|This is an expansion of an earlier article – if you haven’t already I encourage you to read the original post first.
If you want to read the entire Video Sales Letter article series from the beginning, start here…
If we’re honest, deep down we all secretly want to peek behind the curtain.
No, not your neighbors curtain using your new infra-red, high-powered binoculars… That’s creepy.
I’m talking about getting to watch or listen to people’s personal stories – both their successes and that moment they slip and fall and we try not laugh until we know they’re ok.
Although I’m not a fan of watching the un-Real Housewives spit and claw, I do admit to feeling proud of my less than tidy house because I watched a Hoarder unearth a dead cat from beneath a pile of used toilet paper.
Maybe it’s just that we all like to hear real stories. We like to know about people’s roots, where they were before they got here, and the trials they endured along the way.
It’s why we watch DVD extras, read celebrity autobiographies, and, yes, watch trashy reality TV shows.
And it’s that innate desire to look behind the curtain that you can tap into with your Video Sales Letter (VSL).
We concluded Act One of your VSL by agitating the frustration that your viewers are feeling because of a specific pain point and revealed, for the first time, a juicy hint that you have a solution that’s going to end all of their angst (you can read the full article on this subject HERE).
In Act Two, you’re going to invite your audience to pause for a moment while you build anticipation for the main event, but doing so in a way that maintains their attention.
If your VSL was a movie, this would be the brief respite where the hero (or heroine) has a moment to take a breather and reflect on how they got to their current position.If you’re a fan a cheesy flashback sequences, this is where you would do it.
It’s also one of the longest sequences in your VSL, taking up roughly 15-30 slides. Use this section to teach your audience something valuable and transform their understanding of what’s possible.
Your Personal Story (or a Case Study)
Stories are always effective for marketing and sales strategies, especially when they involve a certain amount of “curtain lifting” admissions. People LOVE to feel like they’re getting to hear your personal secrets and confessions. Everybody loves good dirt.
So, this is the point in your VSL when you tell YOUR story, reveal your dirt. The story of how your – not yet revealed – solution was born.
*In this article, I’m encouraging you to relate your Personal Story. But, if you don’t feel like this is going to work in your instance, you can, instead, substitute a Case Study where you tell the story of one of your most successful clients. The principles are mostly the same – just modify accordingly.
To illustrate how effective this approach is, consider the two following versions of what is, essentially, the same story…
When engineers worked on the very first iPod, they labored long and hard to meet Steve Job’s strict requirements. They gradually made the device smaller and smaller until it became the compact technological marvel we all remember.
When engineers working on the very first iPod completed the prototype, they presented their work to Steve Jobs for his approval. Jobs played with the device, scrutinized it, weighed it in his hands, and promptly rejected it. It was too big.
The engineers explained that they had to reinvent inventing to create the iPod, and that it was simply impossible to make it any smaller. Jobs was quiet for a moment. Finally he stood, walked over to an aquarium, and dropped the iPod in the tank. After it touched bottom, bubbles floated to the top.
“Those are air bubbles,” he snapped. “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”
Quoted from The Atlantic.
Apocryphal or not, you have to admit the “story” version is much more interesting and way more memorable!
This is the kind of story that needs to find its way into your “behind the curtain” sequence.
You don’t have to do a complete A-Z of your entire career. Be selective and choose the most interesting moments (the highest highs and the lowest lows – plus some comedic moments if you have ‘em).
Here’s a rough outline of how you might present your story. You don’t have to hit every beat, but this is a tried and trusted formula for this stage of a VSL.
- The Bad Times: What happened to you? Before you discovered/invented your solution, what state were you in?
- The Worst Times: How did these events affect your feelings and your outlook? How desperate did you feel?
- The “Aha” Moment: What was the epiphany that changed everything? What did you or someone else do or say that triggered your “light bulb” moment?
- The Truth: What did you learn from that moment? What truths did you have to accept and what lies did you finally reject?
- There’s Hope: Refer back to Plot Point #7 and describe how you began to apply some of the cool-sounding strategies you referenced. Again, mention the name of the strategy, but don’t get into the specifics (you can read the full article on this subject HERE).
- The Result: Describe the amazing effects of using these strategies and all the different ways it positively impacted your life.
- Back to Now: Bring the story back to the present day and describe your present situation. You don’t have to pretend EVERYTHING is perfect – keep the story real and honest – but emphasize how much things have improved since your situation at the beginning of the story.
Plot point #8 is an uber important part of your VSL, so work hard to make this section meaningful, powerful, but still reasonably compact. And practice your delivery until it gives your audience legit goosebumps!
By the end of this segment your audience should be able to relate to your story, at least in your original, sub-optimal state, and be starting to dare to hope that they might be able to experience a success story of their own.
In the next article, we’re going to race through plot points 9-12 in which, exactly as your audience is beginning to anticipate, YOUR story will start to become THEIR story.
Did you know that you can use WebinarJam to record your VSL? Yup! No audience necessary! WebinarJam provides all the tools you need to record a stellar VSL, including slide presentations, video clip injections, even customer feedback on the bottom of the screen! Check out all the awesome features here and make your VSL a polished, professional conversion machine.