Whether you’re watching them bleary-eyed at three in the morning, or curled up on the couch mid-afternoon during a sick day, there’s something addictive about infomercials.
Maybe it’s the bewitching way the celebrity host narrates the all the muscles The Wave tones while the smiling fitness models barely break a sweat. Perhaps it’s the effortless way the Yoshi Blade slices with chef-like precision—and never rusts or needs sharpened.
One thing’s for sure: no matter how you feel about the products featured in infomercials, the format captivates and sells. That’s why it’s time to tune and take notes—your marketing copy can learn a thing or two from one of the most boisterous marketing mediums around:
Present a problem. You know the drill. The screen goes black and white. A woman opens her fridge, takes out a jar of her grandmother’s homemade jam, but alas! She cannot unscrew the lid, no matter how hard she tries! She throws her hands up in frustration and surrender, the succulent contents of the jar so close, yet so far away.
Infomercials don’t beat around the bush when it comes to their target market’s problems. Instead, they directly paint a scene of the problems their consumers are facing—the problem their product just so happens to solve. Ask yourself what problems your customers face and why do they need your product?
You either have to create demand or enhance demand for what you sell. By pointing out that you understand their problems, you create trust, which primes your audience for the sale.
Promise a life-changer. Here’s the part where the screen returns to full color. The woman from the previous scenario stands at the head of the dinner table, having just opened a jar of relish to offer her family. Thanks to the Jar-O-Matic, an automatic jar-opening appliance, she never has to fret or strain herself again to open another pesky jar. In fact, it’s so safe and easy, even her children can use it!
The point is clear: using this product will make you—and your family—happier. That’s the kind of large promise that gets attention and keeps it.
To recreate this sense in your copy, focus on the benefits your prospects will experience from your product or service. Although all infomercials address the features of their revolutionary and convenient items, they always attach them to benefits—and those are the elements that really sell.
Create the fear of loss. There’s a real science to building the fear of scarcity and inducing a sense of urgency, but infomercials have mastered these devices. When promoting a new product or service, incite immediate desire in your prospects by showing them how their lives will improve with your newest innovation.
Another way to create urgency is to attach a special offer or promotion (hint: act now, and you’ll receive not one, but TWO…). This limited-time offer only works if it is in fact limited. Either let your prospects know only the first X number of people will receive the offer, or give it a specific expiration date. The key is to make the offer scarce, and therefore, more valuable to the consumer.
Repeat key phrases. If you listen to an infomercial, you will notice that they never refer to the product as “it.”Infomercial copywriters know that repetition is the key to branding and product recall, so they repeat the name as often as possible.
If you are writing a conversational style piece, or informational copy, it may not make sense to repeat the product name throughout. However, if you are writing copy to sell or increase relevance with the search engines, think infomercial.
You can definitely go overboard with repetition, but keep relevance, branding, and recall in mind when writing sales copy and be sure to use the relevant phrase throughout.
Products benefit from the authority of an expert. Building trust is an all-important component of landing a sale, and people tend to trust endorsements from physicians, scientists, or other experts.
Use expert testimony when applicable to your product or service, and when in doubt, remember that past-client testimonials or case studies work just as well!
What infomercials always tempt you to pick up the phone? Share your guilty-pleasure in the comments below!