Appealing to the next generation of clients

No two consumers are alike, but the contrast between some demographics can be especially striking. Let’s take younger consumers, for example. Some of the ways people under 40 research, compare, and purchase goods and services are markedly different from the ways those over the age of 40 complete the same tasks.

Even if you’re in a practice area that caters to middle-age and older legal consumers, your small law firm or solo practice shouldn’t neglect younger generations. Reaching potential clients across the age spectrum now, can help ensure a robust pipeline of business for years to come.
Here are three tips for marketing your solo practice or small law firm to younger consumers:

Mobile is a Must: According to the Pew Research Center, just about everyone in America – 96 percent – now owns a cellphone of some kind. What’s striking is how much more common smartphones are among individuals ages 18 to 29 (96 percent) and 30 to 49 (92 percent) compared to those ages 50 to 64 (79 percent) and those over the age of 65 (53 percent). Furthermore, younger consumers are more likely to be “smartphone dependent,” meaning they don’t have a personal laptop, tablet or desktop computer, and rely entirely upon their smartphone for Internet access. Why it matters? Not only are younger consumers more likely to own a smartphone, they’re more likely to completely rely on it for everything from texting friends and ordering food to, yes, researching legal issues and looking for an attorney.

What this means for you: Your website needs to be mobile-friendly, meaning it can be viewed as easily on a smartphone or tablet as on a desktop or laptop. Also, don’t forget the importance of the click-to-contact feature. Even though research indicates that younger consumers don’t really like talking on the phone, they like not being able to get ahold of you even less.

Send the Right Message: It’s a paradox that social media-loving young consumers crave authenticity. In part, it’s a reaction to hyper-curated Facebook profiles and Instagram feeds. Consumers under 40 are accustomed to seeing everything with a metaphorical gloss over it, so they really value the rare instances in which candor, honesty and genuineness shine through.

Here are three messaging tips that can help your firm appeal to consumers under 40:

  • Younger consumers value experiences – While hiring an attorney isn’t the same as booking an exotic trip to Iceland, your marketing content should create a clear mental picture of what it’s like to work with your firm.
  • Consumers value values – Individuals under 40 want the people and companies they do business with to have values. Even if those values aren’t perfectly aligned with their own moral code, having standards and principles is an attractive selling point so your website and social media content should talk about your pro bono or other volunteer work.
  • Humor is a hard sell – Younger consumers love memes and silly TikTok videos, but social media is littered with examples of brands that thought they were being clever, only to end up with a PR disaster on their hands. In cases where being up front and literal translates well, there isn’t really a reason to try to be edgy or “with it.” The risk is just too great.

What this means for you: You don’t have to overhaul your firm’s marketing messaging completely, but you should make sure that messages are disseminated in a layered manner. Your website, social media presence and marketing materials shouldn’t all say the same thing, but should be aligned and speak to the same qualities and topics.

Make friends with Siri and Alexa: While older consumers are often wary of technology, younger consumers enthusiastically embrace it. Studies vary on how popular voice search is, but they all agree that it is popular and will continue to increase in popularity. Today, there are roughly 45 million voice-search devices in the U.S., and, according to a recent FindLaw survey, 57 percent of respondents said they are comfortable using voice search to search for legal work.

What this means for you: Just as your marketing content should be optimized for SEO, it should also be optimized for voice search. Incorporating questions and answers and using conversational language terms and phrases can mean the difference between Alexa ignoring or embracing your site’s content.

As this post demonstrates, marketing your law firm to appeal to younger consumers isn’t difficult and is necessary. Clearly expressing what your firm is about and what it’s like to work with you in a way that translates well to voice search or a smartphone’s screen can help you connect and build trust with younger legal consumers.

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