Have you been accepting every client that came knocking on your door even if you did not want to? Every new client is an opportunity to help those who need your legal expertise and, of course, it is a revenue source. However, there is a need to identify your ideal client and get to know them better.
Your law firm is a business entity, and just like any business, you need to identify your target market. Knowing your target market allows you to understand where and how to market your law firm effectively.
Law firm marketing is not just about marketing your law firm per se; it starts with identifying who you want to serve. When you have identified your ideal client, you can allocate your marketing budget to reach them.
Many law firms are wary about committing to a specific ideal client because they fear not having enough clients to grow their firm. However, you need to identify your perfect client to effectively use the tools and tactics to generate attention to your legal services.
Importance of Identifying your Ideal Clients
It requires a bit of science and art to identify your ideal client. If you are an estate planning lawyer, you may want to identify your ideal client as a young couple with a determined amount of annual income and living within a specific metropolitan area.
There are many marketing techniques your law firm can use to attract the attention of potential clients, but it is important to target your ideal clients. Identifying ideal clients will benefit your law firm in many ways:
• A marketing strategy will only be effective if it targets the right audience (ideal clients). Clients react differently to marketing campaigns; however, with ideal clients in mind, you can concentrate on catching those clients.
Knowing your ideal clients allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to a specific group who will eventually become you’re paying clients instead of reaching a wide range of people who will not benefit from your legal services.
• You will be able to promote the right legal services and provide the correct information to the right people that need your legal services. This will also allow you to engage with the right potential clients.
You can use the best marketing tools and techniques to generate attention; however, the right message not reaching the right audience is a futile exercise. With an identified client, your message can be optimized with the correct information specific to their legal needs.
• Connecting with the right audience is a powerful strategy to build relationships. It makes the right potential clients believe they made the right choice in reaching out to your law firm.
• You can customize your website based on clients’ profiles to personalize the message you want to send.
• You will be clear on who you want to help and serve, thus attracting them to your legal services.
• You can determine the right relevant keywords and language your ideal clients use. This will allow you to create the best articles search engines will index and find qualified potential leads. It will also allow you to target the right platforms or publications to post your relevant articles.
• It allows you to create content based on ideal clients’ profiles to ensure your potential clients’ engagement.
• Marketing involves time and money. Marketing to your ideal clients (target market) can help you tailor-fit your marketing strategies. This will allow you to position your law firm to appeal to the demographics of your ideal clients.
Therefore, you will attract more of the clients you want to serve and help instead of just using general target methods.
• It allows you to obtain only qualified leads that are most likely to convert into paying clients.
• It allows you to create an exceptionally positive client experience because the information he gets is what he exactly needs.
• It allows you to stand out from the competition. A clear picture of your ideal client will enable you to position your law firm and expertise to a defined audience. It will, therefore, differentiate your law firm from the competition.
The question, “Who is my ideal client?” is the real law firms have to deal with to attract the right clients and increase return on investment in terms of time and money.
Steps to Identify Your Ideal Client
Not every client you meet is the right client for your law firm. The key to your law firm’s success is not having as many clients as you can, but finding and having the right clients. To target the right clients is to know your ideal clients.
There are some steps you need to take to identify the ideal client for your law firm:
1. Define the Services that you Offer
You can decide on whom your ideal client is by identifying precisely the kind of legal work you want to do. Know the legal issues you want to solve and determine who needs help with your defined services.
Define your area of law specializations. Be as detailed as possible to have a deep understanding of the legal problems of your clients. This will help you determine the clients who need legal services the most or those that will benefit the most from your law firm’s expertise and who can afford your services.
2. Narrow your Niche
This is the most critical step in identifying your ideal client. Identify what you do and who you do it for. You need to be specific.
It is not enough that you say you are into estate planning. You need to define further the specific group of people you want to help: families or business owners. If you are to help people with families, take it a step further and identify the types of families: wealthy families and middle-income families.
Not anyone who can afford to pay is your ideal client. Although a client can bring in income for your law firm, you may not enjoy working on their legal issues, they are not an ideal client. While revenue is vital to your law firm, job satisfaction should be a priority. If you love your job, the business aspect of your law firm will come naturally.
Many law firms miss the true essence of identifying their ideal client. The problem usually is they do not sit down and define who they are looking for. Your ideal client is the person whom your legal services are the perfect solution to their legal issues.
Remember, though not to spread yourself too thin and never attempt to be everything to everyone. It will not work.
3. Make an Inventory of your Existing Clients
Take a close look at your existing client database and take note of their characteristics. You can ask them why they chose your law firm over the competition. This will give you a perspective of your most productive and profitable clients. They are your ideal clients.
This step is for an established law firm. Make a list of specific clients you want to work with and list down similar characteristics, including geographic location, careers, age group, etc. the more similarities you discover will give you a picture of your ideal client. You may not realize it, but you probably have your ideal client.
4. Observe who is Finding you Online
Determine who are finding you online through the analytics of your website and take note of:
• The keywords and keyword phrases they use to find you online.
• What your potential clients are searching for during a certain period.
• Where your website traffic is coming from.
With this data, you will be able to identify your ideal clients.
5. Create your Ideal Client Profile
Before targeting your ideal client, you need to identify the perfect client for your legal services and create your perfect client profile. Start by thinking of past or existing clients or who you would like to work with.
Remember, clients whom you enjoy or enjoyed working with, follow your advice, and pay you on time. You can then sit down with one of your clients whom you think is an ideal client, write down his profile, and create an ideal client avatar.
6. Check out the Competition
If you still do not have a client database or already have one, check out your competitors.
Who are the clients of your direct competitors? Who are they servicing? Of course, you will not be able to directly speak with their clients or take a look at their analytics, but you can see the type of audience they are targeting online.
This can be done by following your competitors on their social media accounts. You can also check their lead magnets. Find out who your competitors are speaking to and what legal services they are offering.
If you are a new law firm, this will help you identify your ideal client. If you are running an established law firm, this will help you determine if you and your competitors have the same ideal client or you have a unique target audience they cannot serve.
Who is your ideal client? Going through the steps mentioned above will provide you with the qualifying characteristics of your perfect client. Do pen to paper and list the features of your ideal client.
List the characteristics of your ideal client. It should be in a manner that tells you and everyone in your law firm which potential clients (sourced through traditional and digital marketing strategies) are qualified prospects and which are not.
Information about your ideal client can help your law firm create, design, and launch marketing strategies relevant to your ideal client. It will also help you attract, qualify, and convert these potential clients into paying clients.
The Non-Ideal Clients
In his book, Book Yourself Solid, author, and coach Michael Port says that you can be selective in choosing your clients through the “red velvet rope policy.
The “red velvet policy” states that you should only work with clients you love to work with. This policy, he says, ensures that you work only with clients you want to serve, clients whom you can help to the best of your abilities.
He recommends that you do not choose your ideal client based on their ability to pay you, but instead, you should be based on how well you will love working with them.
This is based on the fact that you work your best when you are working with clients you enjoy working with.
Not all clients you will actually work with will fall under your ideal client category. While it is best to work with a perfect client, you do not always stay away from clients who do not qualify as your ideal client.
Knowing your ideal client will help you create marketing strategies to attract them better. It will be more beneficial to stay away from prospective clients who are not on your ideal client list so you can focus and provide the best work to those in your ideal client list.
Do you need to Dump Non-Ideal Clients?
Do you need to focus only on your ideal clients and stop serving those that are not? Many lawyers freak out because they take that statement literally.
Narrowing your niche does not mean you need to stop serving existing clients who do not qualify as ideal clients. Doing so may have a financial impact; you may still not be ready to accept.
Knowing your ideal client will enable you to target your ideal clients and save on the cost of directing your marketing strategies with the wrong people.
Identifying your ideal client is not just to direct your marketing efforts on clients who can best benefit from your legal services. For the most part, it is about enjoying your law practice. Some of your clients may give your law firm significant revenue, but do you enjoy working on their cases?
The revenues of your law firm are important. However, as a lawyer, you work not just for the money, your priority should be providing legal services to help, serve, and get professional and personal satisfaction. If you love what you do, the business part of your law firm will follow, and you will feel as though you are not working at all.
Identifying your ideal client will help your law firm create the best marketing strategy model to target the right clients for you and let you serve them best.