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Infomercials Masquerading as CONTENT in the Information Marketing Space

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One of the ways that many folks who sell info products are trying to get you to buy their products and services is through webinars and teleseminars. Many of these events are promoted as INFORMATION sessions. MOST of them are in fact simple SALES sessions.

I have no problem with people trying to sell anything. What I DO have a problem with is folks being disingenuous about the process. IF you’re going to do a webinar or other event and call it a LEARNING or CONTENT session, then make sure and deliver at least a FAIR amount of content.

If you don’t, you may make some sales in the short term, but people will catch on. They will quickly learn that when you invite them to come to a CONTENT event, you are really just trying to SELL them something. People are actually pretty smart.

No question that every info marketer, including myself is trying to sell you something. The question is what is the BEST way to do that and NOT piss off customers and potential clients so they never come back to you?

Here is how I see it.

IF you’re trying to sell someone a product or service, go ahead and hold a webinar (or teleseminar, or live event) in which you deliver good, serious content. Make it so that people COULD, if they chose to, take your information and actually do something with it on their own.

People who attend your events will then fall into three categories.

People who come to events and NEVER intend to do or buy anything. There are always a certain number of folks who would rather spend 90 minutes on your webinar than play Canasta or Gin Rummy. They have a lot of time on their hands and figure you can help them kill some of that time.

The second group is those folks who will come to your event and take copious notes. They will then go off into cyberspace and do their darndest to actually try and implement what you were teaching them. Some will actually SUCCEED. Bravo.

In that same second group, there will also be a certain percentage of people who will TRY and won’t be successful for whatever reason. At least they made some effort to give what you were talking about an honest try.

The final group are those who after listening to what you have to say decide they want the BENEFITS of what you’re describing but don’t want to do ANY of the work themselves. Those folks then call or email you and ask you to do it FOR THEM.

If your goal at an event is to sell people, and most of them are, the question becomes what is the BEST way to do that.

When you do an infomercial (an event of any sort that APPEARS to be CONTENT, but is really nothing but a fluffy, disguised sales pitch), I have NO DOUBT that you will make some sales. BUT, the number of sales you will make, over time, will dramatically DECREASE.

My God, take a look at product launches! They are getting increasingly more HYPEY because their numbers (on average) are going down.

Why? Because people aren’t STUPID! They come to one or two of your webinars or teleseminars and they assess what your “modus operandi” is. When they figure out that all you are doing is holding informercials, they will stop attending, and unsubscribe. Now you’ve lost them for good.

So the issue is not whether or not you should be attempting to sell people on your list. The answer is a RESOUNDING YES. The question is how to do that MOST effectively.

I would submit to you that you will make MORE sales LONG TERM if you actually deliver content at your events. The question is of course, how much content?

Most of the folks that sell info products are nervous that if they give away REAL information, that people WON’T buy. I think they are dead wrong. I just think that doing things that way will lengthen your sales process. But, it will KEEP people ENGAGED. They will stay with you.

So, when you have an event, ask yourself honestly: Is this event 80%+ content? If so, you’re on the right track. People will NOT begrudge you selling 20% of the time. They WILL take umbrage at your selling more than that amount.

The fear that most marketers have is that by giving people the HOW of the process, they won’t buy from you. I don’t agree. I just think it may take a little longer.

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12 Responses to “Infomercials Masquerading as CONTENT in the Information Marketing Space”

  1. Benjamin Warsinske on November 15th, 2010 5:33 am

    I agree with you Fred. By explaining how the process works, the person gets an idea of what is involved and what needs to be done. It also may be that there is a lot of work. Or a lot of things the person does not want to do, but sees value in. So, in fact, they may be more willing to buy knowing the how, because they can see how it will help them by implementing that particular process or system.

  2. Shel Horowitz - Green/Ethical Marketing Expert on November 15th, 2010 12:13 pm

    Fred, in the case of live events, I think the 80/20 formula is waaay off. 95/5 is probably about right. If 1/5 of the time is pitching, it will *feel* like a pitchfest even if the info is terrific (as, in all fairness, it often is at these events).

    –Shel Horowitz, primary author, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green

  3. Samuel John on November 15th, 2010 3:16 pm


    I completely agree with what you are saying.
    Of course, I feel it safe to assume the majority of this problem is in the IM industry (or, at best, B2B). So much B.S. is being thrown around during pre-launch videos and webinars. It’s all junk.

    What I do appreciate is, like you say, when someone will actually give a good amount of content away on the video. When they do that, it actually makes me curious as to what their product will do for me. And again, as you say, most of the time their product will simply “do it for me.” Which, in my case, isn’t usually what I’m looking for… but at least I know they’re not pig-headed scam artists.

    Thanks for the post Fred.


  4. Fred Gleeck on November 16th, 2010 1:30 am

    Shel, I was trying to be LIBERAL. I agree with you, it would be BETTER if the ratio was 95-5!

  5. Fred Gleeck on November 16th, 2010 1:33 am

    Sam, I don’t think it’s JUST the IM industry. This behavior is rampant in MOST fields. Like with other things, this method has a relatively short shelf-life. Eventually, people WAKE UP and realize they shouldn’t buy from just a sales pitch.

  6. Steve Hughes on November 16th, 2010 5:16 am


    This post totally nailed one of my two least favorite things on the planet–salesy, content-free webinars. (For the record, the other is when McDonald’s temporarily discontinues the McRib.)

    I just attended a webinar from an “expert” that promised “high-content” and yet delivered less than 18 minutes of quality material. 18 minutes. Of course, to get the rest of the content all I had to do was sign up for a $2,997 coaching program. Heck, why not just ask for my SSN and all my passwords while they’re at it?

    Thanks for being a voice of reason in the noisy world of information marketing.

    ~ Steve

  7. Fred Gleeck on November 16th, 2010 6:15 am

    Steve, I’m not a fan of the McRib, but given your enthusiasm, I’m going to have to try it!! I too have attended webinars as you’ve described. This will stop when people stop reinforcing this kind of behavior. I think people will get bored FASTER with this approach than others in years past.

  8. Shel Horowitz - Green/Ethical Marketing Expert on November 16th, 2010 7:05 pm

    LOL re your response to my comment.

    PS–one of my very favorite things about turning vegetarian (when I was 16) was that my dad couldn’t take us to McD’s anymore on his Sunday outings with us.

    37 years later, I confess I’ve occasionally gotten a cup of coffee there but I don’t even like the smell. However, their spotless bathrooms are great for road trips :-).

  9. Fred Gleeck on November 17th, 2010 3:29 am

    Shel, I still think it’s funny that people could eat potato chips and drink coke every day and be a Vegan!

  10. Larry Harris on January 22nd, 2011 2:11 am

    Fred, I went to this website looking UltraCheapDomains and did not find anything like that. However, I did download the 6 e-books.

    I am trying to find the cost on transferring about 20 domain names, and how long it is for? Somewhere I believe I saw it was for the remainder of the period plus 1 year , plus an extra year for $8.99. Please respond quickly as my domains expire soon. Thanks Larry H.

  11. Fred Gleeck on January 23rd, 2011 12:41 am

    Larry: The cost to transfer is set on the site, I’d put everything into the system to do the transfer, then when you get to the shopping cart you’ll have a chance to review pricing before hitting CONFIRM. This is the BEST way to see what your pricing will/would be. Best, Fred

  12. Part 1 – Is Information Marketing Becoming a Free-For-All? on March 7th, 2013 5:41 am

    […] used webinars to promote myself and my products and services for a long time. And I’ve encouraged my clients […]

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