Put Some Elbow Grease Into The Creative

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Despite what you might have heard, creating a successful infomercial is not as easy as it looks. Take Ron Popeil's recent infomercial, for example. From behind a kitchen counter, he demonstrates the benefits of his housewares product.


To the untrained eye, it looks like simple shoot. However, getting it done right required much more than just setting up a camera and slapping green aprons on the presenters.


Put simply, it takes time to create an infomercial that works. And, it also takes research, patience, money, a good script, great talent and a myriad of other ingredients. To ensure that the end result meets your expectations, try heeding these creative pointers:


Make them want to buy. Thirty minutes may sound like a lot of time, but infomercial creators have but a few critical moments to entice viewers to make a purchase. Give those potential customers a reason to pick up the phone and call now, rather than later.


Use a realistic spokesman. A presenter can make or break an infomercial. In fact, he is as important as the quality and benefits of your product.


Remember who's really King. The product is, and don't ever forget it. For this reason, all portions of the creative should tie back to the features, benefits and uses of the product.


Keep it in front of them. There's power in names, so be sure to mention your product name at least three times a minute, whenever possible, in your infomercial.


Finish the sales cycle first. Once a relationship has been established with the viewer, and once you've built credibility and conveyed the product's benefits, then it's time to reveal the pricing, payment terms and phone number to "call now!"


Keep them interested. Channel surfers abound in this 200-plus channel television landscape, so it's up to your creative to keep your audience's eyes glued to the television.


Select the best talent available. People buy from people whom they know, love and trust, so good talent is critical. Get someone - a personality, celebrity or non-celebrity - who is somehow connected to your product.


Hone your script. This critical element is at the heart of every infomercial, and it must not only highlight product benefits, but also answer any objections. An effective script helps viewers answer the question, "What will this product do for me?"


Use simple, high-quality graphics. Bright colors and sharp edges work best, as does a product angled in a fashion that is appealing to the eye.


Make use of quality testimonials. They can work to boost response to your infomercial by 20 percent to 50 percent, so find good ones - preferably real people who have actually used your product and are happy with it.


Drive them to pick up the phone. Like the salesperson who spends 30 minutes pitching a product, an infomercial must also ask for the order.


There are, of course, also a few pitfalls to avoid when it comes time to handle the creative aspects of infomercial production. They are:


Don't generalize your presentation. Instead of creating a general topic infomercial that includes a few DRTV commercials, try selling the benefits of your product consistently throughout the program.


Don't rely on a celebrity. A recent survey said that 57 percent of infomercial customers said their purchase wasn't influenced by the celebrity endorsement. Remember: It's the offer and the copy that are key.


Don't over-entertain. Infomercials must be somewhat entertaining, but there is a limit. Make your infomercial fun and fast-paced, but remember that the cornerstone of success is the effective sales pitch, not the frills.


Don't overspend needlessly. If you can convey the same message with less money, then go for it. "Test cheap" is one axiom to remember before shelling out those dollars.


Now that you know what to do and what not to do with the creative, you have the recipe for a successful DRTV pitch.
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