The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Archive for August 2012

Webinar Woes

I was listening to a webinar replay the other day. (Full Disclosure: I sign up for a lot of webinars, knowing fully well I won’t catch the live webinar. I usually watch the replay at my convenience.)  The webinar was an hour and forty-two minutes long and when I say long, I mean L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-G!  I swear they had manipulated the screen clock. I’m pretty sure it lasted three days.

As you know, I market my own products so I was sticking around to check out what the offer was: what was being offered, how many and what type of bonuses and what the price point was.  Some people might call that sitting around all afternoon  goofing off, but I call it research.

The webinar was on a topic I was pretty familiar with.  No matter how much I know (or think I know) about a topic, I am always hoping to pick up some nugget that will open up a new way of thinking or a new marketing avenue.  In our industry, one good trick can sometimes lead to a large return on time invested.

So I strapped myself in for the long haul.  Personally, I think just under an hour is optimal for a webinar but I was prepared to go the distance.

Herewith, my pet peeves:  (OH! Like you didn’t know THAT was coming!)

LANGUAGE:  The gentleman giving the webinar (not the JV partner) was one of those guys whose vocabulary includes an excess amount of “awesome,” “dude” and other hype language typical of 20-somethings.  I understand your voice has to convey excitement but I’m a businessperson, not a skateboarder.

NO CONTENT:  There was very little content of any substance the full first hour.  I know because I looked at the clock when I finally heard something I felt was worthy of writing down.  The gentleman spent a full 5 minutes (maybe more) giving stats on how big Amazon is.  Does anyone not know this? Has he looked up the definition of “Amazon” in the dictionary?  This is what I call “fake content.” It seems like he’s giving you information, but it’s really not information that you need or that is worthwhile.  It’s filler.

COULD NOT FAST FORWARD:  The controls on the replay allowed you to go back but not forward.  I went back to listen to something again and went too far. I wasn’t able to push it forward and had to listen through five or six minutes of the already interminable webinar again.

DID NOT SEEM ORGANIZED OR PREPARED:  Even though he had a PowerPoint prepared, it didn’t seem like he had spent much time working with it. While he never said, “Oh, yeah… this slide” I had the feeling that he was thinking it.  Very few people can throw together a PowerPoint or a talk outline and then glide through the presentation smoothly.

WASTE OF MY TIME:  Did I mention it was an hour and forty-two minutes? This webinar could easily have been done in under one hour. It was disrespectful to waste my time or  maybe the gentleman was not very experienced at webinars and therefore didn’t know how to keep control of his time, in which case it was unprofessional.  More than that, for some reason the webinar itself seemed to take forever. It was slow moving and I found myself watching the clock, taking breaks, getting distracted while he KEPT ON TALKING!

END RESULT:  His product looked like it might be good, but because I was turned off by the webinar itself, I couldn’t bring myself to click the button and spend $700, even with a 30 day money back guarantee.  I had not heard of the marketer prior to this. His name was a combination of two first names which made me suspicious as to whether that was his real name or not.  In short, I didn’t trust him perhaps because he spent too much time giving me too little information.  If he had a hard time filling up an hour and a half webinar, how much fluff did his product have?  A quick trip through his Kindle/Amazon stats did nothing to convince me that this man had a system that worked.

In contrast…

I listened to another webinar on the same topic this weekend that was “put together on the fly.” It lasted about an hour and a half.  The person doing it was an adult businessperson.  She was warm and personable without trying to be “hip” and more importantly, without talking down to her audience.  She was someone I had seen speak at a few seminars so I already knew that she was a “real” person and I knew her business background.

CREDIBILITY PLUS:  She brought two guests on board with her.  One was a person who was unknown to me but working in the industry. The other was a national speaker with a couple of business bestsellers under his belt, someone I have also met personally.  The webinar host herself is a fairly well-known speaker and has had a business bestseller.

LOTS OF SOLID CONTENT:  I ended up with five pages of notes on a topic I am well-versed in.  I also grabbed some screen shots and reprinted them.

TIME WENT BY FAST:  Maybe having three people interacting helped prevent the “droning on” syndrome.  I suspect the time factor had more to do with the amount of content.  In the first webinar, I spent an hour waiting for some – any – information.  This webinar hit the ground running and didn’t stop.

UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER:  The host said that the webinar was a last minute idea and had been put together on the fly.  So she was lowering expectations.  But you know what? The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.  And the way this lady does everything can be summed up in a couple of words: Professional and Quality.  She is an over-achiever. If her name is on it, she is going to make sure it is a high quality product, even a webinar “done on the fly.”

Her offer was for a mastermind and she gave you three levels of participation, ranging from $99 to $500.  Some people might think you shouldn’t split the offer, but when you looked, it was all one offer – a one-day online mastermind.  You could add in a personal consult and a few other things or you could just audit the mastermind.  Her top price was affordable (she would split up the payment) and her bottom price was a no-brainer.


I actually listened to a third webinar/video on self-publishing this past week.  That one fell somewhere in the middle and didn’t have an offer -- yet.  He is going with the four short videos into the offer model.  His product is a membership site and it will be interesting to see his price point. He has little ebook gifts along the way, at least one of which had some solid content in it. He also has a fairly good reputation as a marketer who does an outrageous amount of split-testing of EVERYTHING.  There’s a definite hype-factor going on, but there is also solid content behind it. For his target market (young 20 and 30-something males), he has hit the right tone.


THE UPSHOT:  First, this is a FREAKING LONG BLOG POST complaining about a FREAKING LONG WEBINAR.  My apologies for that.  But I really do analyze marketing, what works and what doesn’t and realize that the marketing that appeals to me might not appeal to someone else.  Your tone and the way you present your information is informed by your target market, so we'll leave my language biases out of the mix. Here’s my takeaway from all this (with a lot of helpful input from Facebook friends who I polled).

1. Let people control the webinar.  That means give them time choices for the webinar and replays. Let them watch it at a time that’s convenient for them.  And by all means make sure they have controls on the video player.  Some marketers would argue against this.  I say, don’t insult your prospects, clients and fans. Forcing people to do something is not the way to win hearts and minds.

2. Give lots of high quality content.  Give away the store. You hear this advice time and again, yet very few people follow it. People will appreciate the content. You will prove you know your stuff. You will build trust and confidence with your target market. And yes, people will still buy from you because guess what?  Very few people take excellent notes and it’s hard to write down everything.  I go back over courses I’ve bought and I always find stuff that makes me say “I knew that. But I forgot it.” Having the product gives people a resource they can go back to. Smart people know that.

3. Be respectful of people’s time.  Tell them what you’re going to talk about so they know the agenda. Tell them how long it should take.  Be prepared and organized. If you’re doing live Q&A, take one or two questions, make your offer at the end of the webinar and then stay on longer for more questions. People who need to go can go, people who want to stay will stay.

4. Practice and Do.  The more you do, the better you will get at these.

And I will try very hard to follow these guidelines and keep my webinars (and blog posts!) …  shorter.


Fake It Til You Make It Marketing

A recent contretemps (I have been waiting AGES to use that word!) on a social media site revealed a marketing … well, quite honestly, it was a boner.  And a big one.  (Can’t wait to see the spam link comments on this posting.)

Would you buy a used car from this man?

A marketer, using a “stage name” was putting on a virtual seminar. To promote his seminar, he created fan pages for some of the bigger names in the industry and then used those fake social media profiles to comment favorably on the upcoming event as those people.

Any way you slice it kids, this is out and out fraud.  This is FTC territory and boneheaded to boot. He was quickly found out and called on the carpet for his actions. He was reported to the attorney general’s office and the FTC as well as the social media sites he used.  Several of the real speakers who were lined up to do the event pulled out.

There’s nothing wrong with using a stage name or a pen name – as long as you’re not trying to hide your identity in order to defraud anyone.

There’s nothing wrong with adding some sizzle to your marketing message. Just be sure that when you give people the steak, it isn’t made of pink slime.

But there IS something -- no, wait – EVERYTHING wrong with stealing people’s identities and creating false testimonials.  In short, it is wrong to present yourself as something (or someone) you’re not. But if you’re one of my regular readers, you know this already.

I think people mistake the advice "Be an Expert" to mean "Present yourself as an expert whether you are qualified or not.”  Frankly, many people can make someone LOOK like an expert online in under 30 days.  All it takes is a good marketing plan. But the charade falls apart pretty fast when that expert can't deliver on what's promised. I've seen a few people implode because they couldn't walk their talk.

With the all the information now at people’s fingertips, you can no longer fake it til you make it.  People check up on your claims, mostly because it is now fast and easy to do so.

The whole "Fake it til you make it" mentality that seems to have gripped the country these days is doing no one a service.   Yes, marketing is showing yourself in the best light possible.  As a friend says, you don’t really want to bring up your flaws on the first date.  Most probably, if you have been in an industry for a while, you have experience and a certain degree of expertise.  You probably also have something that differentiates you from your competition.  Capitalize on that.  The truth is there are very few people who are the only source of information in any field. Even if you are a bona fide expert, you are competing with other experts. You end up taking turns being the media’s darling.

What matters at the end of it all is that you provide what you said you would. And more.  When someone has paid you for services or product and you don’t deliver, they really don’t care that you rode in Tony Robbins’ private jet or had dinner with Donald Trump.  All they will care about is that they spent money with you and you didn’t take care of them.

Yeah, it sucks when someone with fewer credentials or experience than you flashes by as they’re rocketing to the top.  A fast trip up usually precedes a fast trip down.  Take your time. Build your business. Make it a solid foundation.  Take care of your clients. And heed the words of Mark Twain (aka Sam Clemens).

“Remember, if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

· · · · ·

Tweaking a Website

I just hit a beautiful website…  and it sucks.

I am looking for a car detailer in my area. First of all, if you do car detailing in southwest Florida, it would be extremely easy to dominate the first page of Google.  Most of the companies don’t have their own websites.  There are local listings through the online Yellow Pages, various directories, Facebook and Google plus pages, but not a whole lot of companies with an actual website.  That’s opportunity just sitting there. Call me.

But let’s go to the site, which shall remain nameless because it is a pretty site and a lot of work went into it.  Let’s approach it from a consumer’s point of view.

Here’s what I am looking for:

  • Where the detailer is located (or if it’s a mobile detailing business, what their service area is)
  • What their services are, and I’m specifically looking for a company that will clean/degrease my engine compartment
  • What their prices are or at least a price range


Let’s start with what’s right:

  • There’s a video testimonial above the fold which is actually a strong testimonial
  • Their contact info is in the upper right corner, easy to find.
  • The copy is pretty good, including information about car washes (in Florida they use recycled water  with added chemicals– good to know).
  • There’s a gallery of cars they have detailed
  • There’s an information gathering (opt-in) box
  • Color scheme is striking and attractive
  • They have a gallery of Before and After shots
  • They have a testimonial page
  • They have a “Tell a Friend” button (Really good!)


Here’s what is not working for me:

  • The video testimonial is centered on the page with a lot of white space around it - kind of floating in nothingness
  • There’s no page that explains the company’s services
  • I have to go to the blog link (which is a separate site) to find information about  the operators of the service
  • There’s a weather widget awkwardly placed in the copy
  • Most of all, there’s no call to action  “For more information or to schedule a consultation” is not strong enough


Here’s how this page can be GREAT:

  • Move the opt-in (Information Gathering) box to the upper right hand side of the page.
  • Enlarge the font on the contact information
  • Shift the video box from center to the left and put in a LARGE BUTTON to link to services
  • Use a larger font overall.  I know with some WP Templates, it’s hard to get a decent font size but there are plugins that can change this.
  • Move the second video testimonial, which is about having regularly scheduled service to the “Services” Page
  • On the Services Page, I would list out the services and the packages
  • I would also list out if I have a schedule of days that I hit various towns. This is a mobile service that is 30 miles away from me.  Do they come here regularly or would they have to make an expensive trip just for me?
  • I might also put a “What to Expect” or “How Mobile Detailing Works” for people who are unfamiliar with whether or not they need to supply water, if the car needs to be placed someplace special or prepped in any way, etc.
  • Put some of the before and after shots on the Home Page
  • Move the weather widget to the widget column or remove it altogether
  • A picture of the owners with a happy customer would help make a stronger personal connection
  • One of the pages has an article on water in the local area – from 2005.  The video on the page is about dry wash car cleaning products.  Get rid of the article and instead list out a few facts about water shortages and consumption.
  • As I said, the copy is good, but the layout is bad. Also, they suffer from my disease – too many words in large paragraphs.  The copy needs to be broken up into bullet points with pictures added.  (And yes, so does most of the copy on most of my websites.  Guilty as h-e-double hockey sticks.)


A bit of weirdness:  There is a page on this site that gives away three free ebooks which would be great if they were about keeping your car looking great.  But they are on motivation, concentration and internet marketing.  Totally inappropriate for this site.  I would suggest to the owners that they put together an informative ebook on car care – Tips and Tricks from Pro Detailers, for example.


The main problem with this site is that it doesn’t address what a buyer is searching for – what do they offer, how does it benefit me and how much does it cost?

Whether you’re putting together a website, a direct mail piece or any ad copy, put yourself in your target market’s shoes.  What do they want to know and need to know?  Make sure you give them that information.  People are looking for solutions. Make sure they know you have a solution that will work for them.


· ·

August 2012
« Apr   Sep »

Theme Design by