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3.5 Tips for Webinars and Events that Win Clients for Your Consulting Firm

In all likelihood, your consulting firm is participating in some live, visibility-building activity such as webinars, speeches, and livestreams. Done correctly, this type of marketing is almost guaranteed to bring clients into your firm. Done incorrectly, they’re a waste of time and money.

Although the digital version of speaking, such as webinars and livestreams, can be a reliable path to clients, many firms focus on the wrong KPIs. As a result, they mistakenly determine this type of marketing is ineffective and inefficient.

For instance, recently, I ran into a boutique consulting firm that spent upwards of $40,000 planning, marketing and running a single webinar. That’s bonkers!

Also, totally unnecessary.

Oh, and they didn’t win a single client from that fancy, expensive webinar. (From what I’m told, they didn’t even offer cookies to participants. Now that’s a crime.)

If you listen to the hype from marketing agencies, online gurus and webinar platforms, they’ll tell you to maximize registrations, drive up your attendance rate and, perhaps, offer a free giveaway at the end.

Those are all wrong.

The Audience Size Myth

The number of people who attend your webinars may give you bragging rights. But you’re not in consulting to brag.

You’re in this business to create value for clients in return for humongous bags of cash.

Therefore, the only metric that matters is the number of new client opportunities created by your event.

You’re better off with a small crowd of highly interested prospects than a mob of multi-tasking, non-buyers.

The Look and Feel Myth

Glitzy, lavish, highly-produced events are a dream come true for a marketing agency. And there’s no doubt your consulting firm will look polished, successful and credible when your events boast high production values.

However, that’s mostly unnecessary. For under $1,000 you can buy all the equipment you need, clean up your “studio” and hire a part-time production controller to run your event.

Don’t show up in a t-shirt smeared with the drippings from your double-fudge ice cream lunch, and unless you’re shooting your event in a cavern using a hand-held 2005 webcam, your production values are probably fine.

I’ve seen low production-value webinars rake in seven figures of revenue from new consulting clients.

Oh, and sound is more important than look. Spend more of your modest budget on a good microphone and sound-treating your space than on a high-end camera.

With those myths shunted aside, how do you create powerful, client-winning, live visibility-building events that will help you successfully market your consulting services?

3.5 Tips for Effectively Marketing Your Consulting Services Using Webinars and Livestreams

Tip #1: Stay Right-Side Up

Focus on what the audience wants to hear, not on what you want to say.

Approaching your event Right-Side Up includes creating a title that attracts prospects by highlighting a topic, problem or result that is near and dear to them.

Tip #2: Promote Post-Event Conversation

Your call to action at the end of the event should invite attendees into conversation with you and make it easy to engage.

Free bonuses such as a downloadable whitepaper or freeze-dried cupcakes aren’t effective, because they’re not an invitation to conversation.

You’re already providing plenty of value in your presentation. You don’t need to provide even more.

Rather, you need to 1) warmly encourage a conversation between attendees and your consulting firm, and 2) create a frictionless path to conversation by leveraging technology (e.g., calendar links) and staff (e.g., assistants).

Tip #3: Get Help

The person or people “on stage” shouldn’t have to spare a moment’s thought for the production mechanics while your event is live.

Have someone else on your team or a hired hand manage cameras, audio, streaming platform sign-ins, comments, overlays and whatever other non-presentation logistics are required.

Don’t skimp here. You don’t win any awards for running “lean and mean” while distractions derail your on-stage talent from their best delivery.

Tip #3.5: Practice

This almost goes without saying, but if you’re using a new streaming service or webinar platform or A/V setup for the first time, practice before you go live!

Run a full dress rehearsal or even consider “soft launching” your event by running your webinar or livestream a few times without publicizing it. Whoever shows up enjoys free content while you iron out the kinks.

Have you found digital speaking, such as webinars and livestreams, to be effective marketing for your consulting services?

  1. Molly Alexander
    April 17, 2024 at 8:32 am Reply

    Thank you, these tips are helpful. I have found webinars beneficial to my visibility and business. One question, can we give away too much information? I have found other consultants are recommending my content to one another. Opens doors for sure, but are there risks we should think about?

    • David A. Fields
      April 17, 2024 at 9:08 am Reply

      Great question, Molly! No, there is almost no scenario in which you could be giving away too much information. That doesn’t mean you have to give away everything–and your audience can’t realistically absorb everything you know or could teach them. With regard to competition, there are three scenarios:
      1) You have currently captured an insubstantial portion of your addressable market. That’s the scenario for most small consultancies–after all, consulting services accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars. In this scenario, you’re such a small fish in such a big pond, that competition is largely irrelevant.
      2) You have currently captured a substantial portion of your addressable market and your revenue is over $50M. In this case, you’re already well known by your market, so, again, competition is largely irrelevant.
      3) You have captured a substantial portion of your addressable market and your revenue is under $3M. In this case, you’ve chosen the wrong market.

      That’s a long winded way of saying: worry about your market, not your competition.

      Thanks for setting up a soap box I could step onto, Molly!

      • Molly Alexander
        April 17, 2024 at 9:22 am Reply

        LOL, thank you! I definitely make more than $3, and am looking forward to revenues over $50M!

        • David A. Fields
          April 17, 2024 at 9:26 am

          Oops, I had a typo. That scenario should have said under $3 million. If you’re under $3 million and you already own a substantial part of your market, then you’re in the wrong market.

  2. William J. Ryan
    April 17, 2024 at 8:33 am Reply

    Alas, I must be doing it wrong for I have never gained a client or project thru a webinar. I have followed the steps outlined above, have received positive feedback on my style that seems to keep retention of participants (I ask a lot of questions and use the chat actively), and have a list of topics ready to share when folks come looking for webinars and presentations. However, 8+ years doing 3-4/year I have never gained work from these efforts. I still try but more because experts, like yourself, keep saying this type of marketing can work.

    • David A. Fields
      April 17, 2024 at 9:12 am Reply

      Sounds like a frustrating situation, Bill–good on you for continuing to try. Now you need to tweak what you’re doing. When you say you keep retention of participants, is that during the webinar or after? The metric that matters is how much engagement you create after your webinar, speech, livestream. etc. You have to create post-event conversations with decision-makers to consider your event successful.
      So: 1) are you attracting decision-makers? 2) are you creating conversations with them? If the answer to both of those is Yes, then the problem isn’t with your webinars, it’s with your process for moving from conversation to project.

      Thank you for sharing your situation, Bill, which I’m sure is similar to what many others have encountered.

    • Debbie
      April 17, 2024 at 9:13 am Reply

      Same, William. I get great engagement and the audience is focused on the content. What I believe the gap is, is that although my content is great and informative, I’m not getting the “right” audience… i.e., those who can and will pay for my services. So, instead of just putting it out there on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, I’m adjusting where and how I promote and who I engage with to get the word out (i.e., referral partners and asking them to invite their clients).

      • David A. Fields
        April 17, 2024 at 9:18 am Reply

        You captured part of the problem very well, Debbie. Unless the right audience attends your webinar, you didn’t really get attendance.

        In addition to that, I’ll reemphasize what I mentioned to Bill: engagement success is measur3ed by what happens after your webinar, not by what happens during the webinar. Your focus should be on creating post-webinar conversations.

        Thank you for jumping into the conversation and making it richer, Debbie!

        • William J. Ryan
          April 17, 2024 at 4:15 pm

          Forgive me, I’m in learning & development (“training”) and I have worked in multiple verticals both in my prior FT worklife and in the last 8+ years consulting – it’s the fun part of L&D in helping people perform better/faster/safer regardless of industry.

          I agree with your focus on market framework, that is why I shifted from big, general conferences to narrower and industry specific groups and I tailor the session for that vertical (manufacturing doesn’t have a retail example, etc.). Guess I need to drill even more focused!

        • David A. Fields
          April 17, 2024 at 5:01 pm

          Bill, it’s fun to help people across multiple industries. It’s more attractive to the buyer, though, when you’re an expert in their industry. Marketing is also a heck of a lot easier when you’re industry focused, because it’s clear where to find the buyers.

      • William J. Ryan
        April 17, 2024 at 3:40 pm Reply

        I think you nailed it Debbie, I’m not talking to the right people and thus, not getting the “engagement success” numbers that truly matter.

        So this leads me to what must be obvious (and I am totally missing it!) – how do I find the type of groups where my type of webinars/ presentations are worthy of the post-session follow up? I’ve changed my focus from L&D groups (speaking to the choir) to more industry sponsored sessions ranging from HR to manufacturing to retail groups all to no success. I’m missing something, just can’t figure out what that is!

        • David A. Fields
          April 17, 2024 at 3:47 pm

          Bill, it’s a bit challenging to answer your question without the details of your business; however, two things jump out from your comment:
          1. You don’t appear to have specialized in any particular market–if you’re talking to HR, manufacturing and retail (among others), then you’re not showing you’re an expert in one area, and that makes you less attractive to attendees.
          2. You may be approaching the entire exercise somewhat upside down. “Where are the right groups for my content?” sounds very close to, “Where’s the right buyer for what I want to sell?” Flip your thinking Right-Side Up. When you’re laser focused on the market rather than your own firm, you offer the information that your target is most interested in learning about. Unsurprisingly, when you take that approach your audience is also interested in learning more from you after the live event.

  3. Rick
    April 17, 2024 at 11:11 am Reply

    In the vein of “get help”, it can also help to have someone from outside your firm moderate/host the webinar, especially if it’s a panel. (Full disclosure…along with my consultancy, I also do this on the side for brands so I’m biased towards this approach.)

    It gives an element of “3rd party neutrality” and it frees the participants from having to do anything other than share ideas and have a conversation.

    Oh…and 100% agree with good sound is vital. As long as you have enough light to make sure you don’t look like you’re in the witness protection program, sound is the key. Good quality mics can be had for very little $ (sub $80 and even less).

    • David A. Fields
      April 17, 2024 at 3:27 pm Reply

      Totally agree that the panel format can be excellent, and having another person moderate it–from inside your firm or a third party, can create an excellent, value-added program. One challenge with the panel format, particularly if you are having anyone outside your firm on the panel, is that it can make the call to action a bit messier. Does only your firm get a call to action, or do the other participants get one too? Multiple CTAs lower the impact of any individual CTA.

      Good tip on the sound/video too, Rick. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  4. Ken Wells
    April 18, 2024 at 11:18 am Reply

    Great article David. I’m new to the “external” consulting environment and new to the East Tennessee area. Taking advice from a famous consulting expert, I’m working full time to get “Known”. I have two thoughts on this topic:
    1. Use “friendlies” in your practice sessions: Whenever I was getting near launching a new program (face-to-face, online, or hybrid), I ran “no-audience” dry runs to smooth out technical and other obvious issues. Next, I collected a small group of “friendlies” to assist, giving them personas of the actual target audience. I would give them very targeted feedback forms to complete from the audience (bottom-up) perspective; not smile-sheets, but performance-based feedback questions. This helped ensure when my target audience attended, I was much closer to meeting their exact needs while exceeding their expectations. There were always other positive unintended consequences to this approach as well. Who are your “friendlies”?
    2. Take advantage of free resources if possible: My Blount County (TN) Chamber of Commerce is amazing. They are constantly making opportunities available to get known, demonstrate trust and credibility, network, provide access to experts, etc. Maybe find other free or low-cost options. I totally agree, spending tons of money with little or no return is a gigantic waste.

    • David A. Fields
      April 18, 2024 at 11:25 am Reply

      Great points, Ken. Assembling a group of friendlies for your early trials is akin to using beta-readers when you’re writing a book, and it’s a very good practice. And you’re right on using collaborators to help become Known. If your target is geographically based, then the local chamber of commerce can be a terrific resource.

      Thank you for sharing your own experience and case study, Ken. Very useful!

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