Marketing Your Practice (or business) with Webinars
About eight months ago, we decided as a firm to stop giving free phone consultations. This decision came after a month where the firm had given away about 50 hours of attorney time with very little to show for it. Our thinking was that we wanted to provide value to as many people as possible. By giving away valuable information to anyone who needed it, Karma would somehow provide in terms of clients.
It didn’t work. After analyzing the data, we made the decision to ditch the free phone consultations and start charging for our time. The decision to stop giving away consultations led us to a better decision: to start offering webinars. With webinars, we could give our time away to many people at one time, instead of individually. With webinars, we would be creating content that we could point people to. That way, if they were not ready to schedule a consultation without “interviewing” us first, they could listen to hours of us talking and presenting information. This would certainly give us a way to communicate with potential clients without giving away anything close to 50 hours of time.
Webinars allowed us to position ourselves as experts, or at least authorities, on any given topic. It also allowed us to get in front of potential clients and referral sources when advertising the webinar. We now had something interesting to communicate, even to people who never sign up and watch the webinar.
In order to actually pull off the webinar, we engage in a three-step process:
First we decide on the topic and research anything and everything related to the topic. While we are at it, we write a few blogs or a very long article on the subject for our website, hoping to get some SEO or Google love out of the process too. We design an outline of the materials and send it off to a designer to put together a PowerPoint. The cost to have the PowerPoint created is usually $120 or so.
We then determine who our targeted audience is for the webinar. It might be other lawyers, prospective clients, or non-profits and churches. We come up with a marketing plan for that audience. We decide how we are going to get news of our webinar to our target audience and how we will spread the word. Thus far, we have just used our email lists and social media for marketing, but in the coming year, we plan to mail postcards or letters to targeted agencies in order to create new contacts and referral sources.
To launch a webinar you will need a platform. Many are available; we use Go To Webinar and it does a great job. The cost is about $100 per month and they provide great tracking and analytics. Go to Webinar also records your webinar, which creates another piece of content that you can use again and again!
Actually giving the webinar feels very strange. You are talking to your computer, running through your slides, and a small number on the Go to Webinar platform that tells you how many people are listening. You can’t see them and they can’t see you (unless you turn on a camera that allows them to see you clicking along delivering your presentation). You do not get any feedback based on the audience’s faces, expressions or posture. This feels very unnerving. It also feels strange to talk for a whole hour non-stop. I tend to speak too quickly. We have found that having two people give the webinar, in a more conversational manner and less lecture-like style, can be very helpful.
Webinar vs. Seminar
Giving a webinar offers some significant advantages over giving a live seminar. You can give a webinar from the comfort of your home or office, in any clothing or attire you choose! Last night at 8:00 pm, I gave a webinar from my home office to more than 20 people. Today, new potential clients who listened in have blown up my inbox. I also have received referrals from other attorneys who heard about the webinar and didn’t need to listen, but now remembered their neighbor or friend who needed information about divorce, which is what I provide. Not only that: Even though 20 people tuned in to the webinar, a total of 53 people registered. I can now use my email marketing platform to market to all of these individuals.
Another advantage of webinars vs. seminars is that if no one shows up, you don’t have to give the webinar. You haven’t wasted your time getting ready for and traveling to a location to give a seminar, and you have the materials ready for another time.
To recap, giving webinars as a way of marketing my practice has given me and my firm several benefits:
- It’s helped motivate me to create content that can be used in a variety of ways, including written content, webinar recordings, and using the audio-only portion of the webinars for podcasts.
- Giving webinars has allowed me to position myself as an authority figure on the topic and has created value for those individuals listening to the information. At the same time, giving webinars helped free me from the guilt of no longer offering free consultations.
- Webinars have allowed me to connect with individuals, both during the webinar and afterward through the recordings, without actually talking to each person. We have built goodwill with potential clients by offering them quality information without charge.
- Webinars have given me something interesting to market to my audience of social media and email contacts, while also allowing me to build my email list.
Webinars are Powerful Marketing Tools
Webinars have given our firm a cost-effective alternative to free phone consultations, with the added benefit of capturing recorded information we can offer on our website. Webinar platforms are affordable and easy to use. By providing high-quality, useable information and helpful PowerPoint graphics in your webinars, you can create powerful marketing tools that attract new clients for months and years to come.
Billie Tarascio is a divorce and family law attorney in Mesa and Scottsdale Arizona. Her firm, Modern Law, is a 10-person firm practicing exclusively family law. As the owner, Billie is constantly experimenting with the firm to find the best ways of marketing, operations, management, and finance. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook.