VSL VS. TSL: The TRUTH You Need To Know

I get asked by our clients all the time: What should I use? A video sales letter (VSL) or a text sales letter (TSL)? Which do you think works the best? 

I am going to share with you exactly what I shared with our clients. 

I’m going to give you my personal opinion/preference, and then I’m going to give you my professional advice based on facts and experience.

My personal opinion is to start almost everything with a VSL. That’s what I like to do.  

I think there is a huge opportunity to reach and engage people through video dramatization. People connect differently to videos. A Video continues to play even if we get distracted. It’s easier for potential customers to be drawn back into a video then into text. 

So what do we have on the landing page?

1. We have the headline.

2. We’ve got the video itself which starts playing automatically. (MAKE SURE OF THIS!)

3. Typically, we have a buy button right under the video, which we split test on every product to know the best time to have it appear.

4. We have bullet points about the product/software/service underneath that. We have the guarantee. 

5. We have the citations. 

That’s the usual pattern that we’ve been using for any product that’s under a couple of hundred bucks. 

It’s quick, it’s easy for people to digest, and it sells well. VSLs introduced me to the direct response business, and I have a romance with them.

Does that mean long-form sales letters are dead? No! Absolutely not. I’ve seen them used very effectively and I’ve used them myself for our clients. They are also a great way to test and get proof of concept. 

Your copywriter can write one that can easily be turned into a VSL later. While the price of the copy for a VSL and TSL are generally the same, you do save on the production costs in the creation of the video, such as video and audio editors, voice actresses, someone to create the slides, etc

When we sell higher-priced products, a lot of times, you have to give people more information about the product. That way, they can make their decision. These are for price points of $499 or higher. 

In those cases, we typically have a headline. We’ll have a video sales letter. We’ll have a buy button… and then we’ll have a long-form sales letter underneath all of that.

It’s perfectly fine if the long-form sales letter duplicates a lot of what you share in the video sales letter. You should assume people are watching the video or reading the long-form sales letter (and many will do both, which is fine). 

When it comes to a short-form sales letter it’s something to use when you’re selling something cheap or something that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought. Products that are under $39 dollars. 

In short, that’s what we typically do for our clients.

Now, my professional advice is…

you MUST test everything!

Anybody who tells you, “Oh, the only thing you’re gonna use in this situation is this one” or “that’s the only thing that works right now,” doesn’t know shit.

They are pretending to know what they are talking about. Let that be an indicator to not take advice from them on anything.  

The most amazing part of my job is that I NEVER know what is going to happen. I have my opinions based on a lot of experience, but I ALWAYS test everything. What works for one product may completely bomb on another that is just like it.

For example, I can split test a buy button dropping at the same exact point in the middle and the end of two VSLs with products that do the same thing, in the same format as I’ve always used… one wins by a long shot in the middle and the other in the end.

Why? Who knows? 

That’s why we test… 

To find out what works.

Maybe it’s the bottle color, or perhaps it’s the tone of voice the actress uses on the VSL. Maybe it’s the font. You really have no idea until you test, and then test, and then test. Never stop testing. Ever. When you do, your offer starts its journey to death.

Now, let’s go back to VSL vs. TSL. 

The truth is nobody knows for sure about anything until you test VSL vs. long-form text.

Somebody might say, “Oh, well, video sales letters are gonna work best here.” They don’t know that for sure. They may know from experience that they usually do, but there is no way to say that confidently unless they have tested it. 

When selling, people fall into patterns of things that work for them because they have gotten results before, and it’s easier for them to get going on a project or a funnel. 

And I do the same thing. I told you earlier; I have a romance with VSLs because that was my introduction to this world, and I LOVE the puzzle I get to put together with each new funnel build or set of split tests. I know it well. It has been done before. We got amazing results, so let’s just go ahead and do this again. Why would we want to reinvent the wheel?

That’s what everybody does. However, that might not always work as planned. 

The bottom line is, you have to test to know for sure if a VSL will work better than the alternatives.

But for me, I like to start with the video sales letter with the format that I just taught you above. Why? Because that’s what’s working right now for me. However, I always make sure to test and adapt consistently

Now, go test what works best for you and your audience. Keep in mind that with each new funnel and with each new product, you need to test again and again. 

**If you want to know more about VSLs and what goes into production, My partner Travis Gomez and I talked to Max Feta for our podcast which will be released this Thursday. Watch for the link to listen! There will be lots of GREAT information. If you haven’t subscribed to our list, go ahead and sign up so that you don’t miss out on this gold mine of a podcast! **


Author: Emma Rainville

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