Imagine coming home on a Friday evening with nothing to do. You grab the remote control and plop onto the couch, flipping through channels to find something worth watching. Nothing’s on. Suddenly, a commercial appears: lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
Before you know it, you’re hooked. What you thought was a 30-second commercial is actually a 30-minute infomercial. The product sounds too good to be true – your gut knows it is – but you keep watching anyway. Congratulations, you’re now a victim of one of the most convincing forms of content ever created: the infomercial.
Today, infomercials are responsible for $150 billion in sales each year, and the figure continues to rise as Americans struggle through challenging economic times. Though a 25-year old industry, infomercials show no signs of losing their luster. They’ve catapulted products such as the Snuggie and ShamWow! from obscurity to household names.
But what is it that makes infomercials so addicting? Ponder these elements, and consider how to incorporate them into future social or content marketing campaigns.
The Secrets of Infomercials Revealed
Emphasizing the benefits, not the features.
Perhaps the most notable lesson is that infomercials don’t waste time listing every feature of the product. After all, there’s a limited amount of information that can fit into 30 minutes, so every word matters. Instead of touting the features, infomercials emphasize how the product will solve consumer pain points. Virtually every infomercial answers one of four questions, if not all of them: will this product make me rich, beautiful, happy, or save me time?
Emphasizing the benefits drills down to the core of why a complete stranger should purchase your product. Directly addressing consumer pain points pulls real emotional triggers that attract potential customers. Instead of doubting the features of your product, they begin to trust the benefits it can bring to their lives.
Virtually every infomercial hammers home the message with repetition. How many different ways can you say the same thing? Too often, marketers are so focused on how much content they’re creating rather than what the content says. While every post should certainly be unique, there should also be underlying themes that repeat your key messages. Embrace this marketing mantra: “If it’s important to say once, it’s important enough to say again.”
Using a writing service is a simple strategy to reframe your message from a different angle without sounding overly repetitive. Telling a new story, analogy, or metaphor is an effective way to repeat the same theme without the audience getting bored with your message.
Power of the unexpected.
The true genius behind infomercials is that they convince consumers to purchase products that, until just 30 minutes ago, they didn’t even know existed. How many food dehydrators or super-absorbing towels were actually sold before infomercials were created about them? Very few. The reality is that infomercials tap into unexpected desires, letting us into the “secret” of an easier life.
Similarly, your marketing efforts should let your audience in on the secret. What aspects of your company, industry, or product don’t they already know? When you tell them something unexpected, you hook them immediately – this is key to creating customer loyalty and advocacy
Storytelling is the foundation of giving a voice to your brand. Though 93 percent of marketers utilize content marketing in some capacity, many focus on self-promotional content rather than developing their brand’s story. Infomercials are story-focused, explaining how the company was founded, how countless customers have benefited from the product, and how it can benefit you, too.
With a focus on storytelling, you can continue repeating your brand’s message without coming across as overly promotional. Testimonials, for example, are mini-stories about satisfied clients who are genuinely excited about what you do. Potential customers not only relate to these stories, but are also able to grasp detailed concepts about your brand.
Using data to support your claims.
In many cases, infomercials make claims sound too good to be true. Similarly, your target audience is skeptical about the benefits and features of your products and service. Back up your claims with data – it will give your audience the social proof necessary to trust you. Would-be consumers are far more likely to believe marketing claims once they see facts and figures.
By investing in content marketing, you have a massive platform to promote studies and other factual data. Business blogs, for example, can be created around surveys and their findings. Case studies can be published explaining how your product is the source of success for one of your satisfied clients. Sure, there are occasions where “scientific studies” sound too good to be true, but they’re still extremely convincing.
Compare and contrast.
Unless you’re a pioneer in a new industry, you’ll face stiff competition in today’s market. Whether you’re competing with start-ups or established corporations, it can be difficult to grow your share of the pie. The same is true for infomercials, which is why they always compare and contrast their products with competitors. Consider Blendtec, which gained international fame for blending iPhones in their infomercials. While the “typical household blender” broke, power-surged, and made a mess, the Blendtec blender’s sharp blades cut through the iconic smartphone.
Use your content to explain how your products and services differ from the competitors. It’s easy to make a claim, but to convince and convert your audience, you must show them that it’s true.
Using a strong call-to-action (CTA).
Infomercials repeat their phone numbers so many times that you can repeat the number by heart. It’s been so frequently and strongly stated that everyone watching knows who to contact if they’re interested. Infomercials tell viewers exactly what to do (make a purchase) and when to do it (now), and they are never subtle in their CTAs. They’re prominent and unmistakably clear, so why should your CTAs be any different?
Does your current marketing campaign currently implement any of these elements?
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