I’m not much of a Thighmaster kinda guy, but I’ve seen a few infomercials in my time.
When I was a teenager I wondered why anybody would buy the stuff they sell. Vegetable graters, Ginsu knives, magic blenders, Shamwow, and 7 minute ab machines?
I thought: Overhyped garbage with sleazy salesmen.
But now that I have a decade of affiliate marketing experience under my belt, I can see the marketing matrix now.
Buy within the next 3 minutes? That’s urgency.
Buy now and get a 2nd one free? That’s increasing the value proposition.
Starting the ad by showing off the problem? That’s twisting the knife / increasing the pain.
Imitate then innovate.
I studied old-school copywriting books when I wanted to learn how to write more compelling headlines for my ads.
I started using Facebook video ads a few years ago and there wasn’t anyone I could study. But then it hit me that I could study infomercials to learn how to create amazing videos.
Here are the 10 big takeaways I got from studying infomercials.
#1 Figure out the problems your product solves
Maybe having straight carrot sticks isn’t a problem for you, but some people wanna have fancy shaped food, and they want a tool to do it for them.
You need to uncover the main problems your product solves, then show the problem being solved VISUALLY in your videos. Create video ads that show the problem being solved in an extreme way. Super obvious.
The problem can be real (back pain) or imaginary (your vacuum cleaner is rubbish compared to this awesome new one).
Those automatic jar openers seem stupid to guys you and me, but my mom has one and she loves it.
She actually can’t open jars by herself so it solves a real problem for her.
Understand your customer and understand their problems.
Most products you sell on Shopify eCommerce stores solve a problem – you just have to get creative to figure it out.
How does a tactical flashlight solve a problem? It makes people feel safer and they are prepared for any situation.
What about a wine iPhone case? It shows that you’re a fun, outgoing person who’s creative and different.
Both solve problems – one is just a bit more obvious than the other.
#2 Relentless repetition
“How many times you gonna chop up vegetables bro? We get it…”
“Until you pick up the phone and order dammit.”
Infomercial companies know that the more demonstrations you see, the more sold you are on the product. Repetition drills things into your head. Don’t just show the main benefits or features once or twice.
If you sell an alarm clock that runs away from you, repeat it over and over again in your ads. If you’re selling hair straighteners, keep showing the results on different types of hair.
Different people using it, different results, different circumstances. The more social proof, the better.
#3 Unconventional / weird products
Infomercial products all have weird names and look kinda odd. Here are a few from a post on MentalFloss.
- Proactiv. Annual revenue: $1 billion.
- P90X. Annual revenue: $400 million.
- Showtime Rotisserie
- Ped Egg
You want your product to look as if it’s a huge breakthrough.
Your customer has had these problems for years and they’ve already tried the normal methods. Diet and exercise? Pshhhh.
But wait here’s a new invention that you’ve never tried before!
The weirdness also works because you’re giving off the vibe you’re the only one selling it. You don’t want them thinking they can go to Walmart and buy your product easily.
#4 Exaggerate the Pain Points
Have you seen those scenes when it turns black and white and there are big red X’s on the screen?
The make the pain look a lot worse than it really is.
Use this strategy in your ads – amplify the pains, then amplify the solutions too.
Selling LED pet collars? What’s one major pain point that this solves? Your pup getting run over at night while you’re out for a walk.
Selling UV sunglasses? Point out how badly the sun damages your eyes when you wear cheap glasses. There are probably studies out there that you can point to that prove it too.
“Joe, how many units do we have left?”
“Okay thanks Joe. Viewers at home, we have less than 150 units left for the whole of the country!”
How do you do this in a video ad?
- “Supply is limited due to XYZ”
- “Due to a large number of orders, we may run out of stock at any moment”
Get creative with it.
Ever notice how infomercials also say “Not available in stores”?
It’s a form of scarcity and urgency. If you can’t get it in stores, and they only provide a phone number, you have one option – call the number on screen now!
#6 Limited Options
It’s either a toolkit for sale or a weight loss gimmick. There’s no confusion in infomercial ads.
Maybe it’s a blender or a set of knives. But whatever it is, they’re always selling ONE thing. There’s always an upsell or a cross sell, but it’s normally one base product.
You can say what you want about them, but at least they are sending a clear message.
What’s the takeaway for affiliate marketers?
One ad = one product.
You can upsell ‘em later in the process once they’ve clicked through, but your Facebook ads should always focus on one product.
“Jessica Simpson uses this? She’s gorgeous, that must mean I’ll be gorgeous if I use it too.”
Testimonials are the affiliate’s bread and butter. Infomercials use them all the time to show how good their products are – you wanna do the same with your videos.
“Anyone from the audience want to come up and try this?”
“Yea you, overweight guy who the audience will relate to, come up here and try out this exercise machine.”
“Show the viewers at home how easy it is to use, but how much you can feel it working your abs.”
Facebook doesn’t like before / after photos for a lot of verticals (note: you’ll get your account banned), but you can be more subtle with them.
What about showing a skinny lady holding up a huge pair of pants?
It implies the same thing, but it’s not so blatant.
Selling fishing gear? How does the fishing trip look before and after they use your awesome lures and gadgets?
#8 Trusted platform
Infomercials are on national TV… Not some random gaming website.
Affiliates don’t get the chance to run ads on Fox that often, so we take the next best option – Facebook.
People don’t believe everything on Facebook, but it’s a good option for building trust compared to a popup on a download site.
This extends to your Facebook ecommerce as well – does it look trustworthy? How can you increase the trust factor of your website.
Professional logos. Great design. Trust seals.
#9 A Simple CTA
“Call 1-800-BLENDER right now to get yours today! Have your credit card ready and we’ll process your payment within 60 seconds.”
At the end of your video, you want a call to action. It can be a clickable link, or just a slide telling people to click on a button below.
Remember the job of your video on Facebook is to get them to click the link and get them interested.
Your product sales page does the actual selling, so make the CTA simple, and just give them one option (click this button).
#10 Discounts and Bonuses
“If you call within the next 3 minutes, you’ll get the Ginsu meat cleaver as a special bonus!”
“But wait, if you order within the next 60 seconds, we’ll also slash the price in half!”
If there’s an evergreen discount for your ecommerce products or CPA offers, mention it in the ad copy.
If you’re not running any discounts or bonuses, try them out. Some verticals run best when you don’t discount, but some verticals are very price sensitive.
What else do you provide that would make them more likely to click?
You can do free shipping, discounts, two-for-one, or coupon codes in your ads.
Here’s What to Do Next to Create Video Ads That Sell Like Crazy
Go and see your mom this weekend.
Sit down with her and watch some infomercials and take some notes.
Study everything they do and how you can incorporate this into your video ads.
Then build your own video ads and test them out. Make sure you read up on the Facebook ad policies first – they are getting stricter about what they allow.