Identifying your ideal client helps you truly understand who you want to work with (and who you don’t). Ideal clients align with your firm’s vision and allow you to do your best work. Conversely, a client who isn’t the right fit can create pain for you and your staff.
When you determine who you want to reach, your marketing strategies become more focused, effective, and economical. You can lean into the area of law that you want to practice. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or a large litigation firm, there are limitless benefits to identifying the best client for you.
Please keep reading to learn not only how to identify the ideal client but why it’s critical for your firm’s long-term success. (Or, skip to the end and call us).
Most lawyers realize that mass marketing to a generic audience is expensive and ineffective. However, some firms don’t go much further than listing the superficial characteristics of their ideal client. For example, criminal defense lawyers wouldn’t find many ideal clients by targeting older individuals – but a firm that focuses on elder law would.
Much like finding a soul mate, identifying an ideal client takes an open mind and a willingness to think about the essential characteristics of a perfect match.
To remain competitive, you should fully define the type of client you want to work for, and there’s no better place to start than your current client base.
Do your clients choose you because your branding attracted them or because your ideal clients reflect your brand? It’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg situation when your brand and ideal client profile intertwine. (Remember that branding is everything tangible and intangible that attaches value and creates an emotional connection with people.)
That’s why we recommend that law firms perform a regular check on their client profiles. If you’re not targeting the kind of clients you want, you’re wasting time, money, and resources.
Take a deep dive into your current client base. Identify the clients you wish you could have more of – and then analyze what makes them your target.
First, determine the basic demographics of your ideal client according to the essential information you’ve collected on your current clients:
If it’s challenging to compile demographics on your client base, you probably should tweak your client intake form.
Once you get the basic profile of your ideal client, consider their psychographics. These are the personal, deeply entrenched characteristics of an individual, including:
Ask your current clients if they’re willing to answer a few questions. A survey not only helps you identify your preferred client; it reveals any gaps or opportunities in your client communication and marketing.
Since these are reflective questions that require more than a “yes” or “no,” perhaps add a word bank of helpful words and phrases, such as “trustworthy,” “answered my questions,” and so on.
What services do you offer? What problems can you solve? And – this is a big question – who do you want to represent? Write down three defining characteristics of your law firm. And to make sure that you’re accurate, ask a trusted colleague or partner to do the same. Compare notes and translate this valuable knowledge into finding the ideal client.
It’s tempting to accept every client who walks in the door, especially in a firm’s startup phase. But this isn’t the wisest way to grow a sustainable law practice for a few reasons.
When you identify your ideal client, you optimize your marketing efforts toward capturing as many individuals that fit that profile as possible. This narrowed approach increases the likelihood of putting your brand in front of the right audience.
Otherwise, you’re throwing money away by marketing to the wrong profile (or at least, the wrong profile for your practice).
When you market to individuals outside of your ideal client profile, you risk damaging your brand and reputation by not meeting their needs. Disappointed clients tend to share their opinions more than satisfied ones. You could avoid churn and negative perceptions by focusing on ideal clients only.
Identifying your ideal audience gives you a better understanding of what your clients want, need, and expect. Your firm’s approach and services become more responsive because you “get” your clients. You’ll likely improve the two-way communication between your firm and your clients.
Successful law firms don’t try to reach as many clients as possible: they apply a laser-like focus on marketing to their ideal client. It’s challenging to identify, attract, and retain the type of clients that you want to help.
That’s why more law firms look for a partner who understands the unique challenges of legal marketing. Postali helps you grow your practice through custom legal marketing plans that attract your firm’s ideal clients. We offer direct mail campaigns, website design & development, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click), legal content writing, press & media relations, and digital marketing strategy.
If the ideal client isn’t coming to you, maybe you should try coming to us. Let’s talk about how our team and best-in-class marketing can work for you. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation or follow us at @Postali.