Q&A: Would it be too “salesy” to use webinars for ?

In a recent webinar Caroline P. asked,

“We are thinking of running a webinar offering tips on effective weight management with an option to invest in product and webinar support ongoing.  Is this too salesy?”


In a study in early 2008 by Marketing Sherpa the number one reason why people leave webinars early is “content not as advertised.”

The lesson here is this:  it’s completely okay to do anything you want in a webinar.  The question is, I believe, are you transparent so potential attendees can make a value judgment for themselves?

Here’s what to do:

One, remember that web conferencing is a tool, not a format (like a telephone).  It’s not the “webinar” that’s at issue, it’s the content and context.

Two, consider telling invitees up front – previous to the webinar.  If you’re going to offer educational content, that’s great (and it’s a great hook if you’re really delivering value).

KEY (AND THIS IS SO BIG I PUT IT IN ALL CAPS):  You’ll earn more trust if you present the solution to a problem (in your case, weight management) than if you jump right to your solution.  People ‘get’ that you’ve got products or services.  Earn their trust by giving them something of value (a solution/knowledge/skills) that works whether or not they choose your service.  (And who do people buy from?  People and companies they trust.)

Three, consider also telling attendees, once they’ve shown up, again.  Don’t assume they remember what you said in an invitation.

What I’ve seen work quite well is to begin the webinar with a welcome script that notes something like, “At the end of the educational portion of our presentation today we will spend about 10 minutes sharing a few of the benefits of <our company/product/service>.  For those who would like to stay on, we’d be delighted to answer any questions you might have.”

AND…if you use the above opening, make sure your presentation is a little shorter so you can also get in your ‘about us’ stuff before the end of the allotted time.  For instance, if you’ve said it’ll be a one hour webinar (meaning that’s what they’ve planned for), make sure you keep to that time including your ‘about us’ piece.

Web conferencing/webinars are a tool.  “Salesy” is a function of communication, not the tool.  Communicate with integrity and webinars can be a great place to build interest and action for your business.

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