Video sales letters, also known as VSLs for short, have been around in some fashion for nearly as long as products have been sold—and though the way they’ve been delivered has changed with the times, the goal has always been the same: to sell a product to a consumer.
To get particular, and technical, video sales letters haven’t always been videos. Which may sound strange, but before the mass adoption of television and the use of advertising via television commercials, you could tune into the radio to hear infomercials about all kinds of products, and even before then door-to-door salesmen were a staple of everyday society at the time—old-fashioned, surely, but the sales methods employed back then are still just as effective now; they’ve just been adopted to fit the times and the medium of video.
We’re going to not only break down what video sales letters are but explain how they can help take your product to the next level and boost your sales significantly.
What Is a Video Sales Letter?
A video sales letter is a video marketing tool that influences an audience of potential customers to buy a product or use a service by using reliable, proven sales techniques.
They can be as short as just a few minutes long, or even up to half an hour or longer. But VSL videos all share the same basic formula: presenting a problem to a potential customer, enticing the customer, offering a solution in the form of the product/service being sold, and calling the customer to action. We’ll be going over these steps in more detail later on.
A long time ago, sales letters were actual letters that were typed up and sent out to potential customers praising the benefits of using certain products. You can see the evolution of sales letters over time from traveling salespeople to infomercials and commercials on radio and television, and now, to online videos. In fact, you even still see form letters in direct mail advertising—coupon books, solicitation campaigns, and so on.
So, how do you make a VSL video, and how do you make it work for you? Below we’ll not only list what parts make up a VSL, but we’ll share some video sales letter examples.
The Steps to a Successful Video Sales Letter
All of the best and most successful video sales letters, whether short or long, generally follow a strict, simple template that will almost guarantee a sale after the VSL’s runtime.
Grab the Audience’s Attention
A million different things are going on all at once online and everything is vying for someone’s immediate attention, so you need to ensure that within mere seconds you’re getting—and keeping— your audience’s attention. You should communicate both a sense of urgency and of importance. After all, you’ve got a product or service that an audience member needs, and it’s up to you to spell that out for them.
Create/Identify the Problem
You have the audience’s attention, but it can be fleeting. So now you need to ensure that their eyes stay on the screen, and that’s when you need to identify the problem for your audience. Maybe it’s a very obvious problem that anyone can relate to—a problem that is so frequent that maybe they, in fact, sought you out. Or maybe it’s a problem that an audience didn’t even know they had. Regardless, it’s up to you, in your VSL video, to explain it clearly, and emphasize just how urgent the problem is. A strong video sales letter script that can hammer home the problem, and explain it clearly and concisely, will go a long way in creating a need for a solution for an audience.
Don’t be afraid to use studies, hard data, or relevant quotes when you’re identifying the problem. This will help make the problem less abstract for an audience, and make it feel tangible and real.
Make the Problem Relatable
It isn’t enough to simply throw a bunch of facts, or statistics, at the viewers of your video sales letter. You need to appeal to the emotional core of an issue, and to persuade viewers using empathy, and sympathy. Simply put, you need to make the problem human. This can be achieved using personal anecdotes or even setting up a scenario that the audience can identify with. It’s human nature to seek out shared experiences, and if you know how to reach out to people’s instincts to connect, then you will go a long way in not only engendering yourself and your product to them, but relating to them, and building a connection with them.
Provide a Solution
Once you’ve established a problem that’s universally relatable and frustrating to audiences or you’ve shed light on a problem that many people may not have even realized needed solving, you need to offer them a solution. Now you need to prove to the audience that your product or service, is what they need and that watching this video sales letter is worth their time so they can get that solution.
But simply spelling out the solution at this point may backfire on you. You’re starting to get them on your side and to win them over, but it’s an involved process. They need to trust you, after all. And, again, with a well-written video sales letter script, they will—eventually.
You can spell out to an audience what the solution is—or more effectively, you can hint at it. You can offer them the solution, then explain why your product, your solution, is the best one for them.
Establish Your Expertise
And how do you show them that you’re the best option for them? You make yourself credible with evidence. What that evidence is can change from product to product, of course, but it all boils down to the same basic point: you need to prove yourself to an audience. They’re smart, after all—and at the end of the day, a lot of them have seen a whole lot of video sales letters, whether they realize it or not. They may even be a bit cynical of your intentions, or advertising in general. So you need to back up what you’re saying with real results.
Those results, that proof, can take the form of real-time demonstrations, testimonials/confessions from reliable and trustworthy experts, or even interviews with satisfied customers. The methods vary from product to product, and from service to service, but the intent is always the same: to back up what you’re saying as best as you possibly can and to make an audience believe that you are providing them with the best possible solution to their problem.
A Call to Action
Now that you’ve raised an issue, proven yourself trustworthy, and provided a solution, you need to tell the audience what to do next. This is where you turn them from a potential customer or client into a satisfied customer or client. This transaction, after all, isn’t a one-way street. It takes two parties to complete it, and in this part of a video sales letter, you’re putting the onus on the potential customer/client to act.
This call to action is just as important as the first moments of your VSL video. You need to hook the audience all over again, and you need to emphasize the importance of the call to action. You need to instill these precious few moments with urgency—you need to incentivize them with a strong video sales letter script with the right messaging. They need to do something. You could incentivize people with time-limited offers, time-sensitive information, limited quantities, or a subscription. Whatever it is that works best to ensure the person watching your VSL video feels compelled to act now and buy your product or service.
After all of that, you’ve simply got one more job left to do: conclude the piece, and summarize all of it. This can be a lot of information to take in for an audience all at once, and repetition is a useful tool to help people remember information. So when you’re concluding your video sales letter, reiterate what you’ve already said more concisely—summarize key points in digestible, easy-to-understand ways, and if you’ve done your job well enough, then your VSL will be a huge success.
As we mentioned, VSL videos have been around for a long time. So how do you make sure yours stands out? An explainer video is a great way to create a video sales letter in a fresh format—no cheesy infomercial studio audiences.
Creating your own VSL can be a lot of work—creating a great video sales letter script, animating it, or shooting it live, editing it, and so on. That’s where Explainify can lend a helping hand, and work with you to create the best possible video sales letters using its video sales letter templates that have proven time after time to get results.
Explainify has a team with years of experience focusing exclusively on explainer videos, and on creating videos to explain and sell your products to an audience. Whether you’re selling a specific product or you’re trying to persuade people to get to know an entire brand, we’ve got your back.
Ready to make a VSL but not sure where to start? Explainify is here to help. Book your complimentary call today.