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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Best Speaker w/ the Worst Marketing Materials

That's what I felt like last night. I filled in for a friend as a speaker at a seminar for potential home buyers downtown at Acorn Housing in Chicago. They're a HUD certified housing counseling agency.

And not to be immodest, but I was probably the best speaker in the house. It's something I enjoy doing and I do a lot of it. Really, written and oral communication along with a good memory for trivial facts (often involving sporting events from the '80s) are my three strengths so not a big surprise.

BUT, compared to the other speakers, my "materials" sucked! It's true. The speakers other than myself were a mortgage lender, real estate agent, and home inspector. The home inspector had a great power point, a shirt and hat with his company's logo, and very well-done glossy brochures with a $25 savings coupon. The lender and agent had some brochures with overview information about the home buying process along with business cards. And there was little old me with only my plain old business cards...Blah!!!!!

I wondered what lawyers with real regular speaking gigs would suggest and/or what are they giving away at speaking engagements? My speaking engagements are just inconsistent enough that I think I sort of excuse not having good take-away materials.

What are effective marketing take-away materials that you can handout at speaking engagements or use for general marketing when you're getting solicitation calls asking about your firm or services? I don't think just directing ones attention to your Website is enough...especially at the speaking engagements I think people want materials to bring home.

What do I/you need?

BETTER Business Cards. I can't conceive of a lawyer who doesn't have business cards but I think there's room for improvement with my card. On my card I have our Firm's name, my name, e-mail address, office locations, and phone/fax. I don't have practice areas or blogs listed. Other than perhaps some aesthetic improvements, I think those two additions must be made. A recent post from Ernie The Attorney on the subject.

A Firm Pamphlet/Brochure. I see some firms with these but not all. It's a simple take-away item that simply provides more overview information than just a business card...describe Firm history, staff, practice areas, ect.

Firm Logo. I think this is a great way to differentiate yourself from other lawyers. I think if properly done this can really make you look cool and sophisticated, rather than the tattered mismatching stuff I see from most small firms. I'd estimate only 10% of firms (big and small) have any sort of logo. I don't think this has to be crazy expensive either...work around a name or letter, just some consistent branding.

"How-To" information sheets/pamphlets. I think for say the 5-10 legal procedures that I do a lot, I should have this sort of information sheet...explain buying/selling real estate, leasing, evictions, divorce, adoption, parentage. So now I've spoken and I'm giving you even more information about a topic (plus my contact info. of course).

Seriously, you might be the smartest person in the room with all the education but I'm not sure that the average layperson isn't more impressed with the cool logo, hats/shirts, and glossy pamphlets.


At 4:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

In this day and age I tend to think that most materials do not make it much out of the door. Load the prospects down and it will all end up in the trash. I use a logo, and I refuse generally to use PowerPoint because I think it is overused, improperly used and can often distract from the few points you need to actually get across. The point is to sell you, the speaker, and not the slide presentation. I therefore think that the talk or speech is everything. I do make sure that there are two things available. A good paper detailing the things I just spoke about. People who do not take good notes (few) will take these and hold on to them for at least a while. This will have my name and contact on the first page. The organization providing the conference or seminar will generally do the printing. It of course has all of the case law, etc. Then I make sure my business card gets out. I tend to think the rest if folly, expensive, and no more effective. If I had a choice I would have well designed digitally printed banners and banner stands in the room to plant the image, and to provide a place for the materials. The main thing is that you have to have a main contact point where that they can find you and the info they want. That is either a very good website or a blog with contact information and avenues. This domain name needs to provided in your talk or lecture, and be presented on your signage (if you have it), on your paper and on your business card.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Chief Show Officer said...

Ernie the Attorney summed it up pretty well. When he used a card that was out of the ordinary and a bit unexpected.

According to Ernie, "It seemed like the card had 'special powers' because it always created a small buzz."

Not to say you shouldn't have a more traditional biz card (a lawyer probably should) but why not have a UNIQUE card that you can use when you want to "show off" a bit.

(Was that plug at all subtle?)

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Nathan Cain - MandarinMnemonics.com said...

http://www.web-magnets.com is offer 50 free business card magnets.


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