|This is an expansion of an earlier article – if you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the original post first.
To read the entire Video Sales Letter article series from the beginning, start here…
Humans are complex, emotional beings. Their individual reactions to various circumstances can be predictable, or not.
Some of us respond to grief with anger, personal turmoil with denial, and bad news by face planting into the biggest cherry cheesecake we can find (No? Just me, then?).
The reason I mention any of this is because this particular part of your Video Sales Letter (VSL) is a very delicate one. Plot points 5-7 must be handled with a keen understanding of what’s happening in the mind of the average viewer [i]
In plot points 3 and 4 we got the audience excited about the possibility of a brighter future, only to throw a bucket of cold water on them by agitating thoughts about the troubles they’re experiencing and strongly implying that these problems are going to get worse (you can read the full article on this subject HERE).
Those steps are necessary to heighten the viewer’s emotional state, making them more acutely aware of the need for your, as yet unspecified, solution.
But, there’s a big BEWARE sign hanging over this portion of your VSL, followed by an even bigger EXCLAMATION MARK!!!
When you successfully persuade someone to imagine what it’ll be like in the future as their problems escalate and conditions deteriorate, you place them in a delicate emotional state. And if you don’t address it fast enough, your viewer could start to feel…
- Depressed – blaming themselves for their predicament.
- Overwhelmed – becoming distracted from your presentation.
- Annoyed – directing their anger at you for forcing them to face a situation they prefer to avoid.
If you allow these emotions to fester and grow, you’re going to lose your audience. They’ll become so distracted by their feelings of negativity that they’ll tune out, metaphorically and, eventually, literally.
It’s essential that you emphasize the seriousness of the problems your product is going to resolve, but it’s just as necessary that you immediately redirect those intense feelings into something less cataclysmic.
Plot points 5-7 are designed just for this purpose.They are:
- You Are Not Alone
- It’s Not Your Fault
- There’s Hope!
Let’s dig in…
Plot Point #5: You Are Not Alone!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the antidote for the negativity is to immediately reveal your product and explain how it will fix everything.
But, you’d also be wrong.
Lifting the curtain on your product while your viewer is in a dark place is NOT going to have a happy outcome. Instead, you need to reassure your viewers that their fears are valid, but not insurmountable.
You need to leave their sense of the seriousness of the problem intact, while gently lifting them into a more positive, receptive frame of mind.
Begin by pointing out they haven’t been singled out and they’re not the only person in the world with this particular problem. Try and find some accurate statistics that demonstrate the problem to be worsening, not just for the individual viewer but for a huge group of people.
Then talk about how the problem is being discussed in mainstream media. Or, how it ISN’T being acknowledged, if that’s the case.
“Some say it’s not a problem (even though it clearly is) and those that recognize the issue don’t know what to do about it.”
Your goal with this plot point is to stop people obsessing about how they got into this bad situation in the first place.
Having the feeling that you’re experiencing problems because you’re uniquely stupid, weak, or unlucky is a horrible feeling. Making it clear to your viewers that they’re just one of many to fall foul of this tribulation allows them to feel comforted, even spirited, by the idea that they’re now part of something. They belong to the group.
It’s an awesome truth that even if your viewer is in a predicament because of their own actions (drinking too much soda, for instance, resulting in becoming borderline diabetic), being reminded that many, many others are in the same boat, is a comfort.
“Wow! Of course! It’s not just me making this mistake…”
This is the sentiment you’re attempting to conjure.
Plot Point #6: “It’s Not Your Fault”
This is the big one.
Your audience is not to blame for their predicament and, even if they are a tiny bit, the bulk of the blame resides elsewhere.
Refer back to the enemy you unmasked in Drowning Your Audience. How did the enemy have help?
- What common myths have been propagating for years, even decades?
- What confusion in the media or the public has made things worse?
- What misinformation have so-called experts been peddling?
- What historical changes have allowed this problem to surface?
That last bullet is a great one on which to expand.
“Your parents didn’t suffer from this problem because the great sugar conspiracy was only in its infancy.”
This plot point, just like the one before it, takes the sting out of the despair you’ve been agitating and gets the audience to focus on the pain rather than on their own previous behaviors and missteps.
You want your audience fully focused on the problem, without obsessing over any feelings of hopelessness.
Plot Point #7: There’s Hope!
Now your audience is ready to receive their first tentative introduction to your solution.
This is still not a full reveal – if anything, it’s a tease. It’s an acknowledgment of what your audience has already suspected…
You have an answer to their prayers!
Resist the temptation to name or show your product and, instead, reveal some of the concepts that your product uses to ease their pain (or enhance their pleasure). But be vague – this still isn’t the right time to be specific.
The trick to pulling off a partial reveal without giving too much away is to give the concepts catchy names and focus on the results they provide rather than the mechanics of the strategies or product features.
|The Space Invader: Follow this simple strategy just once or twice a week to re-engage your sensitivity to insulin.
The Protein Puncher: This key group of foods will restrict your calories by as much as 75% without producing unbearable hunger pains.
The Gut Girdle: This technique is PROVEN to shrink your stomach size and curb your appetite – it’s like a non-surgical gastric bypass!
Aim for 3-5 reveals with awesome-sounding names, but be sure not to reveal the name of the overall product. Just introduce a handful of concepts and move through them quickly, so people don’t have time to become distracted, thinking too much about any one element or convincing themselves that this is going to involve too much work.
Notice in that last example, I used and highlighted the word “PROVEN”? Try and use something similar for at least one of your concepts so you can introduce the idea that your product is not speculative…
Be brief with this plot point. Don’t give away too much. You’re whetting the appetite, not satiating it.
The end of plot point #7, in a sense, concludes the first act of your VSL. If your presentation were a movie, this would be the point where the hero has just narrowly escaped disaster and has a moment of respite before the plot propels them forward again.
This, too, is a chance for your viewers to take a breath.
Not too much. You don’t want them getting distract… SQUIRREL! Just kidding. A little Up humor for my fellow Disney/Pixar peeps. Anyhoo, think of this moment, at the end of plot point #7, as the point where you make a slight shift in pace and tone.
Your audience needs to be ready for the moment when you bare your soul…
*************************************************************************[i] Obviously, not EVERYONE reacts the same way. If you respond to bad news by working out like a maniac, I kind of hate and admire you at the same time. What we’re talking about here is what a TYPICAL response may be.
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