The Top Three Infomercial Mistakes to Avoid

Making a profit through Direct Response advertising means paying close attention to the pennies and knowing which beginner mistakes to avoid. A friend of mine with whom I have done many deals came to me with a new product he had created. He was selling it for $19 over the Internet. He wanted me to help him get it on one of the shopping channels. I asked him what his cost was. He said, “Nine dollars.” That’s too much. Three dollars, maybe. But at a $9 cost and a $19 retail price, you can’t make any money using television.

This example brings up two points:

First, you have to keep your manufacturing costs low enough to have a significant transaction margin. I’ve had people tell me, “But it is made in America!” I am as patriotic as the next guy, but I can tell you most people in this country do not care where something is made. They care much more about cost.

The second mistake is being in love with your product. Yes, it is your baby. You gave birth to it, probably over months and months or years and years of effort. If you are in love with it though, you won’t be able to step back and ask, “How much will people be willing to pay for this?” You will be thinking, instead, “My product is three times as good as all the other ones, and it is worth three times the price!” The consumer won’t be thinking anything like that.

Always have an agency with experience in Direct Response handle your campaign. There are a number of such agencies in this country that will serve you well and won’t rob you. When I say this, I am not impugning general advertising agencies. They have been doing what they do for many years and they are very good at it. But Direct Response calls for experience and knowledge that most general advertising agencies just do not have.

One of the biggest beginner mistakes to avoid is to try to go it on your own. Direct Response -especially DRTV – isn’t as easy as it looks. In television, for example, most of the media time is owned a year or more ahead of time by just a handful of agencies. And they’ve paid special DRTV rates you won’t be able to get on your own. So find a good, reputable agency, and you’re on your way to making Direct Response profits.

By Jim Warren

Jim Warren began his professional career in the television and production industry working in Southern California where he discovered that he had a natural sales talent. Combining this talent with his love of film and video production, he built (and eventually sold) the largest infomercial production company of its day. Jim learned how the direct-response industry is an effective training ground for an analytical thinker who loves measured marketing and business metrics. With today’s focus on accountable marketing and online media, those lessons provided him with the advanced insight and skills needed for today’s online metric-driven business model. Connect with Jim Warren on LinkedIn