Back in the day, sales letters were all the rage.
Marketing greats from David Ogilvy to Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert to Jay Abraham have been using words on the page to create billions of dollars of ales.
Deftly crafted words, arranged in a particular sequence enticed and excited readers to take quick action on whatever product was being promoted.
It worked a treat, and formed was the bread and butter of an entire industry of copywriters, becoming what we know call today, direct response copy.
i.e. Copywriting designed to get an immediate response.
It pushes you to do something.
These days, those same techniques still work, and landing pages use direct response copy quite effectively, but the best are adopting a modern spin.
Because, well, let’s face it.
Not everyone wants to scroll through 30 pages of text before they buy.
We want media.
We want entertainment.
And if you’ve any doubt about this, check your screen time reports in your phone.
My Netflix is through the roof (I’ll chalk this one up to my time on the treadmill but I know there’s no way I’m running 2-3 hours a day like my stats show). And that’s just me.
We are watching an unprecedented amount of video,
More than any other form of content, and it’s growing every day,
On Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok.
And wouldn’t it make sense to incorporate one of the most effective forms of marketing (developed by revolutionary geniuses in their industry) with this new trend?
Of course, it makes sense.
And that’s where the video sales letter, or VSL for short, was born.
The power of the VSL
Once marketers started putting VSLs on landing pages, conversion rates went through the roof. Because it was what audiences wanted.
It’s not uncommon today, to see a landing page with nothing but a video.
Just a video to watch, that walks you through the entire sequence of copy.
But you need to do it right of course.
- Keep it professional and well designed.
- Stay friendly and engaging on the video.
- Feature someone your audience can relate to.
I’ve done VSLs for a wide variety of industries, and I can honestly say, there are big benefits to be had once you start using these in your marketing channels.
The building blocks of a successful VSL
The shift from landing page copy to VSL scripts isn’t a difficult transition, because at the core, it’s essentially the same thing.
You’re just using video to communicate instead of text.
And if you want it to work, your focus needs to be on great copy.
Because the objective hasn’t changed. The structure of a successful VSL follows a very similar format to that of a highly converting landing page.
- You need to capture the full attention of a potential viewer…
- You need to introduce a problem the viewer personally relates to…
- You need to demonstrate your understanding of their pains and concerns…
- You need to show them an ideal scenario, a picture of a life with these needs met…
- You need to establish trust and credibility that you can deliver the solution on offer…
- You need to entice them to take quick and rapid action, immediately…
Get these right and you’ll gave the foundation for a very successful campaign.
You need to capture immediate attention
Want to know the trouble with all the content being created today?
It’s conditioned your audience to be incredibly selective.
There’s no possible way to watch, read, or listen to every marketing message being thrown at us, and if you want to connect, you’ve got 30 seconds.
That’s all you’ve got to get a prospect interested.
Get them on the hook, to continue watching.
You can capture attention with a powerful title, explaining why the particular problem is one they cannot ignore, the far-reaching implications of doing nothing, strike an emotional chord and dangle the solution in front of them.
Do this right, in under 30 seconds, and that’s your foot in the door.
On a website, a user could still scroll down if they’re frustrated you’re not getting to the point fast enough. But on a video?
They’ll be heading for the little “X” in the top corner faster than you can imagine.
If you’re not addressing the issue as fast as you can, with no fluff and no filler,
They’re going to quit.
Drive it home with a strong core message
Look back at any particularly good marketing campaign, and there’s a reason.
At the heart of it, was a strong underlying message.
A core pain point, you’re addressing for the customer.
In marketing, we call it the “big idea”
And your big idea needs to be threaded through every piece of your copy, like an underlying message that actually resonates with your target audience.
Chick-fil-A used their cows, and I’m sure you remember the “Where’s the Beef?” lady.
These are strong core messages.
Now, I’m going to defer to one of the greats in this part, as David Ogilvy suggested using these five questions to help quantify if your big idea, was actually any good.
- Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
- Do I wish I had thought of it myself?
- Is it unique?
- Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
- Could it be used for 30 years?
Make sure your core message is a strong one, that will hit home with every viewer watching.
You need to think carefully about your script
It’s probably evident at this point your script needs to be perfect for this to work.
You can’t just jump on a live video and wing it.
I know people talk always bring up authenticity, and I’m a strong supporter of this type of content, but when it comes to a VSL, you need to think carefully.
The words you choose need to be deliberate.
The structure you follow needs to be proven.
The emotions you trigger need to be powerful.
But there’s some good news here, with the right template, you can walk any prospect right through the sequence, sending them to that final CTA.
You know, the one that’s simply too good to refuse.
Don’t think you don’t need to practice
Ever take acting classes?
Me either, though these days I’m kind of regretting that decision.
Because I’m getting on camera more and more, and there’s more to being on camera than simply the words coming out of your mouth. How you say things, your tone, demeanor, your posture, heck, even the particular smile all has an impact.
And not always a good one.
If you want to get good on camera, you need to practice.
You need to get comfortable reading your script, staying on track, without being boring and monotone in front of your audience.
I hate watching old videos of me.
In a year, I’ll probably hate the ones I’ve been making today. But the good news is I’m practicing, improving and refining my on-camera skills any time I’m on camera. And once you start getting good, that’s when you connect with the viewers.
All it takes is a little practice.
Always split test the changes you’re making
Finally, and this is important too.
Don’t just scrap your entire landing page and start making VSLs.
That’s not how you should be doing things online.
The best marketers conduct split tests.
Running dual landing pages at the same time, to the same audience,
And actually, measuring the difference.
Because while a VSL generally performs far better than a static sales page, until you KNOW you’d be silly to start throwing tens of thousands on ad spend at it, right?
Who knows, it may not work.
But what I can tell you with confidence, is that if you don’t start testing you won’t know.
And in my experience, VSLs outperform traditional landing pages, every day of the week.
If you’ve got any doubts about that, head on over to Clickbank.
Look at the best-selling products.
The one’s doing millions in sales…
See their landing pages?
Almost all have a VSL, front and center.
It’s time to follow suit.
If you’re a digital marketer, or doing any sort of selling online, video sales letters should be forming a fundamental part of your sales and promotional materials.
There’s no better way to build these kinds of personal connections, at a massive scale, with a tool that is working for you, non-stop, around the clock, serving lead after lead after lead.
Done right, VSLs are a massive asset for your company, and one I recommend you start using today.
Keep up the great work,