34) Don’t worry about filling your half hour.
People say, “Gee, how much can you say about a widget?
How can you fill a half hour?” Well, once you get into it, it’s easy.
There’s a lot to say about good products.
35) Simplify, simplify.
“Got Milk?” Use short, active sentences. No long
words. Stay away from the Thesaurus and those 25-cent words.
36) Repeat, repeat.
OK, so you don’t want to sound stupid. But remember, a
lot of people are only half-watching.
Shooting on green screen
37) Learn from other mediums.
What hot buttons sell your product in stores, at fairs,
or in direct sales? What can you learn?
38) Learn from other shows.
You don’t want to copy the other guys, but stay abreast
of what’s working with other spots and shows. There’s a reason that so many
phone number tags, for example, look the same. Can you spot it?
39) Counter objections & give details./p>
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know the typical
questions or objections people are going to have about your product. So
answer them! Those little details like “For Mac or Windows” mean a lot
when you’re thinking about buying.
40) The first 3 minutes are key.
Pros like Las Vegas’ Joe Sugarman of BluBlocker
sunglasses fame will tell you to work hard on the opening of the show. Why?
Because that’s where you grab a lot of viewers.
41) Have a lawyer go over your script.
Observe the ERA guidelines. Sure, nobody likes paying
those rates. But, as Jeffrey Knowles of the Washington D.C.’s Venable,
Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti says, “You can pay us a little now, or a lot
42) You can’t sell prevention.
You can generate leads, but closing a sale is tough.
43) An air test is better than a focus group.
Focus groups are great, but expensive and easy to
misinterpret. If you want to know if your show will work, it’s better to
just put it on the air. The results are far more reliable.
44) Avoid humor.
It rarely sells anything but comedy albums.
45) Watch out when they say, “let’s do something
“Different” usually turns out to mean, “unsuccessful.”
Sure, a lot of shows and spots look the same. So do soap operas and rock
concerts. DRTV is a form, a delicate format for TV advertising. If you want
a show that pulls sales, be sure you understand it before you try to
46) Plan for how you’ll protect your success.
There are a number of things you can do to protect your
product. They range from product selection, to patents, to unique creative
elements. Use them to avoid getting ripped off.
47) Create 2 or 3 call-to-actions inside your show.
The goal is to let the person order when he or she wants
to. Interestingly, even when you have 2 or 3 commercials, most calls still
come in at the end.
48) The audience should make sense.
There should be a reason when they applaud.
49) Stars stop channel surfers & add instant credibility.
Suzanne Somers has great legs, so she was a perfect
choice for Thighmaster. Your star ought to have some relevance to the
50) The more a star is personally involved with the
product, the better.
How does your celebrity measure up against, say, Victoria
Jackson talking about her cosmetics?
51) A star can be your best copywriter.
Believe it or not, actors can be very smart people with
some real insight into what sells.
52) Don’t try to “lift” a :120 from an infomercial.
Sure, you can use pieces and shots. But infomercial CTAs
are designed to fall in the context of the show, while DRTV spots can run
anywhere. A lift may not make sense.
53) A CTA should start by summarizing the benefits.
Refresh the viewer on why she ought to buy.
54) Re-establish credentials and credibility.
Next, remind her of the authority and credibility behind
55) Establish value.
Before you reveal the price, remind her of what the other
products cost. Yours ought to be a bargain.
56) Make the offer.
It must be very clear what the buyer will get.
57) Add bonus items.
These add-ons can add punch and urgency, giving somebody
a real reason to buy now. They ought to be relevant to the main product and
simple to explain.
58) Make a terrific guarantee.
“Make a terrific guarantee, then keep making it,” says
Greg Renker of Guthy-Renker Corporation in Palm Desert, California.
59) Ask for the order.
The name of this game is action!
60) Only the director should talk to the actors.
Otherwise, actors and everybody else can get confused.
61) Remember, the sales message is the key.
That’s why the script and the writer/producer are so
62) Don’t script testimonials.
They’ll be much better if you let them use their own
63) With effects & music, less is more.
“Effects and music can add a lot to a show,” says Joan
Renfro, president of LA-based Onyx Productions, “but only if they don’t
distract from the selling message.”
64) Allow ad-libs.
Who knows, somebody besides you might say something
great. People like to hear real people.
65) Don’t fake demonstrations.
It’s illegal, and you’ll create a real returns nightmare
if you promise what you can’t deliver.
66) Always make extra prototypes.
You never have enough for that one last beauty shot.
67) After 10 hours, all shoots are going downhill.
The crew is tired, the actors are tired, and you’re about
to be hit with overtime. But most importantly, you’re tired and probably not
making your best decisions.
POST PRODUCTION & LATER
68) Don’t show a phone number until after the offer.
The experts say it makes “info” calls skyrocket.
69) No matter how your show does, you’ll reedit.
“Smart producers design their shows so they’re easy to
change,” says editor Jim Settlemoir of L.A.’s Burbank Editing Company. “They
build in shortcuts.”
70) Make big changes, not little ones.
The hard part with fixes is finding a change that will
actually make a difference.
71) Look at the opening, the offer and the CTAs first.
That’s where you can make the most difference the
72) You’ll never mess with success.
Don’t kid yourself by thinking you can put in an inferior
shot now, thinking that you’ll fix it later. If the show’s a hit, you won’t
dare touch it!