How to create a high-converting video sales letter (VSL)

Video is a very powerful marketing tool, and that’s why I use it to promote my products, such as Presto Player.

Presto Player Homepage video example

If you are not selling as much as you would like to, it’s time to try something new to generate more sales.

Because closing a sale online is more complex than it might seem at first glance.

Putting a banner on your website or offering a small discount doesn’t work as you would expect.

If you’ve done that, you’ve found that conversions are really low, which can be frustrating.

And low conversions accumulated over time can seriously impact your business.

That’s why in this article we’ll talk about video sales letters (also known as VSL) A powerful marketing tool that can help you sell more products or services in a scalable way.

After finishing this guide, you’ll know why you should have one, how you need to structure it, and what tools you can use to create and publish it.

What is a video sales letter?

Although a video sales letter may sound like something trendy and fancy (especially if we refer to it by its initials: VSL) it’s really just a classic sales letter, delivered via video.

You are basically taking a sales message, and putting it into video form.

This video can be recorded in different styles:

  • Simple text slides in which the content is read out.
  • Doodles, 2D or even 3D animations.
  • A talking head of a person making the speech.
  • Or any other style you can think of.

A VSL can even be combinations of all of these.

The only thing you should keep in mind is that the VSL must have a single goal: to convert.

It’s not a video for improving your brand image, nor instructing, its only purpose is to generate a sale.

Are video sales letters for everyone?

Throughout the guide you’ll see that creating your first VSL is very simple, but you’ll have to put some effort into it. In addition to creating it, you must also analyze and improve it.

Pro tip: if you embed your videos using a tool like Presto Player, you’ll get useful insights about how your users interact with your video, so you can easily make it better.

Any entrepreneur who sells a product could create a video sales letter. But there are certain occasions where we don’t recommend its use.

If, for example, you have an eCommerce where the average purchase consists of several items, creating a VSL for each of them is not worth it.

It would be very laborious for you, and you would constantly interrupt the user’s purchase flow.

In many eCommerce stores, like Amazon, people are used to making impulse purchases.

We look at a couple of pictures, read a handful of specifications/reviews, add the item to the cart and proceed to the checkout.

If this is the case in your situation, the best thing to do if you want to increase your profit is to use a tool like CartFlows.

It, alongside other sales strategies like cross-selling, up and down selling, and bump offers can improve sales better than a video sales letter.

VSLs are more valuable for entrepreneurs, freelancers, or small agencies looking for a way to get more sales for a specific product or service. Especially if it has a medium/high price.

Why I think VSLs are one of the best marketing tools

Video is everywhere.

You only have to look around to realize it: TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels… Companies are heavily betting on this format.

In fact, worldwide spending on video advertising is estimated at $74.6bn!

People are used to watching videos, so this format comes very naturally to the buyer.

There are also other reasons why I think video sales letters are so effective:

  1. Watching is easier than reading (from a consumption point of view). Your potential buyers are more willing to watch a 2 minute video than to read a 750 word sales page.
  2. You can control the sales flow. People tend to skim a text page quickly by scrolling through. They don’t usually do this on video because they don’t know if they will miss something important (and you could even block video skimming).
  3. Video is more compelling and persuasive. Not only are there more body language cues to build trust, but it’s also easier to express excitement and get it across (in text your only alternative is to put more exclamation marks!)

Video is one of the highest-converting media. It outperforms text because writing is very difficult.

Influence writing is a skill you have to develop, but many people are naturally good at making videos. At the end of the day, it’s a natural interaction like the ones we are used to doing on a daily basis.

It’s true that conversions are not as good as in a face-to-face sale, where you can listen, respond, and adapt the message for that particular moment, but those interactions are not scalable.

With video sales letters, you’re trading conversion by scalability. They are a clever way to increase your sales without skyrocketing your expenses by hiring a sales team.

Video sales letter script – Essential ingredients of a high conversion VSL

We could have called this section “formula” or “recipe” to create a good sales video letter.

As you already know, there are no magic conversion formulas, nor are the same recipe for the same dish.

Although here you’ll see the core concepts of a video sales letter, you should not take them literally.

Take them as a reference and adapt them to your business.

Every audience and every product is different. Test, measure, and readjust to craft a high-converting video sales letter that works for you.

Here’s what a basic VSL script should include:

  1. Hook.
  2. Identify the problem.
  3. Aggravate the problem.
  4. Present the solution.
  5. Establish authority.
  6. Explain how your solution works.
  7. Make your offer.

These are the essential components of a video sales letter.

In fact, they can be applied to many other situations (if you re-read the intro of this article you’ll see that we have followed a similar pattern)

Depending on the type of product, service, or audience you’re selling to, you could add some extra sections, such as:

  • A guarantee
  • Another more logic offer
  • A warning
  • Social proof

These sections aren’t less important, but it’s possible and easy to add them outside the video.

You could add a countdown below the video to generate scarcity, add an explanation of your money back guarantee below the purchase button, or include testimonials at the checkout.

This is something that ThriveCart does very well in the checkout of its product.

ThriveCart Checkout example

Let’s analyze these points in more detail.

1. Hook

Getting the attention of your potential buyers as a first step is a common point for almost any sales technique.

Normally this is done by telling a story, asking a question, or pitching an interesting fact that makes an impact.

The advantage of VSLs over other types of sales media such as text is that you have many more resources to generate a pattern interrupt to get this attention.

An excited voice tone, music or sounds, an impacting image, video that uses different filters (even in black and white)…

The hook has only one purpose or goal, and that is: to make the user continue watching the video.

2. Identify the problem

At this point, you’ll have to specify the problem that is affecting your viewers.

Your prospects have many problems. If they’ve landed on your video through an ad on YouTube for example, you quickly have to make it clear what the issue you are dealing with is.

Even if they have landed on your video already knowing what it is about, highlighting the problem will increase engagement with your potential customer.

If you’ve contacted any kind of technical support, you have probably already seen this technique.

You tell the agent about your problem, and he or she will paraphrase it, just to make clear that he/she has understood your problem, and therefore, you have more confidence they will offer an adequate solution to it.

3. Aggravate the problem

Before moving on to the solution, it’s interesting to add an intermediate step where you magnify a little more the problem you just mentioned.

You can do this by using facts, examples, or statistics.

For example:

If you’re selling a solution to speed up WordPress, the customer may already know what their problem is (a slow website). But they may not be aware of all the consequences: the sales they may lose or how it negatively affects SEO.

You could even add statistics, such as “28% of users close a website if it doesn’t load in less than 5s“, something your client might not know.

This will prime the user ready for the next step.

4. Present the solution

This is the moment where you should present your solution to the problem you just raised.

If you present a problem and aggravate it, but don’t offer a solution, your potential customer will get frustrated. They could even get mad at you because you have reminded them of something they don’t like.

The important thing here is that you make a very simple presentation.

Explain to them that your solution will take them from point A, where they don’t want to be, to point B, where their problem is solved.

Don’t focus on how your product achieves that yet, just specify what it does.

5. Establish authority

After you create a connection with your future client, let them know that you understand their problem and that you have a solution for it.

This is when they are likely to become interested in who you are.

Avoid bragging or boasting at all costs.

Simply explain to them that you’ve suffered from the same problem and that you found or developed a solution. Talk about your experience in relation to the product or service you are selling.

For example:

We have been where you are. We spend months trying to speed up WordPress to prevent visitors leaving. We include all the lessons we learned in this course, along with proven solutions to speed up your website.

6. Explain how it works

Up to now, you’ve probably been using more emotional language, talking about the frustrations of the problem, and the good feelings that can be achieved by solving it.

But many people need more technical information before they decide to make a purchase.

That’s why at this point you should talk about all the features and benefits of your solution.

  • Technical characteristics of the product.
  • How the course you are selling is structured, duration of the classes, access to the classes, support…
  • How your mentoring service works, how long does it last, what are the communication channels…

This is the part that can vary the most. And if you want to make your video shorter, it should be this one.

7. Make your offer

Finally, present your offer.

Add a good call to action that invites customers to finalize the purchase. A good way to do this is to state the problem from the point of view of the solution.

For example, explain to the user what they stand to gain by buying your solution.

Optional steps

With the previous points you could already generate a basic VSL.

Here are some extra steps that will help to improve the conversion of your video.

8. Give a guarantee

Even if potential customers believe and want to buy your solution, there might be something holding them back:

Is it safe to put my credit card number here? What if I don’t like the product, can I return it? If so, how?

By addressing these points upfront, you’ll make the buying experience easier and smoother.

The risk you’re reducing is the risk the customer is taking, and solutions that involve a greater investment of time/money need the greatest guarantees.

9. Add an additional logic offer

At this point, it’s a good idea to include another offer / call to action again. This time using logical and non-emotional copywriting.

A logical call to action is explaining that thanks to the 14-day money-back guarantee, they literally have nothing to lose.

You can also try compiling all the benefits that your solution brings, and how the value of these perks is much higher than the selling price.

10. Warning

There are many ways to add a warning to push the closing of a sale.

This can range from something as simple as reminding them of the cost of doing nothing or the consequences of repeating the same mistake.

To generate scarcity you could add a countdown after which the price is increased or certain bonuses or extras disappear.

11. Social proof

The icing on the cake of your VSL.

If you already have testimonials or reviews from former happy customers, add them to the video to further improve conversion.

If you do this, remember to add a final call to action as a final warning for the potential buyer to take action.

Video sales letter example

It’s difficult to find an example of a VSL that perfectly fulfills the above script, since you don’t have to use all of the above-mentioned steps.

SaaS (Software as a Service), for example, will mainly want people to try the free version of the product, so the offer will be different. The guarantee is very simple as the risk of just creating a new account is almost non-existent!

Grammarly is a company that currently makes very good sales videos. Just search for “Grammarly Ad” on YouTube to see any of them, and try to spot some of the steps you’ve just learned.

But if you want to become great at creating VSLs, just break down an already successful sales video.

Without a doubt, that’s the one from Squatty Potty.

  • Hook: the opening scene, with the costumes, the unicorn, and the colors, really catches the eye.
  • 0:14 – Identify and aggravate the problem: summary of all the drawbacks of modern toilets.
  • 0:32 and 0:52 – Present the solution: the Squatty Potty.
  • 1:10 – Explain how it works.
  • 1:45 – Make your offer.
  • 1:50 – Social proof.
    • Note: the social proof from experts also serves to establish authority.

Almost nailed the recipe!

How to create a sales video letter step by step:

Here are some tips for recording and producing your first VSL.

Write your VSL script

Now that you know what the ingredients of a good sales video are, write the script you are going to use in your favorite app.

Writing this script includes more than just writing.

You’ll have to gather all the necessary information for the creation of the content: what you are going to sell, at what price, what guarantees you’ll offer, what bonus, if you’ll limit the number of sales…

Decide on the style, record and edit the video

Squatty Potty’s VSL has great editing, but you can use something much simpler.

If you want to use text over slides and a voiceover, you can create a simple template in PowerPoint or Keynote, and add the audio afterwards.

You can do the recording with a free tool like Loom.

Are you going to use doodles or animations? Hire the service in, for example UpWork or any other freelance marketplace.

Talking Head? Just memorize the script, and record yourself with your smartphone or webcam.

Create a home for your VSL

You have your video sales letter ready, now what?

The first thing you’ll need is hosting for your video.

If you’re looking to make a viral video, or one that you can later promote with ads, YouTube and other video platforms such as TikTok, are definitely your way to go.

If you’re looking for something of higher quality, we recommend you to host your video with Bunny Net, and embed it in your site using Presto Player.

Presto Player homepage

Presto Player will give you detailed analytics on video consumption. It also offers autoplay to make it even easier for your potential buyers to start watching the video, simplifies lead capture, and allows you to add better calls to action.

The latter is especially interesting because if you’ve clicked on an external YouTube link, you’ve probably seen the following message:

To create a good landing page where you can embed your VSL, we recommend you to use a powerful page builder such as Elementor or Beaver Builder.

You can even use Ultimate Addons for Elementor or Ultimate Addons for Beaver to have more graphic and marketing elements at your disposal.

Promote your video sales letter

What to do with your VSL once you have created it?

Promote it!

Again, depending on the type of product or service you are selling, you’ll have to follow a different approach:

  • If it’s a product for the masses (like Squatty Potty or Grammarly) you can upload it to YouTube and other networks and promote it through ads.
  • If it’s a more niche product, you can refer people to the page you’ve created with the embedded video through:
    • Google Ads.
    • An email to your mailing list.
    • An eye-catching call to action on your website.
    • Podcast sponsorship.

VSLs are conversion tools, but not attraction tools.

You can have the best VSL in the world, but if no one sees it, no one will buy from you.

It’s just as important to create a good sales video as it is to drive traffic to it.

Video sales letter FAQs

Do I have to appear in front of the camera on VSLs?

No, you don’t have to appear in front of the camera if you don’t want to. As you have seen, it’s possible to create a video sales letter by simply adding a voice-over, text on the screen, or by using animations or doodles.

However, a strong point of video over text is that it generates more trust, and if the product for sale is related to you (for example, a service or training you offer), the engagement will be better if you show yourself, even if only momentarily.

Is there any specific video sales letter software?

There is no specific video sales letter software. You can use apps such as PowerPoint or Keynote, screen recording and editing software, video hosting like Bunny Net, and a video player like Presto Player to get the job done though.

Is a video sales letter a webinar?

No, a video sales letter is not a webinar. Although they can have some messages in common, a VSL is different from a webinar.

A VSL tends to be a short video, between 1 and 5 minutes, that can be consumed at any time, without any extra interaction from your side, and whose sole purpose is to close a sale.

A webinar, on the other hand, may not be sales-focused but simply an educational webinar. Even accessing a webinar may be chargeable.

In addition, these webinars are usually longer (between 20 and 60minutes), are usually live, at a specific date and time, and offer interaction with potential buyers.

Final thoughts on video sales letters

VSLs are the sweetest point between scalability and conversion.

Creating a video can be more intimidating than simply writing a sales email to your mailing list, but the results are much better.

That’s why we can’t do anything but recommend it.

You’ll find that a video is a faster and easier way of selling than text. With a little work, you’ll get a digital asset that will be actively producing new clients and leads for you and your business.

If you are looking for a new way of selling your products that combines high scalability while offering great conversion rates, follow the steps you have seen in this guide to create your first VSL.

Then feel free to share it below so we can all see what you created!

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