If you’ve ever struggled with insomnia, you don’t have to spend much time watching late-night TV to see your fair share of infomercials.
That’s when they come out of the woodwork. Products like “The Magic Bullet” make regular appearances. And I bet you’ve seen Tony Horton’s smiling face pedaling the P-90X workout program.
Let’s face it: infomercials are loud, cheesy, and sometimes abrasive. To a lot of marketers online, they seem like relics technology has left behind.
Surely the tactics used in infomercials don’t have a place in your landing pages…
Or do they?
Photo Credit: Radiant_chains via Wikimedia Commons
Is Your Landing Page Selling?
Most online businesses are extra sensitive to being perceived as trustworthy and credible.
That’s understandable. There’s a lingering stigma towards “internet marketing,” people are increasingly skeptical of marketing and advertising in general, and the stakes of a misstep online can be high.
Building trust and credibility are essential. But there’s a problem when businesses obsess over their “image” so much that they forget the part where they’re supposed to sell.
This kind of thinking translates into ineffective landing pages. They might be fun to read and make visitors feel warm and fuzzy, but they don’t convert.
Why Infomercials Work
The same techniques you see in infomercials repeated over and over again can help you improve your landing page conversions. You just have to be a little open-minded.
The infomercials that swarm late-night TV like a plague of grasshoppers might be cheesy, but there’s a reason they’re still around: they work. Even after all the advances in technology, they’re still being created and aired regularly.
Infomercials have launched multimillion-dollar brands and made people staggeringly rich—and continue to do so—because they rely on timeless persuasion principles.
Once we identify these principles, we can figure out how to incorporate them into your landing pages to supercharge your conversions.
How to Use Winning Infomercial Strategies on Your Landing Pages
You might not have QVC’s marketing budget or distribution channels, and that’s okay. You can apply the following infomercial sales and marketing techniques to boost conversions on your landing pages.
These techniques are free, and you can use them without making your landing pages cheesy or off-putting.
Let’s unpack them one at a time:
1. Talk Problems and Solutions, Not Products or Services
Every landing page asks visitors to take action. It could be something little like submitting a contact form or signing up to an email list. Or something big like buying a product.
No matter what that action is for you, you need to make it clear to visitors what they’d get out of taking it.
“That’s easy,” you might say. “They’re getting my emails/free trial/product” or whatever else it is. That’s logically true, but it isn’t how visitors look at it.
People aren’t interested in the actual thing you’re offering; they’re interested in a solution to a problem. They have no interest in buying weight-loss supplements. They want to buy increased confidence and a smile when they look at themselves in the mirror.
You need to figure out what’s “behind” your offer and engage people on those terms. Check out how Snuggie does this:
Photo Credit: flyingsaab via Flickr
They take what the product is (“the blanket that has sleeves”) and show the viewer the benefit to that (“keeps you warm and your hands free”) right on the box.
2. Use Storytelling to Connect with People’s Emotions
A lot of businesses get so hung up on traffic statistics and conversion rates they forget what’s driving those stats: living, breathing human beings.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal to captivate attention and engage visitors on an emotional level. It lets you show visitors how different their lives would be if they took the action you want them to take.
If you can handle all the corniness, take a look at how The Magic Bullet does this in the YouTube clip below:
They use an entertaining (but ridiculous) story to capture attention and incorporate the product.
Infomercial programming is full of powerful words that sweep viewers into a world of possibilities. They structure their content to bring people to an emotional high thinking about how different their lives could be… if they only picked up the phone.
Then, to hammer home the point, infomercials contrast that ideal situation with the viewer’s current reality. They point out how the viewers’ lives won’t improve and will only get worse if they don’t take action.
You can do this on your landing pages. Focus on getting people emotionally charged and inspired to take action. Paint a picture of a better life for people… one that includes your product or service.
3. Leverage Testimonials from Happy Customers
Telling stories is a great way to connect with people emotionally. But people expect that from you. They’re used to seeing businesses hype how great they are on landing pages, which makes them naturally skeptical.
You can also leverage the power of storytelling through customer testimonials. This is an infomercial trademark; they devote plenty of time to bring in smiling, enthusiastic customers to talk about how the product changed their lives.
Beachbody, the company behind P-90X, offers customers free workout gear and the chance to win $100,000 for submitting their before and after photos:
That’s because Beachbody understands that each testimonial makes its message more believable and their viewers more willing to act. You can’t afford not to take advantage of that credibility and social proof.
One more thing to consider: if it’s possible to show your product or service delivering the result you promise, do it! A demonstration is the most powerful type of testimonial; infomercials do it all the time.
4. Sweeten Your Offer Until It’s Irresistible
“But wait! There’s more!”
If infomercials had a calling card, that would be on it.
And with good reason: every successful infomercial sweetens their offer before the program ends. They take the offer they’ve built up and toss in bonuses, special deals, and whatever else it takes to make it irresistible.
Proactiv, one of the most popular infomercial products, is known to offer free trials of their acne treatment and throw in lotions, toners, and cleansers as well:
Photo Credit: matsubokkuri via Flickr
Imagine a scale with what you’re offering on one side and what your visitor’s offering on the other. What can you do to move it in your favor? What can you add to make your offer so overwhelmingly valuable that even people who are “on the fence” can’t resist?
Another way to sweeten the deal on your landing page: use a strong guarantee to remove the visitor’s financial risk.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency
You’re probably familiar with the infamous infomercial countdown clock. They make an offer and ask people to call before the clock runs out or miss out on a great deal.
It seems tacky and pushy, so why do they do that? Because they know if they can’t get someone to act right away, they’ll come up with reasons and excuses not to act later. It costs them customers and sales.
The other techniques listed here build up desire to take action, but you need to give visitors a reason to act right now.
How can you create urgency on your landing pages?
It depends on what you’re selling. Don’t lie to create a sense of scarcity. No one will believe you if you talk about “limited” copies of a digital book. You might need to get creative, but you should be able to come up with something to get people to act now.
6. Ask for Action
A lot of online businesses are uncomfortable with this one. They do a great job of building up their visitors’ desire to buy from them, and then they…
Stick a tiny opt-in button or link in the bottom corner of the page. Only to wonder why their conversions are bad!
Infomercials aren’t shy about what they want people to do and asking them to do it. They even repeat what they want you to do multiple times so it can really sink in.
Photo Credit: Ben Ward via Flickr
You can ask for action on landing page—and even do it several times—without flashing it in red text across your entire landing page. You can do it tastefully.
Don’t worry about putting a few people off. Those people probably wouldn’t have bought from you anyway. And it will only help your conversions with interested visitors.
It’s not enough to just create desire to buy online. Take a page from the infomercial playbook. Know what you want people to do and ask them to do it.
Technology and marketing tactics change, but the principles of persuasion remain the same. It doesn’t matter if you use them on landing pages or in cheesy infomercials.
Apply these 6 principles on your landing pages to separate yourself from your competitors and boost your conversions. You don’t even have to go on QVC to do it!
What else can marketers take from infomercials and apply on their landing pages? Leave us a comment below and let us know.