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How Coleman Report Live Is Bringing in Record Webinar Revenue – and Goodwill

This is the first in a series of articles on SIPA member companies that are dealing with some part of the frontlines of the pandemic. Today, it’s Coleman Publishing,
Joseph Coleman is very proud of the job Coleman Publishing is doing with their daily online show—Coleman Report Live—serving SBA lenders, bankers and small business financing experts. And he should be. It’s a hit. Hundreds of small-business lenders—and, he’s told, the #2 at SBA—and more are tuning in every day to hear the latest news about the trillions of dollars that the government has earmarked for loans.

“For the most part, people are so thirsty for any spot of normalcy,” Coleman told me at the end of last week. “We start at 1 pm Eastern time every day, no matter what. I think it’s comforting for people to log in for 30 minutes. It’s a ritual now.”

And it’s leading to lots of goodwill and record revenue for Coleman webinars. “We cater to a not-really-talked-about segment of banking,” he said. “They deal with cumbersome forms that most people don’t want to deal with. Overnight, the government passed $659 billion of small business loans—that’s like 20 years of SBA funding, and we’re doing it in one month. Pass it Friday, open Monday.”

Coleman said that, through the show, they are talking to “600 CEOs of lending departments every day. We’re the only player in town reporting on this on a daily show. It was only weekly but now we’ve turned it into this wonderful platform where we can have the most up-to-date news, can do polls and see what’s happening on the street, and sell our product… And [despite being daily] the show’s standards haven’t dropped at all. I’m up all night reading federal notices, putting webinars together, lining up guests.”
If Coleman looked tired one day on the show, perhaps it was the day a speaker for a webinar called him at 5:30 am to tell him that he couldn’t go live later that day. So thinking quickly, Coleman recorded him from 6:30 to 7:30 am to broadcast to an audience of 200 later. Then he went on TV at 10 am—he’s in California.
When I asked Coleman how filming himself at home is, he said that he and his wife bought a house and recently put in hardwood floors. It makes sound much better.
Does working through a pandemic mean making specific choices about your house? In the new normal, yes. Actually, just the fact that Coleman and his father Bob started this show was a huge factor in their ability to pivot now to do it on a daily basis.
Similarly, Paul Miller, CEO of Questex—a large media company that has been able to move to virtual events these last few weeks—said that a couple decisions allowed them to successfully pivot.
“We chose to [look for people with] a lot of centralized skill sets,” he said. “This has helped to attract great talent and become a real engine for a 180-degree pivot in this environment. We knew it would enable us to be very agile. And it has allowed us to be very agile.
“Second, we spent a lot of time in the last 18 months breaking down silos in the company, always a good thing. That has allowed very fast sharing across divisions. I’m even doing virtual breakfasts with employees… So it’s cultural as well as strategic.”
I met Coleman Publishing editor Caity Witucki in Washington, D.C. a few months ago at a Coleman event. Her credentials were impressive but she seemed quiet so it’s impressive to see her now co-hosting the daily show. As Miller said, the more skills that people have today, the better—especially in this crisis environment.
“Our show is still the place for our audience to go,” Coleman said. “There’s so much misinformation out there. Bob and I have been doing this for the last 10 years. We’ll try to keep the show going as long as possible. All of the new connections we make become staples of the daily show.”
At the end of last Thursday’s show, Coleman offered a sincere message to his viewers. “We love the audiences; it keeps growing every day. We really appreciate the support,” he said quietly, before showing an email address where people could address more questions to.
You could see just a slight sigh as he said that they will be getting to the slew of questions offline that afternoon. And I’m sure they did just that.
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8 Ways to Generate More Webinar Revenue

According to GoToWebinar’s benchmark report last year, 36% of registrations occur between 8-10 am. So if you’re sending out a marketing email, early might be best. They also note that 59% of registrations occur less than a week before the webinar. The problem is that we get nervous when not that many people are signed up.

“Start your webinar promotion at least four weeks prior to your webinar,” wrote GoToWebinar’s Amber Tiffany. “Then increase promotion the week before your webinar—post more on social and send one more email blast the day of the webinar. (17% of registrants sign up the same day.) For recipients who haven’t registered yet, send out a “last chance” email to encourage last-minute registrations.”

On Associations Now, Philip Forte, founder and CEO of Blue Sky eLearn, shared a few ways companies can generate new revenue from their webinars.

1. Make webinars a prerequisite to an in-person meeting. Take your traditional lecture-type sessions of a conference and package them as webinars instead. Then ask attendees to participate (and potentially purchase) these before the actual face-to-face meeting. We talked a couple weeks ago about attaching CE credits to surveys to get people to fill them out. Attaching webinars to CE credits—which some already do—or some other greater goal could work.

2. Take advantage of sponsorships. There are so many ways to appeal to potential sponsors, whether by acknowledging them briefly on the webinar or giving them a minute to deliver their message. And it’s important to mention that there’s branding associated not only with the actual live event, but also the promotion of the event, Forte said. Modern Distribution Management (MDM) transitioned to sponsored-only “webcasts” around 2009. On Feb. 27, they have one scheduled titled Upgrade Your Customer-Specific Pricing to Win More Orders and Improve Profits. “Join us at 1p.m. Eastern for this MDM Webcast, sponsored by Zilliant.” Sponsors co-brand the event and get all the leads. Attendance is free.

3. Market to non-subscribers and non-members. You can never tell what people will pay more for. Sometimes it’s just in their budget to take webinars and not subscribe to a publication (where the webinars are included). Don’t argue. Hopefully you can convince the attendees that membership/subscription is better for them in the long run.

4. Don’t give up on those who didn’t watch. About a third of all webinar attendees are only watching your webinars on-demand. So just because the webinar has taken place, you still need to be clear to your audience how they can view it. Maybe update an intro to it after the event. MDM writes on their registration: “Even if you can’t make it, sign up anyway! We’ll send you the recording.”

5. Sell in other forms. “We’ve learned this,” advised Adam Goldstein, publisher of Business Management Daily. “We still do a healthy business with CDs. New laptops [often don’t even have ports], but people buy CDs.” He believes that in the HR space you can get certification credits for just buying a CD, so it may be like that in other areas as well.

6. Save money on the speaker and cross-promote anywhere you can—it’s good for the speaker and good for you. “If you must pay a speaker, don’t use your own money,” Goldstein said. (He called it the OPM model—other people’s money.) “Give them in-kind promotions, post their articles on your site and use them in social media. Promote their own webinar to your people on a royalty basis. Trade ad space. We’ll put their products in our store. Monetize their participation.”

7. Promote after. Business Management Daily also knows that a webinar still has value after its airing. They transcribe every webinar—as a journalist, I love when places transcribe interviews—and then put it into a $49 executive summary that includes the Powerpoint. “We’ll take out the ‘urs’ and ‘ums,'” said Goldstein, “but still try to leave it a little raw… Content is a fixed cost so any time you can reuse, it benefits you and the speaker.”

8. Stay with 60-minute webinars. “Contrary to popular belief, shorter webinars aren’t better,” Tiffany wrote. “This was one of the most surprising insights we discovered. Webinars scheduled for 60 minutes attract 67% of registrations, while 30-minute webinars only attract 8% of registrations. Longer webinars are viewed as more valuable, so you’ll get more high-quality registrants. But don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your audience. You might want to set aside 30 minutes for your presentation and leave 30 minutes at the end for Q&A or a live demonstration.”