3 Controversial Ways to Increase Your Webinar Conversions

marketing on the internet

Do you stink at pooping?

{Pun intended.}

No, seriously!

Not only is this a valid question, as you’ll soon learn, but it’s also the subject matter of an unexpected and massively successful viral ad that generated over $15 million in sales in 2015 alone.

Here’s the story…

The “Squatty Potty” company, makers of a toilet accessory for improving “number two” posture, needed to get creative when promoting their product, which helps users achieve quicker and more satisfying results on a properly-equipped porcelain throne.

Funded largely through an appearance on Shark Tank

The bootstrapped company approached the Harmon Brothers’ advertising agency to produce a lighthearted and informative sales video for the “marketing on the internet” era.

It’s futile to describe; just take a look…

Whether you find it funny or in poor taste, you can’t argue with the results this puerile toilet humor produced…

According to numbers reported by Adweek…

  • It garnered over 66 million views on Facebook and YouTube (in 4 months)
  • Went certifiably viral (with 75% organic viewership)
  • Kept 70% of viewers watching all the way to the end of the video
  • Boosted online sales 600% and retail sales 400%

That’s a smashing success by any reckoning!

And it goes to show how the Internet’s truly the “wild west” of advertising.

Now, in contrast, let’s take a look at another scatologically-oriented ad spot…

This one’s from one of America’s iconic, yet fallen-on-hard-times retailers…

This non-stop series of double entendres also went viral, piling up tens-of-millions of views.

However, the response wasn’t terribly welcoming or amused.

In fact, lots of consumers were offended and the evening news ran stories like “has Kmart gone too far?”

Unfortunately sales dropped that quarter and they pulled the video from their social media channels.

And Kmart wasn’t doing too well to start with.

So what’s the difference between Squatty Potty’s and Kmart’s ads?

Well, not much—from one perspective.

After all, they’re both humorous, controversial, and performed well with the Millennial crowd.

But, from a brand standpoint…

Kmart’s a family-oriented establishment, and as you can imagine, “ship my pants” was found offensive by much of this demographic.

Thus, media fallout and hate mail from consumers when attempting this type of marketing on the internet.

Now, “Squatty Potty,” on the other hand, is clearly more unconventional, so the humor much more appropriately matched their brand.

Obviously, an adventurous ad works for an adventurous product (appealing to adventurous consumers).

This congruency is called a…

Message to market match

And this is critical for your marketing efforts.

In a moment we’ll discuss 3 methods to appropriately use controversy to build trust and rapport, and dramatically increase your conversions—especially when presenting on a live webinar.

But first, let’s talk about how NOT to use controversy.

Because it can, obviously, soil your reputation.

{Looking at you, Kmart.}

Okay, so to start with…

Humor is a TOUGH sell

Does the idea of refining your latest routine at open mic night excite you?

For most people, the answer is absolutely not!

That’s because humor isn’t easy.

And it’s also inherently controversial, because the point is to cross lines and be risqué.

Now, when executed well, it’s a great rapport builder, which can make you “hip” and relatable.

But if you miss the mark, it’s death to your sales.

So even though the great Dan Kennedy’s got a book titled, “Make ‘Em Laugh & Take Their Money,” I’d stay away from humor until you’ve spoken from stage at time or two (and know how to work a crowd).

Then, and only then, start diving into the mechanics of humor and how to get a laugh.

Now for the upside of ruffling a few feathers…

Controversy interrupts and agitates

It’s no secret that controversy captures attention.

It’s unexpected.

Much like the symbolic “record scratch” sound effect, controversy shatters the monotony of a regularly-scheduled routine, and perks folks ears right up.

And here’s the sales secret to keep in mind…

Being lukewarm does not rouse people into action!

If you’re too “milk toasty,” you’re just going to create indifference.

And people will tune you out, whether you’re marketing on the internet or through offline methods.

Not good.

Because you know what makes people buy?


So if you want action…

Then you’ve got to “stir the pot” a bit…

And make your audience actually FEEL something.

A bit of controversy is great for creating such emotional tension.

I mean, think about it…

What controversial topic doesn’t get folks all hot n’ bothered?

Think about it…

Whether it’s politics, economics, religion, bioethics, or Jar Jar Binks…

Every thinking person’s got strong opinions!

Okay, so to recap the process of inspiring action right quick…

  • First you want to capture attention.
  • Then you want to agitate the emotions of your audience.

That’s what controversy has to offer when you’re marketing on the internet.

How to increase webinar conversions through controversy…

If you’re reading this, then you already know that there’s no quicker way to explode your sales and create an immediate influx of cash than hosting a live webinar.

You can literally generate your weekly, monthly, even annual salary in sales in just 90 minutes…if you dedicate yourself to cultivating this highly-profitable skillset.

If you’re just getting started…

Click here to discover the 7 Steps to Profitably Hosting Your First Webinar (Even If You Don’t Have a List)

Now, for the topic at hand…

Let’s talk about 3 ways to employ controversy in your webinars to increase attendance, capture attention, and seriously boost your conversions.

These are all proven strategies, which minimize the risks and maximize the rewards of instigating a sh*testorm, all while being relatively “safe” bets.

Let’s begin…


This can take a couple of different forms…

a.) You can admit something “negative”

I’ve seen many marketers say things like…

If I may be so honest, I used to do things in a real ‘black hat,’ selfish kind of way, but I’ve seen the error of my ways, and now I just want to dedicate myself to helping people.

That builds credibility and trust, all in one.

After all, who doesn’t love a good redemption narrative?

b.) You can be brutally honest about the shortcomings of whatever you’re selling

Now, this might seem like a great way to shoot yourself in the foot.

But such honesty creates a ton of trust because you’re openly expressing the “negative” about what your offer cannot do.

This can be cleverly positioned, too.

You’ve probably even heard us use this type of qualifying disclaimer on a webinar…

Hey, if you’re looking for some get-rich-quick scheme where you sit on the couch and do nothing, this isn’t for you. You actually have to work to be successful with our products and services. But if you’re willing to put in the time and invest in yourself, then you can achieve x, y, and z.

It works like a charm!

Moving on…


Here’s a window into human nature…

Pretty much everyone is convinced they’re being lied to.

This is natural.

It’s likely a product of the increasing level of of specialization in society—as it’s really hard to know everything about the modern world.

There’s a ton of knowledge that’s inaccessible to you, me, and everyone else.

Therefore doctors might be lying to you, lawyers might be lying to you, scientists might be lying to you, politicians are lying to you, the news might be lying to you, Google might be spying on you, etc., etc.

And look, I’m not saying one way or the other who is or isn’t lying to you.

(Except in the case of politicians.)

Point being that in almost every instance above, we’ll never know for sure.

(Except in the case of politicians.)


After all, we’re not hanging around the Oval Office, or sitting at the CEO of Monsanto’s desk, or invited to private UN meetings, or to sit in at the World Economic Forum, etc.

You get the idea.

Now here’s how you use these suspicions to your advantage…

Remember Kevin Trudeau?

How about his iconic series of infomercials…

  • Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About
  • The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About
  • Debt Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About

Regardless of your opinion of the man or the products (which aren’t our concern here)…

Those are KILLER titles with an amazing marketing angle, because they plays on these fears.

If you’ve been around the networking space even longer, you might recall the classic…

  • Dead Doctors Don’t Lie

It similarly achieved “cult” status back in the days of cassette tapes, using the exact same formula…

  1. You’re being lied to
  2. It’s not your fault
  3. Here’s what you’re not being told
  4. Now buy my sh*t! ;-)

So you can easily piggyback on this idea in your webinars by confirming your audience’s suspicions that they are somehow being “lied” to.

Here are a few example titles from our blog…

This type of content could easily be adapted into a webinar format.

And honestly, any title using the word “secret,” in essence, is employing the same psychology when marketing on the internet…

  • The Secret to Webinars That Attract Attendees and Close Prospects With Ease
  • 12 Secrets About Promoting Viral Webinars
  • 7 Amazing & Little-Known Facts About Hosting Profitable Webinars

Here’s another common tactic…

Attacking “gurus” has a long history in the online marketing space, because it works.

Just keep it classy.

And whatever you do, don’t name names (as there are legal repercussions).



This one’s easy and effective.

It creates a pattern interrupt and makes folks pay attention.

And you can do it with just about anything.

Here’s an example:

You probably think that getting traffic to your offer is hard. Well, guess what, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. In fact, if you give me 14 minutes to explain, I’ll show you how to get traffic to your offer starting in the next 24 hours, for as little as $10! It’s so easy a grandma could do it.

Make sense?

Now, let’s do the converse:

You’ve probably heard from some “guru” trying to sell you something that getting traffic is easy. Well, guess what, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. First of all, you’ve got to know how to find a responsive audience. Secondly, you’ve got to know how to write compelling ad-copy. And thirdly, you’ve got to suffer through the learning curve of whatever traffic platform you choose. You know what all that adds up to? A giant headache. Instead, why don’t you use this shortcut and save yourself all that hassle…

See how that works?

Both of my statements are true—from a certain perspective—yet they are entirely contradictory.

You can use this technique with anything.

Any market.

Any niche.

In fact, a brainstorming exercise is write out a list of commonly-held beliefs in one column, and how you intended to “spin” them in the other.

Makes for a compelling marketing angle to get folks on your webinar.

Okay, so quick recap…

Here are the 3 controversial ways to capture attention and increase your webinar conversions…

  • Make a damaging admission
  • Confirm your audience’s suspicions
  • Contradict commonly-held beliefs

Those should get you stirring up some controversy, so you can excite and agitate your prospects into BUYING.

Because that’s what this is all about, right?

Now, of course…

You simply can’t learn all the ins-and-outs of hosting massively profitable webinars from a blog post.

It’s a big topic, after all.

In fact, Tim Erway, our CEO and co-founder here at Elite Marketing Pro, invested $10,000 and an entire day of his time to learn the secrets of one of the best webinar presenters in the world, a couple of years ago.

Was it worth the 5-figure price tag?

Well, Tim generated $107,359 in just 90 minutes on his very next webinar (and has done over 6-figures dozens of times on webinars since).

And you know what?

You too can generate generate $1k…$2k…$5k…or even much more in 90 minutes, or less.

So if you’d like to take a page out of Tim’s playbook…

Click here to discover Tim’s exact, fill-in-the-blank “90 minute profit machine” formula.

Just like every other skill under the sun…

If you want to be successful at ANYTHING, all you need to do is find out what other successful people have done…

And copy them!

So if you’re ready to start creating serious cash infusions in your business…

Click here to discover Tim’s exact, fill-in-the-blank “90 minute profit machine” formula.


Until next time,

Andrew Draughon
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro


Andrew T Draughon

Andrew Draughon is the Director of Content at Elite Marketing Pro. Yet not long ago Andrew was hauling shingles and hanging drywall for paltry wages in the frigid winters of upstate Pennsylvania. Making the decision to never wake up before sunrise in sub-zero weather again, Andrew moved to Florida, discovered his passion for marketing, and has been working via his laptop ever since.



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