It's 1 pm on Thursday and that means time for the Coleman Report Live. (Cue the music.) "It's Feb. 21, and we're coming to you live with a special edition," announces Bob Coleman, dapper in the top left corner of the screen with his crisp shirt and tie. "Lance Sexton is also joining us, and Jason—I apologize Jason, I'm going to let you pronounce your last name."
"No problem. It's a tough one."
And we're off on a weekly, 20-minute-or-thereabout romp through the thickets of small business lending. Tuned in today are 180 people, and while the program is free, it has proven to be a monetization giant for the webinars, data, training and special reports that make Coleman Report a success. Joseph Coleman scripts out the show each week—no small task.
"We're trying to do stuff unique to our corner of the world," Bob Coleman told me Friday. "We use the live Report and the Friday podcast as vehicles to push our other products. Sales are going through the roof. Webinar sales are up 25-30%. And we've already got one sponsored webinar out of this show. Partnerships are key."
There are similarities to what Copyrightlaws.com is doing with their virtual Zoom On In show hosted by Lesley Ellen Harris—similar show length, both are free but lead to sales, and both are live—but Coleman is posting his show on YouTube after and interviewing guests, while Harris prefers going solo and letting it snapchat away.
"We'll talk about the webinar [that took place the day before], which last week was how to finance nursing homes," Coleman says. "Take 3 or 4 minutes and give some takeaways. Then maybe we'll do a poll. [Last week's was on the FDA administrator's approval rating.] We can also get news out immediately, about the government shutdown or other topical issues. We'll answer questions and intersperse promotions. The key is they can't get this news anywhere else."
That last fact is important, Coleman added, because much of what industry trade organizations and the federal government offer on this subject is free. "Our content has to be golden and need-to-know. The show has helped us cement our brand as number one in the industry." And it allows them "to keep raising our prices."
One peeve Coleman has is when webinars or shows, like the government ones he hears, will wait 5 minutes for people to join. "People's time is valuable," he says. "We start at the top of the hour and rock and roll." He also does not fool around. "We'll come out with a webinar and say that you have to attend or you will lose your job. If we can solve a problem, then we're doing our job.
"I think we're on to something. We don't lose a lot of people during the show. We get their eyeballs for a good 20-25 minutes and then 10-12 minutes for the Friday podcast." (His "podcast" also is video.)
Coleman Report sends out daily emails, so there are plenty of ways they can promote the shows. "People are busy, they're deleting emails," Coleman says. "But if they have a couple seconds, they'll watch. I just want my name in front of their face as much as possible. This is stuff they can't get anywhere else. That's our editorial philosophy. Give them specific things they can't get from the Wall Street Journal or CNBC.
"The takeaway that I would stress from the show is that we're still at a stage where video [in this area] is new, so people aren't expecting grand production. They don't need Fox Business. It's the content that matters. So what I mean is, don't be afraid to try it."
For all the lighting, sound and equipment, Coleman estimates that they've still come in under $1,500. "We have invested in microphones, but good lighting may be most important. I finally bought a big luggage case to carry everything when we go on the road." (I think he means for Joseph to carry everything.)
"It makes us look more professional."