Webinars, Fairies and Unicorns – the Myths | The Chameleon Guide
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Webinars, Fairies and Unicorns – the Myths

If you’re a business owner, particularly one in the first few years of your business, like me, you’re probably looking for solutions to a number of different problems to help your business grow.

And solutions that don’t cost a great deal of money because we don’t have infinite resources.

The curse of free content

The internet is a blessing and a curse in this regard. There is so much ‘free’ stuff out there, that you probably could glean the answers, but you’d have to search a lot and connect a lot of dots before you get anywhere. Or you buy a book costing £10.99 hoping it’s going to be the answer to everything.  My current book pile is out of control! A few are good, but none actually replace the fact you have to do some work – success doesn’t transfer by osmosis by holding the book.

So we’re a sucker for the webinar that promises to rock our world and create a fortune for us before the weekend. ‘This time next year Rodders, we’ll be miwionnaires’

Webinars that promise the world

Webinars such as:

  • How to build a $200 a day on-line shop in 5 days
  • My $120 million secret – the exact 7 step formula to sell anything on the internet
  • How to make $50,000 a month from your facebook ads
  • 5 secrets to build a 6+ figure coaching business in less than 12 months (without any prior online business experience)
    I particularly love the bracketed bit – you don’t even need to have any experience in coaching and still you can make 6 figures. Awesome, where do I sign up?
  • The 5 Keys to Creating and Filling Your Transformational Retreat – to Add Serious Income to Your Bottom Line
  • Fly without the use of wings in a week using my 7 step secret formula

These have all been on my Facebook feed over the last week. Okay, one of them was made up.

But wait… All of them were made up – Fake news alert!

We all know that they’re talking nonsense, but we’re drawn in by the faint hope that maybe this webinar is going to be the one that actually gives us the secret.

The secret webinar formula

These particular webinars have been created using the secret webinar formula (oh yes, there are plenty of webinars on how to create the squillion dollar webinar). And it goes something like this:

  • Make an offer right at the outset that says if you stay until the end of the webinar you’re going to get something, of amazing value for free. (It’s usually a ‘blueprint’ of exactly how to do everything. Blueprint is a popular word in webinar land). This makes the listener cling on to the bitter end in the hopes of further enlightenment.
  • Tell a story about how amazing you and your multimillion pound business are. But it’s important to preface it with the fact that at one stage you’d lost your partner and your house, were sleeping in your car and only had £50 left to your name. But that you’d managed to turn it around by doing just this one amazing thing that you are now going to share with us.
  • Show lots of photos of your now lavish lifestyle, beautiful wife/handsome husband, amazing mansion with swimming pool and Ferrari parked in the drive. And remind us that you that you went from £50 to this in 12 months.
  • Show lots of examples of how people have made the money advertised. But then caveat it heavily by saying these results are not typical.
  • Tease, tease, tease about how any second now, you’re going to show us how to create this miraculous wealth.
  • Eventually go through, at breakneck speed, at a very high level, how to create an automated, rinse and repeat system that’s going to revolutionise your business.
  • Then tell us we can do it by ourselves if we want to take months and make lots of mistakes and spend too much money or
  • How buying their programme is going to enable you to do it faster than a fast thing.
  • Tell us how much it normally costs to buy this programme. And that it’s normally sold at £20,000, but that as a special offer you are going to do it for £997.
  • But wait, that’s not all. Not only are you going to spank the price, but you’re going to add in a whole load of bonuses. Which you then list with a price next to them bringing the total value to £450,000 (I may be exaggerating slightly). But that you are going to offer it at this amazing £997 price. Which you can pay in three instalments if that’s better. But if you pay in full now – you’ll get yet another incredible bonus worth £2,500.
  • Create urgency by saying this offer isn’t going to last forever, in fact, it’s only going to be available for another day and then regretfully you’re going to have to put the price back up to £20k and you’ll lose all the bonuses.
  • Add in more testimonials and proof and a final reminder with links to buy now.
  • Finally continually pester via email with increasing hysteria about how time is running out. Veiled threats are quite good too – what do you mean you don’t want to grow your business – you do realise if you don’t buy this programme you will end up broken and bankrupt?

It’s a model that clearly works because the majority of webinars take roughly this path. And I know there are good ones out there, but they are few and far between.

The reality of the webinar

The trouble is they are SO believable you can get swept up in the excitement of how this thing is going to transform your business overnight and before you know it you’ve parted with your hard earned cash. Only to get buyer’s remorse within days when you realise it’s not quite that simple, or what has been delivered is sub-par or isn’t going to deliver the results you’d hoped for.

It’s not so bad if they don’t charge too much. Except that the latest thing is now that they sell you the cheap thing, for say £47, but once you’ve pressed the pay button, they then try and upsell you, not once, not twice, but three times, other more expensive products before you can finally access the only product you wanted.

And finally, they pretend they are live when they patently aren’t. Not when I get five options to watch it on the same day and their company is based on the west coast of America. There’s no way they’re up at 2am to run a live webinar. I caught one out this week – I got sent the link to the webinar, missed the slot to watch it and only clicked on it yesterday to get some information for this blog and it loaded up – it just starts. What a great man – on permanent standby to give me a personal ‘live’ webinar!

It’s too much people, too much!! 



Well, it is for me anyway.


The reality is that the webinar is a thinly veiled attempt to get you to buy a programme/product/service, but it’s primped up in such a way as to mislead you, yes, I’m going to use that word, into thinking you might actually get something of value out of the webinar.

The truth of the matter it’s an hour to an hour and a half you’ve lost out of your life that you’re never going to get back.

So why not just be honest and tell us? That what they want to do is sell us a programme. Don’t wrap it all up in promises the webinar simply won’t deliver.

What’s the alternative to these webinars?

So how do we

  1. Stop the rot?
  2. Create webinars/video posts that are of value?
  3. Make sure they are seen?

And is this possible without following the tried and tested route?

I have a few thoughts and would be interested in your feedback.

  1. Stop believing you’re going to get value and don’t watch them!

    We’re only encouraging them by being sucked in and signing up to watch them. Like Billy Connolly once said about politicians ‘ Don’t vote for them, it only encourages them’.

  2. Buck the trend

    Rather than pretend you are going to offer something of value – just be blatantly obvious and call it what it is. How’s about the anti hyperbole ad:
    ‘Come watch my webinar that isn’t going to change your world, what I want to do is sell you one of my programmes. They’re great my programmes. My webinar will show you what they do and how good they are, but I’m not going to pretend that it’s going to add any value except at a superficial level where you might get a high level idea of how it works.

    Or do you really have to create the hyperbole? What about the bitter disappointment people have in you afterwards when you don’t deliver?  Don’t you think it might be damaging to your brand?

    But I have a horrible suspicion it might be true that you do need to create the impossible dream.  At a recent networking event I went to, future events were announced. My fab 90 day planning workshop (charged for – at  a very reasonable price I hasten to add) was one of them and another was ‘Seven ways to quadruple your sales in 90 days guaranteed’. For free. Everyone’s ears pricked up and my 90 day planning workshop was consigned to the mental rubbish bin.  I know how their talk is going to end (programme anyone?). Unlike mine where you will actually walk away with an actionable plan that will work. Just saying.

    There must be another way surely?

  3. Actually provide value

    It’s a shocking thought I know. Rather than giving a high level overview and tantalising us with not quite enough information, why not take one area of your business and tell us about it in more depth? So we actually do learn something that we can implement and have a good quick win. I’m much more likely to want to see more of that kind of stuff and then much more inclined to think that I might actually want to go buy something off this person.

    What do you think? A series, say of 4 videos/call them webinars if you like so you can capture email addresses with a more gentle sales message at the end of each followed up by value adding emails and offers.

  4. Reduce the length of the webinar

    Really, I don’t have time to spend an hour plus listening to your drivel. Unless it’s top class drivel in which case I’m in. Let’s cut the proverbial and get down to brass tacks.

    This builds on the last point – have short punchy 15 minute sessions on different subjects.

    Of course the ultimate aim is to sell people our stuff, we’re not all billionaire philanthropists doing this for love. And I don’t mind being sold to – but you have to earn my trust first. And sometimes this takes a while. I stalked one person for over six months who posted useful stuff on facebook, sent interesting articles and then who ran a very reasonably priced workshop. I couldn’t go to the workshop, so a call was arranged instead and boom she sold me a piece of work. Which I was really happy to buy because I’d got to trust her over a period of time. And she delivered massive value which was just what I wanted.

    So in essence it seems to me that honesty, and a slow burn is the way forward with short, sharp useful webinars.

    What say you?
    To that end, I’ve created a short survey to find out about your experiences with webinars and to see what you get out of them – Take me to the survey 

    I should probably be offering some form of incentive to get you to complete it – so my offer is this – If you let me have your email address at the end, I will send you the results so that you too can craft the perfect webinars.

    And as an aside, and a blatant sales plug – if you live in the Surrey/West Sussex area – I am hosting a 90 day planning session on the morning of 24th August at Hartsfield Manor. You’ll end up with a cracking plan to help grow your business over the next three months. The event details can be found here.
    Or maybe I should be selling it as ‘Three steps to treble your business revenue in 3 months’ You choose.

  1. This made me really smile because it’s so accurate and reflects many y frustrations.

  2. Brilliant, and spot on Karen.

  3. Spot on Karen! I must admit to having been a sucker for many big promise webinars only to be very disappointed – so I decided a while ago to try really hard not to sign up for any more. It’s tough, they are very persuasive and enticing.

    I’m a big fan of your idea of delivering shorter, more valuable webinars/videos/lessons/content that help your ideal client get to know and trust you.

    And as for long sales pages…don’t get me started on those, ugh!

    • Yes, those sales pages are also a nightmare. Just tell me what the programme is and how much it’s going to cost and I’ll be on my way. Don’t make me wade through a kilometre of copy and buy now buttons to get there. Grrrr

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About the Author:

About Karen Espley, blogging for The Chameleon GuideKaren Espley of The Chameleon Guide works with ambitious small business owners on her Profit Accelerator Programme. She brings pragmatic and real world advice in a group setting to help her clients make a significant difference to their business through increasing profits and running a highly effective business.

Offering workshops and group profit programmes for companies wanting to reach their full potential.