One afternoon last week, a client told me he heard that you shouldn’t sell on a webinar. He’d been advised that his webinar should simply educate, and that the conversion of prospects should somehow take place later.
He wondered if we had “too much selling” in my copy.
I explained that webinars are indeed driven by information, which was why the webinar script I wrote was chocked full of facts. And why these facts were staged as benefits.
We revisited the webinar objectives we mapped out together before the writing actually began. One of these objectives:
To give HR managers sufficient information in the webinar that they have the necessary incentive to take action and schedule a meeting.
Revisiting this objective helped my client understand that informing and selling do not live in separate worlds. Facts, explanations, and information are the essential grist of salesmanship. Platitudes don’t cut it.
But my client’s concern revealed a deeper issue at play.
The notion that selling is bad, and somehow detrimental to the process of moving a prospect through the marketing funnel.
Without quite coming out and saying it, my client was concerned that some of what he called “salesy” sections of the webinar writing would upset and alienate viewers.
His concerns were well-founded. Bad marketing carelessly bosses the prospect around. Sloppy webinar writing, and all weak copywriting, falls back on noisy calls to action which are unsupported by reasons why this action should take place.
When the prospect is bullied and barraged instead of being cajoled, she stops. She freezes and she leaves. To help the prospect move forward, we need her to feel fascination, intrigue, and a belief that the solution being presented deserves immediate investigation.
Claude Hopkins addressed this notion in his 1923 book, Scientific Advertising:
People can be coaxed but not driven. Whatever they do they do to please themselves. Many fewer mistakes would be made in advertising if these facts were not forgotten.
Claude Hopkins was a brilliant copywriter, so his choice of the word “coax” is noteworthy.
Perhaps I simply should have told my client that when salesmanship coaxes, it’s fine. When it screams without substance, it’s useless.
In any event, the client made some minor revisions to my script. And all the webinar writing he first considered “salesy” has been kept.