Due to social distancing and lockdowns because of coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, law firms across the globe cannot attend or hold their regularly scheduled networking events like conferences, panels or summits. Many law firms are worried about not able to manage their business development events calendar in 2020. They are realizing how canceling or postponing a business event can affect the growth of their law firm’s business.
If you are a lawyer or law firm marketer, don’t fret. Instead of forgoing business development events for your law firm, simply revise their format. Go ahead and organize virtual events for your law firm. Due to the current situation, the digital landscape is witnessing a huge influx of people, so a virtual event is the best thing that you can do at this time.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is a live or on-demand presentation set in a web-based environment. They allow you to engage people across the globe and provide plenty of networking and lead generation opportunities.
How To Organize Virtual business development events for your law firm?
To organize virtual events for your law firm, you can use online tools like Zoom or HeySummit for creating webinars, panels, online events, etc. For larger scale virtual summits or online conferences, you might want to consider using online event platforms like ON24, 6Connex, INXPO, etc.
Type of Virtual Events:
1. Online Seminars or Conferences
Conferences that provide training or updates on legal changes in your area of practice can be organized virtually. To engage your attendees you can chat through private chat rooms, do polling on cases, and hold Q&A sessions. Most importantly, be sure to leave time at the end of the seminar to allow attorneys to network with connections that may lead to future referrals.
2. Virtual Continued Legal Education (CLE) Events
Continued legal education events are essential for attorney growth, and since these courses are required for lawyers in the U.S., these events offer clear value to attendees. Have your attorneys speak at CLE events so they can strengthen their thought leadership position and connect with others in their areas of practice.
3. General Education Webinars for Lead Generation
Compared to in-person events, law firm webinars are a cost-effective alternative that build your law firm’s brand, generate quality leads, and build rapport with clients and prospects. Make sure to choose a topic that you know your clients and target audiences are struggling with right now so they can walk away from the webinar feeling educated. Even if some of the attendees are not in the market to hire an attorney now, they’ll remember your expertise and that can lead to business opportunities down the road.
4. Lunch and Learn Events Through Video Conferencing Platforms
Lunch and learn events are generally held for letting education, networking and informal socializing be part of your lawyer’s (or law firm marketer’s) busy schedules. Normally, they are organized during lunch hours for 30 or 60 minutes in the office. To convert them into a virtual event for your law firm, you can opt for sessions held through video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, etc., that’ll allow remotely working lawyers to learn and network among themselves.
5. Expert Panel Discussion Events Using Video Conferencing Platforms
With these events, lawyers can learn from different experts simultaneously. With the help of a moderator and an online video conferencing tool, panel events can be easily converted into a virtual event for your firm. Be sure to assign a moderator that will be in charge of guiding the discussion and a Q&A session in an organized manner.
Tips for Preparation & Follow-up:
To organize a successful virtual event for your law firm, it is imperative that you focus on preparation and follow-up too.
- Keep Session Length Short: It is extremely difficult to hold the attention of attendees in a virtual session for a long period. To keep attendees engaged, shorten your physical session by 15 to 30 minutes for virtual events.
- Add Engaging Titles and Compelling Program Descriptions: Word-of-mouth promotion of an event cannot happen when lawyers are working remotely. They’ll have less information to decide what event to attend virtually now. So, it is vital to make event titles and descriptions engaging and compelling.
- Interactive Content with Engaging Speakers: Content and speakers both go hand-in-hand to make a virtual event for your law firm a success. Make sure to choose a good speaker who can engage virtually with attendees. The content designing for the online session must include interim attendance, Q&A, opinion polls, surveys, etc., to ensure constant interaction.
- Use a Moderator: Moderators are key to having an organized virtual event for your law firm. Select a fellow law mate to be a moderator in a virtual session, particularly in panel events.
- Promote your event strategically: Use social media and custom hashtags to promote your law firm’s virtual event. Promotion is extremely important for having a consistent attendance because normally only 1/3 of registrants will show up.
- Record everything so that you can use it for follow-up: Recording virtual events and turning them into on-demand content pieces immediately gives your one-time event more value. Post the content to your website and gate it for continued lead generation. Also, send the recording to attendees to give them an opportunity to re-watch it and put to practice whatever they have learned.
- Prepare for the Unexpected: With virtual events, your law firm is completely dependent on technology, therefore, be prepared for technological glitches. Moreover, if you are doing a virtual event for the first time, ensure to run-through the material for the virtual event, at least a week before it and prepare for the session.
- Ask for Reviews and Feedback: Whether the event is for lawyers, clients, or prospective clients, it is imperative you ask for feedback so you can evaluate the success of the virtual event. Furthermore, as the modern client relies heavily on the opinions of others, request that your attendees leave you a review!
- Offer Virtual Event Bags: Event takeaways are always an attraction for attendees in any face-to-face event. In a similar way, virtual event bags like gift cards, coupons, digital contents, etc., can be an added attraction for participation, making a virtual event for your law firm a success.
Law firms should not miss out on opportunities to bring in new leads and maintain connections with clients and prospects. With the current digital technology, various communication & collaboration tools along with digital marketing via social media platforms, there is no doubt that the previously planned business development events for your firm can now be continued successfully through virtual events.
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