Why Infomercials Work

Posted February 11, 2010 by   in Marketing Strategy


Have you ever bought something on an infomercial? Chances are you have. It’s truly amazing that hundreds of millions of dollars each year is spent on products sold through infomercials. It is big business.

But did you ever stop to think how in 28 minutes and 30 seconds they can take you from not knowing of their product to picking up the phone and placing an order? (That’s the part that is truly amazing.)

So how do they do it? How can I go from ShamWhat(?) to ShamWOW and actually be excited to buy one in such short time? It’s all about mastering the customer buying process – and there is no better example of it than an infomercial.

Here is the steps of the customer buying process and thus the steps an infomercial takes you through.

1. Create Awareness

First all infomercials must introduce you to their product. They make no assumption that you have ever heard of the product before. They outline all the features of the product in high detail showing you the in’s and out’s of everything about it.

2. Create Need

Next after you are aware of the features of their product, they walk you through all the benefits. How their product will save you time, or money, or hassle, or all three. Typically they solve a problem you didn’t realize you had until they point it out to you – and all that creates need.

3. Create Urgency

Next, infomercials are masters at creating urgency. Have you ever seen an infomercial that had a timer going in the corner of the screen? “Call in the next 30 minutes and pay just 3 payments instead of 4!” They force you to believe that now’s the time to act on this need.

4. Evaluate Choices

Once the viewer actually needs a product like this and is looking to buy one, they typically compare themselves to other options. Other products can’t possibly do it better, or faster than their product. Comparing other options that a buyer may be considering and showing what is better about their product removes these other options from consideration

5. Resolve Final Risk

Lastly, there is always no risk. “If you are not 100% satisfied, just return it for a full refund. What do you have to lose?” They know if you try it, there is little chance of you returning it, so “what do they have to lose” by making an offer like that?

So those are the steps of the buying process as it relates to an infomercial. Now, what can we learn from that and apply to our business?

You should communicate with your prospects in this order

This is a great model for us to consider when we are working with prospects. Model your marketing and sales presentations after the organizational structure of the infomercial, and you might be surprised at the success you find yourself having. If nothing else, you may learn where people are getting hung up in the process and where you might need to improve your tactics.

You can’t skip a step

This is something we try to do all the time. We present information to prospects when they are not ready to receive it. We share the price before they feel they need our product or service, so it goes on deaf ears, or the perceived value is lower than our price. Or sometimes we neglect to remove the final risk – thus putting their mind at ease with their decision and therefore never close the deal. Pay attention to the prospect’s questions and hear what they really need to know from you. Don’t move ahead in the process without making sure they’re along with you.

Only the buyer can move themselves to the next step

When does an infomercial not make you buy? When their tactics don’t move to the next step in the process. Maybe they didn’t create the need or the urgency for you or remove the risk for you. Regardless, you didn’t move yourself through the process – and therefore they didn’t get a sale. Now of course, they can’t stop a 30 minute program just for you – they have to keep going. But when you are working with your prospects, make sure they are moving along with you in the process. If not, go back to where you left them off.

Give these thoughts some consideration and if they make sense, apply them to your next presentation. If you need assistance in taking your presentations to the next level, give us a call. I promise it won’t be a waste of your time – you have our 100% money back guarantee. 😉