Here you go: This is the real meat and potatoes of building your VSL.
These 12 steps—which we’ve distilled from David Frey’s ingenious 12-Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template—are designed to walk you through the creation process and ensure your VSL builds a strong case.
1. Attention Grabbing Greeting
Just like the headline in a print sales letter, your first slide needs to grab your viewer’s attention with both hands.
The first slide is the equivalent of your headline.
If you’ve got a tested headline, use it.
2. Identify Problem (And Promise to Solve it)
Immediately after the greeting, you need to point out a problem that resonates with viewer.
Then, let them know that if they keep watching, they’ll learn how to overcome this problem.
This does two things: It reassures viewers that they’re watching the right video, and it affirms that you actually understand their problem.
Here’s an example of “identifying the problem” from a VSL promoting one of our list-building products.
3. Establishing Video Scarcity
Also, you’ll want to let your viewer know the video they’re watching won’t be available forever.
Once again, you don’t want them to feel like they can save it for another time.
At the same time, don’t establish scarcity if you are going to leave the VSL up indefinitely.
False scarcity will undermine your credibility.
Sometimes ambiguous deadlines are the best.
4. Aggravate the Problem
We sometimes call this “twisting the knife.” And while it sounds kinda gory, it’s simply the step in which we work to emphasize the problem.
Here’s the thing, most people are fairly content to do nothing… to keep on keeping on.
Think of this in the context of the weight loss industry.
This step is where we would try to motivate the viewer by detailing the risks of obesity.
5. Provide the Solution
Once you’ve twisted the knife a little, you need to immediately jump in with the solution (your product).
Don’t leave your prospect hanging!
Including a professional product shot in your solution slide boosts conversions.
6. Features and Benefits
In this step, you simply want to present the features of your product and, even more important, the BENEFITS that those features will bring about.
7. Call-to-Action (CTA) #1
This is where you tell viewers what they need to do next. Usually, it’s something like, “Go ahead, click below and order.”
We like to include 3 calls to action in our VSLs. The first CTA should be desire-based, e.g. “You know you want these benefits, click below.” Our testing shows that orange buttons work best.
8. Present Your Credentials
This is where you want to touch on why the viewer should listen to you.
Include whatever proof, testimonials, test results, etc. that support your offer.
Run the numbers, do the math…whatever you need to do to explain why your offer is logical.
Here’s where we list the logic-building proof elements.
9. Give a Guarantee
This step is pretty self-explanatory. Give your prospect a good, solid guarantee, reassuring them you stand behind your product.
Offer a guarantee that eases your prospect’s concerns about risk.
10. Call-to-Action #2
Your second CTA should be appeal to the prospect’s logic. You’ve been building up to this CTA throughout the two previous steps, so you simply need to say something like, “Based on the results you’ve seen in my risk–free offer, click the order button below.”
11. Give Warnings (Deadline, Scarcity, Guilt)
If there are any deadlines associated with your offer, this is the place to mention them. Sometimes, we may even try to make prospects feel guilty by saying, “Let me ask you a question, if you don’t take action, how can you expect your life to improve?”
Or even, “Like my daddy used to say, ‘The world needs ditch-diggers too, son…’”
If the product you’re selling is going to help your customer change his or her life—and it SHOULD—then why not get aggressive with it?
12. Call-to-Action #3
The final CTA in your video should be fear-based. And if you’ve followed these steps, you’ve already made the case for why action is essential to preventing pain or loss. For example, say something like, “Click here, before it’s too late.
When it comes to buying decisions, there are three major motivators: Desire, logic, and fear.
This 12-step strategy works because it hits on all three of them. What’s more, this sequence harnesses each motive in a way that’s both controlled and systematic.
That’s key to this strategy. These 12 steps are not intended to be a checklist of features; they’re a SEQUENCE.
You may change these steps up a little to suit your offer, but we recommend you not stray far from the order we’ve outlined. That’s because this process is designed to control the sales process, building your arguments, and overcoming objections.
In fact, we recommend beginning your VSL project by creating 12 blank slides in PowerPoint or Keynote (if you’re using a Mac). That way, you’ve got at least one slide for each step.
The Great Debate: Full Sentence vs. Bullet Points
When it comes to VSLs, visuals are surprisingly unimportant. When we set out to conquer the VSL, we felt confident that a bulleted video—one that allowed for a more professional, visually impressive format—would convert best.
To our surprise (and disappointment) videos that literally spelled out the sales message in full sentences, as if the video presenter was literally reading a teleprompter, converted much better in almost every single market.
Why? Our best guess is that this format limits distractions by having viewers listen and read along. The full sentence VSL engages audio, visual, and even internal attention, so it’s almost hypnotic.
So it’s up to you, make your videos more entertaining, or make more money. I’ll let you guess which variation we went with.
In the video below, Ryan Deiss highlights the steps needed to craft the ideal video sales letter offer.
For more details check out this post from Marketing Profs.