Video Sales Letters (VSLs): A Comprehensive Guide

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Video Sales Letters (VSLs): A Comprehensive Guide

What Is a Video Sales Letter?

A video sales letter (VSL) is pitching a product or service to the viewer. A VSL uses the same principles as a written sales letter to grab the attention of the intended target audience, outline current pain points, and how your product can be the solution to the problem. The VSL is a unique direct-response-oriented marketing technique, meaning that its goal is focused on inspiring the viewer to take action immediately upon watching.

Whilst the foundations of a written sales letter and the VSL are very similar, the VSL is more versatile in its adaptability to two major current consumer trends: video and the internet.

Why Use a Video Sales Letter?

The same reason why many marketers opt for video marketing strategies: taking an innovative approach to boosting conversions. It is simply a fact that video can capture the attention of the consumer in ways that written text simply cannot. We have outlined some of the benefits of videos sales letters that we think will come in handy for your own knowledge:

They’re personal & authentic:

Traditionally, sales letters have been used to replace the salesperson as pieces of direct mail that explain the benefits of your product. A video sales letter re-introduces a foundational element of marketing of today: incorporating a sense of authentic humanness. It is psychologically true that consumers are more likely to buy from a real-life person as opposed to a written slab of text. It can be beneficial to your brand to expose that you are more than just a corporation and that you are real-life people striving to help fulfill the needs of others. This personal approach can really get consumers on your side since they are made to feel important as individuals and that they will be catered for in that manner.

They’re persuasive:

The information is easily shareable (Wyzowl’s research states that people are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other form of content) and, more importantly, easy to digest in the eyes of the consumer.

They’re aesthetically pleasing:

There is a reason that 69% of people say that they prefer to learn about a new product or service via short videos. The stats don’t lie! Video is an engaging, innovative way to not only grasp the attention of your intended audience but maintain it, with jovial characters and colorful moving images.

They eliminate guesswork:

As a medium, video omits the need for your target audience to make their own assumptions about what it is you’re trying to convey and instead displays the intent of your marketing campaign. Many businesses report much higher conversion rates with the use of video sales letters since there is more consolidation that the audience will clearly understand the intended message. VSLs can subsequently efficiently streamline the buying process 

They offer value:

Video sales letters allow viewers to immediately understand the product and how it will help solve an identified problem in their daily life.

They encourage trusting client relationships:

VSLs allow the build-up of trust with leads, generate leads in the first place then get those same leads to convert into a sales appointment/client. You want to convey to your intended target audience that you not only have the authoritative ability to solve the problem but that your solution is the best in comparison to competitors.

They can act as social proof:

This can be provided in the form of testimonials, and reviews. Any sort of evidence, regardless of its type, can help you deliver the proof necessary to transform a viewer into a customer. This can be easily displayed in a VSL, and an effective technique to really enhance your claims of value, trust, and credibility.

Whilst the traditional sales letter is often at risk of coming across like a dubious, hard-sell tactic and off-putting to potential customers, the direct approach is often a producer of success. Meeting in the middle through learning how to balance the direct approach with human authenticity and empathy to the client’s needs, you will be on your way to the mix-up of a great recipe for conversion.

How To Structure Your VSL

Now you are aware of what a VSL actually is, as well as how it can benefit your marketing strategy, we thought we’d give you a little insight into how to create one.

Writing The Video Script

At Animation Explainers, we always begin with the script. But what does a good script look like?

1. Introduction: determining your product

It’s always a good idea to start powerfully and straight to the point in order to capture the curiosity of your intended audience with relatable content.  

This is crunch time: like with any form of copywriting, you’re keen on hooking the audience immediately with the beginnings of a compelling story.

2. Outline the pain points

It may well be that your potential consumer is unaware that your product exists. Likewise, they could be simply aware but not yet quite at the stage of consideration. Therefore, you should help them see how they can resolve their problem with your product or service in a clear and coherent manner. 

Here it is important to be contextually clear, highlighting how the problem occurs in day-to-day life.

Remember that the visuals of the video can help organize your concepts outlined in the word count. Outlining problems often work well in bullet-point form.

3. Make use of emotive language

KEY TIP: Using empathy and emotional language here can really drive the audience to believe that you know what they’re they’re facing. Not only as a consumer but as a person. Make them feel like they have no other option but to consider your product as a must-have solution. Otherwise, they will continue to suffer.

Marketers are creative with FOMO (‘fear of missing out’)-type strategies as a means of encouraging urgent action.  

Urgency is a key element to any sales pitch, including that of the VSL. It can simply make or break your chances of conversion since the majority of customers will have hesitant reservations for multiple reasons.  

Take these examples, for instance:

  • Low stock
  • Time-sensitive offer
  • Offer of bonuses or discounts

Don’t overcook it here, though, or you may run the risk of turning potential clients away. Scaremonger tactics tend not to create the best conversion rates in today’s modern marketing climate.

4. Provide the solution

Time to seal the deal and illustrate how your product is the consumer’s must-have solution and differentiates from anything competitors may have to offer. To begin with, tell them how you can help solve their problem: what is your product or service and its beneficial features.

Then you must proceed to highlight benefits, omitting any unnecessary ramble. Snazzy product features are great, but how will they actually help the intended consumer achieve their goal of solving the problem and more?

5. Authority, Credibility & Social Proof

Who are you? What makes you qualified to offer your product or service? Why should the consumer trust you over another competitor?

Stick to facts. Do not populate your script with over-embellished jargon about how amazing your brand is. All of that means squat if your potential customers don’t trust your word. Use testimonials, use cases, and statistics as social proof that you are qualified to supply your intended consumer.  

Remember: Never make claims without backing them up.

6. Call to Action

The all-important end-game. Your audience must know what to do, with all of the above steps forming together in a summary-style conclusion. This final section must be fundamentally informational:

  • Sign up now
  • Schedule your client call today
  • Visit our company website

Producing The Video

Once the long process of creating a compelling script is pinned down, your next step is to turn those words into visual ideas. Keep these points in mind as you transition into the production stage:

  1. Style: How do you envision the video looking and feeling? Many companies will have an extensive portfolio from which you can pick a style that truly resonates with your message.
  2. Cost: There are a variety of factors that go into establishing your video budget. As with anything, the more sophisticated the animation, the more costly the production.  

Promoting The Video

Now your VSL is complete and the hard work is over, right? Not quite.

Depending on where you are displaying your video (company website, landing page, social media, YouTube, an email campaign), will inspire your video style and promotion line.

If you’re going to send the VSL as part of an email campaign segmented by companies or individuals, you might want to customize the introductory video to appeal to the specific entities you are addressing. Likewise, if your video is to be displayed on your website’s homepage. It will need to be sharp, sophisticated, and ultimately evergreen. In this case, avoid using dates and specific text related to a current time.

Wrapping Up

Well, there you have it: the VSL in all its glory.  

Our extensive ‘script’ section boils down to the fact that in sales, good copy is key. Every video starts with a compelling script.

Our heart lies with storytelling. As with any video content, authenticity and scope to emotionally connect with your audience is a powerful tool not to be undermined.

Looking for some guidance with your own video? Animation Explainers is keen to hear your ideas and help you bring them to life.

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