In my first post in this series, I discussed the importance of lawyers identifying their individual brands – or why a prospective client should choose them over another attorney. In this second post, I am going to take a closer look at how you as an attorney must drill down on your target audience to avoid “marketing for marketing’s sake,” or what is often referred to as marketing by “random acts of lunch.”
Your target audience will change as your career progresses. If you already have a book of business, consider asking current clients where their industry counterparts in other companies spend their networking and professional development time. If you are an associate, it may help to think of partners in your firm as a priority group for networking.
Identifying Your Target Clients: Getting Started
A few questions to get you started on identifying your target audience:
- Who are my current clients that I would like to do more business with?
- What traits do these clients have in common that I should look for in future clients?
- Who are my key referral sources?
- What is the profile of my ideal client? Consider size of the company, geographic region, industry. What are the titles of the key decision makers within these companies?
After you have identified your audience, ask:
- Where do these people hang out? What local, regional and national conferences do they attend, if any?
- What are they reading?
- Where can I find them online?
For Newer Attorneys
If you are an attorney just starting out and reading this, you may be thinking, “Seriously, Ginny, I haven’t done enough work yet to have an ideal client.” To you I say, begin to build your network – get out and meet people. The earlier you start building, the easier it will be to narrow once you gain your focus. For a great starting point on the basics of building your network, check out Geoffrey James’s article from Inc.com on the subject. If you don’t have a target audience in mind, a great place to start is with a young professionals’ group in your area. More often than not, professionals who start networking early in their careers will be the “connectors” in your community 5-10 years from now. The sooner you start building relationships with these people the better because they will have larger networks and can make more introductions for you going forward.
Now, Plan Your Marketing Activities
Once you have identified who you are trying to reach, you can plan your marketing activities accordingly. For example:
- If you are a senior level associate in the area of employment law, check to see if your local SHRM Chapter has a young professionals group. Plan to attend the meetings on a regular basis.
- Family law attorneys may wish to build their online presence through a blog so that people who are considering divorce can find resources and information to help aid their decision.
Commit to a course of action for 3-6 months. Record your marketing time and evaluate on a quarterly basis.
Could you be getting more return out of time spent elsewhere? In my last post of this series, I will discuss the importance of knowing your “key messages” as you meet new people and follow up with contacts in your network.