Amateur Video Outsells Professional Salesletter

An original graphic by Michael W. Campbell that displays the article’s headline or benefit to the viewer. © Copyright 2021 Michael Warren Campbell.
Author: Michael Warren Campbell – Reading Time: 4 min 52 sec.

Here’s how a video with bad lighting, poor framing, and no production value outsold a $10,000 sales letter by more than 300%.

Ask any copywriter, and they’ll say that words are the most important thing on a sales page. The headline is critical, followed by subheads and copy that’s peppered with bullet points.

Ask a newspaper or magazine publisher, and they’ll tell you the headline is most important. Followed by the photo, caption, and then the copy. The subheads help direct the eye to important sections, but it’s the headline and caption that sell magazines.

I have to disagree because I’ve tested and proven it false on more than one occasion. The important things are what you say and how you say it, not the medium you use.

My friend had a PPC (pay per click) training course that he wanted to sell, but he was full of self-doubt. He’s an average-looking guy who’s short, balding, and stocky.

He thought that he needed a “professional” sales letter to sell his product. So he hired a well-known copywriter for $10,000.

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When I read the sales letter, I found it repulsive. The copy was full of tired cliches that writers lean on when tired or uninspired. When they don’t care enough to become educated about their customer’s products.

The copy promised to “blow my income through the roof.” It would “skyrocket my sales,” among other hyped-up promises. There was line after line of hyperbole. Claims like “becoming successful overnight” and “barely lift a finger.” “Cash will flow like water from a firehose because of this closely guarded secret system that’s never been made public until now.

Yawn! You gotta be kidding. What a load of crap!

Why do “professional” copywriters continue to produce such drivel? It’s because the old copywriting books, produced up until the 1990s, said to do it this way. And the chances are these phrases still work on the sick, naive, gullible and elderly.

Hype doesn’t work anymore. We’ve been blasted with sales messages through all forms of media since birth. BS meters are on FULL alert, and we are experts at ignoring the predictable. This is why no one should use hyperbole, superlatives, or unsubstantiated claims when selling.

I suggested that my friend sell his product with a four-minute video instead of the sales letter. Of course, he resisted, stating that he wasn’t confident about his appearance.

I suggested that he give it a try because people are busy and want to know what you have in four minutes or less. Try it! Do a split test to see which converts the best.

The Resulting Video Crushed the Salesletter

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the video anymore, but here’s what happened. The video production was awful. My friend made the video in the living room with no professional gear. He put a pile of books on his coffee table, put his laptop on top, opened the lid, and started recording while sitting on his couch.

The camera was at a weird angle, and it cut off the top half of his head. The lighting stunk because he opened his drapes and used whatever light was in the room. The audio was echoey and quiet because it was the mic built into the computer.

You would think a video this bad would kill sales, but it didn’t. I told my client to run it as is and do a split test. With nothing more than a buy now button below it, the homemade video outperformed the “professional” sales letter 3-1. How crazy is that?

If you’d like to try this for yourself, I suggest it. Go ahead and write your best sales letter and split test it against a homemade video. The test result will speak for itself. And if you’re anything like my friend here, you’ll have three times the revenue because of it.

Michael Warren Campbell

P. S.

If you’d like a little more background on the story, I’ve provided it below. Try this humble “tell don’t sell” model because it builds trust every time you do it. State the features, benefits, limitations, and differentiating factors, so that your audience can make better purchase decisions.

My Advice for the Video

  1. Be open, honest, and transparent.
  2. Be humble and be yourself.
  3. Don’t use hype of any kind.
  4. Don’t use superlative words.
  5. Simply tell them what you have.
  6. Show proof of what you’re doing.
  7. Then invite them to your group.

As for the production, I suggested that the video have three parts. Start with a talking head intro. Followed by a screen capture video demo. Then conclude with a short talking head with a risk reversal guarantee and call to action.

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Talking Head Introduction

Tell them your name. Don’t sell. Just tell them what you have. Say that you’re not any smarter than they are. You just figured a few things out.

Screen Capture Show and Tell

Show a screen capture video showing your current results. Make it useful but incomplete. Show 70% of a few concepts, but leave about 30% of each one out. This teasing entices the viewer to want to know more. Show live numbers, PPC campaigns, or test results if possible.

Talking Head Conclusion

Close the loop by restating what you said in the beginning. That you’re not any smarter than the viewer, you just figured a few things out. If you can do this, anyone can.

Tell them that you have a 60-day money-back guarantee, so the only thing they have to lose is a little time to try this out.

Say if they like what they saw in the screen capture video, it’s 1% of what they’ll find inside. If you want to know everything I know, I hand it to you inside the membership site.

So click the join button below, and I’ll see you on the other side.


Not all products can be sold in this way, but many of them can. Many businesses do ‘what’s in the box’ videos, where they show the product. They list the features, following each with a single benefit. They work wonders because they build trust, which leads to more sales.

Videos are even more compelling if people buy something personal from you, like a membership or training materials. Customers want to be confident. To be confident, you need to build trust. To build trust, they need to see you, hear your voice, and identify with your story. You must tell them why you’re doing this.

Once you have their attention, show them what you have and what you can do for them. Conclude the video by looking viewers straight in the eye and telling them what you want them to do next, in the form of a call to action.

If you told your story well, they will follow your request, click the buy button, and become customers. And if you give them continual value, many will become loyal customers for life.

P. P. S.

What about you? Have you ever made video sales letters? What was the customer’s reaction to them? Do you have any tips that you can share in addition to this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

To chat about this article, message me @dmcorp on Twitter or dynamic888 on Skype. Please share it with your friends, colleagues, coworkers, and anyone else that might enjoy it. Thank you!

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