by Peter Kell, VSL Director at Mindvalley
Stories are one of the most powerful forms of communication, as they resonate with people on an intellectual and an emotional level. Marketers have always known this, which is why they have often used written sales letters to share their company’s story with potential customers.
Unlike traditional sales letters, which were sent via mail and took a long time to read, video sales letters (VSLs) harness the power of video to heighten the emotional impact of the stories they tell. VSLs are highly effective at grabbing your audience’s attention, discussing the benefits of a product or service, showcasing a product or service as a solution to a specific problem, and inspiring immediate action (like clicking an affiliate link, subscribing to a service, purchasing a product, etc).
Typically, marketers place VSLs on a company website’s landing page to gain the attention of site visitors and increase sales conversions. They can also be shared through social media and email mailing lists, and paid advertising further increases their visibility in these channels. VSLs are both more accessible and more flexible than written sales letters.
For many potential customers, seeing is believing. VSLs allow your audience to see the service or product you’re promoting in action and to imagine themselves using it. They are uniquely effective at boosting brand awareness, establishing familiarity with a brand, and achieving a higher level of credibility.
All great VSLs share a few core components. As a VSL marketer, one of the best things you can do is to research successful campaigns from the past and model your own scripts off of them. As with any other artist, imitating the greats is one of the best ways to develop your own style and reach a broad audience. Once you’ve mastered the basic elements of writing and effective VSL, you can massively increase ROI and turn a brand, product or service into a household name.
Below are five simple strategies used by some of the world’s best affiliate marketers:
1. Have a well-defined goal.
The first step to making a great VSL is establishing a clear purpose. As an affiliate marketer, you might use a VSL to increase conversions/sales, or to establish trust and strengthen the relationship between the audience and brand, for example. Once you’ve figured out the goal of your VSL, use it as a guide to write your script and format your video. A clear purpose will help you determine who your target audience is and what tone or messaging is going to appeal to them, as well as ensuring that your script is tight and focused instead of rambling and unclear.
2. Tell a compelling story.
The second component of a successful VSL is a script that tells an impactful story. Starting your video with a dramatic hook that captures your audience’s interest and gets them asking questions helps you grab and keep their attention, which is a precious commodity among internet users. By directly appealing to viewers’ emotions, you make it easy for them to relate to you and see how the product or service you are presenting will benefit their lives. Once you’ve given them a story to connect with, it’s easier to convert them from a stranger into a buyer.
3. Present a genuine problem.
To get viewers personally invested in your VSL, start your story with a relatable problem. Immediately and clearly stating the problem (in no more than five seconds) helps your audience identify similar pain points in their own lives. This allows the VSL to speak to them on a personal level, getting them curious about the solutions you are offering and compelling them to continue watching. The framing of the pain point is highly important, as it helps the audience realize that they not only need a solution, but they need one now.
4. Provide a creative solution.
After establishing a problem, explain or demonstrate how the product or service you’re promoting will help customers solve it. It’s good to mention the key features of the product or service (details like ingredients, materials, size, etc.), but these should not be your focus. Simply listing features of the product or service does not amount to storytelling, and will quickly bore customers. Instead, emphasize the benefits they will deliver, highlighting the positive experiences and emotions they inspire.
5. End with a call to action.
Convenience maximizes conversions. Finishing your VSL with a call to action and including easily accessible links to the company’s product or subscription pages helps close the critical gap between the viewer deciding to buy the product and actually going through with it. Adding extra incentives like discounts or limited time offers are a great way to increase the sense of urgency generated by your VSL, giving your audience the incentive to act right away.
It’s no secret that video is perhaps the defining mode of communication today. The booming popularity of TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram amply demonstrates people’s obsession with video content, as well as its extraordinary effectiveness as marketing tools. VSLs allow affiliate marketers to lean into what they do best while giving audiences what they want the most: real, compelling stories that provide tangible solutions to the pain points in their lives. If you can master this form of communication, you can create truly explosive growth for your brand.
Peter Kell is a serial entrepreneur and current VSL Director at Mindvalley. Peter has perfected the art of VSL creation, with an unmatched track record of creating multiple 8-figure video sales letter campaigns. A passionate advocate for Media Buying, Entrepreneurship, and Personal Development, Peter’s mission is to help e-commerce marketers achieve great success.