The legal market place is changing—clients want more for less, clients research lawyers through new technologies and more information is available online from non-lawyer competitors. These factors have increased competition within the legal marketplace leading many firms to reevaluate their business development approach. Amidst the rapidly changing legal environment, how do you move ahead of the competition and position yourself for continued success?
Although there are several ways of maintaining a successful law practice in the changing market place, the most efficient approach is to build a business development plan that begins with clarity on your ideal client.
Clarify Your Target Client
Before you create a business development plan, first clarify your ideal client. Look at your most profitable clients from the past year and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on clients that require your unique skill set. Specifying your target client will help you create:
- Positive word of mouth marketing about your reputation. Strong reputations are built from satisfied clients who trust you and believe that you know how to solve their problems. Different clients require different solutions. For example, in divorce, the over 50 client who has been in a long term marriage will require different resources than the young professional who has been married for a few years. If your target client is the over 50 audience, focus on how you can exceed their expectations in the services you deliver and the resources you provide.
- Content that attracts the right client. Clients respond to articles, web sites and blog posts that are relevant to them and their situation. Different clients will resonate with different messages. If you are a Family Lawyer whose target audience is professional woman, write about the problems and challenges professional woman face in divorce. Include your articles and published papers on your LinkedIn profile or write a press release demonstrating your expertise.
- Consistent and relevant top of mind awareness. Too many choices can distract prospective clients and referral sources from paying attention to your law practice. Clients and referral sources will respond to what is relevant and visible to them at the time they have a problem. For example, one of my clients is a criminal defense lawyer who posted a blog about the consequences of retail theft immediately after Black Friday. After his post, he received an increase in prospective client inquiries regarding theft. His message was visible and relevant to the clients he wanted to attract to his practice. Since you don’t know when your prospective clients or referral sources will have a problem you can solve, it is important to maintain consistent and targeted visibility.
You can create a successful marketing plan that attracts desirable and profitable clients by clarifying your ideal client and then building a plan that positions you as an expert at solving their most critical problems. Click here to download a free business development workbook to help guide you through the process.
If you have questions or would like guidance on how to create your client-centered marketing plan contact me online or call me at (414) 828-5862.