I don’t know why I sat through the entire 68 minutes. Perhaps it was a vain hope that, maybe, if I kept listening, there’d be something of value in it for me.
Sadly, the sales pitch wasn’t just at the end. No, it was the entire webinar. The webinar used all kinds of psychological tricks to soften me to the call to action at the end.
The actual value that was promised? I think there may have been one tip in there I could use for free. The rest of the webinar was a series of sales testimonials, pictures of the presenter living the high life and meeting famous people, and vague information about the program being sold.
Old-style internet marketing doesn’t cut it anymore
I am in no way against the idea of using webinars to launch new products or services. What doesn’t resonate is when people make promises they don’t deliver on. In the case of the webinar I listened to the other day, it promised information to help me market a particular product. Instead, the presenter made it clear that if I wanted that information, I’d have to buy the $1500 program to get it.
Why webinar launches need to change
Modern consumers, and this includes B2B consumers, are highly cynical. They know that if they sign up to a webinar they are going to be sold something at some point, and they expect value if they’re going to spend time listening to what you have to say.
In content marketing the focus is on answering potential clients’ key questions, not on selling. For marketers, this means changing your mindset from one of selling to helping.
So, how do you present a launch webinar if people are too cynical about the sales pitch?
Simply put, if you promise value, deliver it. When I do a launch webinar or tele-class, I let people know that I’m hosting it to launch a particular program, and I frame it as a sample class. I take my best and most relevant content and give it to attendees for free. So, in effect, they get a premium class for free.
That way, there is no trickery involved. If they get value out of the class and they want to learn more, they are invited to learn more about the full program I am launching and sometimes I make an exclusive offer just for people who have invested the time to listen in, as a thank you.
If participants don’t want to know more, they still have gained valuable information that can help them with their businesses, and they don’t feel like they’ve wasted an hour of their life.
Webinars are an awesome way to introduce your knowledge and expertise to new potential clients. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you give your best tips in a free launch webinar, people will be more inclined to buy, not less.
Why? Because you simply can’t deliver everything in an hour long webinar and if they need more from you and are hungry for more in-depth knowledge on the topic, they know you already deliver value. You have built trust and have shown you can deliver.
Don’t expect the on the spot sale
On the spot sales are fantastic, however, in content marketing the focus is on longer-term client relationships. That’s one of the reasons why native advertising is becoming so huge. It leads people down the rabbit hole without hitting them over the head with sales messages.
Native advertising, come again?
Advertisers have realised that salesy, promotional ads aren’t doing as well as they used to, but if they offer someone a free tool-kit or free value packed webinar with no strings attached, that is highly appealing. Welcome to native advertising, the advertising phenomenon blurring the lines between credible, journalistic content and company spin.
An example might be where you spend money on a Facebook Ad that promotes an information-packed webinar with absolutely no sales pitch involved. The only catch may be that the potential client needs to sign up to your mailing list to access it. For most that seems like a fair exchange.
I’ll write more about native advertising in another post, because it’s a highly contentious issue in the marketing communications world, but I wanted to introduce it to you here to help you get your head around the fact that it can take time to nurture the sale… time and relationship building, and that’s where having a robust email marketing program comes in handy.
Webinar’s aren’t bad and it’s still okay to launch a new product or program using webinars. However, if you don’t deliver value, you’ll lose people. In short, webinars can be a great way to deliver quality content and you can use native advertising to distribute this content to your prospects, however stay away from the hard sell and focus on the longer term relationships.
How do you feel about launch webinars? Leave a comment below.