Craft the Script for Video Sales Letter (VSL) that Sells

In this article, you’ll craft the script for a video sales letter (VSL) that sells your products and services. You’ll learn proven, decades-old copywriting principles and how to apply them to the most modern selling tools: digital video.

Craft the Script for Video Sales Letter (VSL) that Sells
Craft the Script for Video Sales Letter (VSL) that Sells

What You’ll Learn:

  • Craft the script for a video sales letter (VSL) that sells your products and services by learning proven copywriting strategies
  • How the 12 steps to script a high-converting video sales letter from scratch (even if you’ve never written a word of sales copy in your life)
  • Tips for making sure your script builds trust and desire, so your video will sell more
  • A smart but simple way to organize your scripts, so they’re easy to access and adapt for future videos

Table of contents

Create Your Script
Step 1: Attention-Getting Open
Step 2: Identify the Problem
Step 3: Aggravate the Problem
Step 4: Present the Solution
Step 5: Establish Authority
Step 6: Explain How it Works
Step 7: Make the Offer (CTA #1—Gain)
Step 8: Give a Guarantee
Step 9: Make the Offer (CTA #2—Logic)
Step 10: Give a Warning
Step 11: Make the Offer (CTA #3—Fear)
Step 12: Social Proof (Optional)
What’s Next?
Build a Landing Page & Promo Campaign for Your VSL

This template is meant to help you write a powerful VSL script for your sales videos.

It will not magically transform you into a video expert or a pro-copywriter. It will guide you through the process of writing a high-powered video sales letter script—even if you’re brand new to scriptwriting or copywriting.

To develop your VSL skills, you need to become a student of video sales letters. Study good VSLs and look at how they’re made. Look for the formulas they tend to follow. Then incorporate some of your findings in your own VSLs. This EP is a good place for you to start.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Create Your Script

Step 1: Attention-Getting Open (big promise, proof, story, pose a question, pattern-interrupt)

To create a successful VSL, you must capture your viewers’ attention right away. This is the hook of the video—it grabs people’s attention. You can do that with 1 of 5 techniques:

  1. Promise
  2. Proof
  3. Story
  4. Question
  5. Pattern-Interrupt

For instance…

PROMISE: Here’s how you can lose 10 pounds in 10 days eating only chocolate cake…

PROOF: Here’s a screenshot from our Facebook account…as you can see we’ve generated over 250 leads, at a cost of only $2.07. Just to be clear, this isn’t a $2.07 PER lead…this is the total amount we spent to generate 250 leads, and now I’m going to show you how we did it…

STORY: I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Sunday night, and I had just put my kids to bed when the phone rang. When I answered, I was surprised to hear my accountant’s voice on the other end of the line…

QUESTION: Have you ever wondered why some people can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound, and other people (like you and I) get fat just by looking at food? (NOTE: Be careful with this one. Make sure you know the answer to any question you ask, and that you’re asking a question you know your audience is already asking.)

PATTERN-INTERRUPT: This is a unicorn head mask, and in the next 2 minutes I’m going to show you why this ridiculous ridiculous “toy” holds the key to growing your sales…

Choose the technique that works best with your offer and write a short attention-getting opener for your script.

Step 2: Identify the Problem (fully establish the problem, introduce hero/customer)

Your offer is going to solve a problem for your target audience. In this step, you’ll identify that problem, much as you would if you were telling a story…

  • Your target audience is the hero in your video script
  • The hero is facing a challenge or problem. That problem is going to be the bad-guy or antagonist
  • Your offer (product or service) will become the tool or weapon your viewers can use to solve their problems. To beat the bad-guy or slay the dragon, as it were

EXAMPLE 1: SOFTWARE
“Are you sick and tired of posting to Facebook day in and day out with little or no results?”

EXAMPLE 2: WEIGHT LOSS BOOK/COURSE
“Have you tried every diet under the sun but the weight always seems to come back?”

[NOTE: It should be clear to the viewer exactly who the protagonist (hero) is and what the antagonist (problem) is, and the viewer should instantly recognize and identify with the protagonist, while at the same time instantly acknowledging the antagonist (problem) as a real enemy/threat]

When identifying the problem, keep in mind that customers don’t buy products. They buy transformation. Your product or service helps to transform them from the “before state”—where they have a problem—to the desired “after state”—where their problem has been solved and they’ve reached their ideal.

To help you hone in on the problem and your customers’ before and after state, you need to complete the Before & After Grid.

Before & After Grid
Before & After Grid

Keep in mind, for your VSL to be successful, your viewers must instantly recognize themselves as the hero, and they must have the first-hand experience with the problem you identify here for this to resonate with them.

Step 3: Aggravate the Problem (facts, examples, demonstration, story, etc.)

For shorter, explainer videos, or when the problem is clear and obvious, this section can be shortened or removed entirely.

For longer videos or more complex problems, use statistics, stories, demonstrations, facts, etc., to show just how important the problem really is.

For instance, let’s say you sell a software product. A possible way to aggravate the problem would be to say something like this:

“The bad news is, you’re not alone. According to Facebook’s own data, fewer than 1% of your fanbase will ever see your posts, so it isn’t your imagination… all that work truly has been for NOTHING.”

At this stage, you’re driving home the severity of the problem and that it’s important to solve it.

Step 4: Present the Solution (introduce your product)

Here, you’ll introduce the solution to the problem: your product or service.

DO mention the product by name. It’s good to mention the name more than once, so it becomes familiar and memorable.

DON’T talk about how the product works. (You’ll do that in Step 6.) Keep the focus on what it does and the transformation of results it delivers.

Step 5: Establish Authority (who are you and why should anyone listen to you?)

Here you’ll explain who you are and why anyone should listen to you. Why should they give you their time? Why are you qualified? Why do you want to help?

Notice that you’re waiting till Step 5 to establish your authority. If you start your video by immediately talking about your qualifications you risk sounding like a braggart and alienating your audience. Plus, establishing your authority at the very beginning doesn’t serve as a great hook as we talked about in Step 1.

Now, for shorter videos, this step may not flow as well, so consider skipping it if needed.

For longer videos, you can build trust by telling viewers why you’re an authority on the problem/solution.

DO introduce yourself and share tangible proof that you’re a trustworthy source of information on the problem/solution you’re talking about.

DON’T share any awards or accomplishments that aren’t directly relevant. (Having a Ph.D. in math doesn’t make you an expert on weight loss, so it’s not relevant.)

EXAMPLE 1: SOFTWARE
“The bad news is, you’re not alone. According to Facebook’s own data, less than 1% of your fanbase will ever see your posts, so it isn’t your imagination…all that work truly has been for NOTHING.”

EXAMPLE 2: WEIGHT LOSS BOOK/COURSE
[stats about obesity epidemic and tell the story about the friend who couldn’t fit into any of her dresses the week before her daughter’s wedding]

[NOTE: Resist the temptation to explain “How” your product or service works. Instead, focus on “WHAT” it does and the transformation/results it can deliver.]

[NOTE: For shorter explainer videos, or when the problem is clear and obvious, this section can be shortened or removed entirely.]

Step 6: Explain How it Works (provide the details, show the features and benefits, innoculate against known objections)

This is usually the longest step of a VSL script. Here, you’ll explain how your solution (the product or service you’re selling) creates the transformation/results you talked about in Step 4.

DO keep it brief. Your goal is to overcome any doubts that your solution works without overwhelming your viewers with all the details. Just describe or demonstrate that it does work, how it works, and what the customer will receive when they buy or sign up.

DON’T talk about any feature or concept that raises objections—unless you plan to address those objections in your video.

[This section is pretty straightforward…just briefly describe or demonstrate what the solution DOES, how it WORKS, and what the customer will RECEIVE when they buy/signup.]

[This section will also usually be the longest, but don’t let it drag on too long. Remember, people don’t buy products for the things they do, they buy products for the change they create.]

[Don’t get lost in the “weeds,” and don’t introduce a feature or concept that will introduce questions or objections you don’t intend to address.]

NOTE: Try to visualize the finished video as you write the script. What will it look like? Will there be music? Do you want words to appear onscreen when you say specific words? Do you want to switch from head-on to a screen-capture?

Make sure you leave clear notes for your production team. For example, if you want to put bullet points on the screen, write in the production notes, “Have these words appear when I say this.”

Step 7: Make the Offer (CTA #1—Gain) (restate the benefits, sweeten the deal with a bonus, tell them what to do next)

A short but effective call to action (CTA) restates the problem and the solution in 1 sentence, then tells viewers what to do next. We give you some examples below—use them as inspiration and adapt the CTA examples to fit your product or service.

EXAMPLE 1: SOFTWARE
“I think you get the idea…and I think you agree that SpyMaster 5000 gives us an unfair advantage…”

“Here’s what I want to do for you. I want to give you the same unfair advantage I have for only $10 -OR- I want you to have the same unfair advantage I have. All you have to do is start your free trial…”

EXAMPLE 2: WEIGHT LOSS BOOK/COURSE
“Until today, the Chocolate Cake Diet has been my little secret, but now I’m ready to share it with the world. To claim your copy, just click on the happy orange button below this video right now…”

[NOTE: A simple formula for short, but effective CTA has briefly restated both the problem and then the solution in one sentence, and then tell them what to do next, for example…

“So if you’re fed up with being fat, and you just want to eat chocolate cake all day, then get a copy of my book, ‘The Chocolate Cake Diet’ today by clicking on the link, below…”]

[IMPORTANT: Shorter, “Explainer-Style” sales videos will typically end at this step.]

Longer videos will have as many as 3 CTAs. This is the first of them and focuses on what the customer gains when they purchase. Here, you’ll restate the benefits and maybe sweeten the deal with a bonus, then tell them what to do next.

DO make sure you’re looking directly into the camera when you state your CTA in a head-on video.

DON’T be tempted to be artistic or creative in this step. Have a clear and direct CTA.

In the production notes, write, “[Presenter’s name] should look directly into the camera when saying this. Do not switch to a second camera.”

NOTE: Shorter, explainer-style sales videos will end here. If you want to create a VSL that’s 2 minutes or less, you’ll give 1 CTA, then you’re done.

Step 8: Give a Guarantee (eliminate any risk, tell them why they can’t lose)

A guarantee removes a significant objection your potential customer may have to buy now: what if it doesn’t work? Choose 1 of the examples in the template and adapt it for your product/service.

EXAMPLE 1: SOFTWARE
“We’re so confident the SpyMaster 5000 will help your business that we’re offering an unconditional, no-questions-asked, 30-day guarantee. In other words, if you aren’t happy for any reason, just let us know and we’ll give you your money back. We obviously don’t think it’ll come to that, but if you’re even the least bit worried if this will work for you, then put your mind at ease. You either get the results you want or you get your money back. It’s as simple as that!”

EXAMPLE 2: WEIGHT LOSS BOOK/COURSE
“And if you’re worried that this just another one of those ‘fad diets,’ then I have good news. Your purchase today is backed by our ‘Lose 3 or It’s Free Guarantee.’ In other words, if you don’t lose at least 3 pounds in your first 3 days, just let us know and you’ll receive a full and prompt refund…no questions asked.”

[NOTE: For shorter, “Explainer-style” videos, the guarantee can be left out of the video itself and covered in a guaranteed box on the page or order form, instead.]

Shorter videos don’t usually have a guarantee in the script. Instead, it’s presented on the page or order form in a guaranteed box.

Step 9: Make the Offer (CTA #2—Logic) (restate the benefits, remind them they can’t lose, tell them what to do next)

The 2nd CTA is logic-based. It’s a bit more subtle. You want to remind viewers that they can’t lose, then tell them what to do next.

For example…

“You’ve seen the results. It’s undeniable that this just flat-out works! And no matter what, your investment is fully guaranteed! So now it’s time to take that next step. Click the button below, and let’s get started right now.”

Or as we do in our Marketer-In-Residence example:

[This call to action is a bit more subtle and logic-based. For example…

“You’ve seen the results. It’s undeniable that this just flat-out works! And no matter what, your investment is fully guaranteed! So now it’s time to take that next step. Click the button below, and let’s get started right now.”]

DO look directly into the camera when you make your CTA (if this is a head-on video).

DON’T be tempted to be artistic or creative in this step. Have a clear and direct CTA.

In the production notes, write, “[Presenter’s name] should look directly into the camera when saying this. Do not switch to a second camera.”

Step 10: Give a Warning (inject scarcity, deadline, remind them of the cost of not taking action, etc.)

Now, to push people off the fence, you need to incentivize them to act. Inject scarcity or a deadline and remind them of the cost of not doing anything to solve their problem.

Select 1 of the options in the script below and adapt it to your offer.

There are three common types of scarcity that you can deploy within an offer…

OPTION 1: Stop Making the Same Mistake
“The silliest thing I see people doing is posting in social media when NO ONE IS WATCHING. With SpyMaster 5000, it’s impossible to make that rookie mistake. You really can’t afford to market online without this tool…”

OPTION 2: True Scarcity
“Warning, supplies are very limited, and thousands are being claimed every day, so don’t wait…”

or…

“Obviously we can’t keep doing this forever at this price, and supplies WILL run out…”

OPTION 3: Remove a Bonus/Premium
“These bonuses won’t last long, so to ensure you get [premium name] for free, you need to order now…”

Step 11: Make the Offer (CTA #3—Fear) (last chance, FOMO, final reminder, etc.)

This is the final CTA in a longer video. In this CTA, you’re leveraging fear. Here, you’ll draw a line in the sand by reminding viewers of the scarcity you just introduced and stirring up fear of missing out (FOMO), just as we do in our Marketer-In-Residence VSL by letting potential applicants know they only have 3 weeks to apply.

[This final call to action should draw a line in the sand, while at the same time evoking any scarcity that was just deployed in the previous step. For example…

“Ok, this is your last chance. This video is coming to a close, and when it does so will this opportunity. So what are you waiting for? Click the button below, and let’s get started right now.”]

DO make sure you’re looking directly into the camera when you state your CTA in a head-on video.

DON’T be tempted to be artistic or creative in this step. Have a clear and direct CTA.

In the production notes, write, “[Presenter’s name] should look directly into the camera when saying this. Do not switch to a second camera.”

Step 12: Social Proof (Optional) (close with customer stories/testimonials, intersperse throughout the video, include on-page)

This step is optional, but it can be a powerful way to overcome any lingering doubts your viewers may have.

The idea is to close with customer stories and testimonials. You may include them in the video or print them on the page below the video.

NOTE: If you have strong customer testimonials, use them throughout your video. You don’t have to wait till the end to share them. A strong story could be used as a hook in Step 1 or to explain how it works in Step 6. Just make sure they fit the flow of the template and weave seamlessly into your presentation.

[This section is optional and should only be used if you plan to close your video with a series of testimonials or customer stories]

That’s a wrap! Now it’s time to implement. Get to writing.

And remember what we said at the beginning about studying good VSLs? Look for the formulas they follow and incorporate and adapt them to your own VSLs. In the final module of this training, we do just that and examine some finished VSLs.

What’s Next?

Build a Landing Page & Promo Campaign for Your VSL

Once your script is final, it’s time to shoot your video!

And after you’ve shot your VSL, you’ll want to house it on a landing page and start sending traffic to that offer. One of the best ways to send traffic to your VSL is to create an email promo campaign.

With that in mind, your next steps are to build a landing page for your VSL and a promo campaign to drive traffic to your offer.