INFOMERCIAL PROGRAM CHECKLIST

“To be persuasive, we must be believable
To be believable, we must be credible
To be credible, we must be truthful.”
—Edward R. Murrow

Direct response television advertising, and in particular, the Infomercial, like all forms of advertising, are both an art and a science.  There are formulas and guidelines that, once learned, will enhance any sales presentation.  This chapter provides a comprehensive checklist of all the essential ingredients in a successful Infomercial presentation.  This itemized checklist will give you the greatest opportunity to make your Infomercial presentation a success!

Let's assume we have an excellent product or service.  We've done our research and determined that an Infomercial would be our ideal electronic marketing vehicle.  The following Key Selling Elements are the foundation ingredients of today's most successful Infomercials. Like the Key Selling Messages and the 21 Basics of Selling, these factors are essential program ingredients and should be clearly expressed, featured or revealed several times every 7 to 10 minutes throughout your presentation.  Both your script and your final edited master production need to be guided by these key principles.  The following Infomercial Program Checklist will assist you in evaluating your production every step of the way.  Use it.  Use it as a blueprint for a successful Infomercial!

  1. Attention Grabbing Opening Segment:  Make sure the program grabs the immediate attention of your audience and it stimulates further viewing.
  2. Promise:  Deliver a promise to your viewers.  Relate the promise not only to the benefits of the product that will be revealed, but promise something of value to the viewers for staying tuned throughout the program.
  3. Guarantee:  Make a guarantee to your viewers.  Like the promise mentioned above, be sure to guarantee the viewers something that they will get just by watching the program.
  4. Primary Target Audience:  Identify and create rapport with your Primary Target Market.  Use all of the production elements, such as copywriting, testimonials, graphics, words presented in a visual context, music, etc. to create an identity with your target market.
  5. Problem / Solution:  Make sure you clearly express a common problem for which your product provides a solution.
  6. Unique Selling Proposition:  What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and is it clearly expressed several times each 7 to 10 minute segment? Think of creative ways to express your product’s uniqueness.  Make sure to express it both visually and verbally.  Perhaps you can use product comparisons to show what makes your product so unique. 
  7. Teasers & Cliff Hangers:  Make sure you give the viewing audience many reasons for staying tuned throughout the program.  It is especially important to include a teaser during the opening segment and immediately prior to each commercial “call to action.” 
  8. Recap and Reiterate:  Coming out of each commercial and before beginning any new segment, always present a brief recap of the product being offered, its benefits and the risk free opportunity to purchase the product.  There are several reasons why this is important.  First, remember the purpose of the Infomercial is to sell.  Part of the selling process is delivering all the necessary information (including answering questions viewers may have about the product) as often as possible.  This repetition is often needed for the majority of the viewers to grasp the benefits of the product, relate it to their needs, and make a decision to purchase.  In addition, viewers will rarely see an entire Infomercial from beginning to end, therefore, make use of the “break in the action” to remind them of what it is you are offering them.  This whole concept of reiteration relates to my suggestion to include all of these elements every 7 to 10 minutes.  Repetition is the key to learning.  Don’t forget to teach your viewer what it is you are selling.
  9. Overcome Objections and Skepticism:  Instill confidence in the future buyer of your product by answering in advance all the objections one might have regarding your product.  Meet head on all objections via your copy, testimonials or hosts.  A sale will not be consummated until a buyer’s objections are overcome. 
  10. Educate / Inform / Entertain:  Most successful Infomercials provide a well balanced presentation that constantly sells, yet also provides valuable information, educates and is entertaining. 
  11. Sincere and Credible Talent:  Make sure your program is presented by individuals that naturally radiate sincerity and credibility.  The program talent whether they are “pitch people”, actors or celebrities must have integrity and be trustworthy or the program is likely to fail.
  12. Show and Tell:  The viewer needs to see and hear how the product works.  Demonstrate the product.  When possible show before and after pictures or graphics, and any special transformation that the product elicits.
  13. Testimonials Sell It Like It Is:  People buy from people, people they can relate to and trust.  Real people testimonials will provide this identification and trust with your primary target market faster and better than any other form of marketing.  Testimonials from actual product users create power in your presentation through their incredible passion and conviction.  Interview at least 50 testimonials and you will have a good cross section of your target market.
  14. Celebrity:  Use a celebrity to help sell the product only if the celebrity has a natural connection to the product or if they have built-in strong recognition and rapport with the target market.   When possible use celebrities as actual product users and not simply hosts.
  15. Credentialized Endorsements:  Testimonials from people that have certain professional knowledge or specialized skill are “credentialized endorsements”.  Authority figures with credibility which include doctors, professors, authors, psychologists, skin care specialists, etc. are very important and will add to the credibility of any product presentation.  Use as many credentialized endorsements as you can.  Caution:  Make sure they truly, honestly, and emphatically believe in the benefits and efficacy of your product or these endorsements will do more harm than good.
  16. Good Price To Value:  Eliminate or reduce price resistance.  Throughout the program and during the “call to action”, be sure to gradually build up the perceived value of the product, constantly adding more value, before mentioning the price.  Detail the amount of savings, or the tremendous discount.  (i.e. a $250 value for only $79.95)  Detail the value of the bonus items (i.e. plus a bonus video or DVD valued at $50, absolutely Free), and what the product would cost if purchased another way.  (If the products were purchased separately, it would cost you over $190, but you can get the complete package for only 2 easy payments of $39.95).
  17. Free or Bonus Items:  Don’t forget that it’s human nature to want something for free.  Give people what they want.  Offer as many truly valuable free items, gifts or bonuses to increase the perceived value of your irresistible product offer.
  18. Money Back Guarantee:  Don’t just use the standard money back guarantee at the end of the “call to action” commercial tag.  Mention the 100% satisfaction money back guarantee throughout the program and doubly strong during the “call to action” portion.  Remember too, that you are offering a “Risk Free Opportunity to try this product in the convenience and comfort of your own home.”
  19. Compelling and Persuasive Copy:  The words that you ultimately decide to use in your presentation obviously make a difference, as does the sequence or syntax of them.  Make sure to incorporate words (visually and audibly) that sell.  Also, use the technology of Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP).  You will not only hear and see the difference NLP makes in a presentation, but imagine what you will feel like when you hear the cash register ring, again and again. 
  20. Passion, Conviction and Emotion:  If your Infomercial doesn’t have these, what can I say?  Develop it, uncover it, manufacture it (with integrity), but have it, or forget it.
  21. Stimulating Visual Effects:  As the Infomercial is primarily a visual medium, use special effects and computer graphics for two basic reasons:  First, to sustain interest in the sales presentation, and second, to help visually present the product, its uniqueness, its benefits, and ultimately to help sell the product.
  22. Emotional and Motivating Music:  Music can lift us up, bring us down, and even move us to tears.  It happens to be one of the most potent of art forms for eliciting a specific response from a consumer.  Use music to evoke the right mood – from creating rapport with your target market, to embellishing the attitude of a testimonial or presenter, to creating a strong sense of urgency to “make that call now!”.  Music helps to create powerful results! 
  23. Channel Stopper:  Make sure to incorporate in the presentation a visual hook that will appeal to your target market and get them to stop and tune in to the program.  I highly recommend the use of a logo, program title, or other key selling messages (main benefits, etc.) presented in a visual context and displayed intermittently on a portion the screen.  This technique will help the target market identify with your program.
  24. Motivators:  Which of the primary motivators can you use?  Fear, Greed, Desire, Shame, Guilt, Prestige, Truth)?  Try to use them all!
  25. The Nodding Effect:  Does your presentation create conscious, or even unconscious, compliance or agreement with your primary target market?  Be sure to control the sales process by asking the right questions and making affirmative statements at the appropriate times that the audience will probably agree with. Is the presentation engaging to the viewer, demanding for some an ongoing intellectual/emotional involvement.  It should!
  26. Positive History:  Highlight any positive history of the product or the company behind it.  A good track record for either will help sell the product.
  27. Tell The Truth:  Every good product has powerful, irresistible reasons for ownership.  The truth brings the passion, conviction, and emotion to your sales presentation.  And of course, you must be able to substantiate and justify all claims made in regards to your product.  Don’t say it, unless you can back it up.
  28. Close The Sale:  Ask for the order, always.   Use professional sales closing techniques throughout the program.  Don’t wait until the 800 number or website comes on the screen before you ask your audience to pick up the telephone and order the product.  Do so throughout the program.  In addition, realize that all good sales presentations are always progressively moving the prospect to the “close”.   Ask for the order, always! and get them to stop and tune in to the program.  I highly recommend the use of logo, program title, or other key selling messages (main benefits, etc.) presented in a visual context and displayed intermittently on a portion the screen.  This technique will help the target market identify with your program.

“Call Now 1-800 -  How to Profit from Direct Response Television Advertising”  Copyright 2006  Rodney H. Buchser

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