Doh! Now I See Why Videos Will Never Replace Long Form Sales Letters

22 replies
There's been debates about how video will soon replace long form sales letters.

But it suddenly hit me last week because I recieved over 16 V.S.L and I wound up abandoning all but one before they finished. Why? They all had no dials or time indicators.

Do these really work for you? What's the philosphy behind doing that? Any thoughts?
#doh #form #letters #long #replace #sales #videos
  • Profile picture of the author Hils
    You might like to take a look at a recent thread discussing this at http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...les-pages.html
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  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    Yes - I think the use of video on sales pages needs to be thought through carefully. Without any kind of progress indicator and no idea what the product is about, I have usually abandoned them before even getting to the offer.

    Video is clearly important, but it is often misused in sales pitches imho.

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  • Profile picture of the author Nikolas
    I think a video can do a great intro to a pitching, but it has to be short duration and good enough to bring attention (so the viewer will actually read the sales letter)

    Replacing the letter with a video sounds a little difficult, but I've seen a few good examples, like for instance endless traffic tap (in fact I bought it just because I appreciated the video)
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  • Profile picture of the author RHert
    Some people like sales videos, but a lot prefer skimming a sales letter to see if they're even interested. The videos get abandoned because they don't want to spend the next half hour listening to someone when they don't even know if they need or want the product.
    I actually prefer the sites that have the video with the sales letter written beneath them. Then I can decide and I don't have to waste a bunch of time on something I'm not going to buy.
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  • I don't see videos REPLACING sales letters because the two complement each other so well. A short video at the top of a long sales letter is a blisteringly effective combination. You've got a short video with a sales pitch for those viewers with short attention spans who just want you to get to the point, and then you've got a long form sales letter for those viewers who are harder to convice and persuade. Pretty soon I am going to start offering clients this winning combination.
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  • Profile picture of the author P.Sharma
    I completely agree with the above points.

    A few days back I was going through some documents by a well known GURU who tested many forms of sales letters, video, short copy, long copy and all that stuff.

    The result - Sales videos that are less than 12-13 minutes had the highest conversion rates. Anything over that and the conversions dropped.

    Also the guy suggested telling the audience how long the video is exacltly. Like so:

    Please turn on your speakers, the following video is 6 minutes and 30 seconds long...
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt James
      Results change over time but at the moment, even in non-IM niches, I'm seeing "video only" out-pull every other combination.

      And I've been lucky enough to work with a handful of clients who let me test this stuff.

      Interestingly enough, despite the current trend of graphic-heavy videos, stripped-back "ugly" letters are getting the highest conversion rates for me.

      The result - Sales videos that are less than 12-13 minutes had the highest conversion rates. Anything over that and the conversions dropped.
      From my own results, around 20 minutes seems to work best across different audiences, but it all depends on how strong the copy is. One of the best-sellers in IM over the last year had a 45 minute long video. And some of the recent webinars are taking things to another level.

      As we always say in these threads... it's not what you like or prefer, it's what works for your market.
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      • Profile picture of the author paul wolfe
        Originally Posted by Matt James View Post

        Results change over time but at the moment, even in non-IM niches, I'm seeing "video only" out-pull every other combination.

        And I've been lucky enough to work with a handful of clients who let me test this stuff.

        Interestingly enough, despite the current trend of graphic-heavy videos, stripped-back "ugly" letters are getting the highest conversion rates for me.



        From my own results, around 20 minutes seems to work best across different audiences, but it all depends on how strong the copy is. One of the best-sellers in IM over the last year had a 45 minute long video. And some of the recent webinars are taking things to another level.

        As we always say in these threads... it's not what you like or prefer, it's what works for your market.
        Matt

        Thanks for sharing your experience. Have you directly tested 'butt ugly' text only sales videos against moving graphic type videos - if so, what was the difference in conversion rate?

        TIA



        Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    I agree. Videos replacing actual sales letters? Not for this kitty.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again... I can read faster than you can talk, AND listen to my music while I do it.

    I actually barely like watch videos in general (in selling OR the course itself), unless it's from somebody who I already know and highly respect. Even then, I gotta have written material as well to go with it so I know what to expect, otherwise I'll get impatient and go on to something else without finishing.

    I don't understand the ones who don't say how long it is either... who knows? If I get an idea of how long I'm supposed to sit there (again, knowing what to expect), I might actually watch the whole thing...
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  • Profile picture of the author davemiz
    Gotta roll with Matt on this one... with one exception (length of video - longer is working much better for me)

    the data shows vsls (when done right) destroy sales letters (for now at least), and contrary to the comments here about how they suck etc., you guys are the HUGE minority... the buying patterns show otherwise.

    as always test fo yo' self.
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt James
      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Have you directly tested 'butt ugly' text only sales videos against moving graphic type videos - if so, what was the difference in conversion rate?
      Well here's one from last week... and these numbers are roughly correct without looking through my notes...

      Graphic-heavy slick sales vid -- 1.5%

      Butt-ugly, plain-jane vid -- 2.90%

      And the only difference was the taking out of images to create the "ugly" video.

      I have a few theories on why this is the case but mainly I think there's less distraction. If the copy is strong and the voiceover is compelling, that's usually enough. Anything else just gets in the way.

      (And yeah, I am aware of other videos where there's presenters and a ton of gfx and location changes and all kinds of good stuff... but that's a conversation for another day)

      Gotta roll with Matt on this one... with one exception (length of video - longer is working much better for me)
      I can well believe it Dave. In a couple of weeks I'll be testing a 40 minute+ video for one of the big mailers. And their competition seem pretty strict on using 20 minute vids. Should be interesting.
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    • Profile picture of the author mimi k
      This is true...vsl are it right now, but it is niche-dependent. Personally I like to know how long the video will be, but that's because as a marketer it isn't a novel concept to me anymore, but it will still be new and cool to plenty of your customers.

      Originally Posted by davemiz View Post

      Gotta roll with Matt on this one... with one exception (length of video - longer is working much better for me)

      the data shows vsls (when done right) destroy sales letters (for now at least), and contrary to the comments here about how they suck etc., you guys are the HUGE minority... the buying patterns show otherwise.

      as always test fo yo' self.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
    Wanna know what's working? Take a look at the #1 sales pages in each category on clickbank. You won't find ONE in a decent category that isn't video.

    It ain't rocket science, folks.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Bruce Wedding View Post

      Wanna know what's working? Take a look at the #1 sales pages in each category on clickbank. You won't find ONE in a decent category that isn't video.

      It ain't rocket science, folks.
      I get that part, but do you think that means the end of the Long form sales letter or is their still room for both? And is Clickbank the end-all-be- all to this trend? Do they tell the whole story?
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
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        Clickbank is just one marketplace, it doesn't by any means represent the entire market.

        You see the comment often today...

        Video sales letters are in, old style text copy is out. However, I don't think it wise to come out with such blanket statements.

        Fact is, it depends on the niche and it depends on the market. Long form traditional sales copy will outperform video in some areas and vice versa.

        Certainly the long video sales pitch with no controls for pausing etc drive me personally up the wall and more often than not, I'll click out.

        Videos of course do work but I think a lot of marketers today just don't understand how to put a decent one together.

        All these push button solutions, many think... hey just slap up a video and it'll convert. What they don't understand is the very real dynamic behind the successful VSL's. And why they convert as well as they do.

        Truth is, there's a lot more to it than simply slapping a voiceover on a VSL. Just like traditional copywriting... there is an art to putting a truly successful VSL together.

        At the end of the day there's plenty of room for both approaches in the marketplace and I don't think traditional copywriting as we understand it, is on the way out any time soon.

        What's more the two approaches should really compliment one another, it's not a case of this one works best over the other. When used together well, they can both culminate in a lethal and very effective combination.


        Mark Andrews
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        • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
          Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

          Clickbank is just one marketplace, it doesn't by any means represent the entire market.
          ?? One marketplace yes with tens of thousands of products spanning more niches than you or I can even think of.

          The information which can be gleaned from CB on almost any market is invaluable. I don't know of any other place you can get the kind of information you can from just browsing the CB Marketplace.


          Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

          Fact is, it depends on the niche and it depends on the market. Long form traditional sales copy will outperform video in some areas and vice versa.
          I've heard this before too. Contribute something valuable Mark, and tell the group a few areas in which a long-form sales letter will outperform video. I'd love to know this information.

          Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

          Truth is, there's a lot more to it than simply slapping a voiceover on a VSL.
          This is what fat-burning furnace did. And the Porter Stansberry letter did. I'm not saying your wrong, but it does work, to the tune of tens of millions.
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  • Profile picture of the author athanne
    I don't think videos will replace long form sales letters soon or even later. With a sales letter a prospect will sit a few minutes to go through it regardless of whether he will buy or not. But on the other hand videos, which are likely to take a longer time to watch, might not attract any prospect who is not ready to buy because he sees no point in wasting time on them.
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  • I dislike no controls on video sales letter. The general answer given for its presence is you don't want the user to seek through and go to the offer directly.

    Hey but that is possible in long copy sales letter and they work! So this argument does not hold.

    I think most people get the VSL wrong. People will watch the whole video if the video educates and entertains rather than sell.

    Traditional advertising does not work anymore because users have a choice to go away.

    I learned from Gary Bencivenga that one has to make their advertisement too valuable to throw away. Same is with videos.

    A Video on a sales letter should entertain, entertain, educate, educate, educate and then suggest a sale.

    Stop thinking like a marketer and start to think like a prospect.
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  • Profile picture of the author adammaxum
    Videos can work if you know how to use them properly.

    1. keep them short 2-3 min max for intro videos
    2. show the controls so I can move the video to any point
    3. Use plenty of text to accompany your video

    If you can follow those 3 easy steps then using a video should "help" any sales page or website. Of course, I'm only speaking as a customer myself. You should always split-test pages to find what works best for each situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jennie Heckel
    Hello,

    Great comments here from exceptional marketers and copywriters who have had personal experiences about what works and what doesn't across many niches and product offers. These posts were interesting reading for me.

    As a copywriter, video script writer and graphic designer I work with many of the top 20 affiliate marketers on Clickbank (CB). The new Clickbank rules that Clickbank lauched in August 2011, created a lot of changes in how video sales letters and copy are created and approved by CB. Plus they clarified how testimonials are to be listed and verified. In addition, CB requires longer and more involved disclaimers for approval of money making/income generating and health related products. You might want to check it out by logging into your Clickbank account or email me for a copy of the new rules.

    The new CB rules require videos have to have video controls. If you use actors, or personalities, that are NOT the real creator of the product, this needs to be noted in large text under the video. Any income statements have to be verified by CB and they actually need a login to check the account to verify that the income was from the sales of that product.

    Videos on CB sales letters need to have the video script approved by CB. They are very selective about what they approve. (Especially as far as income proof images and testimonial verifications are concerned.) Lots of new changes occured after the new rule changes and this was good for the buyers of CB products.

    I know this really shook up the CB affiliate marketing community and it did change the way I write copy for some of my CB clients.

    One of the main reasons why CB created these new rules was to reduce the large amount of charge backs on product refunds. CB was having to spend a lot of money to tech support/refund people to handle chargebacks due to the problems with the "push button" sales letters in the IM niche and other hype-style product offers.

    CB is in business to make money too. So when they received ever increasing chargebacks for people wanting refunds for products -- they changed their rules to help reduce that problem.

    As far as the length of the videdos -- most of my highest converting videos for CB products run 7 minutes. For diet/weight loss, and IM launches, much longer, about 20 to 25 minutes. The video needs to be only as long as to get the job done selling the product.

    One thing that can help boost video conversions is to add the video controls, because think of it this way... How many times did you want to pause a video you were watching online because of an interuption? Not being able to do that causes people to miss part of the video. Most people won't bother to refresh the screen and rewatch the video part they have already seen... so when they return from their interuption, they just close the video instead. And a sale is LOST. Enough said.

    Lots of new changes for 2012 marketers -- it will be an exciting ride!

    Good luck to all in 2012!

    Jenie Heckel
    Product Launch Copywriter
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Jennie Heckel View Post

      Hello,

      Great comments here from exceptional marketers and copywriters who have had personal experiences about what works and what doesn't across many niches and product offers. These posts were interesting reading for me.

      As a copywriter, video script writer and graphic designer I work with many of the top 20 affiliate marketers on Clickbank (CB). The new Clickbank rules that Clickbank lauched in August 2011, created a lot of changes in how video sales letters and copy are created and approved by CB. Plus they clarified how testimonials are to be listed and verified. In addition, CB requires longer and more involved disclaimers for approval of money making/income generating and health related products. You might want to check it out by logging into your Clickbank account or email me for a copy of the new rules.

      The new CB rules require videos have to have video controls. If you use actors, or personalities, that are NOT the real creator of the product, this needs to be noted in large text under the video. Any income statements have to be verified by CB and they actually need a login to check the account to verify that the income was from the sales of that product.

      Videos on CB sales letters need to have the video script approved by CB. They are very selective about what they approve. (Especially as far as income proof images and testimonial verifications are concerned.) Lots of new changes occured after the new rule changes and this was good for the buyers of CB products.

      I know this really shook up the CB affiliate marketing community and it did change the way I write copy for some of my CB clients.

      One of the main reasons why CB created these new rules was to reduce the large amount of charge backs on product refunds. CB was having to spend a lot of money to tech support/refund people to handle chargebacks due to the problems with the "push button" sales letters in the IM niche and other hype-style product offers.

      CB is in business to make money too. So when they received ever increasing chargebacks for people wanting refunds for products -- they changed their rules to help reduce that problem.

      As far as the length of the videdos -- most of my highest converting videos for CB products run 7 minutes. For diet/weight loss, and IM launches, much longer, about 20 to 25 minutes. The video needs to be only as long as to get the job done selling the product.

      One thing that can help boost video conversions is to add the video controls, because think of it this way... How many times did you want to pause a video you were watching online because of an interuption? Not being able to do that causes people to miss part of the video. Most people won't bother to refresh the screen and rewatch the video part they have already seen... so when they return from their interuption, they just close the video instead. And a sale is LOST. Enough said.

      Lots of new changes for 2012 marketers -- it will be an exciting ride!

      Good luck to all in 2012!

      Jenie Heckel
      Product Launch Copywriter
      Thanks Jennie ... for your detailed response and your sharing your experiences in the CB trenches.

      Question: It seems obvious that eliminating controls and time indicators may irritate viewers. So, why is this done?

      Was blind test actually done to verify that having no control dials got more views to the end than having the control dials?

      What's your thoughts on this.

      I'm "assuming" test are constantly being done. But most people I've talked to and read (on this thread) hates the no dial videos with a passion. Seems like a huge risk for a marketer to not have them. What say you?
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