In this article:
Converting at a huge 8% back in 2008 it was about 12 minutes long and sold an info product on ‘how to get organized’.
You can watch the entire thing if you’d like, right here:
The most successful VSLs I’ve been involved with or know about are very simple in appearance, on a very plain webpage, typically with no navigation on the page.
However, sending traffic straight to that VSL page may give you a lower conversion rate than if you send them initially to what’s known as a pre-sell page.
A pre-sell is an article that positions the video to help ensure the visitor has anticipation for the value they are going to receive by watching the video. This often involves highlighting pain points around the topic, such as health problems, or lack of success in the relevant area of life that an information product relates to, such as relationship problems.
‘Top 5 Reasons Why Men Pull Away During Early Stage Relationships”
“5 Causes Of Weight Gain That You Can Avoid Starting Today”
These headline examples suggest the person learning a solution to a problem that is causing them pain.
The pre-sell article then links in multiple places over to the video.
Over the past few years the length of VSLs has stretched to 45 minutes or more, particularly for consumer products including information products and health supplements. My approach with VSL length is to consider:
Case in point:
The 12 minute VSL for the ‘get organized’ product above. Back in 2008 there was less competition for such information, and my traffic came from people who had searched for terms like ‘how to get organized’. So the product was desired and competition was low. The price difference compared to the alternative of hiring a professional organizer was clear, reasonable and compelling. So 12 minutes was plenty of time to make the sales presentation to a relatively low buyer resistance.
However, if the product is new and unfamiliar with a potentially high perceived price, a full length VSL will generally help maximize sales to the widest possible market.
Here is the introduction script for a full length VSL I wrote promoting an innovative training system for American Football Quarterbacks. If you are familiar with the QB position, you will see how well this matches the dreams and frustrations of a QB, ensuring that they’ll stick around for the rest of the VSL.
But how do we maintain engagement through a full 45 minutes..?
It’s generally true that ‘the more you tell the more you sell’.
So… as long as the sales copy is RELEVANT to the audience, then providing you can make it sufficiently entertaining andfast flowing, the VSL can be ‘long’ (45+ minutes) and you’ll hold the attention of your audience and thus maximise conversions.
8% is a very high conversion rate. You may be looking for 2% to make a Video Sales Letter a big success and very profitable. Think about it. That’s just 2 to 8 people out of every 100. So you don’t need ‘everyone’ to want to watch a long VSL. Just a relative few.
The trick to keeping those few engaged is to craft a compelling message.
Here’s an example of an introduction to a full length VSL I wrote for the weight loss market (a massively sophisticated market given the history and level of competition). In this introduction I am to grab viewers attention by immediately calling out the ‘fads’ being marketed in the industry at the time, thereby differentiating this video and increasing engagement.
I’ll get into that a little lower down, but first we need to touch on…
So how do I do it?
My process involves [with more detail coming soon]:
A very significant approach to the use of a VSL is to break it down into sections and deliver them throughout a gated sales funnel. The gates may be actions the visitor must take, such as opting in by email to gain access to another segment of the video, or gated by time, as in a drip-campaign via email.
Here’s the homepage video (just 2 minutes in length) to introduce a relationship advice membership program:
A VSL Copywriter charges anywhere from ~$3,000 to ~$25,000 for a full VSL script plus royalties.
In a VSL split-test with a $25k copywriter’s original intro against a new intro that I wrote, my version increased engagement by 3 times. But don’t worry, I won’t charge you 3 times his fee ????
You can see the new copy here plus the split test result. And see below for details on hiring me as your next VSL writer.