If you have run TV Commercials in the past or planning to do so with a TV production company, make sure you offer the commercials on your website, as well as, distribute them throughout the web. You will get a big bang for the bucks you spent and pull in more customers to boot, for a very low acquisition cost. Here are some tips to help you pull off this strategy of combining TV with the internet.
Posts Tagged ‘infomercials’
I was one of the creators of the first local infomercial over 15 years ago, and while there have been a lot of media choices to come in vogue in that time period, it is really hard to replace the effectiveness of an infomercial targeted to a local or regional market. With over 1,500 infomercials under my belt, I have learned a few things along the way, and in this post I share why a business owner really needs to consider the infomercial medium.
Infomercials are used to market a huge variety of products, but of course, not every infomercial is successful. For every Sweating to the Oldies DVD, Set It and Forget It rotisserie, and Thighmaster phenomenon, there are thousands of infomercials that provide zero ROI for hopeful business owners. The truth is that up to 50% of interested organizations shouldn’t do an infomercial at all, but many of those companies learn that the hard way.
Wouldn’t you love to know ahead of time if your infomercial was going to be a dud in terms of revenue generation – that your phone wouldn’t ring, no one would visit your website, and all the extra packing supplies you purchased in anticipation of a stampede of sales would go to waste? Well, by taking a hard look at your business and at the infomercial production company, you can predict whether your infomercial will succeed or fail. Here are three reasons you should run for the hills instead of ramping it up.
1. No one wants your product. This is a tough one, but it should be the first thing you examine. Of the three reasons not to do an infomercial, this is the only one outside the purview of the infomercial production company, so naturally you want to look at it first. Even if the production company is honest with you about this fact, they’ll charge you a consultation fee to tell you, and it will be hard to accept if you don’t already suspect the truth. If you’ve tried a variety of other advertising campaigns that haven’t worked, focus groups don’t indicate an interest in your product, or you’ve had other indications that sales for the product will always be weak, an infomercial is unlikely to correct the problem. On the other hand, if you truly believe in your product and are sure that you just haven’t found the right marketing niche for it, a consultation with someone in the industry (about $200) would be worthwhile. Look for a company with some longevity; people who want your business over the long term won’t encourage you to throw your money away.
2. No one is watching the infomercial. This is the reason microcosmic testing of your markets and timeslots is so important. Rolling out a national or even regional paid programming campaign is an expensive proposition if you haven’t tested. The media buyer at the infomercial company should have significant hard data on how and why particular markets and timeslots are being selected for your product. That data should be supported by new data showing increased phone calls and website traffic when you test. Testing generally lasts for about four months and costs $20K-$40K. Once you roll out the program, investigate obtaining financing or paying a per-inquiry charge to fund airing it so you can make sure it’s placed in the best markets and timeslots for your product.
3. The program itself doesn’t work. Even if people are watching your infomercial, it doesn’t work if they don’t obey the call to action and pick up the phone or go to your website and buy your product. Paid programming works for its money because viewers support it with their purchases. Infomercials use tried-and-true direct marketing practices, so many companies are able to save money on production and use it to get the best airtimes. But business owners sometimes get caught up in making a “quality” program, when the truth is that subtlety and direct sales don’t go together. Don’t discount the parts of the infomercial that seem “cheesy;” they’re there because they work. A one-stop shop with years of experience in the industry can help you put together a great program in a short time.
Paid programming may be the perfect way to direct-market your product, but due diligence is key. Taking an objective look at your product and making the most of your consultation with the infomercial production company will help you determine whether or not paid programming will pay off for you.
After midnight, 60%-70% of TV networks switch to infomercials – fodder for many jokes and a nine-billion dollar industry. Paid programming offers a very small cost per impression because even during overnight hours, 106 million potential customers could elect to watch paid programming. And networks are hungry for programming simply because there are so many of them; because infomercials fill that gap, they are very cost-effective for advertisers. On some networks, a half-hour TV show can air on national television for as little as $1000.
Television is an invasive advertising medium; commercials appear on television whether we want them to or not. Thirty-second TV commercials are an interruption to programming, however, and receptivity is not guaranteed – in fact, it’s only about 20%-30%. However, television advertising costs are based on how many people are watching the program that the commercial interrupts; it includes viewers who don’t watch your expensive 30-second commercial because they are throwing a load of clothes into the washing machine or using the remote to check out what other networks have to offer. In contrast,
because viewers choose to watch infomercials, receptivity is 100%.
Most infomercials market products that enhance one of only three things: sex, health, or wealth. This covers a wide range of products, however, from books and counseling to real estate and vitamin supplements. Viewers choose to tune in to paid programming because they are interested in the information being offered. And who isn’t interested in being sexier, healthier, or wealthier? Nearly any product that enhances one of these items can be successfully marketed with an infomercial, and success can even be predicted with testing.
An infomercial company can arrange of a test of your company’s product via a small network of around two million households for about four months; the data from the test can be used to determine whether a regional or national rollout will be successful. This type of testing underscores the results-driven nature of paid programming; success is predicted based on the number of phone calls and website visits, not the number of impressions. Testing minimizes costs while maximizing ROI, since the data can also be used to fine-tune the program and its markets.
Spending fewer dollars on production and more on airtime also helps maximize ROI; in many cases, a $10,000 program will work just as well or better than a $100,000 program. It pays to invest the extra dollars in properly placed airtime – and in determining how all those extra orders will be filled!
ROI is more important than ever in today’s marketplace. Businesses have streamlined their advertising budgets along with the rest of their processes, and those who are accountable for those budgets need to know that they are getting the best return on investment possible. Here’s how to maximize the ROI on your infomercial campaign.
- Improve your website. Infomercials are usually structured as a half-hour of programming interrupted with “commercials” that are calls to action for the product or service airing every few minutes. Many of today’s viewers will go to the website featured on the call to action instead of calling the toll-free number, so your website must be conducive to purchase. Make sure this is done and that the infomercial and the website flow together seamlessly.
- Research your competitors. Don’t forget to include research from a viewer’s perspective. Watch their infomercials, then use both the toll-free numbers and websites to order products. Create a grid in Excel and record all of your experiences by company. Distill the research down to a report and compare and contrast the results to make better decisions about your infomercial campaign.
- Ask for a trial week. This will help nail down the best days and times for air. The infomercial company can help you narrow this down with quantitative data showing when products or services similar to yours have sold best historically, but a trial week provides you with the data you need on your particular product to substantiate media-buying decisions. Your media buyer can also use this data to negotiate more favorable rates.
- Do a split test. As you make decisions about the look and feel of your infomercial, keep a record of your second choices so you can have a second program created for a split test. This helps assuage niggling doubts about what will work best if you go through the process and will also help you support your final decision with quantitative data.
- Make a commitment. Once your trial period and split test are complete, evaluate the data with an eye towards making a firm commitment to your infomercial for at least 90 days. It will take at least this long to evaluate the results, and if the testing was done properly, ROI will increase over time. If you make changes to the program and/or media placement, you run the risk of diluting your message. If a competitor takes a time slot you’ve abandoned, they will be the ones who benefit from your campaign.
Ensuring ROI on an infomercial campaign requires a little extra work and some creative thinking, but in today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s worth it.