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Attorney Marketing: Credibility, Value And Appearance Key To Boosting Seminar Attendance

by Trey Ryder

When marketing legal services, lawyers often discover that getting qualified prospects to attend seminars is a formidable challenge. And if no one shows up, lawyers have wasted their time and money. Here are tips to attract genuine prospects to attorney marketing seminars.


FLIER SIZE: I suggest fliers that are on 8.5” x 14” (legal size) paper because (1) the larger size allows you to write a longer message that will excite the prospect more than a short message, and (2) the larger size looks more important than a seminar promoted on a sheet that’s only 8.5” x 11”.

FLIER CONTENT: The value of your seminar is in the seriousness of the problem you’ll discuss -- and the degree to which your prospects want a solution. Therefore, much of your flier should focus on explaining the problem your prospects face -- and emphasizing what they will endure if they don’t find a solution.

Your flier should also contain your photo, with direct eye contact and a warm, engaging smile -- as well as detailed information about your background and experience. The perceived value of the seminar is tied directly to the perceived knowledge, skill and experience of the presenter.

From reading your seminar flier, make sure prospects conclude that the subject is serious -- they need to find a solution -- and you are the only logical person to provide that solution.

Make sure your flier is graphically strong so it seizes and holds your prospect’s attention.

Make sure your seminar flier looks clean and crisp. Prospects conclude that the quality of your flier reflects the quality of your program.

Make sure your message flows from upper left to lower right, in the same direction people read.

Make sure the time/date/place and the phone number to call for information are easy to find, easy to read, and easy to understand.


MAIL: Send your flier to everyone on your law firm mailing list, including current clients, past clients, prospects and referral sources. Even if these people don’t have reason to attend, they can pass along your flier to someone else.

PICK-UP POINTS: Leave copies of your flier at high-traffic points around your community. Libraries, chambers of commerce, and community centers often allow you to put out fliers for their patrons, members and visitors. Ask referral sources to offer your flier as well.

BULLETIN BOARDS: For consumer seminars, post fliers in public places where prospects will see them. Consider bulletin boards around your community, such as at senior centers, chambers of commerce, grocery stores and other public places. If you design your flier with an attractive photo -- a bold, black headline -- on colored paper -- prospects will be drawn to your flier from a distance. (Make sure the colors you choose don’t detract from the image you want to project.)


MEDIA PUBLICITY: Send news releases announcing your seminar to the media that reach your target audience. Spell out the specific topics you will discuss and include a phone number people can call for information. For best results, draft your news release in the writing style used by that publication.

ADVERTISING: Run a display ad in newspapers and magazines that reach your target audience. As a rule, the smaller and more targeted the publication, the better your response. Large publications with high circulation usually do not prove to be a good investment. Look, instead, for small publications and those with a narrow readership. The information you put in the ad should parallel the information in your seminar flier.

WEB SITE: Put the information on your seminar flier onto your web site and feature it prominently. This way clients and referral sources know where they can find it even if they don't have a copy of your flier. Plus, prospects can print the information if they want a hard copy.

NEWSLETTER: Promote your seminar through your newsletter and e-mail alert.
Invite everyone on your mailing list to visit your web site where they can read your seminar flier -- or contact your office so you can send it by e-mail.


MEDIA SPONSORSHIP: Ask a local newspaper -- or a television or radio station -- to sponsor (or co-sponsor) your program. In many cases, they will involve their in-house promotion people to help you market and publicize the event. I recall when a business newspaper sponsored one of my client’s programs. The newspaper gave him both free editorial coverage and free advertising. Plus, it enhanced the seminar’s prestige when we advertised that the program was co-sponsored by the Arizona Business Gazette.

PRESS COVERAGE: Another way to increase attendance and visibility is to send a query letter along with your seminar flier to editors and broadcast producers. You benefit from this as follows:

(1) The editor may like the subject and assign a reporter to write an article about your subject and give details about your seminar. This can greatly increase seminar attendance. A reporter wrote an article about one of my client’s seminars. We set the room for 60 people -- but at the start of the program, the room was packed with 233 prospective clients.

(2) A producer may invite you to be a guest on a radio talk show. Or an assignment editor may invite you for an interview on the TV news. A radio or TV interview can dramatically increase attendance if the station reaches your target audience.

(3) The editor may assign a reporter to attend your program and write an article. This won’t help seminar attendance because the story will appear after the fact, but it gives you a valuable reprint you can send to your entire mailing list. (An editor sent a reporter to one of my client’s seminars, and then featured the article on the city newspaper’s front page.)

The next time you present the same seminar, send a reprint to everyone on your mailing list. That alone should increase attendance because prospects will conclude the subject is important and you are the respected authority. Otherwise, the newspaper would not have written and published the article.

In summary, consider this off-beat analogy:

In THE MUSIC MAN, Professor Harold Hill arrived in River City, Iowa. He told an old friend he wanted to start a boy’s band to “keep the children moral after school.” Hill asked his friend what was new in town that posed a problem. His friend said all he could think of was the new pool table.

Professor Hill then sang a song that decried the terrible problems resulting from pool tables. You probably know the lyrics:

You’ve got trouble, my friend, right here in River City. With a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for pool. You’ve got Trouble! -- Trouble! -- Trouble! -- My Friend! Right Here!

Notice how Hill emphasized -- then re-emphasized -- the depth of the problem, without any suggestion as to what he offered as the solution. He knew that parents would not buy the solution until they first bought into the problem. So Hill spent his time firmly establishing the crisis that results from a pool table.

For you -- during seminar promotion, focus most of your effort on the problems your prospects face. This helps increase the number of prospective clients who attend because they're looking to you for a solution.

Attorney marketing seminars are not things of the past. To the contrary, lawyers still use seminars when marketing legal services. These proven tips will help you turn an empty seminar room into an attorney marketing success.

Trey Ryder © Copyright 2004-2007 by Trey Ryder LLC. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Trey Ryder is a marketing consultant and specializes in education-based marketing for lawyers.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.