How to Host a Webinar for Your Law Firm

webinar-law-firmOne of the positives to come out of the Coronavirus lockdown is that law firms are finding creative ways to reach out to new and existing clients.

Normal service cannot be resumed, so new doors have opened up.

Webinars are a good example. You may have dismissed them in the past due to work pressures, lack of time, and other priorities but many business leaders have used them for years to:

  • Reach out to potential new clients
  • Educate the target audience
  • Answer questions
  • Start conversations
  • Generate engagement and leads
  • Position the firm as a leading authority
  • Improve existing client relationships

The webinar format can help law firms address problems that their clients encounter in a time-effective way.  Despite this, law firms have traditionally been slow to adopt them.

The lockdown has provided the impetus for lawyers to start exploring webinars.

So, how can you use them in your marketing strategy?



First: A couple of misconceptions

Two things to cover first:

  • A brief clarification of what webinars are
  • A brief word on privacy issues

Webinars are more than informational videos. Sometimes there is confusion – you look up a webinar and find a pre-recorded video where one presenter talks to a camera.

While informational videos are an important part of any law firm’s marketing strategy, true webinars have an interactive element to them.

You present to an audience, like an online seminar, which is where the word comes from.

Either they are:

  • Presented live to a live audience, or
  • Presented live and recorded so that people can watch them later.

So, a series of slides posted on YouTube is not a webinar.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, the next misconception is that law firms cannot rub webinars because of privacy issues.

Of course, individual cases cannot be discussed in webinars, which are public forums.

The information exchanged needs to be non case-specific and general enough to educate without spooking the audience and creating privacy concerns.

So, how do you actually design and host a webinar?


Step 1: Choose your webinar type

Every good strategy starts with planning. You first need to work out what you want your webinar to achieve.

Depending on your law firm’s main practice areas, you will likely consider one or more of the following webinar objectives:

Educate potential clients

Educating clients is a great way to turn interest into leads.

In the following example, an estate planning law firm conducts an hour-long webinar to educate its audience on how to manage a trust:

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The benefit of these webinars…

Educated clients are more likely to come to you when they need the legal services you discuss in the webinar.

Provide hands-on training

Another possible webinar objective is to provide live training on a particular legal matter that helps your target audience in a practical way.

Most law firms would be able to pass on some practical knowledge to existing or prospective clients – whether it’s about something general like what to wear in court or more specific like how to fill in a certain type of legal form.

Here’s a good example from corporate law firm JacksonLewis about how to comply with some new workplace legislation:

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The benefit of these webinars:

You position your firm as knowledgable and able to offer practical help, engendering good will towards your existing clients and attracting new ones.

Address current FAQs for clients

If you know your target clients well enough, you know what their main questions are.

You can shape your webinar topics around topical questions in order to attract the right potential clients to you.

For instance, one law firm in California that specializes in corporate law recently produced a webinar to answers a question that many businesses have during the Coronavirus lockdown: how to introduce safe social distancing measures in the workplace?

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Another type of webinar in this category might address a recent change in legislation (a new law or revision to an existing one) that affects your target audience.

Here’s another example from the same law firm:

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Note that most live webinars should feature a Q&A session at the end, where attendees get to ask questions about the presentation or related matters (more about this later).

The benefit of these webinars:

People who have their questions answered will remember where they heard the information when they need related legal services.

Keep peers and partners informed

A law firm that wants to position itself as an authority in its field can use webinars to inform peers. partners, and other professional groups about important legal matters.

This family law firm makes a series of webinars for accountants, counsellors, and schools, for instance:

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The benefit of these webinars:

You position your firm as a leader in the legal field, which makes for better PR and credibility with partner organizations.


Step 2: Prepare quality content that provides real value

Webinars are great for marketing your business but that should not be the main thrust of your content.

You need to give to get.

If you focus on providing value by answering questions, informing and educating your participants, the leads will flow naturally from that.

Most times, an attorney in your firm will be the best qualified to cover a topic but you might decide that a guest speaker can occasionally provide more value on a particular topic. It is also a great way to add variety to your webinars.

For example, if you are presenting a series of webinars on estate planning, you might consider inviting a tax accountant on to explain the tax implications of a particular aspect of setting up trusts, like with this webinar:

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The content may be presented with you (and/or your guests) appearing on screen like this:

However, people often learn best when there is written material too. For some practical topics, like filling in forms, visual aids may be a necessity to get the learning points across.

So, consider using powerpoint presentation slides to highlight key points, like this:

However you wish to present your content, make it simple to understand, clearly audible, and (ideally) actionable and practical.

Some law firms present with audio only and essentially narrate over a slide presentation. However, this seems a little impersonal.

PRO TIP – invest in a good microphone if you plan to do frequent webinars. Just doing that will raise the professionalism of your webinar a few notches (in-built microphones are generally quite poor).


Step 3: Get the right software

Third-party webinar platforms now make creating and hosting webinars quite simple for law firms.

Among the most popular are:

  • GoToWebinar – part of the GoToMeeting suite of tools: allows live and scheduling of pre-recorded webinars as well as creating polls, integrating videos into webinars, and an automated email template for invites and follow-ups.
  • Zoom – an all-in-one video conferencing tool that includes webinar functionality, the ability to ceate landing pages with sign-up forms, on-demand viewing, Q&A, and live broadcasting across social channels (Facebook Live and YouTube integrations).
  • ON24 – provides on-camera presenters, video clip integration, and live screen sharing, while also hosting recorded webinars for viewing later (quite a high0end solution).
  • Adobe Connect – all the standard webinar features plus extended functionality through apps that enable closed captioning, document signing, and social streaming during webinars (more suitable for larger law firms).
  • Workcast – a cloud-based webinar platform designed to help marketers create a reliable flow of qualified leads with on-demand content and fully-branded webinar experiences.

Your software needs to be mobile-friendly (all of the above are), bearing in mind that just as many of your clients may be using mobile devices as desktops (probably more).

The software you choose should also provide analytics capability so that you can delve deeper into audience engagement (again, the above software all includes this feature).


Step 4: Promote your webinar

The first step in promoting your webinar is setting up a landing page that persuades interested parties to register for the event.

This is vital but it’s where some lawyers freeze.

Creating landing pages should be simple with the right software (templates should be provided) or the right law firm marketing assistance.

Here’s a landing page from Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina for their divorce webinars:

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By clicking on one of the dates on the page above, you are redirected to the following form provided by Zoom webinar software:

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Here’s how The Micklin Law Group does it with its webinars on divorce (using GoToWebinars) :

Landing page:

micklin-law-group-law-firm-webinar-landing-page

Registration form:

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Make sure that registration for the event is a simple process of completing a form from a mobile or desktop device.

Provide details of what they’ll get out of the webinar – what’s in it for them? What can they expect?

Also include the key event details like date, time, speaker, registration fee (if applicable), etc.

Here’s another landing page from a divorce attorney in California (notice how mobile-friendly it is and how the form is on the same page):

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My advice is to make your webinars free at the start. Use them to demonstrate authority and generate leads. If you develop your webinars into something more further down the line, you may consider charging for access.

Promote your webinar to your database of contacts. If your database is well-segmented, it should be relatively simple to send email invitations to the appropriate contacts, pointing them to your landing page.

Some of your webinars will be more suitable for existing clients, others for prospects, and some for both.

You can also promote your webinar across social media, LinkedIn, etc., sending traffic to your registration landing page.


Step 5: Manage registrants to improve attendance

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Offering something for free is often well-received but a word of warning: just because people register for the webinar doesn’t mean they will attend.

This is especially the case with free webinars. People often register weeks beforehand and simply forget or get busy. Because there is nothing to lose, they skip it.

To increase the chances of attendance, send reminders in a countdown format: one week to go, one day to go, one hour to go.

For the best results, don’t rely just on email. If you have phone numbers, send SMS reminders – these have better open and read rates than emails.

Also include in these reminders any technical information that attendees may require so that there are no hold ups when they get to the webinar.

Depending on how tech-savvy you and your audience are, you might have a technical guy on hand during your webinar.

He or she can iron out any teething problems, make sure that people can see and hear the host and make sure that it’s recording.


Step 6: Host a focused webinar with a Q&A session at the end

A webinar can be anything from 15-20 minutes long to 2 or 3 hours. Most would probably come in at around 20-40 minutes but making them shorter is sometimes a good option.

It can be off-putting for busy lawyers to think in terms of panning one or two-hour webinars.

Short, focused webinars with a 10-minute presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A at the end can be very effective and do not take a lot in the way of preparation.

If you host a guest speaker, it becomes a little easier and you may want to let it run a little longer, facilitating the learning points and the Q&A.

If the Q&A session results in too many questions to answer live, you can follow up with participants offline or use their questions to shape future webinar topics.


Step 7: Suggest a next step for participants and follow up

Each webinar should be self-contained and provide value on its own.

However, at the end of each webinar, include a call to action. Tell your participants what they should do next.

You might urge them to find out more about a topic by clicking on a link, registering for another webinar, downloading a free guide or arranging a consultation.

Cordell & Cordell make a series of webinars for divorced men. At the end of their one-hour long webinar on COVID-19 & Divorce, the call to action is to listen to a podcast:

Your call to action will depend on the user’s stage in the “buying cycle” with you – whether they are just researching a particular topic or have a particular legal matter that they require assistance with.

Tailor your call to action to your audience.

This is how the Weinberger Law Group in New Jersey does it:

Finally on this point, make sure that you follow up with any action items that result from the webinar, such as answering a question for a participant.

You may want to call, email back, or nurture their interest by entering their email address into your next email marketing campaign.


Step 8: Make the webinar available to watch later and repurpose content

Webinars are live events but the content can be evergreen. That means you can get more “life” from the content by making it available on your website after the initial airing date.

Create a page on your website with archived webinars like the Geraci Law Firm in California:

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JacksonLewis recently had great success with their COVID-19 webinar series, with 1,500 attending one in April on OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements/Respirators.

Many more were able to view the recording of the webinar from the archive afterwards:

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However, a smart strategy is to treat the archived webinars “gated” content. So, those wanting to view it must at least leave their name and email address.

Here’s how JacksonLewis does it:

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In addition to making the webinar available to watch for future viewers, think about how you can repurpose the content from it:

  • Could you shape it into a blog post
  • Could it form the basis of an eBook ?
  • Can it be uploaded to your YouTube channel?
  • Would it make a good SlideShare presentation?
  • Could you use the questions that come up on your FAQ page?

These are just a few ideas. It takes time to plan and deliver a webinar so it makes sense to get as much “mileage” as possible from the content.


Step 9: Review the data

Which of your webinars are the most popular?

This will tell you a lot so be sure to review the number of views and engagements you get from each one.

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Understanding how you’re connecting with your target audience will help you refine your messaging and shape future content so that it hits the right notes with potential clients and generates further leads.

Your webinar software’s analytics should tell you much about who is interacting most with you.

Ask the following questions:

  • Who are the most frequent participants?
  • Who stayed until the end?
  • Who engaged by asking questions or completing a survey?
  • Are your existing clients attending?
  • Who are the new faces?
  • What are the participants mainly interested in?
  • Who followed up with a private email after the webinar?

This can help you segment your audience for follow-up marketing (email series, social media outreach, etc.)


Webinars are a great opportunity for law firms

Webinars have traditionally been the domain of larger firms with considerable manpower and resources.

But that is changing. The technology now makes it easy for almost any firm to run effective marketing webinars.

In fact, webinars are ideal for law firms with limited resources because you can reach many more prospective clients through webinars than through one-on-one meetings and consultations.

The key is to know your clients and understand what they want to know and how they want to know it.

Webinars may not be not right for every law firm. However, every law firm should have a strategy to build credibility, demonstrate expertise, and reach out to potential clients.

Follow the steps above and your webinars will aid client retention and attract new clients.

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