Guest article by Ashyia Hill
Selling tactics today are practically indistinguishable from their counterparts just a couple of years ago. The rules have changed and there are many new tools at your disposal. However, with these new tools, there are lots of new ways of committing mistakes. Video sales letters have a huge potential. But along with that potential, anyone interested in trying it out is also venturing into unproven territory.
You are free to be creative when trying out something new like video sales letters. You can opt to uncover effective tactics via trial and error, or you can at least minimize the error part by following these tips.
- This isn’t YouTube. Mastery of your material will lend an air of professionalism to whatever it is you are pitching. Take a page out of the pros’ playbook and start using cue cards. They will help you organize your thoughts and prevent you from rambling. But don’t read everything you are going to say from them. Instead, use them to tick off all the important points that you need to touch up on. Use bullet points to remind you and keep you on track. Reading from cue cards word-for-word has a tendency of making your voice seem robotic and devoid of expression.
- Keep in mind that professionalism does not exclusively mean rigid and uptight. Depending on what it is you are selling, you can use informal or conversational language. You can even be a showman and be funny on some occasions. Just make sure that also you have substance to back up the flash.
- There is a reason why the typical TV ad is rarely more than half a minute long. Keep your video as short as possible. The Internet has altered our collective attention span and reduced it to mere seconds. BBC has put out the findings of a study saying that even when viewing engaging content, most people spend less than 60 seconds on an average site. Because everybody is free to switch between millions of websites, the ability to keep people’s attention is becoming more and more important.
- Always have your video sales letter accompanied by a detailed text document. Think of the sales letter as a way of catching the attention of potential customers – the bait, if you will. A written sales letter explaining all the details of your product is the hook that will reel them in. The accompanying text should address all queries that potential customers may have after viewing the sales video. By the time you pay them a visit, you should have no problems closing the deal.
- Edit your material. A single long take will bore even the most patient of viewers. Also, editing is necessary so that you can include graphics and images of whatever it is you are selling. Simple linear editing software – complete with effects and some graphics capabilities – are now easily available. Depending on how complex you want your video to be, even the free ones that come with Windows or Mac OC will suffice.
- If you see yourself doing a lot of these video sales letters, invest in some decent equipment. The camera is a no-brainer, but you can’t blow all your budget on the latest and greatest HD model. Consider buying a DSLR with video capabilities. It can serve double duty for product shoots and event coverage. You will also need a tripod and a fast computer. A shaky image will always be detrimental to the final product, no matter how well you did on every other aspect. Put the camera on a stable base and watch your output dramatically improve. Also, raw footage needs to be edited and converted to several different video formats. You can’t expect all your potential clients to use the same computers and software, so you have to account for these differences. Depending on how long your video is and from what format you are converting from, a slow computer can waste hours of your time.
- Watch every finished video sales letter that you make. If you get bored or lost, you are doing something wrong. You may know the product inside-out, but you have to take the video in from a different perspective. Potential clients may not have a clue as to what it is you are exactly selling. One option to judge the clarity of your message and the quality of delivery is to show the video to a test audience. Your family or coworkers can give some opinions as to how you can polish your video.
- This isn’t theater. Give the viewer control over the video by allowing them to pause it or scan through its content. Give consideration for your viewers if your videos are long. Give them the option of skipping over some parts and pickup up where they left off. Some prefer to dive right into the meat of your spiel, so you have to provide for that. Your viewers will appreciate a pause button and a slider.
- Test its effects. Make sure that your video sales letters are doing what they are supposed to do. One way of judging efficacy is to field letters only to some clients and then field letters and video to the rest. You should see if your videos are working as you compare conversion rates.
- Encourage impulsive buying. If your video is good enough, it’s possible that it can have viewers reaching for their credit cards halfway through it. Always include a “buy now” link to your video and take advantage of those moments.
Ashyia Hill is a social media advocate with the credit card applications website, CreditDonkey. She says a video sales letter is just one way of getting your message across. It has its advantages and you should be aware of the ways you can harness its power. Putting your face out there for all your clients to see is a very personal move and can instantly build trust. A video sales letter wherein you make the effort to really reach out to customers will build working relationships and strengthen your personal brand.