If you’re selling a product or a service or you’re thinking of launching one soon, consider releasing a video sales letter (VSL) instead of a traditional long form sales letter.
A VSL can be up to 4 times more effective than a long form sales letter.
Even industry direct-response veteran Clayton Makepeace didn’t believe that video could outperform text. But like they say, the proof is in the pudding.
Big players in the niches of financial, health & fitness, dating and self-help won’t release a product until they’ve got the VSL ready. Doing otherwise means leaving money on the table.
Why does a video sales letter work so much better than a traditional sales letter?
1. Audio + video
Even a plain Jane, black text on white background slides VSL with no additional video or images will outperform text simply because it’s stimulating two senses instead of one. If the narrator has a smooth delivery, people on average choose to listen (and watch) your story instead of reading it.
2. Video is an emotional medium
It’s cliche but it’s true: an image speaks a thousand words. The Marlboro Man campaign worked because it was subtle. Writing “Smoking this cigarette will make you manly and get you laid” would have had the opposite effect of the picture.
3. You can control the presentation
When people land on a regular sales page, the process goes something like this:
- Read headline, if it’s interesting they
- Skim through the text, looking for benefits OR
- Scroll all the way right to the bottom to read the P.S.
- If P.S. has got them interested they may go back and read some of the copy
- If the information they selectively read has convinced them, they may buy
- If not, they exit
All of this happens in less than 30 seconds. That masterpiece sales letter that you slaved on for a week? Yeah, it’s not going to get read, at least not in the order you intended it to.
With a VSL, the process is much more controlled. They can either continue watching, pause, buy (later in the video) or exit.
If you make it compelling enough for them to watch the first 2-3 minutes, chances of them remaining till the end and listening to your message in its entirety grow exponentially.
This is called escalation of commitment. Or to put it more simply, “in for a penny, in for a pound”.
For those that do not have time to watch the video and try to exit, an exit pop provides them with the text version of the VSL. 10% to 15% of sales will come from that.
It’s a WIN-WIN proposition.
Video is blowing up
Some stats to consider
- Online video is the fastest growing ad format in 2012 with nearly 55% growth. (eMarketer, January 2012)
- According to Internet Retailer, 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. When a video is information-intensive, 66% of consumers will watch the video two or more times. (Internet Retailer, 2012)
- Mediapost reports that product videos play a key role in consumer purchase decisions, citing a 9x increase in retail video views at the start of the 2011 holiday season. (MediaPost, 2012)
- Internet Retailer reports that shoppers who viewed video on Stacks and Stacks product pages were 144% more likely to add to cart than other shoppers. (Internet Retailer, March 2011).
- According to Website Magazine, video is a driver of consumer confidence. Consumers are willing to watch videos 60% of the time they are found, and 52% of consumers report that they are less likely to return a product after viewing a video. (Website Magazine, 2012).
- Online retailer Living Direct found that videos boosted conversion as well as increasing time on site by 9%. (Internet Retailer, October 2010).
- Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not. (Internet Retailer, April 2010)
- Retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors. (Comscore, August 2010)
- More than three out of five consumers will spend at least two minutes watching a video that educates them about a product they plan to purchase, and 37% will watch three for more than three minutes. (MarketingCharts.com, 2012)
- Professionally produced video optimized for eCommerce outperforms user-generated video (UGC video) by 30%, delivering a 24.7% lift as compared with an 18.7% lift for the UGC video. (Comscore, 2012)
- Video results appear in about 70% of the top 100 listings, the type of content most often displayed in universal or blended search results. (Marketingweek, 2011)
- Consumer video usage on retail and brand sites hit record numbers on retail and brand sites during the 2011 holiday season. Cyber Monday video views across the Invodo network were 897% higher than 2010, and Black Friday video views showed a 337% increase. (Website Magazine, December 2011)
And I could go on and on.
You get the idea.
Side note: these stats are for 2011-2012.
It’s 2015 now and video has continued to grow. Like I said, it’s become mandatory in saturated niches.
“What can I do to get a piece of the action?”
- You can continue with the same, old long form sales letters. Text will continue to work, but when compared to video, you will see lower conversions.
- Rewrite your sales letter into a VSL. You’ll have to pay attention to your opening hook and how you structure your argument so that the viewer is engaged throughout the video. Depending on how much experience you have working with video sales letters, you may or may not get it right.
- Hire a VSL copywriter who knows what he’s doing and who’s done it before.
Whichever option you choose, choose wisely.
Whether indirect or direct-response, the writing is on the wall:
Video is the future of advertising.
Want to get a piece of this billion dollar pie?