On Tuesday, January 23 and 24, Legal Marketing Association – Southern California hosted their first program of the year featuring speakers Cheryl Bame of BAME Public Relations, Shannon Keany of Keany Marketing & Events and David Oates of Stalwart Communications.
In this interactive session, each speaker brought their unique perspective to discuss common events and sponsorships that legal marketers face each day in their roles, best practices for maximizing the event/sponsorship, and any public relations angles each event might be able to take.
In case you missed it, we wanted to recap our top 10 takeaways from the program:
- If you are evaluating a one-off request (events that come through the door after the budget has already been set), ask yourself: (1) Does it align with the firm values? (2) Does it improve or benefit relationships? (3) Is there an opportunity for lead generation? and (4) What is the cost, commitment and visibility?
- In the case of a trade association meeting or a national convention, when your attorneys have a speaking engagement, arrange a meeting with the attorney to discuss “how are you going to separate yourself from other panelists” and “what are you going to talk about?”. If the answer is “I don’t know,” then ask “What are the three things you are working on right now?” Use the attorney’s answers to uncover a trend and establish a topic that will appeal to the audience.
- Write a short 500-word article before or after the event. If you write the article before the event, with the audience in mind, you can make it available at the event (at a booth or as speaker handouts). Place the article in your firm’s newsletter, blog, and social media to give it further value. Most trade associations have a LinkedIn group that they can link to this article. For extra spice, ask any of your contacts or client who attended the conference to share a nugget of information to be included in your article.
- Share, Post, Tweet! Whether it’s an industry meeting, non-profit event, gala dinner, golf tournament, or a national convention, make sure you assign someone to take photos or video. Define what you need from the person in charge by describing the type of photos you need e.g. group photos, exhibit booth, networking. Make sure your photos are genuine and not cheesy handshake photos. And don’t forget to tag the organization and/or people, and use relevant hashtags!
- There is great value in promoting your event internally as well. We all know attorneys are inherently competitive, so showing them that Attorney A participated in an industry conference and it resulted in 20 new leads and 2 new clients, will further encourage and motivate other attorneys to engage in business development as well.
- How many tables of tens have you filled this year? There were quite a number of nods in the room when discussing sponsoring gala and award dinners. If your client is receiving an award, go the extra mile and offer up seats at your table to your client’s family and friends. Ask for an attendee list in advance to identify targets/clients in attendance. Consider leaving a gift on the table for your client to congratulate them for receiving the award.
- Whether it is a golf tournament or a national convention where you have an exhibit booth, branded items and logo placement could use a little extra thought. When deciding where to place your logo at a golf tournament for example, place it on a scorecard so the attendees are seeing it all day. Make shirts with your logo and “playing for [insert charity name].” For exhibit booth, offer promotional items with staying power such as gifts for kids or technology gadgets to help with everyday tasks.
- Hosting a women’s event? The panelists gave some wonderful tips to stand out from the crowd. Do your best to add some feminine touches, such as bathroom amenities at the venue, but don’t assume that women want to go to the spa. Definitely invite your male partners to cheer on their female colleagues, but they should not be speaking or leading the event. If your women’s event has a keynote speaker that is well-known, invite a reporter and arrange an interview.
- Spend time before and after with the attendee list. Before an event, the attendee list can guide attorneys on who to target and find topics of conversation. After the event, use the attendee list to follow-up with a soft copy of the article you shared or mentioned during your speaking engagement.
- Last but not least, make sure to track any metrics! Count foot traffic at your booth, click-throughs from the follow-up emails, clicks on website bios on the day of the event, how many business cards collected, and more. Follow-up with the attorneys a few weeks after the event to see if they received any business as a result.
Thank you again to Cheryl, Shannon and David for imparting your expertise to our Southern California Chapter!