What Is A ‘VSL’ And What Is A ‘TSL’ In Digital Marketing?

What is a 'vsl'?
The thumbnail of Emily Lark’s video sales letter for her “Back to Life” program. Courtesy of erasemybackpain.org.


“VSL” And “TSL” Definitions

TSL’s and VSL’s are test-based sales letters and video sales letters, respectively.

This article will provide a basic description of each, along with relevant examples.


What Is A “TSL” In Digital Marketing?

TSL stands for text sales letter. Text Sales Letters are commonly referred to as simply sales letters.

Colorado State University gives the following definition of a Text Sales Letter:

A sales letter is a marketing tool that promotes a good or service. Its objective is to persuade the reader to buy what the letter offers. To be effective, its scope must describe a particular benefit the reader will gain by making the purchase, such as a problem solved or a need fulfilled.

Entrepreneur.com points out the following key rules for composing a sales letter:

  1. The letter should start with a provocative thought or idea – a “hook” – to grab the attention of the reader.

  2. Then, the letter should quickly introduce the reader to the top two or three benefits of doing business with the advertiser.

  3. The letter should end with a “strong argument that compels readers to respond”.

One of the more famous real-world examples of TSLs are the sales letters of world-renowned copywriter Gary Halbert. Halbert’s “Coat of Arms” letter – a letter template aimed to sell recreated family crests – is among his most celebrated creations, and generated millions of dollars via direct mail marketing in the pre-internet days.


What Is A VSL In Digital Marketing?

Digital marketers define VSLs, or video sales letters, in a variety of ways. Here’s how HubSpot defines VSLs:

A video sales letter is a video that pitches your product or service to a prospect. Like a traditional sales letter, your video sales letter will grab your prospect’s attention, discuss their pain points, showcase your product as a solution, and inspire action. Ideally, your video will also establish credibility and discuss social proof.

Video sales letters are a modern form of traditional sales letters enhanced via video content.

Usman Hijazi, a sales professional at HubSpot, says that VSLs can “cut through the endless noise buyers are increasingly surrounded with”, creating “a relatable and more real experience” to prompt a buying decision.

Video sales letters are commonly used by businesses on the ClickBank internet store and affiliate marketplace. Prominent marketers and business people such as Emily Lark heavily rely on VSLs to market their products or services.

Here is a video from Stephen Mills breaking analysis the secrets of a successful video sales letter:

And here is Miles Beckler discussing important concepts relative to VSL’s:





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