5 Selling Techniques to Steal from Infomercials (Without Trashing Your Reputation)

5 Selling Techniques to Steal from Infomercials (Without Trashing Your Reputation)

Reader Comments (22)

  1. Hi Sonia,

    I love the pain point mention! Think of any classic infomercial; how does the presentation start? Almost all commercials lead off with…”Are you (insert suffering from some nasty situation question here)”…lol…..we buy to cure. We buy to heal. We buy to solve.

    Informercials might be the most effective selling strategy because this pain point is drilled into our minds and bingo, the all powerful testimonial follow up. Good reason why many of these products become ridiculously popular and the folks selling them become rich.

    People buy to feel better. Once you know how crappy you feel with a nice introductory pain point lol, you need to buy, to feel better, like….(Insert glowing testimonial here) πŸ˜‰

    Brilliant post Sonia, thanks!


    • Infomercials are brilliant to study for copywriting points, you just have to execute them in a way that’s a little less frenzied. πŸ™‚ But that’s the great advantage of content — you have enough time to make your point without shouting.

  2. Ahh, the glorious infomercials! It can be easy to get caught up in the “shamwow” stile of pitching a product. I like how you said:

    “A truly authoritative, thoughtful online presence takes time to build. But you can tarnish it in no time at all.”

    Thanks for this awesome insight, definitely bookmarking now πŸ™‚

  3. It’s funny, I’ve seen this too. If you’re trying to sell (products, services, whatever) I think the goal should be for your audience to not like you, but love you, so they come back for more, tell their friends and might even give you a testimonial or two πŸ˜‰

    You don’t want to do the above, then pull a switcheroo on them, turning into product hawker extraordinaire (ShamWow dude or Ron Popeil). That’s looks a bit like deception and nobody likes that.

    • It works fine if that’s who you always are. But when you do one for your daily content and another for your sales process, you’re not going to get where you want to go. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for the reminder about being brave during the “call to action”. I don’t think you can repeat this reminder too many times.

  5. Well, since you asked, Sonia.

    I’ve always wanted to know how I could get Suzanne Somers to hype my music services. Can you help me out there?

    This post was easily worth $19.99 + shipping and handling.

    • I think the first step for that one is to offer her vast amounts of money. πŸ™‚

      But wait, if you order today, you get 7 years of Copyblogger archives ABSOLUTELY FREE.

  6. Your tip on avoiding cheeseland when it comes to scarcity brings to mind a particular flooring supplier/installer. They constantly advertise that their ‘blow out sale’ will only last until x date but, sure enough, come x date there’s a new promotion written somewhat differently but for the exact same things. Because they advertise limited time offers on a constant basis I know I never have to race to use them because there will always be a new promo. And you’re right, I’ve never used them nor do I plan to.

    Great post!

  7. I think one of the main differences between selling a product to a blog audience and to the infomercial audience is that the blog audience is used to a certain voice or tone, and when that tone suddenly snaps and changes in an effort to sell a product then the audience is turned off thanks to cognitive dissonance.

    It is very important to maintain a consistent tone when writing your content – so why not do so with your sales page if you’re pitching to exactly the same audience?

    Running an informercial type sales pitch will only turn away those who have already bought into your idea.

    An informercial HAS to take the hard sell approach because their time is very limited and they have to pump potential buyers emotions in order to make a purchase as quickly as possible, thus meaning that they HAVE to throw out a wide net and employ all persuasion tactics available.

    If you’re used to presenting a certain image to customers, then it is critical to maintain that image, or else you risk losing customers.

  8. The one informercial that I can’t get out of my head is P90X. It’s insane, like an infomercial on steroids. The people you see got results; they’re pumped up (literally). But… I read about a guy who ended up in the hospital after using the product for a few days. When you sell, you have to be prepared for the not-so-good results.

    Thanks for this great blog post!

  9. Hi Sonia.

    There is another reason the infomercial folks repeat the CTA throughout the spot. Viewers will see the commercial, and have every intention to call, but get distracted or just haven’t gotten around to it. When they see the spot again it reminds them to call and you don’t want them to wait to the end to get the number.

    Landing pages are the same. If conversion is your goal, don’t make it hard to find the CTA. Is it above the fold, is it repeated, and as you said, is it clear what they need to do. You’d think this is obvious, but we see design after design with the CTA buried or obfuscated in some way.


  10. I think you said it all when you said’ “A strong content marketing program begins by defining who you are, what you stand for, and whom you serve”

    This can be an easy thing to overlook sometimes. Thanks for keeping things in perspective.

  11. Okay, I sorta have this guilty pleasure of watching infomercials when there’s nothing to do. It’s a source of entertainment for me. I’d like to question (in my mind) every word that the guys say. “Oh really?” “Yeah sure.” But admittedly, with every single time I see the infomercial, it makes me believe more and more and eventually, it gets me thinking “Maybe, I could give it a try,” but I never got around to it.

    Your post has opened my eyes greatly today. There’s a reason why I watch infomercials, just like millions of people out there too. We want to believe in what they have to say, we want these magical solutions to everyday problems and admit or not, we want them to say “BUT wait, there’s more.”

    The points you have tackled are right on the dot. Infomercials are popular and overly played because we watch them. They make money so it means they are doing something right. It’s about time internet marketers learn from them.

  12. Sonia, have you read this book:

    “But Wait … There’s More!: Tighten Your Abs, Make Millions, and Learn How the $100 Billion Infomercial Industry Sold Us Everything But the Kitchen Sink”

    Turns out the first radio ads were a half hour long and would look a lot like infomercials to modern ears.

    Apple tried to run an infomercial, as have many other mainstream brands.

    Some products have crossed over from infomercial to mainstream, like Bowflex and Foreman Grills. Which goes to show that infomercials are not a complete reputation killer. They can build a positive brand.

  13. Great ideas for writing effective sales copy without the cheese! Totally agree with the final point: you need to tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do. So often I see marketing material or websites that are well-written, persuasive, and then… nothing.

  14. I’ve always been a bit afraid to use ‘repetition’. Especially when I’m writing for parents. I felt they could get bored and scroll down / turn the page. usually I’d just recap at the end of the article. But I will give this a go and see what happens.

  15. Hi, Sonia.
    Loved the article. You’re right on as usual.

    I watch a LOT of late night infomercials. Probably too much. But at 3:00 am, that’s all that’s one.

    It’s always interesting to watch how different companies promote similar products. What they do the same and what they do differently. Two infrared, induction type countertop ovens come to mind.

    Another thing that interesting, pertaining to these two ovens in particular, it their choice for pitchmen. One has a young, but somewhat overweight, excitable pitchman, drooling at every dish while proclaiming, “Ooh, how healthy!” The other uses an older, calmer spokesman who looks to be rather physically fit.

    To me it appears, in line with your idea of consistency in your personal tone for both content and ad copy, that the tone of the pitch should also be in line with the product as well.

    As Hashim said, many products have crossed over into mainstream, retail and discount store status. However, I’ve noticed a few that only made it to the “As Seen On TV” end cap. Saw an induction cooktop at Walmart the other day on the ASOT shelf. Never thought I’d see that one there so soon.

    Thanks again, great stuff to make us all think, once again.

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