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June 30, 2010

Marketing Round Up Post

It's been a while since I've done a marketing round-up post -- either updating older posts or throwing out a couple of links.  So let's get started, and see what's new in the world of legal marketing.

Generating Business From Conferences

A while back, I posted about how you can market your practice through speaking engagements.  Of course, speaking engagements at a conference can be hard to come by.  If that's the case, you can also extract value just from attending a conference - particularly if you read this piece, How to Use Conferences to Generate Business Opportunities by Lee Rosen which appears in the May 2010 issue of TechnoLawyer.  Rosen sets out a three-phased approach for conferences which includes: (1) pre-conference reconnaissance where you identify prospects you want to meet, as well as rehearsal on what you'll say; (2) working the conference, which involves getting around during the conference to meet attendees and (3) post-conference follow up.  (Incidentally, as the video at the end of this post shows, a whopping 80 percent of conference attendees fail to follow up on leads).

The Importance of Being Mobile

Over the past year, I've twice posted -- here and here about the increased importance of being mobile when it comes to marketing.  Well, mobility still matters more than ever.  As law firm marketing gury Larry Bodine reports at his Law Marketing Blog, smart phone ownership is up 38 percent, and lawyers need to start thinking about ways to deliver marketing and education-based contents through mobile media.  Along these same lines, a recent post at Marketing Profs notes that frequent users of social media (those who use social networking sites several times a day) have more than doubled to 39 million in 2010, up from 18 million a year earlier.  These frequent users are likely to be using mobile technologies, both to engage in social media and for other purposes.  In short, it's not premature to think about ways to make your web content and other marketing messages accessible for mobile platforms.

Marketing Tips from MyShingle

For those of you who don't read my blog at MyShingle, I occasionally post marketing ideas over there.  In the past month or so, I've posted on ways to market your practice on the government's dime and also created the short video below on Marketing by the Numbers for lawyers.

Marketing by the Numbers: A Thirteen Minute WhyTo on Marketing A Law Practice from Carolyn Elefant on Vimeo.

January 14, 2009

Marketing Through Speaking Engagements

Virtually every guide on marketing a law firm recommends speaking engagements as an effective way to generate clients. Unfortunately, there's usually not much detail provided on how to secure a speaking engagement -- particularly if you're a newer or less experienced lawyer -- how to select an appropriate venue, how to choose a topic, or how to get the word out about your talk.  So that's the focus of this week's post: How to make the most of speaking engagements to market your practice.

Before I get to the how-tos of speaking engagements, I'll spend a little time discussing the marketing benefits of speaking engagements.  First and most importantly, speaking engagements give you a chance to personally interact with prospective clients without having them feel pressured to retain you, as they might at an initial consultation.  Personal interaction also lets clients can get a sense of your demeanor and personality, factors that are often relevant to their decisions.  Second, speaking engagements are efficient, because they give you a chance to make contact with multiple prospects all at once.  Third, speaking carries a public-spirited component -- it's a way to market and educate the public at the same time.  Fourth, speaking engagements give you an opportunity to reach out to existing clients and reconnect by inviting them to hear your presentation.  Finally, when you speak, many will perceive you as an expert and thus, speaking events can enhance your reputation and elevate your visibility within your markets.

So how can you find speaking opportunities and make them pay off?  Below are some tips.

1.   Identifying your target audience

Before organizing a speaking engagement, decide what types of clients you want to target.  If you're interested in representing high-worth estate clients, giving a talk at a CLE to other lawyers isn't likely to have much impact, since most lawyers aren't likely to refer lucrative cases to you.  Likewise, speaking at a public library in a lower-income area won't generate the leads that you're seeking either.  Consider the audience you want to attract, and pick your speaking venues accordingly.

2.  Finding a place to speak

Don't wait to be invited to speak, or you might find yourself waiting indefinitely.  Instead, take a proactive approach and identify opportunities.  Once you've decided which audience you want to target, do some research on where these groups congregate.  One colleague of mine handles legal research and writing on a contract basis, so she actively targets busy lawyers, focusing her speaking activities on bar associations.  Other attorneys who I know who handle IP or corporate matters send speaking proposals to trade associations. 

But formal, established groups aren't your only venue.  There are multiple, less casual groups  that share similar interests -- from high tech to women's or grandparents' issues to finance -- which often publicize their events in mothers' magazines, local papers, or online at Meet Up.  These groups are often desperate for speakers and would welcome an inquiry.

Finally, you don't have to limit yourself to any kind of group at all.  You could try to organize your own event that you could put on at a local coffee shop, bookstore, or library.  If you serve a remote or high tech audience, you could consider an online seminar or webinar.  The one disadvantage to sponsoring your own speaking engagement is that you'll have to spread the word on your own instead of relying on another group to advertise the event.

3.  Choosing a topic

Try to identify timely or provocative topics that will attract your prospects' attention and make them want to attend.  For example, instead of offering a talk entitled, "The Basics of Estate Planning," why not propose the topic "Estate Planning: Can You Do It Yourself -- Without a Lawyer?"  This title injects some controversy -- to use a lawyer or not -- and gives you a chance to educate an audience about the importance of a lawyer for certain estate planning matters.  Other timely topics -- at least right now -- include foreclosure, consumer credit, divorce and alternatives (since the economy is causing stress on marriages, but also making divorce too expensive), and trend talks about the new presidential administration (e.g., "How the Obama Administration's Employment (or immigration or antitrust) Initiatives Can Impact Your Business and How You Must Plan for Them").

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