It’s 3 am on a typical Sunday night. Sure you should be sleeping, yet here you are, sitting on the couch completely enthralled with the latest “As Seen On TV” commercial. You know you want it…that unnecessary gadget being touted as a “MUST HAVE” by those actors used to portray actual customers.
Sham Wow, a towel that soaks up spills and holds 20 times its weight in moisture, is one of best known infomercials of all time. Its delivery style has been parodied just as much as Shake Weight…well, maybe not.
No matter how corny these informercials comes across, everything you need to know about selling can be found in that solid 2-minute pitch. Don’t believe me?
Let’s deconstruct the ShamWow infomercial:
0:00-0:03 – Grab Attention
Hi, it’s Vince with ShamWow. You’ll be saying “wow” every time you use this towel.
From the get-go, this guy looks relatable. Who wouldn’t trust an average, polo-wearing dude named “Vince”? But Vince also looks like someone we should be listening too…with that authoritative headset and all.
Within the first three seconds, Vince peaks our curiosity. How is this thin, yellow towel going to amaze me? With attention spans at an all-time low, you have about 3 seconds to get them hooked through a headline, image, or video.
0:04-0:10 – Educate Audience
It’s like a chamois. It’s like a towel. It’s like a sponge. A regular towel doesn’t work wet, this works wet or dry.
When a never-before-seen product is launched for the first time, the biggest hurdle is educating the target market. The fastest way towards product education is comparing a new concept to a familiar one but then adding how it’s different.
Vince describes the ShamWow as a chamois, sponge, towel but then shows us how the ShamWow is superior to the towel. Netflix is a faster Blockbuster. Uber is a more convenient taxi. LinkedIn is a professional Facebook…you get the picture.
0:11-0:19 – Reveal Pain Points
This is for the house, the car, the boat, the RV. ShamWow hold 20 times its weight in liquid…it just does the work. Why do you want to work twice as hard?
At this point we’re wondering why we need a high performance towel. Vince breaks it down into every day pain points we can visualize in our heads.
We all know the struggle of bending down to wipe up a spill with paper towels or attempting to dry a car with rags alone. Vince shows the value of the ShamWow by segmenting its use for three target markets: women, men, and even affluent customers who can afford recreational vehicles.
Who wants to work twice as hard? I don’t. Thanks Vince for reminding us that rational people buy ShamWow.
0:20-0:25 – Explain Features
Doesn’t drip. Doesn’t make a mess. Wring it out. You wash it in the washer machine. Made in Germany. You know the Germans always make good stuff.
Vince takes us into standard sales procedure, which is the explanation of features. He’s hooked us. Now we want to know what happens after this towel has absorbed 20 times its weight in liquid. Will it be a dripping hassle for me to clean up? Do I have to get it dry cleaned?
He shows us that owning the ShamWow is a breeze and that maintenance is minimal. At the end, Vince does something super special:
He borrows credibility. Germans have a track record of making good, industrial products: cars (Audi/BMW), knives (Henckels), etc. Their towels must be truly exceptional then.
0:26-1:05 – Explain Benefits
You can cut it in half. Use one as a bathmat. Drain your dishes with the other one. Olympic divers – they use it as a towel..ShamWow. You’ll be saying “wow” every time.
The infomercial takes a lengthly turn explaining ShamWow benefits, including a demonstration on mildew prevention. Owning a ShamWow means my valuables will be protected. Highlighting benefits should always supersede the explanation of features on any sales page.
You want to know the truth? People don’t care about your product. They care about what your product can do for them. The sales page is all about your ideal buyer, their struggles, their stories. Vince even snatches some more credibility from Olympians. ShamWow is the towel of high-performance athletes? Wow!
1:06-1:17 – Use Testimonials
“I can’t live without it…OMG, I don’t even buy paper towels anymore…you’ll be out of your mind NOT to own one of these.”
With all that borrowed credibility, it’s time Vince show us some real people. No sales page is complete without testimonials or as some call it, “social proof.” You can do this by mentioning how many people are using your product and listing at least three individual testimonials.
Craft the perfect testimonial with 3 questions:
- What problem or viewpoint did consumer have before?
- How has the product solved consumer’s problem or changed their viewpoint?
- What results did the consumer have after using product? Or how has their life changed?
When you ask customers for testimonials, cover those three questions, and you’ll have powerful proof for your target market. Remember to make getting testimonials as easy as possible – this could be a simple reply to an email or filling out a survey.
1:18-1:28 – Repeat Unique Selling Point
You’re gonna spend $20 every month on paper towels anyway. Stop throwing your money away…The ShamWows are for anything, for everyday use. This [ShamWow] lasts 10 years, this [sponge] lasts a week. I dunno. It sells itself.
Vince repeats what sets ShamWow apart from competitors, which not only includes absorbency but lifespan. We’re already spending perpetual money every month, why not buy one-time and be set for 10 years?
This is a great strategy for any sales page because it appeals to those potential buyers who are researchers. They want to make sure they are getting value for their money. These people are most likely to calculate their actual paper towel spending and weigh pros/cons.
As Vince demonstrates the cost vs value overtime, he’s setting up the price reveal.
1:29-1:41 – Bonus + Scarcity
But if you call now, within the next 20 minutes because we can’t do this all day, we’ll give you a second set absolutely free.
With only 20 minutes to get the bonus set, Vince knows that the perceived limitation of ShamWow supplies will boost conversions.
Every product will have those potential buyers that will wait until the very last minute to buy. Those people need a bit of a nudge, and scarcity is an excellent strategy to turn those people into customers. It’s an excellent form of persuasion that skyrockets sales.
Simply put, if something is rare, it’s also irresistible – human behavior at its finest.
“If something is not scarce, then it is not desired or valued that much. Praises from a teacher who seldom praises are valued more than praises from a teacher who is liberal with his or her praise.
Scarcity is non-linear process. As something becomes more scarce or less scarce, the desire for it does not change in a proportionate way.
If everything is scarce, then scarcity itself lacks its value and people become too used to it. Studies of retail sales have shown that if more than about 30% of goods have ‘sale’ sticker on them, the effectiveness of this method decreases.”
Pro Tip: Be ethical in your scarcity tactics. If a bonus has disappeared, it should actually disappear. Don’t cave in to those who missed the deadline by a second – word WILL get around. Reputation and trust are hard to earn back once lost, and having a sale that never ends will train customers to never pay full price.
Here are a few ways you can introduce scarcity into your sales page:
- Show “limited stock” on a physical product page
- Have a real-time countdown clock embedded in emails (like MotionMail)
- Eliminate or increase bonuses after a set date
1:42-1:59 – Call to Action
[ShamWow] comes with a 10 year warranty. Here’s how to order.
Every sales page ends with the call to action. Vince makes ordering instructions very clear. But note that he has only one call to action, which is to CALL – not to go to the website and buy, but to CALL NOW.
If your page is especially long, I’d sprinkle in a couple more call-to-actions in the middle of the sales page. This makes it easier for visitors who are natural “buyers” to buy immediately.
The video has the phone number in large bold numbers with the website above it for the “researchers” that need more time to review. Vince reiterates the bonus value as well as emphasizes the scarcity of not being sold in stores PLUS the fact that ShamWow is so amazing, there are imitators everywhere.
And just to make us feel extra warm & fuzzy with our purchase, he assures our trust in ShamWow with a remarkable 10-year guarantee.
Well done Vince, well done. Now shut up and take my money.
Let's wrap it up.
Time to touch base on some sales page housecleaning.
The last element you might overlook after the final call-to-action is the disclaimer. Disclaimers are the very, very last section of text on a sales page, usually in fine print, that rehashes the legalities of the product such as no financial/health guarantees or refund policies.
This, together with the other elements, are wrapped up in a easy-to-read design. Your sales page doesn’t have to be fancy, but the design should make it appealing for the skimmers to skim and for the researchers to be pulled through a cohesive sales story.
Images can also boost conversions, whether that be human pictures for the testimonials or images of the product itself. If you have a digital product, find a mockup of a computer or laptop and place a screenshot of your digital program within the “screen” area.
All in all, your sales page or pitch should contain a nice format of the following:
- Compelling Headline + Introduction
- Product Education (if it’s one-of-a-kind)
- Consumer Pain Points
- Product Features
- Product Benefits (spend some time here)
- Testimonials (about 3 good ones)
- Repeat of Unique Selling Point
- Bonus Items with Scarcity
- Call -to-Action with Guarantee or Refund Policy
Don’t think these pieces can’t work on other website pages too. The ‘About Me’ page should also use compelling headlines, pain points, testimonials, and even a call-to-action.
So that’s it guys. All the elements you need in your product’s sales page can be found in the cheesiest of informercials.