You sit awake at night, tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep. Finally, you give in, get up and go down the stairs, switch on the TV and start flicking through channels.
Sooner or later you come across a programme digging into the benefits of juicing, or explaining this new exercise regime and innovative product with a list of promises, or how this new foundation makes your skin look radiant.
Welcome to the world of infomercials.
These are long form advertising videos designed to get you to pick up the phone and buy. In the UK, they are are usually found in the twilight hours or on early morning TV; slots where it’s hard for channels to find advertisers because not so many people are watching. However, does that mean they are not still viable and profitable?
Your average spot commercial, the 20-30 second slot you get while waiting for the next act of Westworld or the latest James Bond movie to start, is created to influence thinking, nurture brand awareness and form a certain attitude to a product or service. The infomercial is different – it’s a direct marketing technique designed to produce a specific outcome, inspiring the viewer to buy right there and then.
Most Brits immediately think of over-excited presenters reading off auto cue going on about why you need this neckless. Yes there are lots of infomercials like that and most shopping channels take this form. However there is more than meets the eye in the new wave of infomercial thinking in the UK.
A good infomercial will feels like an actual programme or news report or day time telly segment. It will delivery informative content that the viewer really does want to know about and really is interested in. The viewer will go away remembering what they watched and how it applies to them. This is like an extension of the classic web marketing tool of low hanging fruit, the free e-book that really does deliver, the viewer really will understand how and why the product would work for them, and they won’t mind the selling message since today’s viewers are savvy enough to know how marketing works. You know at the end of a really good webinar there will be a sales moment, and you really don’t mind because that company or person has just given you some great information. Lets take a closer look;
The Benefits of Infomercials
The infomercials that work are entertaining, informative and build credibility with the viewing public. You may look at one in the early hours of the morning and think it’s tacky and cheap, but these marketing activities have normally been produced with a highly specific demographics in mind.
The basic point is this: An infomercial works, if you design it right.
More Time with Customers:
If you’re selling a product or service, you want to spend as much time in front of your customer as possible. You want to tell them how great your product is and how it is going to benefit them. You’ll certainly want to show examples of people, just like them, who have used your product and gotten great results. You can do all this and much more with an infomercial.
It’s Cost Effective:
Long form advertisements generally have lower production costs than your average glossy spot commercial. For example, you might have a chef standing in a studio kitchen showing you the delights of a new range of pots and pans or the latest hi-tech juicer, working through everything you can do with it. There’s no jetting off to the Caribbean or using CGI to get your 30 second brand message across so people remember it.
Advertising slots during unsocial airtime are also relatively cheap compared to prime time. TV channels are always looking to boost their revenue in this area. This space is often ignored by many media and advertising businesses (though that is beginning to change) which means there’s an opportunity to get knock down offers if you pitch at the right time.
It’s Highly Targeted:
As we’ve said, infomercials allow you to make a much stronger pitch than you can with an average 30-second ad. Because of this you can target all your benefits and features and really ram home why people should buy your product right now. Watch any number of infomercials currently on UK TV and you’ll begin to understand how these products are tailored to a specific demographic.
You’ll Boost Sales:
Who’s watching what the US marketing execs generally call ‘remnant space’? Actually, you’d be surprised.
There are plenty of people viewing these infomercials and if you can make your ad engaging enough you’re likely to keep their attention. The evidence says that a good infomercial will boost sales either at the time it is shown or later when customers purchase through other retail outlets.
An infomercial has the power to stick in the mind more than a quick 30 second ad, simply because it hits all the right buttons and reveals all the benefits. In America, where infomercials are more widespread, research has shown that they can create average revenues of around $25 million for many companies.
Here’s the thing: Millions of people are still up and awake at one or two in the morning or get up early and switch on the TV and they’re all potential customers. Grab their attention and you could boost your sales significantly and achieve a great ROI for your efforts.
Using Infomercials in Your Marketing Mix
Of course, we’re not saying that you must throw all your advertising budget into making an infomercial but it should be considered as part of the marketing mix. They’ve been show to add power to spot ad television marketing campaigns and they give your company a great way to show the viewing public exactly what your product or service can do for them.
These mini product episodes create demand and interest and the good news is TV isn’t the only place they can appear. Video sharing outlets such as YouTube allow your infomercial to reach an even wider audience and you can combine them with social media and other marketing campaigns.
Infomercials don’t have to be made in a studio either. As mentioned the trend is to create infomercials that actually feel more like a programme, documentary style content that adds great value for the viewer. Not only can these be an interesting and engaging way to present a product or service, they are also a brilliant way to boost trust in your brand. Another way to add interest, of course is to create a news infomercial that appears like a news story but is actually designed to sell a product or brand.
The Key Ingredients of a Great Infomercial
- What does this customer need and how can I fulfil that need? It’s the essence of the creative and what drives the content of any good infomercial. Does your customer want to get fitter? Do they want to become healthier? Do they want it quick and easy? Do they want it simpler? Everything in your infomercial is basically about discovering that need and driving home a great solution.
- Make sure that each second of your infomercial attracts attention. The reason for this is that many of us channel hop, particularly late at night. That means your ad needs to engage the viewer wherever they land in the timeline. That’s why infomercials tend to run in cycles of 6-8 minutes, repeating the selling points over three or four times during a half hour slot. That doesn’t mean you run your ad in a loop but that you list the same benefits in a slightly different and equally engaging way.
- Finally, within all this is creating a sense of urgency. They need this in their life and they need to buy it now. Infomercials that carry this off generally make better sales. That call to action is all important, a limited offer is the standard.
Producing an infomercial that hits the mark is not easy and takes a good deal of thought and development. Get it right, however, and work out your best non-prime time slots and you could well boost sales and engagement for your product by a significant amount.
If you would like to find out how you can reach more customers using infomercials and the many ways we can help you design, script and produce content that hits the mark, contact our friendly team at Purple Square Productions today.