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The true story of how I quit following “best practices.” Sometimes the gurus are wrong.

This is going to be a hard blog to write. Forgive me while I dry some angry tears for a moment. (Only angry at myself.)

…Okay, I’m back.

Sometimes, the “gurus” in marketing are wrong.

Deadly wrong.

Early this year (January-ish), I paid over $1000 for a training program that taught me how to “sell” a program, from start to finish. Launch a webinar, set up email sequences, the whole nine yards.

After spending a month and many, many countless hours to peruse and learn the material in the program I bought to teach me how to sell my program (ironic, I know), I took an entire month to develop my “machine-like” marketing tool.

The physical format? It was an on-demand webinar.

Now, I knew in my gut these can be super sleazy – I’ve attended a few that were terrible – so I put some real effort into this class. I developed over 50 slides, with data-intensive research and an accurate timeline history of my marketing woes and gains, carefully and exactly expounding the steps I’ve taken to build a multi-million dollar business through content.

It was B.S.-free.

The content was seriously good. I ran it by a bunch of industry peers – and they loved the webinar I was going to present.

Then, I made a fatal flaw.

I set up the B.S.-filled webinar program I was taught to do in the guru’s $1,000 program I’d bought and gone through.

I treated the guru’s system like it was the Golden Rule of Course Marketing – heck, she’d made $1,000,000 in a year through setting up this machine-like selling system.

And in that very step, I miserably failed.

I left who I truly was…

content marketer providing value to her following…

First and foremost…

And I became – horror of all horrors! – salesy and annoying.

Something I promise, swear-to-God, I’ll never be again.

Here’s the true story, and what I’m doing to 180-degree this marketing failure and “fix” things.

julia mccoy how I quit following best practices

Watch the video: My biggest marketing mistake of 2018, and why the gurus are sometimes wrong

And then scroll below it for the full (text) story.

The true story of how I killed an on-demand webinar after following best practices. Sometimes the gurus are wrong.

First things first.

I apologize if you’ve felt in any way hampered or interrupted by the “marketing machine” of my on-demand Masterclass.

I apologize for sending you 10+ emails to sell you on my program.

I’m sorry if you felt misled that it wasn’t live.

Truly. I’m sorry about that. Please accept my apology.

The truth is that I am confident enough to offer my course to you straight up – you either want it, or you don’t. You either need it, or you don’t. I didn’t cut corners building it. Instead, I spent 1,000+ hours and eight months putting this training together. I built it following Benjamin Franklin’s formula: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” I truly believe in this form of learning. Not only do you watch and listen, you do. You build every piece of a content strategy, and when you have your strategy completely built correctly, you can get certified as an expert.

Heck, I even wrote a 365-page book to accompany my training program.

I wanted it to be the industry resource – and I built it to be.

And then I made the mistake of listening to a sales funnel-y, webinar-based guru on how to set up the “marketing machine” for the course.


How I set up an on-demand webinar to “sell my course” – and what I did wrong

So, the main things I learned from the program I bought to learn how to sell my program (oh, the irony!) were these:

  • How to script a killer webinar that is also very sales-y and pitch-y to your audience
  • Record the hour-long webinar in a program, and then upload it to an on-demand webinar program
  • How to use EverWebinar to set up your machine-like on-demand “masterclass” (EverWebinar is owned by the same company that owns WebinarJam)
  • How to write and script 10-12 emails that follow up with everyone who gave you their email to attend your class
  • Attach a deadline funnel that “expires”

And that’s exactly what I did, step-by-step. It took over 90 hours to set the whole thing up.

We launched the “vehicle” in April of this year and put almost $1,000 ad spend per month on getting webinar registrants, retargeting people who visit the course site on Facebook and other social platforms.

At first, it worked. I’d invested almost $2,000 just to launch the webinar conversion vehicle (masterclass) – just between paying for EverWebinar, getting my slides professionally designed, and new site pages to be designed, not to mention my time building it. I made that back the first two days the webinar was live, and then some. We got a ton of traffic on the webinar, and people seemed to love the intensive contents I’d put together.

The show-up rate was killer: almost 70% for the first two weeks the webinar was live.

And we even had a 2% conversion rate.

But then, everything started declining.

It got so bad that the majority of my new course buyers in the last month have come in after reading my book.

The book I published “sold” them: not a webinar.

Four months after launching the masterclass, our stats looked like this:

  • 793 Registrants
  • Sign up rate: 26.88 %
  • 411 Live attendees
  • Show up rate: 51.83%
  • Conversions (buyers): under 1%

everwebinar screenshot

The show-up rate was GREAT – but the conversion rate on 793 webinar registrants?

Under 1%?


I knew something was wrong.

So, I put my ear to the ground.

I spent the evenings reading ad responses and navigating through FB ads for hours on end just to mine for feedback. What were people actually saying about automated webinars?

It wasn’t good. I read these statements in FB ad comments:

  • “Will my email get bombarded with your sales pitches?”
  • “I hate these things. They’re just a long-winded pitch and a grab for your email.”
  • “I signed up, learned a few things, but then she wouldn’t stop emailing me. I don’t recommend signing up.”

These were the kinds of comments I found on exponential-budget Facebook webinar ads! (The kind where the expert was probably paying $500+ per day to run the ad.)

My conversion rate was bad.

The industry (smart marketers and freelancers = my persona and target industry) hated the marketing vehicle I was using.

The next question I asked myself was a big one.

Do I feel good about this form of marketing?

NO, no, and no.

I hated the automated webinar. And here I was running one. 

All because a guru I paid $1k to said it was an on-demand webinar was a “must” for selling your course, and because she had the numbers to back this up, I believed her blindly and applied everything she’d done for her audience to my own marketing.

Bad, again.

What I did to remedy the thing I hated doing

So, today – yes, this very day – I sat down with my tech guy, who is my hubby, and together we re-mastered and re-engineered the free training I’m offering.

We cut out pretty much everything I’d been taught by the guru.

  • Create a webinar that is very sales-y and pitch-y and launch it to your audience
  • Use EverWebinar to set up your machine-like on-demand “masterclass”
  • Script 10-12 emails that bombard everyone who gave you their email to attend your class
  • Attach a deadline funnel that “expires”

And we did this…

  • I choke-slammed the B.S. out of my free training by cutting out everything in the first 40 minutes that included a pitch.
  • no longer ask for an email or a time from anyone. We put the video file up on the masterclass page with a play button.
  • No deadline funnel, no emails, no expiring course. It’s B.S.-free. 100%.

And guess how good I feel about this new setup?

Darn good.

The #1 lesson from my 2018 marketing failure

Here’s the #1 lesson I took away from what happened in the last 7-8 months of marketing my course using a “guru’s” “proven” system.

Don’t forget to ask yourself AND your audience if you identify with what you’re putting out. 

Your marketing has got to come from your heart.

The way you present yourself, your products and services, must reflect how you truly feel on the inside.

When authenticity shines through, your buyers will know, see, and identify with that – and they’ll buy.

You won’t even have to pressure them into it.

B.S.-Free CTA

You can go watch the free training by clicking the image below. And I won’t even ask for your email. Or pitch you anything in the first full 40-minutes.

That’s my promise to you! And I’m keeping it. No matter what the gurus say.