times in a row and you pick the best one. Second one was the best one. I didn’t mention this about Descript but when you upload a video, it automatically on the left side of the screen has the transcript the words of the video. And when you want to delete a word or delete something, you highlight the words like a document and you press delete and then the video is automatically updated and it’s edited. So, I didn’t mention that but that is one of the amazing features of that software.

Brad Johnson: So, that gives you the opportunity to test three different openings. You watch them and you’re like, “Eh, first two sucked. I’m going to go with number three,” and then, boom, you just delete the first two and there you are.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. I’ve been reading from a teleprompter now for some time, and there are times where I’ll start the paragraph and I’ll mess up and then I’ll just scroll back up and then say the same paragraph and sometimes three or four times. And I know that. So, in Descript, well, again, I’m not doing the editing anymore but when I was, it was easy to just find that right one and just highlight and delete the other ones.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, and I will say back to people just getting incredibly uncomfortable. As soon as a video camera pops up, it’s like a human. It’s like a reaction with most people. Just the most natural advisors I’ve seen on video are just content creators in general. Like, if I’m sitting here talking to Dave and we’re just having a conversation, I’m not going to sit here with my hands. Well, most likely. Most people wouldn’t sit here with my hands plastered to my sides like a statue. I’m going to sit there. I’m going to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m going to talk with my hands. I’m going to gesture. I’m going to raise my shoulders. I’m going to smile, hopefully. And that’s the thing I think that’s cool about this content creation process is, okay, you’ve got the line, and then now you can just sit there and it’s almost like picture you’re just having a conversation with the buddy and, “Hey, Dave.” So, the other day I had a client, a potential client walk in. They had $5 million in one stock. And how that conversation unfolded, there’s a lot of lessons in it that I wanted to share with you here today.

And just like that would be like a conversation, right? And I think that’s the thing is stop taking yourself so seriously. You know, Naval Ravikant, he’s one of my favorite guys out on the Internet. Go follow him on Twitter if you don’t already and you’re listening in. But I just love it. He’s like, “Guess what? So, you do a video, you do a podcast, and then you’re going to die someday and none of it’s going to matter. So, don’t take yourself too seriously. Just go and have fun and try to help others.” And ever since I heard that, I’m like, “He’s right. Like, who cares at the end of the day?”

Dave Zoller: And what’s cool too when you’re watching yourself on Descript or whatever video, then you realize how at least I do and I still struggle with this, how monotone you are, how no emotion you have, I’m talking like Yoda, and how you don’t pause and you’re trying to like word vomit everything up. So, I would say tonality is just and your face is a remote control of your words or your emotions. So, like when someone has a hard thing that they’re sharing in the intro call or they were embarrassed, you don’t want to just be the stoic guy, like looking right out. They’re going to feel judged, right? You want to be able to mirror the way that they’re feeling. Do that in videos as well. That’s tonality. And then pauses, the line that you gave, the first two sentences, you paused for about 2 seconds. A lot of times you’re thinking like, “I just got to read this script here and get it all out.” But yeah, tonality, pausing, and then even like inflection. I again, monotone guy but it’s almost like it sounds so weird but you’re saying that sentence and you say it really high at the end of the sentence or something like that. It’s a great practice because you just see how…

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I mean, if you get in like, here’s the thing, as a financial advisor, if you’ve done it long enough, you’ve gotten into some really intense, deep human situations. You’ve dealt with loss, you’ve dealt with loss of money, loss of a lifelong partner for a retiree. And if I’m doing a video on that and I’m like, “Yeah.” So, a client walks in the other day, they just lost their husband. It’s like, no. Like, you need to sit in that and that’s like, yeah, they just, unfortunately, had a spouse pass away. That’s what we’re taught. I mean, if you’re sad, your voice drops. If you’re happy, like you said, it goes up, you know? And that’s the thing where I’ve seen a lot of advisors, they’re so worried about the content, “I got to nail every word.” Throw that out the window because if you nail the content and your eyes are just going left to right reading a teleprompter, it’s your three out of ten on the human connection side. There’s no human connection. There’s no emotion. And that’s what I love about your content creation process. You actually take the pressure of having to nail every line completely out with the Descript software.

You’re just like, you can sit there and kind of test a couple of lines, see what hits, cool, and then edit together. And the added benefit of the jump cuts is it’s more engaging because it’s like Amy Porterfield when she talked about an online course creation. You can’t have these slide decks with like five bullets on them. You’ve got to keep the pace going. It’s a YouTube video, a TikTok video. You just have to imagine there’s a classroom of fifth graders watching and you’ve got to go. And she said, “You don’t have a slide with five bullets. You have five slides with one bullet.” Because now you’re constantly clicking to the next slide, clicking the next slide, clicking to the next slide. And that’s what that jump cut will do. It’s like, “Boom. We’re on to the next topic and the next sentence.” And now you’re constantly keeping them engaged with the content you’re creating. So, I just love that.

Dave Zoller: And that’s why their drawing is so big too. Look at a video call, Now is the Best Time to Retire. It was a month ago. Well, let’s see. It would be end of April. It’s got 150,000 views and part of the reason is, I think within the first 5 seconds, I removed my face from the video and show a really bad drive. And all it is, is kind of outlining what we’re going to be talking about. One, two, three, four. And throughout the video, I am not just doing the jump cuts, but it’s also getting us an image on the screen. That adds that as engagement. Even for 32nd videos, it’s a great idea. And again, you don’t have to be a good drawer to do it.

Brad Johnson: You did not employ Carl Richards to come do the drawing for you?

Dave Zoller: Yeah, right.

Brad Johnson: Hey, you got the connection so you might need to have him guest on a video or two.

Dave Zoller: That’s a good idea.

Brad Johnson: Okay. We’ve got not enough time. And I knew this would be fun, Dave. So, let’s go into the, okay, so we cut the content. We’ve got the video. Now, how do you think about deploying it out to YouTube? So, are there certain ways you title videos? Are there certain, if you look at people like one of my favorite, Dave Portnoy is an absolute master of content creation, Barstool Sports for those unfamiliar. Not safe for work. So, be careful where you watch it. Who else? MrBeast, obviously, just the goat of YouTube. A lot of times their thumbnails for their videos, they’ve got engaging pictures. They kind of drawing the clicks. Have you deployed any of those sort of techniques or anything on your videos that you’ve learned as you post them or how you title them or anything else that you found helpful?

Dave Zoller: Yeah. I’ll share how I started and then the trick right now, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it. How I started was it was a Google drop in Google Drive or PowerPoint. It was like a PowerPoint. I just had a template and it was words on the left side and my face on the right side. And I would just try to keep it less than maybe seven or eight words. The less words on the thumbnail, the better. The title is really important. You were not marketing experts, right? Advisors are not. They don’t know the marketing mind or maybe some do, but it doesn’t matter. Here’s how you do it. We’ve got the tool now and it’s another A.I. tool and it’s ChatGPT. You could take your post that’s five lines long, post it into ChatGPT and say, “Come up with an engaging YouTube title or just like an engaging ten-word introduction or whatever the prompt is.” The way that I use it now is here’s the first paragraph of the YouTube channel. I’m talking about this, this, and this. The audience is people who are over 55 and thinking about retirement and come up with ten titles for a YouTube channel and it’ll come up with ten. And then the human still needs to be there.

Some of them are corny, some of them are okay, but it gives you the ideas and then the combo of, oh, a little bit of this one, a little bit of this one. That’s a YouTube title. It’s engaging or you just use the one that they give you. That’s a way to come up with a title. You could even say it’s not as good but you could say, “Now, come up with what could a thumbnail look like that would be engaging that people would click on.” It’s a high click-through rate. ChatGPT is not as good for that but it might give you some ideas. So, yeah, I think again, it’s hard to get into YouTube. It takes a long time but start simple, really focus on helping and giving the right content and then you’ll get better as you go, and then you also improve the thumbnails. You can always go back and change the thumbnails, right? You can change the title when you learn more. But, yeah, that’s a few tips.

Brad Johnson: Love the ChatGPT. I’m curious. Did the title, Now is the Best Time to Retire, was that ChatGPT that was helping you with that one?

Dave Zoller: It helped with I think I put it in there but here’s the other idea. So, you don’t have to be a hero. Here’s how I’ve done some videos, the Roth conversion sweet spot. That was, I think, my first video or one of the first videos. I saw another thumbnail that said Roth conversion sweet spot. I thought, “That’s interesting.” I watched some of the video like, “You know what? I could put my own spin on Roth conversion sweet spot.” We’ve talked about it in client meetings before. We bring it up with clients. How would I write or talk about it? Or what was the example I just had with a client? So, you could get ideas from other people, right? As long as you’re not writing down the words that they said and then regurgitating the words that they said and copying, if you’re getting ideas from here and here and here, you can use those and put your – you’ve got no competition, right? I’ve got no competition because there is no other me that I know of out there.

And I’m going to say things in a certain way that some people like and they would want to talk to me and some people hate and they’re never going to call me or they’re never going to go to our website or they’ll give the video a thumbs down. And that’s okay. That’s one of the best things about doing content is you pre-qualify all of the people who are reaching out to you so that you don’t have to “waste time” talking to people who are not interested in you and just don’t know it yet. You’re really pre-qualifying people. That’s the I feel like I know you already, so I called you. That’s one of the huge things there. But, yeah, look at what other people are doing. Go to BuzzSumo.com and type in. If there’s a type in Kiplinger or Kiplinger, however you pronounce it, and see the top posts of the last three months on that website. Take the Kiplinger/retirement or whatever the thing is.

Brad Johnson: So, just so I’m clear, Dave, BuzzSumo what does that do? It shows the top video?

Dave Zoller: BuzzSumo is a website. Google it and you can… I haven’t used it in some time but in the beginning, I would take a URL from a site that is retirement-focused and see what are the things that people are clicking on the most and sharing the most on socials. And it’s usually about Social Security or it’s about trying to think what the other big things were. But then you can see they’re good ideas of what the headers are, the headlines, the titles that are engaging. You know, it’s not what we think sometimes but that’ll give you a lot of good ideas as you’re creating your own. So, BuzzSumo’s another tool I would check out.

Brad Johnson: Awesome. This is going to be quite the extensive show notes. This is awesome. Okay. So, we’ve got the video. We post it kind of here are some ideas around how we title it, the thumbnail. Okay. The million-dollar question. Literally, probably $1 million of revenue that this has generated for you. How do we now take them from watching a video to becoming an appointment on the calendar? What have you learned from the conversion? How are you generating 40 appointments a month on average?

Dave Zoller: Yes. So, in the beginning, when we had, and I don’t know if I even shared the numbers, May 2020 to December of 2020, we went from zero subscribers on YouTube to 70. That’s not quite a great success. There were no reach-outs, no appointments being set, nothing. And I was getting teased at the Christmas party in a loving way from the team. Like, great idea about this initiative of doing content marketing. And thankfully the next month or two there was one video that took off and it generated 20 appointments in a weekend. But the thing that we were doing at that time that we figured out the mistake we made, advisors don’t make this mistake, it’s if you’re going to put content on any social platform or YouTube, do not go straight for the meeting. That’s actually what we do now because we have the level of people, the level of views where the right clients for reaching out. But in the beginning, maybe we had that month that it took off, maybe we had 5,000 views in a week or so, which was a lot for us at the time. And it was a lot for anybody.

And 20 people out of there came in and they came in because I started sharing something that was not that idea of getting married and having a meeting together with someone you don’t really know. Just don’t ask for the appointment right away. That’s not a baby step that people want to take. Some do, but most likely they want something that’s a smaller micro action, a smaller micro step, something for free. Find something for free that you can give to people that is valuable and will, well, they’ll recognize the value. Do we have time to share the thing that worked the best during this period?

Brad Johnson: Yes, please.

Dave Zoller: I’ve mentioned it before and some of the YouTube videos on Streamline My Practice, but it’s the How Much Do I Need To Retire quiz. And the quiz was eight questions. What’s your name? How old are you? When do you want to retire? How much do you have saved? Are you married? How old are they? And they would fill that out. I would get up. I use Typeform at the time. Typeform is just a quiz. You know, you can use Google Forms. You can use SurveyMonkey or anything. I got an email when someone filled it out and it had those answers. I would use the Riskalyze software, now Nitrogen software. They had this roadmap where you put in four, I think it was four inputs, dollar amount, risk level, inflation, age, retirement age. I think that was it. And then I would screen share using Loom and I would record a three-minute video sharing what the results were of the map. Right. Road map showing the up and then the down as they start to take money. And I think it was a percentage of success rate.

And the thing that worked and got 25% of people who watched that video would reach out to me for an intro call was in the beginning, I’d say, “Don’t make any big decisions here. This is kind of high level, just a few numbers. But just to give you an idea as you’re planning out your retirement.” And at the end of it, I would say one of the things or here’s a few things that people in your situation or maybe it’s a few years ahead of you are thinking. They are thinking about, okay, retirement’s coming up. And what they are thinking about is tax-efficient withdrawal strategy. You know, sometimes that’s some of the biggest value, the biggest savings that retirees can have is not paying any more tax than they need to. They’re also thinking about this idea of Roth conversions. They’ve got a lot in their 401(k) pretax. They might have a lot in their IRA or SEP or whatever it is, and they’re thinking, “Does it make sense to do Roth conversions at that time?”

Or if it was specific to that, I might say or they’re thinking about this thing, “I can’t get into specifics now because I don’t know all the details but if you do want to talk, just email me back and we could set up a time,” and 25% of people would say, “Yeah, I want to talk about Roth conversion. I want to talk about tax-efficient withdrawal strategy.” And then we’d have a meeting. That’s how we had our first client. So, let’s see, December and then a video took off, did well, and then I think it was February where we had our first client that followed that framework. And the reason why we stopped doing it is because then I started, I think I figured out the formula, the views took off and it was a lot of people every day and I just couldn’t get back to all of them. So, we had to narrow the gate a little bit but that’s not a problem for most people. Think about the quiz idea.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Love that. So, I’m just picturing I’m sitting here watching a YouTube video. It’s most likely probably out an iPhone for most people. You look at an infomercial on TV, it’s going to have that call 1-800 down at the bottom or whatever. How does the actual interface work? Like, how do they get the email or the quiz? Is there a link in the notes under the YouTube? Is it on screen? How do you get them into that funnel?

Dave Zoller: Yep. So, you will promote it in the video. It’ll be a one-line, let’s say. Okay. Bold promise or question, context intro. And a lot of people have been finding help with this How Much Do I Need To Retire quiz. If you are, take a look below and there’s a link. That’s what they click on. That’s what they answer. And they get the email. Yeah. So, you’re mentioning it and that’s really all it is. It’s a mention in the middle of a helpful piece of info.

Brad Johnson: Cool. And about how long are the videos typically? I’m sure they range, but like, how long is the video content?

Dave Zoller: YouTube specifically, in the beginning, 2 to 3 minutes was I got the best feedback from people because pretty much I followed the framework but made it quick and people can see how long the video is before they click. And if they see two videos called Tax-Efficient Withdrawal Strategy or something like that, they’ll pick on the one that’s shorter a lot of times because they just want to get to it and they would comment, “Thank you for making not a 20-minute video on this one topic. Super helpful.” So, that was great. That allowed subscribers to happen. And I think for the first maybe six months or so, pretty short, maybe 5 minutes was the most. Now, the latest video I did was probably 14 minutes but it’s because there’s a lot more to share, a lot different. You know, it’s a whole different ball game as you keep going, get better, but in the beginning, yeah, go for the quick hit for people.

Brad Johnson: That’s great because I think most advisors, it’s overwhelming and I’ve got to come up with 10 minutes of content. It’s like, no, just what advisor can’t talk about something financially related for 2 minutes? I mean that should be a very low bar. Awesome. Okay. Is there anything we left out that would be helpful if I’m an advisor out there, I kind of want to explore this YouTube medium, but we haven’t yet?

Dave Zoller: There’s hours and hours of content that we left out that is really helpful. There’s kind of like, again, the 80/20. Like, these are some of the things for the first stage of getting going. This was probably the stuff that was most helpful if you’re just getting started. There’s these next-level things that happen as you progress and you learn. I’m toying with the idea of doing a coaching for advisors who are specific to want to replicate what we did at Streamline Financial on YouTube. I don’t know for sure if that’s happening. That would be interesting but there’s a lot that goes into it. But I would say get started, commit to becoming the sort of person that is able to communicate via video, and just practice. And like you said, if you wanted, don’t do one unless you commit. I would say maybe 100, maybe just 50, but one of those and make a commitment. It could be worth it. I don’t want to say it’s definitely worth it but there are other advisors out there that have started doing this and it’s amazing the results that can happen from it.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I mean, I’ll just say for your journey on YouTube, it’s very similar to my journey on the podcasting front. It was crickets for the first year. Now, granted, I was doing everything wrong. It was all organic. I was doing one episode a month, so I failed when nobody was watching or listening. But it’s the snowball rolling downhill effect that happens with content on YouTube, on podcasts, assuming it’s good, helpful content, right? That’s not just self-promotion or trying to sell something. There’s this and you just said it on YouTube. It’s like you had all these reps out there but the way the algorithm works on YouTube is once you have enough content and I’ve got this video that kind of popped and it hit a chord and got some views. Well, YouTube sees that, and YouTube is in the business of making money off of advertising. So, when their algorithm is like, “Hey, people are paying attention to this video,” it’s going to go serve them another Dave Zoller video, right? Hey, we’ve all seen this. “You watched this video? Here, watch this one next.” And now your content starts feeding your other content. And then it’s this snowball rolling downhill.

And then it’s almost like the success, the overnight success that happened after two or three years of work. That’s how this game works. And unfortunately, most advisors and most content creators do like five videos and then they give up. It’s like, “No, this isn’t working.” And I love if you share that part.

Dave Zoller: And you’re right too about we always hear about niche and focus. That is important on YouTube. If we’re talking YouTube, I think every title had retirement or retirement planning in it. And maybe it took ten months for YouTube algorithm to figure it out or who knows what happened. But because it did, then, now 80% of viewers are above 55. YouTube is the best marketing engine out there I’d say. It takes your video. It finds exactly the right fit for you, who you’re trying to help. It puts the video in front of them and it even pays you when they watch the video. And no other platform does that. I don’t think that I know.

Brad Johnson: Well, what’s cool, if you think about the Internet, just think about your own human behavior. I actually just did this like two weeks ago. So, we’ve got an espresso maker. Every like month, this little “clean me” light comes on and I’m like, “How do you do that again?” So, I go to YouTube. I type in Breville Espresso Maker How to Clean. In the same video of this 55-year-old man, two-minute video cleaning, just walking through it step by step. I watch it every month to two months because I forget every time the three steps you’re going to do it. But what’s happened with YouTube, it’s the next evolution of Google. Obviously, Google owns YouTube. So, back in the day, you would go to the search bar in Google and now Google has figured out. If I serve video content for the solution, that’s super easy and intuitive that people can just watch along with it, we get more eyeballs there than if I just pitch them an article that’s got steps in it. And so, now Google’s algorithm actually feeds YouTube content to Google searches. And now the YouTube search bar has become the video version of Google.

And what you’re doing is saying, “Hey, I’m a retiree that needs help with fill-in-the-blank.” It’s just serving your content right there. So, it’s just where the Internet is going, where my head goes, Dave, is, you know, I’ve got a Tesla like I joke with my friends, I’m like, “Yeah, my car’s driving me to work today.” Autopilot’s pretty cool. And I’m just picturing ten years from now when it is fully autonomous vehicles, those vehicles are going to become just driving entertainment systems. They’ll probably turn the seats where they face each other. They’ll probably put a console in the middle and people will just be watching content while they go from place to place. And so, I’m just thinking like, where is the world going ten years from now? The people that are ahead of the game that are creating this just volumes of content, a content library that is constantly being served to people. That is the long game that is going to serve financial advisors that get ahead of this very well into the future. You know, it’d probably be in VR headsets or something else, but that is the future of where the world is going. So, I love everything that you shared here today. Quick thing, yeah, any closing thoughts on just that in general?

Dave Zoller: So, YouTube also helps. So, you could write a blog post and go for SEO like a lot of advisors do, Search Engine Optimization. YouTube transcribes it automatically and helps with SEO already. Like, we’re getting people going to our website and reading an article because we created a video and that video was transcribed. And so, there’s so many, yeah, so many…

Brad Johnson: Well, Tim Ferriss wrote a book off of his podcast, Tools of Titan. So, the truth is, I mean, and a lot of people have written books by transcribing it, just recording it. So, Dave, I mean, you might have a book coming out six months to 12 months from now, just take all your best-viewed YouTube videos, the transcripts, and just get a writer to mash them all together.

Dave Zoller: Interesting. That’s a good idea. Brad, idea man.

Brad Johnson: Hey, that’s what I’m here for, man. I’ll tell you, that’s my game plan. We transcribe every podcast, so you might be in my book In the future. It’ll be Tools of Titans for Finance. But, yeah, well, hey, this has been awesome, man. I’ve got pages of notes over here I’m going to feed to Kristin. She’s our Chief Product Officer. I know you had a chance to meet her, and she’s going to love a lot. She probably have used a lot of these tools already. But, yeah, Dave, I guess we didn’t get to the actual math. Like, let’s look at 2022. If you’ve got these numbers off the top of your head, how many millions of assets have you gathered directly from YouTube as a marketing funnel? Do you have general numbers there that would be helpful for advisors out there listening in?

Dave Zoller: Yeah. So, we track two numbers. It’s AUM growth and then also distributions that happen but if we’re just looking at AUM growth, it was close to 60.

Brad Johnson: 60 mil of assets last year off of YouTube?

Dave Zoller: Yeah. And it was two advisors. I was helping out in the meetings but they were going to these two advisors who are really they’re much smarter than me. They’re the CFAs, the CFPs, RICPs. They’re the service advisors and great at the relationship. So, it was mainly those two that were able to bring on close to 60 of new assets. Yeah.

Brad Johnson: That’s awesome. Well, congrats man. That’s a testament to you being a student of the game. As we say in the Johnson household, Johnsons get uncomfortable. That’s where all the growth comes from. And right there was a lesson proven right there. You got uncomfortable. You figured it out. You kept putting in the reps and 60 million of assets later, I’d say that’s a win. What’s the team saying now, Dave, at the Christmas party? That’s what I want to know.

Dave Zoller: Yeah. It’s good. It’s good things.

Brad Johnson: They’re high-fiving?

Dave Zoller: We’re having fun. We’re good. Okay, good, good.

Brad Johnson: Well, cool. I just want to close with one last question. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about you is we’ve gotten to know each other better. You’re also a family man. I know that’s something you take very higher priority than all the business stuff we talked about today, how you show up at home. So, obviously, you’re on the Do Business Do Life podcast. I would love to hear your definition of what does do business do life mean to Dave Zoller.

Dave Zoller: Oh, wow. That’s good. I wish I had some time to think about this one. I would say that the thing that I’m really focused on because we found something that works and because there are results that are happening on the business side of this marketing we’ve just scratched the surface with marketing and content and business growth, focusing more and more energy during the business day on that is a good use of time. It’s that idea of what Dan Sullivan says is the uniqueability. I think I’ve got something there. So, if I could find a team that is so much better than me in many other ways, whether it’s being an advisor or doing the operations things or the people management part, find people who are really good at that, focus on one thing, do it well, and that allows a lot less stress in your life, right? Which then is transferred over to your family life. You know, if my role was the people manager and then all of the meetings with clients and all of these things, it would be… I did do that for a while and it was hard. And you know what I’m talking about. Advisors listening right now know what I’m talking about.

But yeah, try to focus on those things. Don’t be afraid to buy back your time by hiring quality people or virtual assistants and do the things that you’re not as good at and spend the money because there’s a multiplying effect that happens and that your family will thank you later because you come home in a different way. If you could spend your time in things that fascinate you and motivate you, another Dan Sullivan thing, during the day, it’s so much easier to just get to your family and focus and not be as stressed. So, I don’t know if that made sense. It’s hard. Being an entrepreneur, being an advisor, it’s hard to unplug from work and not think about work. Here’s one other thing. I keep mentioning him because he’s had a big impact on me. And at the end of the day, write down the three wins from the day. Write at the end of your workday three things you made progress on. What did I make progress on that made today better than yesterday? And then what could I make progress on tomorrow? Just three things I can make progress on tomorrow. And that’s kind of like you’re close to the day.

Yeah, maybe you didn’t do all the things you wanted to. You’ve got a long list, but what were three good things? That helped me, especially during the basement days of lockdown and coping and things like that, it’s so hard to transfer upstairs and then start hanging out with your kids. There’s no drive home or you know what I mean, right? Doing that, those questions was a big, big help in helping me be more present. And then the last thing I’ll say is, with kids, I’ve been reminding myself, I’m never going to get this day back. And yes, we’ve got tomorrow we’ve got a whole lot of time together for the rest of our lives but like today is one day I’m never going to get it back. It’s hitting me harder now with an eight and seven-year-old and seeing them and how they’re changing five years to seven year old, there’s a big difference there. And it’s like, oh, no, they’re turning into teenagers already. So, I’m like really trying to focus and I’m not going to get this day back. Forget about the rest and just focus on them. So, that’s DBDL for me.

Brad Johnson: I love that. Thanks for sharing that, Dave, and I couldn’t agree more. As we record this, my kids just got out of school. We’re early June. Jim and Jamie Shiels, who I had on, their company is called 18 Summers. And the truth is, that’s all you have with your kids. And when you kind of put it in that context, like, well, 18, that’s not very many. And I’ve got a 13-year-old now, so I’ve got five. And, boy, that stuff does start to hit you.

Dave Zoller: And I caught myself too. Also, my dad said, “Man, kids, babies, it was awesome. Five-year-olds is awesome. Even teenage years were awesome. College flew by in like a blink.” But now, he’s at this level where it’s probably the most fulfilling. So, like, we think like, “Oh, I missed six years old or I wish I could go back to five years old with my son,” but really not. I mean, 20 years from now, it’s a whole new ballgame. We’ve got a lot to look forward to, too. So, I sometimes beat myself up and wish I could go back in time but no, like the next thing is going to be awesome. Whole new challenges, whole new wonders that happen, getting into sports or whatever. It’s all good I think. And looking forward, future bigger than your past is also a big deal as well. So, yeah, I totally feel it now.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. And if you’re an advisor out there because guess what, if you’ve been in this business long enough, it’s happened to you. I promise. You’ve hit burnout. You’ve definitely gotten out of balance. Too much business, not enough life. Haven’t been present at family dinners. All of that. We’ve all experienced that. Nobody’s perfect. Don’t beat yourself up. But to your point, Dave, tomorrow can be different. You can turn the page and you can say, “Hey, I’m unplugging at 5 p.m. I’m going to be home for family dinner. I’m going to put the cell phone away.” I literally went to, I mean, I’ve struggled with this. It’s tough to turn work off. These iPhones, they don’t turn off, you know. It literally could bombard you all day, every day. And I had a buddy, he literally bought one of those little gun safes like those small ones. And he put his cell phone in there at dinnertime until the kids went to bed. And he’s like, “That’s one way to guarantee I won’t get on my phone.” He just locked in the gun safe every night. It was like his evening ritual, his power-down ritual. Walk in the door from work, put cell phone in gun safe, carry on, go hang out with the family.

I think it’s creating those frameworks where you create a game that you can win. It’s the best way I would put it. And so, I love to share there, I love the realness too. So, anyway, that’s the type of people I love having on the show is people that want to do business do life and they like stellar, stellar shares. And thanks for the abundance mindset and not being like, “Oh, I’m not going to share my secret because too many advisors will be on YouTube,” and I’ve found the most successful people in life have that abundance mentality. So, thanks for just sharing openly and just playing all out today. I really appreciate that.

Dave Zoller: That’s why I’ve got the Streamline My Practice channel. I’m sharing all the things that we do that we found success or the mistakes that we made. And the thought is for some reason or I heard somewhere that your best, most equipped, best suited to help who you were three years ago, five years ago, because you just lived the whole journey. So, I’m getting a big kick out of helping advisors who are at the beginning stages of this content marketing or just whatever it might be, the beginning stages of the first meeting. So, a lot of people don’t have a system for their first meeting or their second meeting or what the deliverables, and we’re giving all that stuff away. And, yeah, I’ve got no competition. Like I said before, there’s no other me so I don’t know who I’m competing with other than myself. So, it’s all good.

Brad Johnson: I love that, man. Well, hey, any time you roll through Kansas, you’re always welcome at my place. I think you already do that but in case you didn’t. And always good to connect. Look forward to the next time we get to connect in person. So, thanks so much, Dave. Until next time.

Dave Zoller: Thanks, Brad. All right. Bye-bye.


Compliance Disclosure: These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.


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