I’ve had no less than three calls in the last two weeks on the validity of infomercial producers calling and posing as “television show producers who want to interview you on their show.
These guys do a great job of sounding very legitimate and when they call back, they only ask that you pay a small scheduling or production fee ranging from $19,000 - $50,000 to be a part of their television program that is “syndicated” across several networks.
In most cases these programs are completely worthless and I’ll explain why.
First of all, when a company leads with a line that is deceptive, you should be suspicious of them across the board. If they were offering real value, they wouldn’t try and hide it behind “free publicity” in order to get you to take their call.
Second, the programs are not syndicated in the television, radio and print media sense. They do buy airtime, typically cable, in a number of different cities across the United States and run the spots in off peak, infomercial slot times. There is nothing wrong with that, infomercials done properly can be a wildly effective form of advertising . . . these companies simply don’t do it right.
Infomercials work because they are highly focused on one thing, giving you enough information enough times, in enough different ways, buffered with social proof to get you to buy. Most infomercial products are loss leaders, they are designed to break even on airtime buys, the real money comes from getting you on the phone and upselling and cross selling. Again, a great process if you have a sophisticated call center with highly trained salespeople working for you. Again, the majority of these guys do not and chances are high that you don’t either. The other problem inherent in these programs is that they typically do three to five products in a 30 minute spot. The net is that you get about 6 – 8 minutes of airtime and then they are on to the next product, if someone flips to the channel at the wrong time, you are paying for one of the other advertisers to sell their product.
Finally, these are high pressure sales pitches. The guys in Boiler Room have nothing on the unscrupulous salespeople who pose as producers of legitimate television programs.
So, the long and the short of this is, if you want to do an infomercial, either work with a legitimate media company that will help you create your own direct response spot. Those companies will also help you buy your media. If you have a really good infomercial product, you’ll likely be asked to license it exclusively to a large infomercial company and get pay a royalty from every sale.
The next time you get the call from the producer of the unbelievable bs show syndicated on Lifetime, A&E, CNN and HGTV, ask a few more questions. If the topic of paying to be on the program comes up, put down the phone, you are about to waste a whole lot of money.
Feel free to email me if you have any more questions on these companies.