Yes, tall order.  You’d rather stick your hand in boiling water.  But hey, car companies crash their cars to learn about safety.  Think of it as a marketing crash test (some might say train wreck) you can learn from.

Luckily, you don’t have to actually watch an infomercial.  Just read my post instead.  Because there are things you can learn from infomercials, from what they do right to what they do wrong.

They’re Redundant

Because you never know where someone’s going to tune in or how long they’ll stay.  They know presentation isn’t a linear A-Z process.  Every 30-minute infomercial is actually 3-4 versions of itself; each ending in a call to action (here’s the price, here’s how to order, here’s what you get for acting now).  Good advice when, for example, building your website.  Breaking your story into pieces (About Us, Products, Customers) is a mistake. Your About Us page, for example, should go into detail about who and what you are.  But it should also highlight, briefly, the type of products you offer and customers you serve.  Same with your Products, Home and Customers pages.  They should all be different versions of the same story.  Because you never know where someone’s going to tune in or how long they’ll stay.

They Keep it Simple

Infomercials pound away at one or two or three things.  You should too.

For example:

I’m the personal trainer to the stars.

It works because it’s made from hibiscus root.

Whether it’s an infomercial, website, email, ad, whatever, we all approach sales messages passively.  So, pound away at just a few core differentiators.  If you don’t, we won’t remember anything about you.

For example:

We specialize in developing online reporting systems for non-profit organizations.  Because we do, we can work with small budgets and our systems don’t require training to use.  Bang, bang, bang.  We specialize — small budgets — no training required.  Begin your presentation with these points, put them in the middle and end your presentation with them.  Bang, bang, bang.

They Use Emotions AND Rationale

This rule is as old as the hills. . .but are you using BOTH? Appeal to people’s emotional and rational sides.  A good way to do both is with testimonials.  Not those boring written things you use now.  And not the witless, unbelievable ones you see on most infomercials.  Try video testimonials on your website, for example.  People like stories.  Testimonials are stories that give information (rational) in a way that is believable, interesting and easy to connect to (emotional).

They Give You a Compelling Reason to Act

Okay, they don’t.  It’s usually a bunch of BS (the first 200 people who order. . .we’ll double your order, just pay separate shipping and handling. . .).  But it’s a good reminder you need to give people a reason beyond the wonderfulness of what you sell to take action now.  The wonderfulness of what you sell isn’t enough, often, to get people to act.  Sad, but true.

The Price is RIGHT

It’s hard to find an infomercial where the price doesn’t sound like a great deal.  This doesn’t mean you need to lower your price.  It means you need to work hard to build value.  Break a little sweat!  If they can spend 30 minutes on an ab-wonder, invest some verbiage on your value proposition. . .that, I’ll bet is even real.  As opposed to that swell ab-wonder.

We all make choices when we attempt to persuade.  Simply give the pitch?  Or listen, understand and relate what we offer to the specific needs of the other person?  Be respectful?  Or manipulative?  Infomercials can teach us what NOT to do, but that’s easy, right?  Just look past the crassness and take the lessons they teach.

You’re welcome, by the way, for my taking the time to do this valuable research so you don’t have to!!