It got me thinking about sales letters, and how there seem to be a growing convergence of trends in recent years. Is uniformity the name of the game now, or is the industry still bursting with trailblazing out-of-the-box thinkers who reject conformity?
So, with a few hours to spare, I decided to take a look at the most obvious place, Clickbank's marketplace. Here's a summary of the characteristics of the sales letters for 15 of most popular products there (why 15, you say? That's all the time I had).
A cursory glance at this particular platform suggests that the industry is indeed moving towards marketing homogeneity, especially in pricing, mode and abandonment of the written medium. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, nothing beats tried and tested methods. Nonetheless, it raises the prospect of SL atrophy in the industry as a whole, at least through the online medium. More than that, it brings into question the eventual desensitization effect of VSLs towards the average consumers. Is originality too high a risk, or is this simply a matter of pragmatism, and entirely non-trend driven? And will this same pragmatic approach one day compel the return of the long form sales letters once again, or will it go the way of the door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen once a superior replacement for the Whiteboard VSL emerges a few years down the road?
Or am I looking at this all wrong?
1: (Full breakdown here)
2: The list includes two products with separate gender-specific videos
- Format: 13 out of the top 15 product use VSLs (including two which had accompanying SLs). Nine of the 13 VSLs are whiteboard videos.
- Length of VSL: Absolutely no uniformity here, ranging from 15:49 to 49:31. The most popular product clocks in at 47:12. However, every single one exceeds fifteen minutes in length.
- Pause Option: Ten out of 13 videos has a pause option.
- VSL Voice Talent Gender: Men, in eleven VSLs, with both gender working together on another two.
- Headline: Nine out 15 uses two color combos. Overall, black is the dominant color. Surprisingly, red was only seen in five.
- SL Length: Conventional wisdom dictates that SLs should neither be too short, nor too long. However, all of the four SLs (including two with accompanying VSLs) in the list run wildly contrary to Drayton Bird's contention that 2,763 words is the optimal SL length. In fact, there is a six thousand words gap between the shortest and longest SLs in the list.
- SL Font: All four SLs use predominantly black, size 12, Times New Roman fonts.
- Page Leak: 11 out of 15 products have leaks (mainly contacts and disclaimers).
- Testimonial: Testimonials are seen in 11 products in the list - no surprises here.
- Pop-ups: Only four deploy pop-ups to prevent prospects from leaving.
- Time Limited Offer: 12 out of 15 employ time-limited CTAs.
- Price: Mark Joyner was right. 7 is the magic number. 12 products have prices ending with 7. Even more interestingly, nine of them are priced at $47.
- Commissions: 12 out 15 offer at least 75% commission. Two more were at 60%, with one at 50%.