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Direct Response Marketing

Making the Right Revisions to a Show That Is ‘Close’

7 May, 2010 By: Steve Spinner Response

Steve SpinnerWhen you think about it, there are really only three types of DRTV shows or spots:

  1. One that works: The best — let’s crack open the champagne and celebrate!
  2. One that doesn’t: The second best, because at least you can walk away and live to fight another day.
  3. One that is “close”: This is the worst type of show, and unfortunately the most common.

If you have a “close” show, well, now the real work begins — revisions! What do you do? How do you push the response over the edge? Is it a re-shoot? How much will it cost? And, most importantly, when do you know you are simply throwing good money after bad? With this in mind, here are the top three ways you can quickly affect the results of your DRTV show:

1. Change the Offer

  • The most impactful way to improve your results is to change the offer. In fact, most infomercial producers will have two or three offers ready to test right out of the gate. When producing your show, be careful of weaving the offer and price into the body, as it is costly and time consuming to revise.
  • Review the product configuration and premiums. Are you presenting your configuration in the correct order? Is the offer building to a climax? We all know that a great premium can make all the difference, especially in short form.
  • Take a look at your guarantee. Structure it to remove all doubt in the consumer’s mind.
  • Offer a payment plan. When the Gazelle launched back in 2001, we went from a full-priced offer to a 30-day trial, and the response went through the roof. We didn’t touch a second of the show — just the offer — and the cost-per-call went from $69 down to $25.
  • Raise the price. Of course you want to make your offer a value, but don’t be afraid to try a higher price. Sometimes a low price raises a question of quality in the consumer’s mind!

2. Experts and Testimonials

  • Experts provide the credibility to overcome the obvious resistance to buying a product from television. It is never bad to add some credible science to your show! You have spent the time and money to substantiate the claims of your product — have a credible source deliver the message. When we added an expert segment to the first Ab Lounge show, the cost-per-call dropped, but more importantly, overall call conversion improved by 20 percent.
  • Testimonials provide not validation, but inspiration. Consumers need to see themselves in the testimonials. This is a great way to revisit and reinforce product features and benefits that may have been missed within the body of the show.

3. Show Open and Call-to-Action Open

  • It’s the headline! Cut to the chase. While a clever open is great, don’t assume that your audience is as enamored with your “creativity” as you are. A lot of current shows I see are dropping the old fashioned open and going right to the offer and guarantee. In a way this “qualifies your lead” with the viewer.
  • Get to the demonstration. If it is an exercise machine, get on it! If it is a food product, get cooking!


Obviously there are several more ways to impact the response of your show. But the bottom line is that when budgeting for your DRTV advertising, plan on re-shoots and revisions. Experience has shown that budgeting about 20 percent of the total production budget for potential re-shoots and re-edits is realistic. Very few infomercial producers will admit that they have ever had a failure, let alone a mediocre show. However, re-shoots and revisions are not a sign of failure, but good business.

As you shoot and edit a show, you continually learn new things about your product and your pitch. You may discover a subtle nuance in the way the product moves or looks on camera. The simple fact is that most shows will need to be tweaked and re-tooled. Depending on the complexity of the show and the needs of the revision, this can be a very expensive proposition. Unfortunately many people forget to plan for this step in the process.

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