All you Need is a Phone and a Credit Card
If you're a night owl, insomniac or a new mother, you're probably well versed in the wide range of products that are pedaled on late night television. Chances are you've also picked up the phone and had your credit card ready.
Fitness programs and exercise equipment are some of the top sellers, along with skin care products and small appliances. CD compilations, psychic hotlines and adult chat lines have also been successfully marketed through infomercials. Maybe you still have a ThighMaster stored away somewhere.
The most succesful infomercials sell millions of their products over the phone, online and eventually in stores. While the merchandise or services may be different, the one minute, two minute or half hour television commercials have many things in common.
Are you ready for the secrets of best selling infomercials? Operators are standing by.
Celebrity Power Sells
Your Mom may like Meaningful Beauty skin care products as much as Cindy Crawford, but Cindy's endorsement is what makes the product sell.
Over the years Jane Fonda has made the call to fitness, George Foreman introduced viewers to healthy grilling, Dianne Warwick hawked the Psychic Friends Network and quarterback Fran Tarkenton teamed up with Tony Robbins to promote personal power.
Sometimes the infomercials themselves turn their pitchman into celebrities.
Vince Offer was a little known comedian and film director before he hit the airwaves with ShamWow, SlapChop and the Graty. His unique voice, high powered sales pitch and headset have turned him into an advertising icon.
Ron Popeil was one of earlier marketers. He made the Pocket Fisherman and Veg-O-Matic famous. Perhaps his most memorable product was Ronco Spray On Hair. Popeil took balding men and sprayed on "hair" from an aerosol can. Did it look real? No, but that didn't stop tens of thousand of people from ordering the product.
Don't Forget the Little Guy
Cindy Crawford is going to be beautiful no matter what she puts on her face, so buyers want to see what happens to real people when they use the product.
Real life testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, particularly when they show a before and after transformation.
Kitchen appliances are often sold in group settings. After watching a Magic Bullet informercial, viewers are left wondering how they ever threw a party without one.
Another popular form of infomercials are created in a talk show format complete with a live audience that oohs and aahs and cheers for the product.
Make it Unique
Infomercials showcase products that are new and revolutionary. That does not necessarily mean that they are good, but they are unique and because they are new and exciting, they are marketed as something everyone should be the first to own.
Before the merchandise or programs hit the airwaves, few people had heard of Chia Pets, Ginsu knives, the Bowflex workout system, power juicers or Snuggies.
Repeat With a Sense of Urgency
There's not a lot of new information delivered in an infomercial. A number of key points are selected and they are constantly repeated and hammered home during the telecast.
There are regular breaks where viewers are urged to buy the product. The pitch man reminds customers that this "is a time limited offer' and "operators and standing by". Often the phone number and website address are shown in the crawl at the bottom of the screen throughout the infomercial.
Viewers are constantly reminded that the product is "not available in stores".
Interestingly, the more successful the infomercial is, the more likely it is that it will appear in stores. That's because there is often pressure from customers for retailers to carry the merchandise and many people who don't make a purchase during the infomercial will buy it in the store because they remember the name.
Infomercials are Big Business
Over the years, infomercials have generated sales that add up to billions of dollars.
People who want to market their product through infomercials increasingly turn to specialized marketing companies. The production of infomercials and purchase of air time can be costly. Experts evaluate the product, create a budget, and shoot and edit the infomercial. They then test the infomercials in focus groups and make changes to ensure the product is attractive to a wide viewing audience.
Increasingly, infomercials are moving out of the all night slot and into morning and afternoon time slots.
Because many of the items are reasonably priced they are often heavily marketed around Christmas.
Infomercials are so slick and so powerful they are often used by politicians.
Take a look at this ShanWow infomercial. How many of the key ingredients does it have?