Credibility, Value and Appearance Key to
Boosting Seminar Attendance
by Trey Ryder
When marketing legal services, lawyers often discover that getting qualified
prospects to attend seminars is a formidable challenge. And if no one
shows up, lawyers have wasted their time and money. Here are tips to attract
genuine prospects to attorney marketing seminars.
YOUR PRIMARY PROMOTIONAL TOOL: YOUR SEMINAR FLIER.
FLIER SIZE: I suggest fliers that are on 8.5” x 14”
(legal size) paper because (1) the larger size allows you to write a longer
message that will excite the prospect more than a short message, and (2)
the larger size looks more important than a seminar promoted on a sheet
that’s only 8.5” x 11”.
FLIER CONTENT: The value of your seminar is in the seriousness
of the problem you’ll discuss -- and the degree to which your prospects
want a solution. Therefore, much of your flier should focus on explaining
the problem your prospects face -- and emphasizing what they will endure
if they don’t find a solution.
Your flier should also contain your photo, with direct eye contact
and a warm, engaging smile -- as well as detailed information about your
background and experience. The perceived value of the seminar is tied
directly to the perceived knowledge, skill and experience of the presenter.
From reading your seminar flier, make sure prospects conclude
that the subject is serious -- they need to find a solution -- and you
are the only logical person to provide that solution.
Make sure your flier is graphically strong so it seizes and holds
your prospect’s attention.
Make sure your seminar flier looks clean and crisp. Prospects
conclude that the quality of your flier reflects the quality of your program.
Make sure your message flows from upper left to lower right, in the same
direction people read.
Make sure the time/date/place and the phone number to call for
information are easy to find, easy to read, and easy to understand.
ONCE YOU HAVE A FLIER, DISTRIBUTE IT TO PROSPECTS. YOU MIGHT
MAIL: Send your flier to everyone on your law firm mailing list,
including current clients, past clients, prospects and referral sources.
Even if these people don’t have reason to attend, they can pass
along your flier to someone else.
PICK-UP POINTS: Leave copies of your flier at high-traffic points
around your community. Libraries, chambers of commerce, and community
centers often allow you to put out fliers for their patrons, members and
visitors. Ask referral sources to offer your flier as well.
BULLETIN BOARDS: For consumer seminars, post fliers in public
places where prospects will see them. Consider bulletin boards around
your community, such as at senior centers, chambers of commerce, grocery
stores and other public places. If you design your flier with an attractive
photo -- a bold, black headline -- on colored paper -- prospects will
be drawn to your flier from a distance. (Make sure the colors you choose
don’t detract from the image you want to project.)
NEXT, LOOK AT OTHER WAYS TO GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT:
MEDIA PUBLICITY: Send news releases announcing your seminar to
the media that reach your target audience. Spell out the specific topics
you will discuss and include a phone number people can call for information.
For best results, draft your news release in the writing style used by
ADVERTISING: Run a display ad in newspapers and magazines that
reach your target audience. As a rule, the smaller and more targeted the
publication, the better your response. Large publications with high circulation
usually do not prove to be a good investment. Look, instead, for small
publications and those with a narrow readership. The information you put
in the ad should parallel the information in your seminar flier.
WEB SITE: Put the information on your seminar flier onto your
web site and feature it prominently. This way clients and referral sources
know where they can find it even if they don't have a copy of your flier.
Plus, prospects can print the information if they want a hard copy.
NEWSLETTER: Promote your seminar through your newsletter and
Invite everyone on your mailing list to visit your web site where they
can read your seminar flier -- or contact your office so you can send
it by e-mail.
CONSIDER THESE SELDOM-USED OPTIONS:
MEDIA SPONSORSHIP: Ask a local newspaper -- or a television or
radio station -- to sponsor (or co-sponsor) your program. In many cases,
they will involve their in-house promotion people to help you market and
publicize the event. I recall when a business newspaper sponsored one
of my client’s programs. The newspaper gave him both free editorial
coverage and free advertising. Plus, it enhanced the seminar’s prestige
when we advertised that the program was co-sponsored by the Arizona Business
PRESS COVERAGE: Another way to increase attendance and visibility
is to send a query letter along with your seminar flier to editors and
broadcast producers. You benefit from this as follows:
(1) The editor may like the subject and assign a reporter to
write an article about your subject and give details about your seminar.
This can greatly increase seminar attendance. A reporter wrote an article
about one of my client’s seminars. We set the room for 60 people
-- but at the start of the program, the room was packed with 233 prospective
(2) A producer may invite you to be a guest on a radio talk show.
Or an assignment editor may invite you for an interview on the TV news.
A radio or TV interview can dramatically increase attendance if the station
reaches your target audience.
(3) The editor may assign a reporter to attend your program and
write an article. This won’t help seminar attendance because the
story will appear after the fact, but it gives you a valuable reprint
you can send to your entire mailing list. (An editor sent a reporter to
one of my client’s seminars, and then featured the article on the
city newspaper’s front page.)
The next time you present the same seminar, send a reprint to
everyone on your mailing list. That alone should increase attendance because
prospects will conclude the subject is important and you are the respected
authority. Otherwise, the newspaper would not have written and published
In summary, consider this off-beat analogy:
In THE MUSIC MAN, Professor Harold Hill arrived in River City,
Iowa. He told an old friend he wanted to start a boy’s band to “keep
the children moral after school.” Hill asked his friend what was
new in town that posed a problem. His friend said all he could think of
was the new pool table.
Professor Hill then sang a song that decried the terrible problems
resulting from pool tables. You probably know the lyrics:
You’ve got trouble, my friend, right here in River City.
With a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for pool. You’ve
got Trouble! -- Trouble! -- Trouble! -- My Friend! Right Here!
Notice how Hill emphasized -- then re-emphasized -- the depth
of the problem, without any suggestion as to what he offered as the solution.
He knew that parents would not buy the solution until they first bought
into the problem. So Hill spent his time firmly establishing the crisis
that results from a pool table.
For you -- during seminar promotion, focus most of your effort
on the problems your prospects face. This helps increase the number of
prospective clients who attend because they're looking to you for a solution.
Attorney marketing seminars are not things of the past. To the
contrary, lawyers still use seminars when marketing legal services. These
proven tips will help you turn an empty seminar room into an attorney
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