"Pretty" vs "Ugly" Video Sales Letters...Thoughts?

by Dexx
28 replies
Hey Gang,

I'm curious if anyone has done any testing on this, but do you happen to know which "style" of video (all things considered equal like copy + offer) tend to covert better?

The "fancy" video style of videos like Andy Jenkin's video boss videos which have graphics, background music, colored text etc. (Video Boss 2 - Now Even Bossier) [non-aff]

vs

The "ugly" text-only video style that Ryan Deiss tends to do in his sales letters (Ryan Deiss' Video Sales Letter Formula) [non-aff]

I tend to find the "pretty" style keeps my attention longer (like watching a TV informercial) and the text-only style makes me wonder (sooner) when it'll be over.

Which style do you tend to actually watch yourself? (Or which have you found to convert better)
#lettersthoughts #pretty #sales #ugly #video
  • Profile picture of the author docbrown
    I think you answered your own question at the end of your post
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    • Profile picture of the author Dexx
      Originally Posted by docbrown View Post

      I think you answered your own question at the end of your post
      lol, but my opinion might not reflect the opinion of others, which is why I'm curious if others are the same way (or have done tests of their own sales)
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  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    I think it depends on your audience...if I was selling a monthly wine membership I would make the videos as "classy" as possible without overdoing it, but if I was selling something like a speed reading course I wouldn't really go out of my way to make it "fancy" unless the regular one fails horribly.

    That's just my opinion tho...best way is to split test, tweak then split test some more.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dexx
      Originally Posted by Marian Berghes View Post

      I think it depends on your audience...if I was selling a monthly wine membership I would make the videos as "classy" as possible without overdoing it, but if I was selling something like a speed reading course I wouldn't really go out of my way to make it "fancy" unless the regular one fails horribly.

      That's just my opinion tho...best way is to split test, tweak then split test some more.
      Hrmm, ya might need to split-test to styles myself to really see.

      Though maybe someone already has...anyone care to share their own test results?
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  • Profile picture of the author ghostrecon
    I think it depends on the product you're selling. I'm not going to lie Andy's video seemed a little overkill, but I can see why it would way more effective at grabbing opt ins.

    Personally, I use a mixture of standard copy with a video or two embedded through out.
    (e.g. http://answerassault.com)

    But, if I was going for a squeeze page it would include something a little more fancy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Buxx
    I feel like the end is near for the long form traditional sales letters. I'll take video over those anyday
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      Originally Posted by Buxx View Post

      I feel like the end is near for the long form traditional sales letters. I'll take video over those anyday
      Yeah I don't really like Toyota Camrys. I'll probably never buy one but that doesn't stop Toyota from selling a metric ass ton of 'em.

      It doesn't really matter what you like. It's all about your customers. Give 'em what they want and they'll keep coming back. Give' em what you "like" and they'll flip you the bird while spending "your" money with your competitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    I think people don't have the attention span to read 23 pages of copy anymore, I know I skim usually myself...dunno when the last time I read every single word of a sales page.

    At least video ensures that happens...especially for key benefits that a person might normally miss...assuming they stick around long enough to watch it appear

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      I think people don't have the attention span to read 23 pages of copy anymore, I know I skim usually myself...dunno when the last time I read every single word of a sales page.
      Depends on the offer and the market. Based on my experiences passionate hobby niches open and read volumes of material (more so than IM/MM).

      I know for me the only time I read an entire IM sales letter is when its not a monster. Same for IM videos.

      BUT those things surrounding my hobbies and interests will usually get read/watched.

      At least video ensures that happens...especially for key benefits that a person might normally miss...assuming they stick around long enough to watch it appear
      You kinda answered your own question there. Regardless of what type of media you use your prospects/customers still need to consume it. True, not everyone will read a 30+ page sales letter. The same holds true for video. Not everyone will sit through a 30 minute+ sales video. As you know the key is matching message to media to market.

      Per your original question of "Pretty" vs. "Ugly" sales letters...

      One of my niches is fashion/modeling. You'd think a "glitzy" video would do well so that's what I did. The video did well but on the advice of someone smarter than me I tried a "basic" video.

      I don't have the numbers in front of me but that "basic" video pulled significantly better.

      I wondered why and was told (again by that smarter someone) to ask my customers.

      Turns out the "basic" video was more trustworthy especially in a niche where "slick" is the norm.

      I don't really try to figure it out anymore. I just ask which one and why. The great thing is after you put in the time and resources for a more upscale video shooting the basic one is a walk in the park.

      Kevin
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      • Profile picture of the author Dexx
        Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

        One of my niches is fashion/modeling. You'd think a "glitzy" video would do well so that's what I did. The video did well but on the advice of someone smarter than me I tried a "basic" video.

        I don't have the numbers in front of me but that "basic" video pulled significantly better.

        I wondered why and was told (again by that smarter someone) to ask my customers.

        Turns out the "basic" video was more trustworthy especially in a niche where "slick" is the norm.
        Thanks for awesome response Kevin!

        When you say "basic," do you mean the text-only style of video?

        ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author nathanj
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      I think people don't have the attention span to read 23 pages of copy anymore, I know I skim usually myself...dunno when the last time I read every single word of a sales page.

      At least video ensures that happens...especially for key benefits that a person might normally miss...assuming they stick around long enough to watch it appear

      ~Dexx
      This is something you need test.

      Why not create both types of sales videos... and you ultimately have the sales copy within the script. So possibly create the sales copy also.

      By testing these you will be able to determine the best for your 'market' and 'product'. It will be different for most, so you need to test to make sure you're not leaving cashola on the digital table.
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  • Profile picture of the author uebomoyi
    To be honest, I think it all comes down to the enthusiasm the person is exhibiting as their speaking and explaining the product. If you've listened to Gavin Stephenson or Devon Brown promote a product they've created, it's very hard to lose attention because they know how to talk. Also a really quick valuable tip I learned in this book called "Cashvertising" by Drew White said that you can convert a visitor into a buyer when you show a video *demonstrating* what your product does and what it will do for them. It's called a mental movie- if the customer can picture themselves using your product then they'll most likely buy. I believe George Brown used this exact method in his sales video by *demonstrating* what the Google Sniper 2.0 does which is why he made so many sales; everyone PICTURED themselves using his unique method and getting to the top of Google so yeah I'd try to incorporate demonstrating my product in my sales video in order to convert more visitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeremysteam
    Its not really about the Pretty version or the Ugly Version its the one with the MOST ENERGY.

    I've always found that Highly energitic sales letters keep people on the pages way longer than someone that is moderate, or boring...

    If you script it out and record it first with high energy then go back and add in the text and animation (taught in video boss) then you'll have a high energetic presentation
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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    Whatever gets the message across.

    You don't want them to not pay attention to what you're actually selling...
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    • Profile picture of the author Dexx
      Originally Posted by Jake Gray View Post

      Whatever gets the message across.

      You don't want them to not pay attention to what you're actually selling...
      A great point!

      Great points by everyone! Glad to see there's such a range of thoughts on this!

      ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author RussRuffino
    It's enthusiasm. If you have that, it doesn't matter if your video looks like Hell, and sometimes it can be BETTER if your video looks like Hell.

    Russ
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Text only outperformed on our tests, but this was NOT in the IM niche. Every market is different, but I always recommend to start with the text only video for people who are new to making video salesletters. They are easier to make, are "usually" more effective, and are less likely to come out looking bad.

    Personally, I like the glitzy videos more and those tend to hold my attention more. But I am not my market.

    It honestly totally depends on who your audience is and what your product is and it's crucial to eventually test for yourself. It's of course time consuming to test different variations and can be costly to do so, but that shouldn't stop anyone from using them. Start with one, and when you can test another.
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  • Profile picture of the author StevenJones
    Hello,

    Did not read the whole text above, just giving you my results. My split testing showed me that "flashy" videos did not convert that well as "text" videos, I got 50% more opt-ins when using a text video. Another amazing thing I discovered is that a squeeze page without a video even got me even more success.

    A lot of people just don't want to listen to a video. They want to have control. By making them listen to a video you limit their control. Plus it's annoying if they need to push the video back a bit because they missed a part. Reading puts the prospect in control and it's your job to put some triggers in the letter that makes them go: BUY BUY!.

    My cents,

    Steven
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  • I have done both studio quality done with fancy software background music etc... and plain ugly hand-held camera with no post-production and the plain always sold better. I always got batter comments "oh that looks fantastic" but they never buy as much then from the the plain looking video. Keep in mind it could be just my list (I tested only on my list).
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  • Profile picture of the author 4k
    This is so interesting as I am putting a video sales letter together as we speak... cool
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

    Hey Gang,

    I'm curious if anyone has done any testing on this, but do you happen to know which "style" of video (all things considered equal like copy + offer) tend to covert better?

    The "fancy" video style of videos like Andy Jenkin's video boss videos which have graphics, background music, colored text etc. (Video Boss 2 - Now Even Bossier) [non-aff]

    vs

    The "ugly" text-only video style that Ryan Deiss tends to do in his sales letters (Ryan Deiss' Video Sales Letter Formula) [non-aff]

    I tend to find the "pretty" style keeps my attention longer (like watching a TV informercial) and the text-only style makes me wonder (sooner) when it'll be over.

    Which style do you tend to actually watch yourself? (Or which have you found to convert better)
    Hi Dexx,

    I've found that the fancier ones DO in fact hold attention better, as you mentioned in your post BUT, it's the content of the video that truly matters. A good video will slowly lead your prospects down your intended sales path, so your constantly getting them to want your product more and more throughout the entire presentation, but in a captivating way.

    One way to do this, of course, is to let them know there's a secret, or some "hidden value" of some kind, that they will get by the end of the video. I've found for my viewers, that always keeps 'em "plugged in".

    Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    I just came across a great quote from Claude Hopkins (the original king of advertising) and he says:
    "Salesmanship-in-print is exactly the same as salesmanship-in-person. Style is a handicap. Anything that takes attention from the subject reduces the impression.

    One may say: 'That is a beautiful ad. The pictures are perfect, the presentation is wonderful.' But that very idea prohibits one from being influenced by the ad. It indicates lack of sincercity. It suggests an effort to sell. And we are all on guard when sombody, apparently, is trying to get out money away."
    ...and this is something he recognized back around 1926!

    Thoughts?

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author thriftgirl62
      The TRUTH sells if you can make people believe you. That's the marketers secret weapon. Knowing how to tell stories based on the truth - they all start with some thread of truth and take off from there.

      People like REAL not fake people and they can usually tell the difference. NO music please!! What does it do? How? What other costs are there? Information, not images and pretty words even though the way to a woman's heart is through her ears.

      Obnoxious? I don't know - check out the RICH GUY VIDEO [below] I confiscated for future reference.
      Everyone lies - find the motive and you'll know the truth.

      Or, go with Cleavage - #1 on Facebook
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan Denney
    Dexx,

    From a persuasion approach, "fancy" videos which I call "sales videos" keep the viewer engaged longer, meaning more people will see your offer. Which obviously means more sales.

    I've studied some NLP, and a lot on presentations and persuasion, then applied it to find that these sales videos, with images, narration, and music, work best since it appeals to the 3 ways our brains process information (Auditorily-Sound, Visually-Site, and Kinesthetically-Emotions and touch).

    Because of this, your persuasive message is communicated better, increasing your conversion rate and sales.

    Now on the other hand, the black text/white background PowerPoint videos, which I call "video sales letters", are unprofessional meaning they hurt your credibility. Also, all the text on the screen is to much for people to process, just like a long-form sales letter.

    Our brains process each letter as an image, so why not have an image worth a thousand words? Part of effective persuasion is being able to communicate your message in the simplest way possible, so aesthetically pleasing and simple sales videos will most likely work better.

    In the simplest terms, video sales letters work fine for warm traffic (email traffic, and cultivated leads), while sales videos work even better for both warm and cold traffic.

    Just keep this in mind...

    "You need to grab them by the eyeballs, and hold them their long enough to communicate your persuasive message effectively."

    Hoped that helped!

    Back to watching the playoffs :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Interest points Jonathan! (and awesome video and website by the way

    Cheers,

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author TroyNotes
    I've tested both. It really depends on a variety of factors.

    There is a spectrum of conversion somewhat like:

    Short Form Text Only Sales Pages
    Long Form Text Only Sales Pages
    Ugly/UnVideo Sales Pages (e.g. Ryan Deiss)
    Powerpoint Sales Videos (Video Boss)
    Video Video (e.g. Frank Kern talking)
    Luxury Broadcast Videos. (Million Dollar Launch with heavy effects)

    It depends on the experience you are selling and the hype factor. For example the opening videos used in launches like video boss are selling the lifestyle that the users want, to be cool, having fun, making zillions of dollars, rich hip and looking good.

    In fact the early videos there's almost no information at all. It's just curiosity and pattern interrupts. But it establishes attention and attraction and comfort with Andy to learn more, where it gets drier and more dense in the how to section...which is just a few steps up from powerpoint video.

    This momentum is key, Without establishing attraction and relationship they never would have cared to dig into the how-to part, even if that's what they really wanted.

    So context matters.

    If you are selling how-to information (e.g search driven) people don't want to know about you, your life, etc at first, they just want the information they searched for or move on spending as little time as possible. But they are already somewhat setup by however they get to your page, banner, ad etc.

    However text only pages particularly long form are horrible, reading is hard work, people don't read, they skim, so they may never understand what you're trying to convey as they only get pieces. By serializing it into a presentation they don't skim, and can better understand who you are, what you have to offer etc.

    Adding Audio helps as in "real life relationships" with people we know, like and trust we talk, not read and write to each other. So the ugly form at least adds audio as many people who are on your page, are likely multitasking, they will hit play listen in the background while they check email, respond to chat etc, and not even watch your video, but they are still trying to absorb it. So from that perspective it's better than text only.

    Reading also forces people to add their own enthusiasm, while listening to it they can get emotionally charged, look at podcasts industry, or the multimillion dollar industry of tape/cd (e.g. Tony Robbins) they could have easily put that information onto a transcript, but they don't, because it's the emotional conviction that carries the message.

    Uglyness helps in some ways as avoiding gratitous animation they aren't distracted by all the fluff, excited but not sure why, and after buying get remorse to find out that the product doesn't give the same juice or what they needed at all.

    There is a class of text only videos (kinetic text) that is VERY effective, as the power in words text only as our brains supply their own visuals, from our own experiences. It's like story telling. see this one from pulp fiction (warning graphic)

    One of the secret keys in both is the refresh frequency of how often things are changing in text, how close the words being show match the narrative (be it author or view), about 3-5 seconds is as long as any particular element should be show.

    If viewed visually good form is close to how cartoons are done, with short snappy elements in each cell. Most powerpoint like are out of synch (long form copy on each slide, user talking about something else) and rather dead...which is why they call it "death by powerpoint"

    I think the message should be able to be delivered in an ugly format, you can always upgrades once you know the message is right, especially in the beginning of the video.

    Luxury video (and I have been a part of many of these living in Hollywood) are great...BUT as a business owner they don't make sense to do often, at least for the first past. They are hella expensive, dozens of iterations, complicated changes, booking time with videographers, studios, etc oven ending up in perfection paralysis, with no proof that it will work..and all that time spending on creating a video will never send you a paycheck, and at some point there are diminishing returns. I can do videos at $10, $100, $1000, $100K each has their place in your toolbelt, but I find that $10-$200 dollar is the max return on investment.

    Because In the space of creating 1 luxury 10k-100K video I could have easily created 10...even 1000 ugly but good enough, better than text sales videos, and feel less intimidated by changing things up. That lets me be in more places at once hitting more terms, and answering more questions...plus you don't need makeup or to fire up video camera/afterfx.
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    • Profile picture of the author sitehero
      Put it this way, if your fat, bald, unphotogenic and lacking in confidence then its best to stick with the powerpoint videos because you can edit these to your hearts content. Also, even if you sound awful, you can still make a professional sounding video with the right software. The name ugly video sales letter is the PERFECT definition of this.

      Now, on the other side of the coin... If you look and sound good on Camera, For example, someone like Frank Kern then you would be a fool to only do voiceover videos.

      From a viewing perspective, I ALWAYS prefer seeing a friendly face explaining everything as its much easier to judge someones honesty this way. Plus, it always seems more professional too.
      While I still sometimes watch ugly videos too, one of my MASSIVE pet hates is when the voice in the video is just reading out whats on the powerpoint slides word for word with no extra added personality. For me this comes across as unprofessional, cheap, and it feels like very little effort or time has been allocated to the product. If someone is just reading out the powerpoint slides to me I will NEVER buy that product as I don't have any reason to trust them.

      Thats my own personal opinion anyway, I'm not saying its right but thats how I honestly feel.
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