It’s a mark of inexperience.
“Who would watch one of those long marketing videos — where it’s just text on the screen? Whaddya call ‘em? Video sales letters?”
“I’d never watch one. Whenever I hit a website that has one, I just click away.”
“I’ve even tried to watch one, and I can’t stand it!”
And then, invariably, the fatal jump occurs.
Because this person finds themselves uninterested in or annoyed by the long text-on-screen marketing videos, they write off the strategy.
And start justifying it…
“It’s better not to use those long videos because people today have such short attention spans…”
“They’re going to annoy my customers, so I won’t use ‘em…”
“They’re not going to work anyway, so I just won’t try…”
This is roughly the thought process that countless ignorant “newbie” marketers have used to write off one of the biggest innovations in online direct response marketing in this century.
Video sales letters. Sometimes called “PowerPoint” videos. It’s basically equivalent to taking the text of a sales letter… And line-by-line, putting each sentence on a slide… Which are then recorded being read aloud… And cycled through… So the viewer sees the sentences that are being read to them…
They can stretch on for an hour or more.
And often, the buy button doesn’t even show up on the screen until at least halfway through.
So even if you WANT the product, you can’t buy it yet.
Jon Benson, a fitness marketer, claims to have invented the format…
He used to do highly-produced videos on YouTube for his list, and one day he got lazy. So he put text on screen, and read it. Instead of his standard high-production video. And it got more engagement and generated more sales than any of his “live” videos ever did.
And he refined the format, made a whole bunch of money with it, then started teaching it.
Some became students, others just copied it. Either way, these things took off in the last few years. Showing up in nearly every market, and every corner of the internet. Generating billions-upon-billions of dollars in revenue.
One of the places Jon Benson taught was at a special private workshop at Boardroom, Inc., 2 years ago. The videos from that event have never been sold — but I managed to snag a copy off Brian Kurtz. They’re good stuff.
No matter who you learn how to do these from, they ARE something you need to be fluent in today.
Why? Because they get results.
Just the other day I heard of a brand-new VSL that had a $1-million DAY!
I think this is privileged information, so I’m going to keep the company secret. But there was a marketing video that was released the other day — one of these video sales letters — that sold a high-end financial service.
And within 24 hours, it’d done more than $1 million in revenue.
Because of the nature of the service, it won’t be “live” for long. But the total revenue will likely number in the multiple millions.
And the video was 66 minutes long!
That’s over an hour of “being sold to.”
Over an hour of mainly text on screen, with only a few relevant pictures interspersed throughout.
Why the heck would people sit through that? (And you can tell that they did, because they bought to the tune of over $1 million in revenue!)
Here’s the secret to why these things work…
In short, if you are interested in a topic, you can’t get enough information on it.
Let’s say you’re into direct marketing. You’ll sign up for a daily email like this one, and read every one as soon as it arrives in your inbox.
You’ll pay for information products. You’ll go to seminars and workshops. You’ll read books. You’ll watch videos. And listen to podcasts.
You’ll consume, consume, consume.
If you’re rabidly interested in a topic, you can’t get enough.
The best video sales letters — the ones that do $1 million in a day — don’t just sell (even though that’s essentially what they’re doing from beginning to end). They engage, entertain, and inform. You feel like you’re not just being sold to, that you’re being taught something, having something revealed to you.
As Gary Bencivenga wrote to me in a private message about his most successful promotion ever and why it worked so well… You should “make your advertising itself look, feel, and actually be valuable to your target audience.” A well done marketing video delivers value while selling.
Even more, you want to consume in multiple media. We all do. You may prefer one medium. Visual. Auditory. The written word. But you’ll consume in multiple media. Video sales letters combine visual, auditory, and the written word. They also add a human touch, through voice.
Here’s another secret from the infomercial world, on why these things work so well…
I was listening to my friend Wesley Murph’s Marketing Maniac podcast a while back, in an episode where he interviewed infomercial expert Steven Dworman (one of the guys behind Total Gym and so many other infomercial successes).
One thing Steve said really jumped out at me. He had tested an infomercial where the call to action — the point in the show where they actually tell you to call in — didn’t show up until deep into the show. More than halfway, if I remember right.
This broke all the rules of infomercials at the time. The general “rule” for how to structure your infomercial was 7 minutes, CTA, 7 minutes, CTA, 7 minutes, CTA, and you’re out.
He had essentially removed that first CTA, in the interest of doing a little more selling before actually asking for the order.
Well, it worked.
But everybody thought he was crazy, so he agreed to test an earlier CTA.
This spoils the punchline, but you might guess… That earlier CTA — to cater to shorter attention spans — suppressed response. So much so that the show would have been considered a failure had he tested the earlier CTA out of the gate.
What was the lesson learned?
In order to make the sale, your prospect needs enough information to make a buying decision.
You can’t give them too much, either. But most folks don’t fall short there.
You need to give them your full sales story.
All the reasons why for buying.
Your full promise, and the proof behind it.
You need to make your incredible offer.
And so on…
Here’s what happens when you apply this lesson to online marketing videos…
You realize that these long videos that don’t even let you order until 30 minutes or 45 minutes in…
That tell a complete sales story before you are even aware you’re being sold…
That educate as well as compel you to action…
Are doing just the right thing in order to generate maximum response.
It’s not magic, but it can be…
Simply putting bad copy and bad sales techniques into a video won’t magically turn you into a millionaire overnight.
However, good copy put into a video sales letter format often lifts response.
And the best of these things have generated in the tens of millions of dollars, and made small personal fortunes for everyone involved in putting them out.
There will be formats that supersede the video sales letter, but today it’s an essential skill for direct response marketers…
There has already been some testing on different online video formats that are actually able to generate even more revenue than the video sales letter.
Things you might call newsmercials and documercials. They look and inform like a newscast or documentary, but sell like a commercial. (Stealing a naming convention here from the direct mail magalog and bookalog formats.) However, these require another level of skill, and another level of production budget.
A video sales letter works, well. And can be produced in an afternoon, with very little skill or equipment, on your laptop.
These things are here to stay, and they will continue to generate a ton of revenue going forward.
If you’re a direct response copywriter, this is a skill you need.
And I’ll note, it’s part of my November Advanced Direct Response Copywriting Workshop. And remember: you have until Friday to secure $900 savings with the “Early, Early Bird” rate…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets