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The sales letter — it’s an old-school marketing tactic that’s far from dead. In fact, they’re all the rage, just in a different form than before. Today, video sales letters (VSLs) are the medium of choice for anyone with a product or service to sell.
But what is a video sales letter? Do they really work? And more importantly, how do you create a video sales letter without wasting hours of valuable selling time?
In this article, we answer all your video sales letter questions plus share a tried and true formula for creating VSLs that really convert. Stick around until the end for video sales letter templates and examples to help get you started.
Pro tip: Create video sales letters the easy way with Biteable. Choose from hundreds of ready-to-edit templates, scenes, and unique animations. Add a voice-over to your VSL without ever leaving the app. Share your video anywhere with a single, trackable link.
What is a video sales letter (VSL)?
A video sales letter is a marketing asset in video form that aims to persuade a target audience to purchase a specific product or service.
Originally, sales letters were a piece of direct mail — a physical letter, often 10+ pages long. The idea was that it replaced the door-to-door salesperson in selling potential customers on all the details and benefits of of a particular product.
While physical sales letters do still exist, today you’re more likely to see virtual versions, like a dedicated website or landing page, or the latest evolution in this form of marketing — the sales video.
Video sales letters replace written sales copy with a video exploring a problem, and introducing a particular product or service as the solution.
While sales letters are seen by some as a shady or hard-sell tactic, often the direct approach can actually produce great results. By learning certain key lessons, you can use video to make your sales pitch without turning off potential customers.
How to write a video sales letter: The winning formula
The basic video sales letter formula has eight key sections.
1. Grab attention.
Your opening should shock or surprise viewers. You want to grab their attention and hint at what’s to come.
2. Highlight the problem.
What problem does your audience face that your service or product solves? Highlight the issue here and use any facts, stats, or quotes to drive it home.
3. Speak to your audience on an emotional level.
Really drive home the importance of the problem or issue. Focus on the pain point, and relate to your audience by sharing an emotional story and detailing your personal experience with the problem.
4. Gently introduce your solution.
This shouldn’t be a hard sell. You want to show people you can help, without pushing too much.
5. Establish credibility.
Position yourself as a trustworthy authority. You can mention your credentials here, but try to avoid looking like you’re bragging.
6. Provide proof.
You can’t expect your viewers to simply take your word for it that your product works, you need to demonstrate it. You can do this with customer testimonials, statistics, before and after pictures — anything that will convince your audience.
7. Encourage action.
You’ve laid out the problem, introduced the solution, and provided proof — what do you want your viewers to do next? This is where you make your call to action. (Bonus points if it’s a clickable call-to-action button.)
You can also incentivize or create scarcity. Bonuses, discounts, limited availability, or a limited time offer can all help convince buyers to act now.
Close by summarizing the benefits of your product or service, and reinforce the reasons viewers should buy now. You want to briefly reiterate the action you want them to take, and why, where, and how to do it.
Video sales letter examples
While most video sales letters follow the basic format above, some VSL examples you encounter may add to or skip some of these sections. They might be animated, live action, or “whiteboard” style. Some people simply choose to create a video slideshow presentation with voiceover.
A VSL can vary in length from a few minutes to half an hour (although here at Biteable, we usually recommend short and sweet for the most successful videos).
Here are a few video sales letters examples from around the web.
This sales video from ClickFunnels has two presenters speaking to each other, rather than directly to the viewer, detailing how their product works.
This video sales letter from Grammarly catches viewers’ attention right away humor, then dives into specific examples of how the product helps customers solve specific problems. It even includes onscreen examples of Grammarly in action. Not bad.
Video sales letter templates
Creating a video sales letter doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you start with a template.
Here are a few of our favorite video sales letter templates. Use them to quickly create a professional quality video. (And find many more in our templates library.)
Sale ends soon template
Use this video sales letter template to create a sense of urgency, especially on social media platforms.
Business explainer template
This VSL template gets to the heart of your business, introducing potential customers to your brand and what it’s all about.
Product launch template
Our final video sales letter template helps you create buzz about a product launch.
Video sales letters made easy with Biteable
Creating a video sales letter is easy with Biteable. With hundreds of ready-to-edit templates and video scenes, Biteable makes creating VSLs easy. Choose from over 24 million stock clips, images, and unique animations to give your sales letter that extra something special.
Take advantage of premium features like in-app voice-overs, video clip recording, and auto branding, plus video analytics to track the success of your sales letter.