Recently I was a panelist at a marketing conference and during the Q&A, about half of the questions had to do with video marketing and video sales letters (VSLs for short).
I was kind of surprised by all the excitement around this topic, really. But with so many platforms supporting embedded video these days — Twitter, Pinterest, and Twylah to name a few — I guess it makes sense.
I mean, we know that videos are an amazing way to build relationships, boost engagement, and even drive traffic.
For a lot of you online marketers, VSLs have been your bread and butter for years now.
I can remember when those white text on a plain black background videos started popping up everywhere… because I was publishing a lot of them. My team and I still use the plain text version for VSLs in lots of niches.
A lot of those videos were made in PowerPoint, and they looked like it. But for certain products and niches, it worked. It actually made the sales message more authentic. But things are changing rapidly in the world of video marketing.
1. Ugly vs. Pretty
One of the biggest shifts has been the swing back from ugly to pretty. As in, ugly videos with bad lighting are no longer the order of the day. There are just too many tools out there to make your videos look professional.
Look, there’s a reason news anchors sit in the makeup chair for an hour before they ever set foot on the set. Appearance impacts credibility… people DO judge a book by its cover.
A well-produced video can really impress viewers. They’ll see that your production quality is high, and they’ll assume your content/products are as well.
If you want users to take you seriously, use good lighting, quality audio equipment, and post production editing. Heck, we’ve even started using green screens at Digital Marketer.
And if you think you’re in a niche where you can benefit from a low-quality, guerrilla style VSL, I suggest you split test an ugly video versus a pretty one.
In fact, I recommend that you ALWAYS split test your VSLs, no matter what.
2. One Action Per Video
Every video you publish should have a clear and compelling call-to-action, even if it’s just “Click the link to go to my blog.”
Highlight one simple action that you want users to take, and don’t worry about being repetitive. We try to repeat our CTAs at least 3 times in each video, once at the beginning, middle, and end of the video.
This tip applies to 45-minute VSLs or 30-second posts on Viddy. You have to tell folks what to do next… Or else, let me break it to you, they won’t do it. They’ll move on to the next video.
And think about it: If each video you publish has a CTA, then your videos will continue to generate actions as long as they get views.
3. Be A Problem Solver
All good marketing is problem solving. To be effective, your videos need to be solutions oriented.
And to ride in on a white horse and save the day, you’re going to need to highlight the problem your product solves, the need it fulfills, etc… It’s very important that you clearly address it.
You don’t have to be doom and gloom, and it you don’t need to over-hype the problem either…
I love those infomercials where they try to make a crummy blender look like a life or death problem… but they don’t do much to build credibility.
Here’s a brief overview of the format we use in our longer VSLs:
- Identify the problem
- Aggravate the Problem
- Offer THE Solution
- CTA #1
- Explain the Features and Benefits
- Present Your Credentials
- Offer a Guarantee
- CTA #2
- Illustrate Why Now is the Time To Take Action
- CTA #3
This is by no means an exhaustive list of video marketing “Dos and Don’ts.” In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Got some video marketing ideas to add? Share your tips and tricks on the blog… Leave me a comment!