The Ultimate Guide to SaaS B2C Marketing

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SaaS B2C marketing is one of those things that you don’t even try your hand at unless you really are in the IT space. It sounds so intimidating, so daunting, even for the people who actually have to do it day after day.

But the truth is that SaaS can be quite approachable, even in a B2C setting where the marketing is notoriously more difficult than the alternative (B2B).

Much like with everything else in life, all it takes is a little strategy. Knowing what to focus on, which tools to use, and why, is of the utmost importance to any marketer, especially when it comes to software solutions, something which could potentially change how people complete daily tasks as we all know it.

This guide will focus on everything relating to the subject, from detailed definitions and must-haves, to pro tips to swear by.

Let’s get started.

Defining SaaS Marketing

Software as a service, better known as SaaS, is a common acronym thrown around the digital marketing space. It involves providing software solutions online, rather than having people download anything onto their computers, phones, or other devices, essentially making it easier for the customers.

Putting it into perspective, just 20 years ago, back in the 1990s, people had to purchase physical versions of software in order to solve what we would consider pretty basic hurdles today. And now, we have new PC models with no optical drive, because CDs and DVDs are almost obsolete, with the rare hipster and collector exceptions, of course.

So, SaaS is what we have to thank for many quality of life changes we take for granted these days, and it’s only possible because of the internet. It allows us to log into accounts and stay logged in, rather than having to sign back in every time. It’s made it possible to connect with clients and customers at any point in time, without having to use more ancient methods, like email.

And the pay-per-use model that so many businesses use? That’s SaaS, and it means companies have lower initial investments, because they don’t have a giant software package purchase to make.

B2C vs. B2B Differences

That’s all well and good, but now you’re wondering what the difference between B2C and B2B is in terms of SaaS marketing. Well, there are quite a few:

  • B2B is always easier, as you’re a company selling a business solution to another company. You understand their needs, because you likely have many similar ones yourself. With B2C, you’re having to be more persuasive, because although you probably understand their needs at your core, oftentimes you’ll find that people need help realizing those needs.

  • B2B social channels tend to lean more toward LinkedIn, but B2C loves Instagram and Facebook.

  • Impulse buys are basically non-existent in B2B. No one ever buys an iPad, or a professional camera, a new computer, or software solutions on a whim when they’re running a business. But there are plenty of impulse purchases on a B2C scale, which means the sales cycles look different.

  • In B2B, budgets for SaaS are usually set aside as essentials. But in B2C, most people don’t want to pay upfront for things that they might end up disliking, hence why so much of that marketing is based on trials and free versions. B2C is all about increasing repeat purchases, an indication of customer loyalty. Community building is of the utmost importance.

  • The marketing goals are completely different for the two. B2B goals tend to be all about increasing the list of qualified potential buyers. The focus is quality. Because the goals are different, so is the content marketing. B2B takes on an educational tone, while B2C is about entertainment and brand representation.

  • Because all of these factors are different, it should come as no surprise that B2B and B2C have completely different sales funnel styles. In B2B there’s product demos and contract proposals, where as in B2C there’s an online shopping cart and product reviews.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more differences to be had, but the point here is this: when you’re doing B2C marketing, you have to make sure you stay focused on your audience, your objectives, and your product. As long as those three are consistently aligned, your messaging can’t get muddled along the way.

It sounds simpler than it is though, so take this point to heart. After weeks, months, or even years of marketing, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the big picture.

SaaS Marketing Must-Haves

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The thing about SaaS marketing, as we established in the very beginning, is that knowing what to focus on, and which tools to use, is critical. Knowing what to use, when and why, can make the difference between terrible marketing, and a smooth ride.

Social Media

First thing’s first, one of the major aspects of B2C marketing is that social media plays a major role. That means Twitter, Instagram and Facebook should be your go-to tools.

This is because these platforms are consumer-driven. Unlike LinkedIn, where everyone is looking for professional leads, career networking, and potentially job hunting, platforms like Twitter are filled with entertaining tweets and jokes about the news.

This audience, your core audience, will be much more receptive to learning about your software solution when their guard is down, they’re having fun online, and they see an ad that pulls them in with a clear cut solution to a common problem they’re currently struggling with.

And although your product may not have an audience just yet, the company behind it should be focusing on building a presence online to set that stage. Eventually, the goal is to have recognition on both fronts.

Here are some tips to help along the way:

  • Give away free trials on social media, where your customer base hangs out. The free trial strategy is great for acquisition.

  • Understand that the sales cycle will be super short. Once people see your software, and how it works, they’ll either buy it or uninstall.

  • That’s why it’s important to offer really good customer support. In fact, if you focus on anything outside of your product, let it be customer support and social media. The two can even go hand in hand, with your account being a means of contact, or linking to the customer support page.

  • Partnering with relevant influencers, hopefully ones who genuinely love your product after they use it, would be a great way to tap into a pretty wide audience. Relevant influencers would be promoting and reviewing other software as well, maybe even some areas of tech. That means their YouTube audience would be interested in what you have to offer, provided it’s honestly reviewed and liked by the influencer.

  • The more visual your content is the better, since it’s software. People want to see it being used, see how it works. This tells them whether it’s easy to use, and whether it’s something they can imagine themselves using day after day. In other words, Twitter is useful, but focus your efforts more so on Instagram and Facebook.

  • Speaking of Facebook, use retargeting. Facebook Ads makes it so easy to re-engage people who have already displayed potential interest in your product. So, do something with those potential leads. Clarify your standing with them.

Advertising

Since we pointed out Facebook Ads, let’s highlight the use of advertising. Yes, it’s a valuable tool. Along with a great product and customer service, you pretty much can’t go wrong…

But advertising for a massive audience really depends on two things:

  1. How long it takes you to recover your investment cost…

  2. And how loyal your customers truly are.

For example, suppose you’re selling a cloud storage solution, much like Google Drive or Dropbox. Say it takes you a million dollars to create it, set it up and polish it for customer use. Obviously, the initial cost is inaccurate for something as large as a cloud storage solution, but it’s just an example. Hang in there.

Now, you’re focusing on marketing and customer service, making sure that everything is ready to go. You finally get it to a point where things are running smoothly…

But it still takes you 2-3 years to recoup your initial investment.

That means your main focus during that time is to grow your audience and recover costs faster, as well as retain that audience.

If you can prove you have high customer retention, then you’ll have a much easier ride.

But how does all of this relate on advertising?

Well, until you recoup your initial investment, you’re not likely to have a very big budget for ad campaigns. And that means you have to get a little creative for the first 2-3 years of your business venture.

And yes, that’s a bit of a dilemma. After all, you’re supposed to get people’s attention, but you can’t overspend on ads.

So here’s the best course of action:

  1. Do a little math and figure out how much your customers are worth to you on average. It’s a surprisingly easy math problem, simply divide your annual revenue by your customer base. So, if you made $900,000 and you have 7k users, then your average customer is worth $128.60.

  2. Then look at your social media following, your product downloads and installs, anything indicative of is likability and popularity. Are the numbers increasing, or declining? Because if the numbers show you’re losing your customer base, you need to rethink your marketing, or implement changes to your product. Unbiased customer reviews are a great way to get insight on this. If many people echo the same sentiment, it may be time to listen.

  3. From there, be realistic. Are you in a position where your customer base is stable, and your average customer worth is at least halfway decent? If so, it’s time to look at ad campaigns. And you don’t need to spend a ton of money to do it. You just need to analyze the effect of ad spend on sales.

  4. The rule of thumb here is if you spend X amount on advertising on a platform, the influence from other channels could bring that cost down significantly. To highlight this point, sometimes spending more on advertising on platforms where you perform the best will lead to a significant increase in the amount of traffic and sales you get. Just make sure you don’t overspend. You still want that extra boosted increase to count for something, afterall.

  5. If this seems too difficult, if there’s too much data for you to sift through realistically, outsource someone to do it. Digital marketing consultants are well-known for analyzing a company’s resources in an effort to craft a goal guideline.

Content Marketing

As previously mentioned, B2C Saas content marketing is entertaining and on brand. Unlike B2B, which is more educational in nature, your content marketing on the B2C side of things needs to play up your objective, which is likely something along the lines of solving a common problem that your customer base suffers from on a weekly, maybe even daily basis.

Maybe you’re trying to simplify something that currently takes up way too much time to accomplish. By streamlining the process, by offering your product, you’re hoping to change how people complete this goal, effectively rendering the old method archaic, much like what happened with optical drives once people discovered the glory of downloading what they needed without having to leave the house.

So, start by visualizing what that looks like. Does it involve sitting on a stool at a coffee shop, and smiling at the thought of all the time you’re saving? Is it something anyone can do without having to leave the comfort of their bed? How about completing this task on a phone, while walking down the sidewalk?

Whatever it looks like, make sure to visualize it, and make it happen. After all, Instagram and Facebook Ads, even Google Ads, are built on visual content.

And don’t forget to regularly post blog content. Push influencer review videos, link to your magazine and blog features, ask people to share their thoughts about your product.

Whatever you decide to do as content marketing, do it with the aim of showing people how your product can benefit them, and simplify their life (the objective).

Here’s a small example:

Evernote helps people digitize their piles of papers, junk, recipes, photos, notes, journals, planners, etc. All of those clean, neat office spaces and homes are perfect results of Evernote, probably.

And looking through their content marketing, it becomes clear that their main objective is to help everyone feel organized, wherever they may be.

Their blog is a collection of posts that highlight their templates (purchase trackers, weekly planners, monthly calendars), show people that it’s possible to organize an extensive book collection using Evernote, encourage families to plan their vacations with the tool, etc. Across the board, there’s a post or two for just about everyone’s life, proving that the tool can help make daily living, working and planning a seamless, easy process.

Ranking Faster

Of course, once your content marketing is underway, you still need to rank―the faster the better. And lucky for all B2C SaaS creators and marketers, customer support is the Ace up the sleeve.

When you have a product that no one can really see or understand until they try it themselves, marketing gets tougher than it is generally. But see, using all the tips discussed already, we can drive people to try the product. Things like beautiful social media feeds, smart blog copy, and free trials or versions can really drive that traffic…

But it’s the customer service that keeps them there. The minute that there’s something too complicated, it begins to seem like more hassle than it’s worth. Remember, the objective is to simplify people’s lives here.

And there are many ways to incorporate customer service into content. For instance, you can link to the customer service page from within your copy. If you have an app, or website, you can make customer service contact a breeze. You can even use landing pages to get people to “learn more” about your product. Talk about crafting a high-converting CTA!

Then there’s of course the act of writing blog posts that explain the solutions to common user problems. How-to articles are usually associated with B2B SaaS marketing, but when it relates to customer service, B2C can use blogging as a way of answering questions well beyond their live support chat, FAQ page, or chatbot.

As an added bonus, you can always link to certain key content within your emails, releases, or other communications with the press. It can help them when preparing for interviews with you, or even as they write news pieces. They may even be inclined to link to it within their stories, hence making you rank higher.

Word of Mouth

The final must-have for B2C SaaS marketing is word of mouth, which encompasses everything from product recommendations, to reviews and testimonials.

Assuming they’re unpaid and unbiased, reviews can shed light on people’s personal experiences with your product, for better or worse. And if they’re leaning toward the worse, and the same complaints keep getting repeated, you can take that as a cue to revamp your product with some much-needed fixes and tweaks that make people sing a different tune. Consider it a tool for both feedback and marketing itself.

If you want good reviews, don’t offer to pay, just change the things people don’t like about your product. Do that, and you’ll have an honestly good product that meets its aim: simplifying lives.

Get enough positive reviews, and you can start incorporating them as part of your marketing. Add them to landing pages, to your home page, or a store page, for instance.

If people like your product enough, start an affiliate program. These people will promote your product for you, in your branding style, in exchange for small rewards and free gear or merchandise.

And let’s not leave out the influencers, whom are still ever so popular and useful. Providing free copies to them will ensure they have time to tinker around with your product and learn the ins and outs before sharing it with their related audience.

In layman terms, sure, the world has become this network of digital communication through several avenues, but word of mouth and human interaction are still just as important. People are inclined to try out the things they hear the most about. Just because the way we communicate has changed, it doesn’t mean human opinion is any less important.

Saas Pro Tips

Now, hopefully by now you understand that marketing in general can be pretty difficult. A lot of it is a guessing game, experimentation, and the act of hoping that people care enough about what it is you’re offering.

Well, B2C SaaS marketing is harder, largely because you’re having to convince people that they will benefit from what it is you’re offering. It’s always easier in a B2B setting where a business has specific needs, and a want to meet those needs with the aid of tools the relevant staff can use easily.

So, every pro tip available should be treated like a gold mine, because it basically is. If you can keep these tips in mind moving forward, in every step of your marketing, then you’ll be just fine with your B2C SaaS marketing.

  • You have 3 sentences - Ideally, you should be able to explain your product in no more than 3 sentences. This is because anything that is meant to simplify people’s lives tends to be simple to explain. If it requires extensive explanation, then it’s probably not very streamlined or user friendly.

  • There are several decision makers, usually - For example, maybe a woman wants to use Google Drive as a tool for home project organization. But chances are, she’d have to talk about it with her husband, who really has his heart set on a B2B tool, like Trello, because he knows there’s going to be many contractors involved in the process. Meanwhile, the contractors themselves might have their own ideas for project management that don’t even involve the home owners with the exception of design decisions.

  • The decision always gets made without engagement from the vendor - Continuing on with the example described, no representative (vendor) from Google Drive, nor Trello, will be involved in the project management tool selection. It’s purely between the homeowners, contractors, and possible designers.

  • The more recognition your brand has, the better your odds are - It goes without saying that people stick to what they know. Anything unknown has yet to be proven, and requires a certain level of trust, willingness to gamble, and time consumption on behalf of the user. When a user is looking for a quick, effective solution, they will focus on the brands that come to mind, all recognizable. So, if you want to be one of those solutions, you need to boost your visibility, your content marketing, social media presence, everything.

The Product Marketer Is Everything

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As an entrepreneur with a new business venture, you might be itching to get your product into as many hands as possible. And yes, things like paid marketing, content marketing, SEO, keyword research, marketing trends and social media are all critical in that process.

As pointed out, they’re absolute must-haves.

But before you do anything, you absolutely must hire someone who will specifically champion your product, better known as a product marketer.

This is the person that will come in and learn your product inside and out, in an effort to understand it and its potential uses. They will think outside the box and translate the tool into real life, and all of its prospects. You may be creating a product that’s geared toward home organization, but the product marketer will tack on all the other ways that your product can be used, ways you didn’t even imagine before.

To add to this, the product marketer will have a strong background in just about everything marketing related. Think copywriting, handling Google Analytics, A/B testing, understanding CTAs and business growth, increasing conversion numbers, SEO, etc. They know what it takes to create viral content by emphasizing the best aspects of a product or service.

As a result, this is the marketer you will be setting your marketing stage with. Together, you’ll plan out a strategy that caters to your target audience as well as related audiences, and then map out the step-by-step marketing process that everyone you hire on will adhere to. Consider it a road map for your marketing.

Hypothetically, if you were to skip hiring the product marketer, there would be a massive hole in your business. You’d go about your marketing with everyone else, but you would be the person in charge of all of the marketing strategy design, which means you either need to be well educated in the subject, or you’re going to aimlessly fumble in the dark. Everyone you hire on to do your content marketing or social media marketing will be following your jumbled orders, and so the end result would probably be a collection of muddled attempts at proper marketing.

Nothing says amateur like marketing that’s all over the place. Marketing should connect on all sides, everything working together to achieve the same goal―increasing conversions and retention.

So, how do you know when someone is right for the product marketing position? Simply ask the right questions and don’t settle for anything less than the right answers. Here are some interview questions you should consider asking:

  • How will advertising and marketing change in the next 3-5 years? - If they have a pretty detailed, or at the very least clear answer for you right away, then they’re good candidates. Good marketers are always thinking of what’s next, and are preparing to change course to meet those requirements head on.

  • Can you create a list of actions you’d take to see this SaaS product to market? - If this person already has a gameplan in mind, a way to potentially complete the task at hand, then they’re serious about the position. If not, then you’re just one of many applications submitted.

  • Which campaign last caught your eye and why? - You want a marketer who stays up-to-date on campaigns floating around. Do they notice the branding, do they notice the results or the feedback people give these campaigns? The more detail you get from this answer, the better.

  • Was there ever a product launch that didn’t go well? How did you handle that? - Sometimes things just don’t go well, regardless of the planning and time spent. It happens to everyone at some point, so the best thing to do is to focus on how people handle when that happens. If they can keep it together in a stressful situation, salvage anything, and turn things around for the better, you’re in good hands.

  • What makes up a product that gets users, including yourself, excited? - This will provide insight on what the product manager considers a noteworthy tool. If they vouch for something, chances are the public will have a similar reaction.

  • What is one thing you’d change about my product and why? - This one is assuming you’ve let the product marketer tinker around with your product for a good 24 hours in advance to the interview, which you definitely should do. It’s an insightful way to establish both clarity and openness with the candidate, so they know what they’d be pushing. As a bonus, they’d be able to pinpoint something that you may want to change in the future.

Conclusion

B2C SaaS marketing isn’t exactly easy, but knowing what to do, when, and which tools to use can really make a difference between wasted time and successful marketing. Steps like knowing where to find your audience, what to post, what to blog about and why are not to be overlooked.

The more time you spend looking at similar campaigns, and learning from their mistakes and successes, the better off you’ll be at making the right choices for you. It will also give you more of an idea of what to expect along the way.

And if you’re overwhelmed with the amount of effort involved, remember that your product marketer will guide you through the process of finding the things that make you stand out above your competition. Anyone you hire on, whether they’re content marketers or social media managers, should be able to point out any flaws as well.

And as always, consider a digital marketing consultant. These marketers work with businesses to define goals, asses the tactics and resources used, and then craft a step-by-step guide to help meet those goals. They can even work in tandem with product marketers to establish the best courses of action.

So, which lesson from this guide stood out to you the most, and why?

Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you all!

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Video Sales Letters

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Do you ever go get your mail, and find junk mail? Chances are you do, most every time. Some of that junk mail may consist of sales letters, with print on the envelope itself proclaiming something is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, or a million-dollar opportunity “without lifting a finger.”

“Open this to change your life forever, right now!”

If you’re cringing, you know you’ve gotten these, and perhaps still do. We all throw them out without opening them, right?

It’s similar to all that junk mail we used to get in our 90’s inboxes, before people installed ad blockers and such. And although it was a huge obstacle for marketers everywhere, it taught a very valuable lesson: in order to prevent being filtered into a spam folder, you need to put out top quality content, even if it’s an ad, promotion, or sales letter.

This brings us to present day. Physical junk mail may not have gotten any better, but video sales letters (VSL) have evolved to a shocking point. They’re so good now, so well-crafted, that they no longer deserve to be categorized along with junk.

In fact, if you’re running a business in this day and age, you’re bound to create video content, email it to people, and use it to boost your content marketing at some point. It’s basically a must, a milestone for a company, both to showcase its culture in an attempt to resonate with a target audience, as well as to show off its products and services.

And that means getting your VSL right is super important. Getting these videos wrong will ensure you come off spammy, strange, dated, and untrustworthy―all the things you don’t want to be described as.

In this guide, we’re going to discuss what really makes up a video sales letter, what it takes to create something high-quality, and how to incorporate that within your branding and audience.

Let’s get started.

 

Defining A Video Sales Letter

A video sales letter has one mission, and that is to highlight a product or service that your company provides. It goes without saying that whatever you’re offering needs to shine. It needs to stand out from the competition and really hit the mark with customers.

In a way, it’s a bit like keyword searching for SEO. You need to stand out just enough to get traffic, but you still want to select relevant words that make you relevant to your industry.

But with a VSL, it’s a visual medium, it’s a creative lead magnet. So, you’re likely to provide a demonstration, explain how it works, or even highlight the benefits of purchasing the product/service. And this makes up the whole video, really, along with visuals that further progress that message.

Many entrepreneurs use influencer power to boost their marketing already, so getting influencers to star in a video sales letter is just a natural progression from there, should you decide to go that route.

Whatever your approach get VSL right, and the press can use it for coverage, you can post it on LinkedIn or Instagram, or an ecommerce website, and you can even use it to discuss an upcoming product launch.

For example, here’s one by the famous Joanna Gaines. In the video, she demonstrates why her product is better than the alternatives out there, and she does so in a way that’s very on-brand. She’s in a room that’s clearly been designed with Magnolia Home (her business) in mind, and she’s taking on a very approachable tone―perfect for her audience.

Let’s take a look.

Notice how she highlights the quality of her product from the very beginning. She’s putting emphasis on how good the paint is because it’s easily passing the resin test. She even pulls the balloon at the end, to further drive her point home, right before a closeup of the paint she’s selling, and a CTA (“see more at kilz.com”).

In 1 minute and 9 seconds, she manages to tick all the boxes, and she did it in a way that doesn’t come off spammy, untrustworthy, or pretentious. It’s all very approachable.

Something like this can easily build an online community, or even work in tandem with a Google or Facebook ad.

 

Benefits of VSL

There are obviously many benefits to using video sales letters. Among them, there is the fact that it’s a powerful, potential lead magnet. It shows people the product and actively runs through the motions. There’s action there, enough to display what people can expect when using the product.

For example, if someone is selling artist paint brushes for professional creatives, they can use video sales letters to demonstrate what it’s like to use the brushes.

Questions and doubts are immediately handled when you have an indisputable demonstration to show people.

More so, a video gives you a chance to think about setting. What’s behind you while you talk to the camera? What does the room look like, and does it reflect your brand? What music will you choose?

Yes, it’s more work for sure, but it’s a fun, creative exercise that keeps you sharp. It tests your knowledge of your own brand, your audience, everything. Get the pieces right, and you have a gem that can seamlessly go on your product pages, if you’re doing ecommerce. It can go on your blog, on your social media, etc.

As an added bonus, entrepreneurs who use chatbots can incorporate their VSL in landing pages, or even product pages. The chatbots could serve to give additional information perhaps not shared within the video’s content, for example. Not only could it help to supplement, and add a helpful element, it could also help with link building by informing people of other webpages or video content. Of course, you should A/B test and check Google Analytics whenever possible, to ensure things work well.

You can even invite guests to star in these videos, so you’re actually networking while simultaneously boosting your marketing. This holds extra weight to it when you’re collaborating on the product being discussed, of course.

Finally, there’s the fact that thanks to advancements in technology, you can create high-quality content with just your phone. Sure, camera equipment will always provide a certain level of quality that’s just unmatchable, but all in all, if you’re strapped for cash, your phone meets the need just fine. There’s cheap and user-friendly video editing software, free-to-use music that’s ready to drop into a video, and even plenty of ways to outsource help if you want to pass the task to a professional. Whatever your approach, when you’re done you can have something valuable to add to your sales funnel.

 

Cons of VSL

Of course, there are drawbacks to everything in life, and video sales letters are no exception. Among them, there’s the fact that even for a minute long video, you still need to shoot a lot more video than you think you need. This is because there are bound to be rough spots throughout, especially if you shoot it all in one take. And of course, compared to other digital marketing steps, that makes video seem unappealing to many.

Using things like a b-roll―which is a fancy term for filler footage that you can use with voiceovers―can make your video more dynamic and interesting than a standard one-shot, one-angle video. It can also come in handy when you need to do a product close up, or edit over a rough spot in the video (A.K.A. you slipped up and said or did something awkward because you hate being in front of the camera).

Which brings us to the next point: if you hate being in front of the camera, you’re going to have a terrible time. This is why so many entrepreneurs use paid actors, or staff in their place. But see, it comes off spammy if you don’t do it right. And if you are the face of your brand, if you’re recognizable, or want to be approachable, then you really should be the focus anyway.

VSL also only works when the copy is well-written. Obviously, there’s a script involved, an outline of what ground to cover within a video. And that means that unless you know how to communicate clearly, and effectively use any lingo or tone that resonates with your audience, it’s just not going to work. This is why so many people choose to hire digital marketing consultants who can help, or who know freelancers in the industry.

Finally, video creation, editing, and posting is a lot of work. In order to create a video, you need…

  1. To plan out the on-brand video content, which involves scripting and copywriting.

  2. To select an area to shoot.

  3. Stage that area so it’s on brand.

  4. Gather up the right equipment to shoot the video.

  5. Hire the right person for the job, unless you can work a camera yourself and plan on using timers and the like.

  6. Shoot several takes, and perhaps even shoot in sections, in order to make editing easier.

  7. Edit the video.

  8. Run it by people to see what their thoughts are.

  9. Make any necessary edits.

  10. And post the video in areas of interest and relevancy, with the right keywords for SEO.

And this is just the bare-bones rundown. It doesn’t cover things like learning how to work a camera, or shooting close up shots, or shooting b-roll. It doesn’t cover the fact that if you’re making video content on a regular basis, then this all needs to be incorporated into your weekly routine. Or that you need to invest in an external harddrive to avoid space issues.

But still, despite all of the drawbacks, it really boils down to one thing: is the work worth it? If you’re putting out good content, and getting positive feedback, then it certainly is. And if you’re running into time constraints, or you feel like your skills just don’t amount to much, there’s always the option to outsource. There are many freelancers out there that would gladly produce amazing VSL on your behalf.

Furthermore, if you’re lacking an overall sense of direction, or can’t figure where VSL fits within your marketing strategy, it may be helpful to talk to a digital marketing consultant.

 

The Formula

video sales letters

Now that you have a good handle on what video sales letters entail, it’s time to dive in a little deeper.

The most basic of VSL formulas consists of 8 parts:

  1. Attention Grabbing - This is where you get people’s attention, and keeps them watching. This is important, since people can click back at any point. If you don’t get their attention right away, you’re not going to get it 30 seconds in either. They’ll be gone long before then. A good way of getting people’s attention is to hint at what’s to come, shock them with something, or surprise them.

  2. Issue Highlight - What is it that you’re selling, and why? For example, maybe you’re selling a stationary set specifically designed for new entrepreneurs. And maybe you’re selling it because it’s something that you wish you’d had when you were starting out. The set is designed to teach new entrepreneurs the art of organization, and help them prioritize projects and important notes. The easier you can explain the issue that you had, and the more it correlates to the issue your audience is currently having, the better.

  3. Emotional Appeal - This is essentially when you sympathize with people over the issue. “I know how difficult it can be when starting out. You have all these dreams and goals, but translating those tasks in an approachable way, so as to keep progressing toward goal achievement, is easier said than done. I had a miserable time with it, and I definitely made many avoidable mistakes.”

  4. Solution Introduction - At this point, you offer up your solution to the viewers in a way that isn’t spammy or forced. Ideally, you want to keep this gentle, rather than push a hard sale. Aim for a helpful vibe, rather than one that’s business focused. Keep it human.

  5. Proving Credibility - You want to prove that you’re credible, trustworthy. Maybe drop a line about how you’ve worked with several other products like this, but were always left dissatisfied. Something to prove that you have experience with the issue and product at hand, and that you know what you’re talking about. Keep in mind, however, that straddling the line between building trust and bragging is very fine. Avoid bragging as much as you can.

  6. Providing Proof - Consider this the product demonstration, which is the most important part of the video. Get this right, and you have a valid point to show the world.

  7. Action Encouragement - What should the viewers do next? Why, follow your CTA, of course. Whether it’s going to a website, landing page, or product page, let them know what you would want them to do.

  8. Summarize Your Point (CTA) - Close the video by summarizing the why. Why should they care about what you’re offering? How can it help them? Reinforce your points in a short, compelling way, and make sure you end the video in a non-abrupt way.

Now, it goes without saying that every part of the formula requires careful balance. This is why several takes, and shooting in sections, is highly recommended. The more you have to work with in the editing room, the better. Sure, it may be a lot of footage to sift through, but it’s guaranteed to make a difference. You are in a much better position if you have plenty to work with, rather than too little.

If it seems like a lot of work, it is. There’s no sugar-coating that, but there is one good point to make: video content, and any other visual content, for that matter, is a great addition to your digital marketing. It can help boost your YouTube, and even grow your business. This is especially true for industries that thrive on video content specifically, such as the gaming industry.

 

The Templates

Because there’s no one-track way of creating a video sales letter, many entrepreneurs approach it from many different perspectives. Some opt for original creation, where they build the video every step of the way, following the formula described prior. It’s more work, since you’ll need to add in any graphics, sound, logos, or CTAs yourself. And clearly, that means you need to be skilled in those areas, or know someone who is…

But there are also entrepreneurs who opt for templates. Think of them as videos that are already premade for you, that you can then edit to meet your branding needs. Simply add in your own photography, copy, and video snippets.

Let’s take a look at this one to get a better idea of what to expect:

Notice how these templates, depending on which ones you choose, use color blocking, infographics, stock images, copy, and video snippets to form a collective viewing experience. Although dynamic, it won’t necessarily be on brand for many businesses out there.

To drive this point home, consider the difference between this video, and the Joanna Gaines one from earlier. You probably can’t even fathom the idea of Magnolia Home opting for an awkward sign-holding ending, or bold primary color blocking in her video. That’s because judging by the shot choice and style of her content, she likely didn’t use a template.

So, keep that in mind. Your branding will dictate what your video should look like. If it seems off, if it feels like you’re forcing it to make sense within the context of your blog, website, landing page, or YouTube channel, then it’s probably not going to work out.

Still, there are several templates to choose from, for all types of VSL. There are templates for product showcases, service demonstrations, and even product explainers.

Other templates include “what we do” videos, and business presentations, which normally cover things like company culture and the like.

 

Knowing Your Product

video sales letters

Although it may be tempting to think that a video sales letter or two is enough to convert the masses, you still have some additional work to get done.

And the most critical step involves knowing your products and services like the back of your hand, which means knowing full well what went into them, what their objectives are, and how they manage to tick all the boxes.

Think about the benefits of using your goods and services, versus using a competitor’s. What do you bring to the table that few others, if any, do? Is it a different look and style, or is it an additional feature that no one else has implemented… yet.

Maybe it’s even a different payment plan, one which offers many more features for free, so that the product can essentially sell itself.

That’s the first step: the benefits. But there’s another far more important angle to tackle if you really want your video sales letter to pop, and that’s emotion.

For instance, take a look at Ray-Ban sunglasses have been around since 1937, and have largely stayed in fashion’s good graces for pretty much the entire time. Why is that? Is it because they have many different styles and shapes, many of which never really go out of style?

Well, yes, pretty much. That’s what they sell, timeless eyewear that you’ll look back on in pictures and feel good about. Avoid that sense of “What was I thinking?”

Just take a look at the video below:

It highlights the models they’re known for, shows how they’ve reinvented them throughout the years, and then reinforces “forever classic” and “always timely.”

Notice, there’s no demonstration, and certainly no explanation as to how they work, because they’re sunglasses. You can’t exactly do that.

But what they do have is product demonstration, and a strong benefit from a fashion standpoint. Rather than being a trendsetter, Ray-Ban is a company built on investment pieces, which means it attracts customers who are confident, independent, maybe even a little rebellious and fun.

Maybe that would explain their take on ad campaigns and video sales letters. It really sets them apart as a business. Instead of creating expected, predictable content, they use real life customers and situations to display their products.

And their number one goal? To show how Ray-Bans are not only timeless and versatile, but how they fit in perfectly with their rebellious, confident, independent audience.

Here’s an example:

Everything from the fashion choices to the dynamic moments depicted are all on-brand for Ray-Ban and their core audience. It highlights the different styles they have as well as how good the sunglasses look even when you may not feel so great about yourself…

Which brings us to their point here: the journey to belonging is one filled with self-doubt, but eventually you discover just how amazing you are, and you can’t help but feel a little proud.

Boom, emotion.

All in one video, they pander to the people, they appeal to emotion, they sell their products, and more importantly, they sell an image. They’re saying “If you want to show the world how amazing you are, wear these sunglasses.”

Sure, this is definitely not your typical video sales letter, but it is one. Its length, it’s messaging, product demonstration, and emotional appeal makes that clear. And it’s such an effective way that it doesn’t need to compare itself to the competition.

Because after all, they’re not trying to compare themselves to other companies, they’re trying to stay true to themselves, much like they always have been. That’s what keeps them in business, and what makes them appealing to their audience.

 

The Benefit Cheat List

Since not everyone can be creative all the time, especially when creating content that they may have never played around with before, here is a benefit cheat list. Use it as a quick way to double-check your VSL, and make sure it hits the mark.

  • Does it showcase how to improve your handicap? For example, if you’re not feeling as confident in yourself, wear some fashionable, timeless sunglasses and everything will be better.

  • Does it impress friends? Maybe you’re selling a handbag, and it’s the envy of all your besties.

  • Does it showcase someone winning at something as a result of your product or services? Maybe your shoes really helped a marathon runner.

  • Does it improve overall health? Suppose your treadmill line has helped thousands of people lose weight and reach their goals.

  • Does it open up a world of new possibilities? Maybe your travel package has allowed people to not only see the world, but also to grow their social media following, influencer status, or even their content marketing, if they’re freelancers.

 

Knowing Your Audience

Clearly, audience is key. Ray-Ban video sales letters and ads have made that evident time and time again.

But diving right into it, there are two aspects to knowing your audience. One of them is knowing who they are, and the other is knowing their plight.

 

Who They Are

Too many times, entrepreneurs make the mistake of looking at their target audience as a group of people. “These people love my products and services, they look like this, they have this type of education, etc.”

Although a good start, it’s still too… generic. Instead, you have to be more focused and create a single person. One buyer, one customer, based on your research and data, that you can point to and say “Jane loves my meditation and yoga product line, because as a 44-year old mother of 5, she’s busy all the time, and loves the fact that once her children are asleep, she can take some time out for herself to decompress.”

Notice how specific that is.

The reason for this is because the more you can focus on one person, fictional of course, but based on actual data, the more you can look at something you’re designing, such as a new product, and immediately know whether it will be a success or not.

From there, you can tweak it, change it, or scrap it, without wasting time and effort questioning whether your idea is a good one or not.

 

Understanding Their Plight

Once you know who your target audience is made up of, and have one solid rendition of a customer to use as a sort of guide when it comes to making business decisions, it’s time to change gears and look at their struggles.

In doing so, you can figure out what your role in their lives are.

For example, maybe your audience as a whole suffers from an overall lack of homemaking skills. They don’t know how to cook, how to make arts and crafts, and certainly how to entertain guests.

Looking at your one target audience guide, let’s call her Amy, she is in her late 20’s, fast approaching 30, and with wedding bells on the mind, she’s starting to question her life choice of Chinese takeout every night.

That’s where you come in.

You not only offer her solutions to all of her problems, teaching her how to adult properly, you also become a sort of trustworthy, parental figure. Someone who can guide them through this new world of adulting that clearly no one else sought to teach them before.

And the more valuable, free content you put out the more that bond is built. In a matter of a few recipes and craft guides, you manage to secure your role as their go-to for all things lifestyle, cooking, and hosting…

Which means that when you put out a video sales letter, say to subscribe to your YouTube channel, or watch your TV show, or buy your books or products, well, it’s going to work.

It works for Martha Stewart:

Examples to Consider

video sales letters

Of course, this is the best part, right? Sure, there have been some examples sprinkled throughout this post, but there’s nothing quite the same as comparing different video sales letters one after the other.

And here’s why: because you get to see how distinct, how different one VSL is from another, and still the same objective is met.

In other words, there’s more than one way to reach the same destination. Just think back, or rewatch the Joanna Gaines video. She clearly stuck to the traditional method of creating a video sales letter, very much on the nose, giving the audience exactly what they probably expected. Although effective, it was nothing particularly exciting, loud, captivating, or even memorable.

However, if you take a look at her brand as a whole, you realize that she prefers neutral tones, simple pieces, and an overall clean farmhouse look to everything. The video fits that model perfectly, and judging from the fact that she’s still in business, it means her audience eats up that vibe.

Compare that to the other videos in this guide and you get different vibes and styles all around.

Speaking of which, let’s look at this Vans campaign:

Sure, Vans shoes are worn by everyone these days, but their core audience is composed of skateboarders. And what’s a message that everyone, including their ever-expanding non-skater customers can relate to?

Everyone can wear these shoes, and they do, they’re popular shoes, but you can still be different and unique about it.

Vans as a company celebrates this sense of individuality and creativity, and it’s proven by the fact that their shoes come in all sorts of colors and styles. They even have an option to create your own on their website.

And finally, compare that to this video from Louis Vuitton, which uses celebrity power to highlight what makes the brand style stand out from its competitors, and illustrates wealth, quality, and an overall sensation of “you too can belong with this crowd, if you wear Louis Vuitton.”

Conclusion

Hopefully now you have a better grasp of what makes up a successful video sales letter that grows your business. The bone structure isn’t always the same, the style varies brand by brand, but at their core, these videos always tick all of the boxes.

If you look back at all of these videos, they’re all quick to grasp your attention, highlight the issue they’re trying to solve, appealing to emotion, providing a solution, and then establishing credibility through proof. By the end, they’re getting you to purchase a product, take a look at a new product line, or subscribe to a YouTube channel that serves as a gateway toward sales.

And you can do this too, as long as you keep these objectives in mind. But take a page out of Ray-Ban’s or Van’s branding book: keep it original. Make sure your video sales letters always reflect your customers and your company. It’s that originality that keeps the sales flowing.

So, what was your favorite example provided?

Let me know in the comments section below, I love hearing from you all!