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Direct Response Advertising & Infomercial Production

DR Advertising & Infomercial Production

Author Archive for Ava


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By Ava Seavey, Queen Bee, Avalanche Creative Service, Inc.

As both network and cable TV viewership continue to decline, and market fragmentation becomes an ever-evolving conundrum, how has all of this impacted the infomercial marketplace? A lot.

So what is a marketer to do who has a complex product or service, an expensive price point or a continuity item? The dilemma had always been choosing between executing a two-minute spot or a half hour. Well, not any more. Enter the five-minute infomercial, the perfect hybrid of long and short form, with many of the advantages of both and few of the drawbacks.

Five-minute infomercials, also called mini mercials, mid form spots, medium length spots, have been around since at least 1997. In the early days, there was a more limited amount of stations and day parts that fives were available on.

Now, these mini mercials air on over 60 national cable stations in almost every day part.

A few years back, the average time a viewer would spend watching an infomercial was eight minutes. Today, it is down to five minutes, making the five minute format an information packed, muscular feat of marketing perfection for this You Tube generation of viewers.

The beauty of this hard working and mighty format is that the response rates greatly out perform two-minute commercials and the close rates are more consistent with half hours.

The mini mercials don’t need the same disclosures as long form and don’t need to be close captioned. In that sense, they fall more into the short form category, yet packing the information punch of a long form infomercial.

Another advantage to the five-minute format is that they can be created from scratch as originals, expansions of two-minute formats, or cut-downs of long forms. Any existing assets that the marketer currently has can be evaluated for use in a five-minute show.

Since 2008 when Avalanche produced their first five-minute show, we have seen some of the lowest cost per calls and highest close rates ever. And this mighty format is huge for differentiation of a brand as a stand-alone format.

Five minute shows work well for categories including nutritional supplements, beauty, personal care, surgical, not for profit, diet, fitness, bedding, housewares and more.

So the next time you are grappling with deciding between long and short form, consider the mighty might five minute. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like to learn more, please have a look at the Masters Series video below from the ERA September 2016 D2C Convention I took part in.

Ava Seavey is president of Avalanche Creative Services, Inc., a creative shop that produces long, short and midform drtv, radio, print and digital advertising. Ava celebrated 25 years in the drtv industry in 2015.


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DRTV Companies Are Not All Created Equal

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DRTV Companies Are Not All Created Equal

The direct response television industry is no longer in its infancy and, one could argue, there are two distinctly different sub sets of DRTV companies that have evolved in the industry.

There is the “traditional” DRTV agency, that is usually working with you in the capacity to sell one product with a premium or an upsell, usually a hard good, something that is revolutionary, remarkable, demonstrable and super cala fragalistastic. It usually has a hard offer, somewhere between $10 and $29.99. It is usually sold in two minute and one-minute TV spots. Then, if successful, will roll into stores like Bed Bath and Beyond in the As Seen On TV section.

But wait, there’s more! There is a whole other world out there with regard to DRTV companies and direct response agencies. And that is the world of: 60 and: 30 direct response TV spots generating leads for expensive products and services, continuity items or subscription offers. These spots often have “soft” offers (no price is mentioned), or trial or discount offers.

In fact, would you believe it if I told you that Avalanche has sold $5,000 plus services from sixty second DRTV campaigns? Now I sound like a snake oil salesman, but it is the truth.

Consider this. The way that media is consumed now is quite different than it was in past years. Many consumers will research what they have been exposed to from these DRTV companies and go into due diligence mode. They will look at reviews. They may do comparison-shopping. They will educate themselves about the category and options. Then, when they come back to make a purchase, they are willing to spend those big dollars on a hair restoration service, on a cosmetic procedure, on a home improvement project or on a monthly subscription to an alarm system, a nutritional supplement or a diet program.

So how do you go about weeding through the many DRTV companies out there to find the right one for your project? When searching for a direct response company to carry out your strategy, be it for a traditional hard good or generating a lead for a service, just be sure whatever company you select has a strong track record in a similar category or genre. It wouldn’t be advisable to hire a company who has only done kitchen gadgets to produce a direct response commercial for your window installation. Nor would it make sense to hire a company who has done only financial services to work with you on a DRTV production for your toenail fungus product. And while it may be tempting to hire your nephew’s friend of a friend who has never done DRTV before, there is just too much that can go wrong. Your efforts to save yourself a bundle may likely cost you three bundles.

There are plenty of great DRTV companies out there in all categories. Do your homework and you will have the best chance for success.

Check out potential companies in the resource guides published by industry trade associations, ERA (Electronic Retailer Magazine) and DRMA (Response Magazine). They both have listings by category showcasing the different DRTV companies as they may suite your unique requirements. If you are in the market to produce a long form infomercial, be sure to hire a DRTV company that has produced long form, same thing for short form. See if you can identify the categories each company has worked in. Go to their web sites and view some of their work. It is generally best to speak to at least three companies. If you schedule calls with the companies, be sure to try to speak with the actual folks that will be working on your account, not just the sales people. Part of a creative, collaborative process involves creating a working relationship. Be sure that the personalities jibe well with your own corporate culture. And be sure that whomever you want to work with has a passion for what you are marketing. It’s a tough business and without passion it’s harder to move that needle.

So now that you know the different types of direct response advertising companies out there, go find that one that is right for you and get your product or service out there in front of millions of people. Simply put, TV is still among the most persuasive and effective media channels available.

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How To Use Existing Video Assets To Increase ROI In The Digital Landscape

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How To Use Existing Video Assets To Increase ROI In The Digital Landscape?

You’ve invested an enormous amount of money and additional resources to create video assets that you’ve used successfully on TV.

Unfortunately, even with all the money, time, brain power and elbow grease invested, there’s still a very strong likely-hood that prospects who are exposed to your DRTV campaign and are even genuinely interested still won’t buy.

At least not right away that is.

Likely, they’ll first do a little homework and visit your website to check you out.

And while this is a good thing as it presents you with some great opportunities to repurpose your video for the digital landscape, if you’re not implementing some of the strategies below, you’re likely leaving a lot of revenue on the table.

According to Kissmetrics, 96% of visitors that come to your website in fact are NOT ready to buy.

Additional data shows that over 75% of visitors to your website will never return…

And if you don’t believe those stats, have a look at your own website analytics, and compare the conversion rates of new vs returning visitors. Don’t be surprised if you see a 3x conversion rate for returning visitors over new visitors.

Ok. So what now. How do you turn those new visitors into returning visitors and eventually buyers?

They’ve already seen your main DRTV campaign and clearly it was effective. But what can you do next in hopes of a 3x or more bump?

On the bright side, to counter act the info above, we can take a look at another stat that should put a big smile on your face.

According to kissmetrics, viewers of video are 64-85% more likely to convert after watching a video. BAM!!!

This is fantastic news.

So how and where can you leverage your already existing video content to work in your favor?

Here are a few ideas for alternate and additional video content to create and distribute in the digital world.

* Video that promotes specific benefits as well as benefits of the benefits
* Video that explains usage and possible precautions
* Video that showcases testimonials
* Longer versions of your content that can be consumed in smaller pieces.

Now that you’ve got this additional video content, how can you add it to your strategy to inject yourselves into the digital world?

Consider some of these ideas below.

Website landing pages – By embedding your video content on your website landing pages you’re in complete control. While adding the video is a great start, consider setting up a testing environment where you can see which videos perform better than others. You can take your testing even further by implementing an analytics strategy to see exactly where your viewers are dropping off and then customizing your video for maximum conversions based on the data revealed to you.

Youtube – Now considered one of the most important sites on the web, with over a billion users, hundreds of millions of hours of watched video per day that generate billions of views per day. This presents you with a tremendous opportunity to get your content in front of even more traffic than your current media buy in an evergreen manner. It’s important to note that you should pay close attention to your optimization of your videos based on proper research before you even upload them. It’s a massive environment where those that strategize properly will leave those that don’t in the dust.

Facebook – Reports suggest that Facebook receives 4 billion views a day and 70% of them are uploaded to Facebook directly. In addition to the massive audience on Facebook, there are several extreme benefits of promoting your video content there. For one, the opportunity for laser targeting your audience. While you can certainly choose segments based on your own ideas, you can look at facebook audience insights to gain even more info about demographics, psycho-graphics, and affinities of those you want to target in this specific environment. You also have the opportunity to target based on desktop vs mobile usage. Depending on your strategy, choosing one can be a very important consideration with regard to where your audience is showing higher conversions. And of course we can’t ignore the notion that Facebook advertising can be extremely cost effective as well. With the addition of flexible options pertaining to impressions vs clicks, you can implement a strategy that you’re comfortable with and ease into your spend.

Video distribution – While Youtube and Facebook currently dominate, there are numerous other sites that you can use to leverage your video content accross the web. If you think outside the box a bit, you’ll see you can add your video pretty much everywhere. And each corner of the web offers you access to another niche group complimenting your other efforts to get more eyes on your videos.

What else….?

How about creating uniqe video ads and serving them to website visitors that landed on your site but didn’t “buy now”?

Enter Re-targeting…

You’ve likely been exposed to re-targeting numerous times. In broad strokes without getting too technical, re-targeting is simply the process of serving custom ads to those that have already visited your website. You can (re)target visitors based on which pages they’ve landed on, what actions they’ve taken, how long ago they’ve visited, as well as various other custom rules. And often times, re-targeting can be much less expensive than a campaign designed to get that first click.

What’s so great about that?

Re-targeting has shown to increase ad response by 400%!!! (

How’s that bump looking now?

The opportunites to utilize your existing video content and increase your ROI in the digital landscape are endless.

Want to put some of these strategies to work for you? Contact us today.

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