January 01, 2017

The Lawyer's Guide to Profitable Virtual Presentations, Part 1

Cynthia Sharp

By now, most lawyers are comfortable with online learning platforms and routinely earn CLE credits in the comfort of their own office or home. But only a handful are delivering online presentations effectively, if at all, and are consequently missing out on a low-cost yet powerful marketing opportunity. As you review the following suggestions, contemplate how the delivery of online presentations can be used to further penetrate the market in your own practice arena.

Two challenges to be addressed from the outset, choosing topics and finding audiences, are addressed in Part 1 of this article. Learning how to engage viewers/listeners who will either refer a client or become one is addressed in Part 2, which will be published in a future edition of the eReport.

 

Step One: Choose Topics

The natural beginning is to resurrect and update all the material you’ve written in the past for publications or speech handouts and to repurpose them for 2017 virtual presentations. Why not leverage the intellectual capital you already worked painstakingly to develop?

Another simple way to spark new ideas that will capture the attention of referral sources and potential clients is to google “(area of practice) hot issues 2017.” For example, googling “estate planning hot issues 2017” generated 8,060,000 results, which will provide plenty of research material.

Finally, why not ask your audience what they want to learn by distributing surveys through one of the online survey tools such as Survey Monkey or Google Surveys?

 

Step Two: Actively Seek Out Virtual Speaking Opportunities

Presenting CLEs to attorneys is a fabulous way to enhance an attorney’s brand and attract referrals. Bar associations throughout the nation (including the ABA) welcome proposals from new online presenters. (For a sample proposal template and cover letter, email me at cindy@thesharperlawyer.com.)

The firm’s horizons should be expanded, however, to include other potential referral sources. Find the organizations that cater to the continuing education needs of professionals who serve the same clientele as you do and submit a proposal to offer an online session to their members. 

Keep in mind that your presentation proposal may not be the recipient’s burning priority which means that you need to follow up within a reasonable period of time.

You also may wish to explore whether law schools or other educational institutions are hiring adjunct faculty members for online courses. 

 

Step Three: Create Your Own Speaking Opportunities

Enterprising lawyers who broadcast their own webinars must first choose the appropriate virtual platform that will fit the firm’s needs and budget. Check out virtual presentation expert Roger Courville’s recent blog entry in which he identifies the most popular platforms used by small and medium businesses.

The main challenge in creating your own virtual event is to attract an audience. Begin immediately by choosing an email marketing system and importing your relevant contacts. Be sure to consult PC Magazine’s recent review of 10 email marketing software packages before making your choice. Another facet to consider is that a landing page created specifically to promote the event will increase the professional look that translates into increased attendance. My landing page of choice is Leadpages.

In order to attract professionals to your virtual events, become an accredited provider of continuing education credits. While professionals are hungry for knowledge, most are more likely to attend a course if the content qualifies for CE credits. For example, as an estate planning attorney, I was qualified to issue credits to CPAs and CFPs, and my quarterly sessions routinely attracted 40 attendees. Although the standards for becoming an accredited provider are straightforward, the process can be a bit time consuming, which is the major obstacle for most.

Another way to attract attendees is to find a co-presenter who represents the same market place as you do. Create a joint seminar and market it to both your database and your co-presneter’s, thus increasing exposure for both of you.

Updating clients as to new legal developments also can be accomplished virtually.  Imagine holding a complimentary session each quarter in which your clients are invited to attend and to bring a friend. Sessions can be scheduled for any length of time.

 

Conclusion

As you plan next quarter’s marketing efforts, why not include a virtual presentation component? Don’t let another year slip by without trying something innovative and out of your comfort zone.

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Cynthia Sharp

Business development strategist and veteran attorney Cindy Sharp served as Dean of the Speaker’s Academy of the Philadelphia National Speakers Association. She helps attorneys generate more revenue for their law firms and can be reached at 609/923-1017 or at cindy@thesharperlawyer.com