Video Sales Letters - The Complete Guide

In this article, you'll learn -

  • What a Video Sales Letter is (and isn't)
  • Why they work 
  • When to use them
  • How to create them

What is a Video Sales Letter?

In it's most basic form, a video sales letter (or VSL) is simply a long-form sales letter converted to video.

Unlike many sales videos and video advertisements you've seen, a VSL usually consists of just text.

The easiest way to understand this format is to think of it as the written copy being read out to you as you read along line by line.

When a copywriter produces a sales letter, they're trying to ensure that every line you read makes you want to read the next.

It's a key component to crafting effective copy.

Creating a VSL is like taking each of these lines of the sales copy and putting them on screen one at a time.

Why They Work

Video Sales Letters make it easier to communicate a marketing message.

Instead of a customer having to read and scroll through pages of text, they can sit back and simply listen to the copy being read out to them.

At the same time, the narrated-text-on-screen approach means they're consuming the same message through two separate modalities - eyes and ears.

This is huge, because it means you've got far more of their attention than if they're just scanning copy or listening to an audio track separately.

Additionally, just hearing the voice of the person reading the offer increases your trustworthiness.

Like any piece of marketing, a VSL is only as good as the content within it. VSL's won't fix a bad offer or poor copy, but they can increase conversions in many cases.

When to use them

Despite the many different opinions on whether VSL's are the right thing to use, there's only one real answer - 

Do they test better than written copy?

Some markets hate VSL's, some don't. Sometimes they work on cold prospects, other times they work better on warm prospects from a list.

The only way to tell is to create one and split test it against your copy.

Luckily, it's very easy to create VSL's using simply software you've already got on your computer.

VSL's can be used anywhere, for any purpose where you'd like to elicit a response from your visitor.

Here's some examples:

  • Use them on your thank you pages to get users taking a follow up action
  • Use them on your customer support pages to answer FAQ's
  • Create automated Webinars based on them.

How to create them

The easiest way to create a VSL is using a slideshow program like Powerpoint or Keynote as a basis for your video.

Grab your sales copy and break is up into chunks. Easiest way to do this getting a word processor and then changing the font size until you get about 15 words or so per line.

Simply cut each line of text and paste it on a new slide.

You'll then need some way of converting the slides to video. Here's your options -

1. Screen record

Using software like Camtasia or Screenflow, you can launch your slideshow, and simply narrate the text back on each slide and advance to the next. This will get you a screen recording of your whole presentation, but it's far from my favorite method.

Whilst this is easy in theory, I find you can end up with un-natural breaks between each slide where your vocals should be a continuous slide. Invariably, you never end up with the best result with this because you end up having a read the script and advance the slides at the same time.

If you make mistakes, you may have to start again or edit them out at the end.

Of course, with this method yo'uve also got to invest in screen recording software as well.

2. Audio First

With Powerpoint, you can insert an audio file on slide 1 and have it play back across your whole presentation.

With Powerpoint 2010, you can save the entire presentation to video from within Powerpoint itself.

That means all you need to do is record your audio track and synchronise the slides with the audio.

Here's a video I made (old but still relevant in 2016) on how to do this:

There's still some "manual" work with this approach, but it saves you on screen recording costs.


Video Sales Letters are generally good for most businesses - they add an interactive element to your marketing you can't 

Find out about our Video Sales Letter software

If you want to create great VSL's really quickly, check out our software One Hour Video Studio (for Powerpoint) which lets you -

  • Automate VSL slide creation based on your script
  • Rapidly synchronises your audio narration with your script
  • Provides complete control over video export from Powerpoint up to 4K resolution

Find out more

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