Events are the second most powerful marketing tool for your law firm (after the website) and a ripe business development opportunity that you should not waste, says Rachel Sapperstein, marketing director at Blank Rome. Rachel, speaking to the Future Leaders SIG on September 28, 2016, shared practical strategies for getting the most out of your firm’s events.
She laid out three critical steps to a successful event: making sure attorneys and marketing are all on the same page in the planning stages, executing on-site, and making sure your follow-up activity lays the groundwork to land business.
Before the Event
Some of the most important work takes place before the first cup of coffee is poured at the event venue. This includes selecting the correct event – one that will further the goals of the practice and firm, and come in on budget. Additionally, you need to decide if the firm will host it, if you want to partner with an industry association, host a webcast, or join an existing conference or association event. To make these decisions, you must spend time understanding what the firm has done in the past and analyzing the results, asking clients what type of event they would value, and potentially asking contacts at other firms what has worked for them.
During the Event
During the event, attorneys need to ask questions, lots of them, of the people they meet. Examples include “What are the company’s challenges?” and “What is the contact responsible for and who makes the hiring decisions?” And, Rachel says, always leave the conversation with a plan for follow up, whether it takes place in the boardroom or on the golf course.
After the Event
After the event, attorneys must follow up with contacts they met. Connect on LinkedIn, send a note of thanks, and, most importantly, set their plan in action. Additionally, it can be useful to send important information, articles, news, information about the firm, etc. to attendees to demonstrate your understanding of their business.
In every stage, it is critical to keep tabs on everything. Track relationships in your firm’s CRM. Keep detailed notes about what worked, and what did not, at the event. Taking these steps will allow you to better measure your return on your firm’s investment of time and money.
Every event is an opportunity to create business, and the keys to successful events are preparation, asking questions, and documentation. A legal marketer who follows this formula will not only increase the likelihood that their attendees enjoy the event, but also that their firm will profit from it.
By Scott Pacheco, Communications Specialist, Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd., for the September/October 2016 issue of Capital Ideas.