Five Essential Things You Need For a Killer VSL

Five Essential Things You Need For a Killer VSL

By Kevin Clarke Posted on 17 

What I have learned watching thousands of hours of winning VSLs about making one that stands out.

In a world clouded with anticipation, I stand in front of the cooker, listening to the sizzle as I wait in earnest anticipation for my treat. 

I’ve discovered the perfect dish–the one that is rare, and is just right for a movie-time treat. 

Nachos in hand, I get cosey. It’s that time again for another exciting episode of VSL.

Ok then, yes a bit dramatic on my part (more on that later on). Truth is,  I don’t actually watch VSL relays the way I would watch a movie relay, however, I have found some similarities between both forms (yep–I referred to a VSL as a form of art).

So what we are going to do today is this, we are going to sprinkle some of that“magical movie dust” as we plunge into the big five mistakes you can easily make when you are creating your VSL.

Not everyone is aware that VSL stands for “Video Sales Letter.” A VSL is by far one of the best ways to grab the attention of an audience–especially in this world that is consumed with content where consumers are bombarded with information to snack on and chew. 

VSLs can connect and grab a consumer in ways that even the most catchy headlines and most breathtaking content cannot. VSLs opens the door to a higher volume of traffic channels and performs better with mobile audiences–which has increasingly become important as mobile continues to surpass the desktop market. (come on, lets be honest now, does anyone even use a desktop if they aren’t in the office nowadays?) 

VSLs come in a wide range of variations. From a quick 10 - 15 second pitch at the top of a web site page to 1 hour classic selling you a course on how to make 7-figure VSLs… the time limits are completly open to your liking. For now lets focus on the long from VSL. ClickBank tends to see the most success for both affiliates and sellers who use long forms of VSLs. 

Now then, let’s get into the major five things every good VSL needs.

  1. A Great Story
    Like every movie with a lasting impression, a VSL must have a great story. The first step to creating a great story is focusing on the VSL copy. Also similarly to the movies, even the best effects and production can’t save a script that is total rubbish. (I’m looking at you Sucker Punch.) Yet, on the other side, a great script shines even in the lowest of production environments.

    VSLs, and really all things marketing, require good copy before impressive production. Otherwise, you’ll invest hours upon hours in production (and likely plenty of money) on something that will never grab an audience the way you really want it to.

    With a long type of sales page, you will have the abillty to easily test a wide range of headlines and CTAs. You will also be able to optimise the copy without investing time and money into a VSL that will never convert.

    Once you are at the place of confidence knowing that you have a copy thats winning, don’t put to much thought into stuff. Create what Digital Marketer calls an “unatractive VSL” using PowerPoint presentations with your own personal voice over. Test this primitive VSL and do it on the cheap so you can scale into a refined VSL.

    Keep at the fourfront of your mind that there is one thing you can not leave out of your  script for it to capture conversions… mad drama. 
  1. A Splash of Drama
    Picture how bad The Matrix would have been without the Agents? Or what if Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman was not the Escort and Richard Gere was not a man in a legal but hurtful business? Or what if Biggie Smalls just stayed on the streets slinging rocks?

    These movies would of been crap. Who would want to watch them? They most probably would never have existed. DRAMA is needed to push the story. Movies alone wont do it, but in VSLs as well.

    However, unlike movies, there is little to no time to waste building up tension in your VSL. Inside cinema, a great build up is celebrated when acted upon well. Movies such as The Mask or Harry Potter do an outstanding job of building up tension until the  final act, leaving viewers captivated whilst their bums are on seats..

    The freedom to take time in cunjouring a story is truly kept for movies alone. Movies viewers are fully committed to watching one thing with a minimum of 80% attention span for at least 90 minutes. They are locked in and ready for the climax.

    VSLs are different. When a customer visits your landing page, their attention heavily targeted on from all types of sources. From triends to family, work, social media, down to bank account, the question they had to answer regarding that stalkerfrom 10 years ago, a new email, advertss! The list goes on. This means they are most probably going to be more patiencent and see if a VSL will become interesting. As a VSL creator, you have roughly five seconds to keep someones attention.

That is why its essential to start every VSL when it reaches the peak of DRAMA. Focus your inner Tyler Perry and begin with drama like he did in A FALL FROM GRACE, or make it irresistibly action packed. No doubt, the best VSLs always start at the peak of the drama.


As I was tumbling helplessly to the ground I could picture my life flashing before me. Was this really it…”


“I felt the freezing cold steel of the 9 millimetre on my temple. quivering, and feeling so far gone I didn’t think I could go on if something didn’t come to save me…”


“suddenly I arose in the midnight hour to the sound of my Son screaming. I then knew something was terribly wrong…”


These are all great examples of high drama leads for a VSL. Let add some intensity and allow it to do its work as its something that the viewer simply can’t deny in its power.


Excellent! You have captured the essence. But how long will the audience stay captured?…

  1. VSL Length
    The most common question I get asked when it comes to VSLs is, “How long should it be?”

    Here’s how I answer every single time:

    “As long as you need to sell the product.”

    You can sell the features of a product in, simple video filled with style. Look no further than the “As featured on TV” product line. Exhibit A: An enthusiastic person persuading me how I can finally make get them 6 pack abs in 1 month eating MORE!

    The price is low, the marketing is bostful, and the  goal is my commitment to buy without second guessing. There are no upsells, the "average order value"i sn’t going to be very high, and–if they want to keep selling 2The Six Pack Abs Formula" –the volume needs to be MEGA.

    This doesn’t work for high-end supplements or digital products

    “But why?” You may be wondering toyourself,

    Simply because when you sell digital products and high-end supplements, it requires the sales of a ideal that makes sense, commonly known concept, not just the product alone. The concept of the diet can’t really be explained in a quick video. Likewise, the concept of spending $1000 a month for a 3-month supply of a fat loss suppliment cannot be done in a quick 5-minute video.

    Lets look at movies as an analogy, this same concept also applies. Movies with simple concepts like animated films are around 90 minutes in duration. The depth of the concept,determines the length of the movie. Blockbuster films are on average 30 minutes longer, taking up about 120 minutes. These movies are known to win awards Grammy awards and make much more money.

    When it comes to concepts being sold, it is essential that the concept goes deeper. This can can only take place when a storyline meets education in a union unique to long form sales copy. And while at times you can sell a product or service without the long form VSL by using other tactics (such as adding a free-plus-shipping Business Training Course), you won’t get the same AOV when it comes to your upsells.

    That is because when someone makes the commitment to purschase your concept rather than just tangible goods, they are putting their trust in your ability to deliver the expected results to them a solution to solve their problem. They will want more. This means they are also gladly willing to pay more for it.

    I will say that the most successful VSLs that I have seen range from 45-80 minutes in length. you can do more or less, this is just the area that I see the highest conversions at.

    Now that you have just the rifght story, with the right amount of drama, at the right length, you want to also make sure that your VSL and sales page look great.
  1. Bad Production Will Destroy Your VSL

    I don’t expect anyone to spend a lot of money to produce your VSL. In fact, a high budget doesn’t mean good production at all. Just make sure that what you do fits the feel of the sales letter and the page.

    If you are going to keep things simple, commit to a VSL that will pinpoint the text and story. This is where a good voice actor and copywriter can do great things. If you want to invest in lots of footage, a real actor with live shoots, go all out. Don’t take short cuts with obvious or cheesy-looking stock images that are repetitive or look poor. Essentially, don’t let your production fall in the mediocre category..

    Mediocre production will hurt conversions all the time. I truly cannot think of a top-performing VSL that lived in Mediocre land. 
  1. A Busy Page Doesn’t Convert, It Distracts
    I will leave you with this Iimportant lesson. Consider where you want the viewers focus to be all the times during your VSL.

    Standar you want your viewers to be watching the actual VSL until you present the CTA. So it would make perfect sense that the more content you place on  to the page around the video, the more you scatter your viewer’s attention.  Scattering attention is not good because you need as much attention as you can get from them on your VSL. If your page is too busy, the they won’t be as bought in and they won’t be as likely to convert.

    Don’t display the CTA. Don’t add testimonials. And,  Filling out the borders around the video with text or images is a no no.. If you are concerned about keeping people on the page, use your time on your video not the content around it.

    I  attended a training session at the YouTube Offices.  During the training, YouTube had a presentation from their conversion optimisation and testing team which they shared. This information is very interesting regarding the production of ads that worked.

    First of all, ads that have more  changes on the frames convert better. They keep you focused which keeps their viewers engaged. Remember all those competing attention grabbers I mentioned earlier? This is how you challenge those.

    Secondly, pay close attension to the face and speed up the pace. Make sure your shots are tight that are laser focused on people’s facial expressions to enhance the overall feel of video itself. This is important for small screens. Then, the fast pace will capture and keep the viewers attention.

    And last but not least, add in brilliant text! If you want to emphasise and elaborated a point, you need to show text on the video. When text is put in front of us that only offers a limited time to read it, the viewer must then  read it as it as it appears .This is one of the reasons I remember so much more after watching videos

On the subject of attention, you have made it this far, so let me recap on what you need to make a killer VSL: 

  • You need good copy first.
  • You need to start your video at the peak of a dramatic story. 
  • You need to spend around 45-80 minutes selling a concept. 
  • You need to avoid poor production and pick either high-concept or low-concept production. but not the mediocre ground.
  • You need to avoid making your page busy and distracting so viewers can focus on your video. 

When you want more examples, or if you are curious where to find the best VSLs use the ClickBank Marketplace to find them.  

We automatically sort the top offers in REAL TIME and put them to the top so you don’t have to search. Look at them, understand them, and create your own high-converting VSL.