How to tailor your client personas to reach the ideal client
When you’re preparing a case, you consider your audience. The more you know about a judge, a mediator, or a jury, the more effective your argument is. You tailor your message to tell a story and persuade your audience to commit to your side. The same is true when you’re building your firm’s client roster. The more you know about the clients you’d like to attract, the more convincing your marketing message will be. To get there, you need to create detailed client personas.
For many small and solo law firms, taking the time to create client personas to guide an integrated marketing plan is about as appealing as getting a root canal. After all, you didn’t go to law school and pour endless hours into building your practice to become a digital marketer (but there are resources if you do your own marketing). But the value of taking this crucial step is hard to overestimate. Creating client personas as part of a cohesive marketing plan can bring in new clients and improve customer satisfaction with existing clients. It can make your work life a lot easier.
Let’s get personal
First, let’s talk about what a persona is. Client personas are detailed profiles of ideal customers of a business. These fictional representations include demographic information, behaviors, goals, pain points, and preferences.
But a legal client isn’t like just any consumer of mass-marketed products. Seth Godin, digital entrepreneur, and author of This is Marketing says, “One of the biggest traps that marketers fall into is that they think they want to sell to everyone. ‘Nike, Coke, and maybe even Apple sell to everyone, so we should try to sell to everyone.’ You can’t. You don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. And that’s good news because now you can be specific.”
Getting specific is the name of the game in developing client personas. Do you concentrate on one or two practice areas? Then you’ve already begun identifying the clients you want to work with.
- Are they businesses or individuals?
- Where are they geographically?
- What are their ages?
- What challenges do they face?
- Have they made their living in a particular industry?
- Do they use specific language unique to their markets?
- Are they online?
Think like a detective — what information can you gather to help you find your ideal client? The act of writing these things down, evaluating and culling them will provide an end result that is an effective marketing tool.
A key question in finding more good-fit clients is to ask your current clients how they found you. Did they get referred by friends, find you in a legal directory, or conduct a Google search? Did you make a presentation at an industry event they attended? Did someone share your email newsletter with them? If you consistently get good clients from a particular marketing source, include that information in your personas.
A complete persona may even include a fictional name and face to make referencing them easier. This can be helpful when you have multiple personas — and you likely do. Let’s say you practice family law. The profile of an adoption client is different from that of a custody/visitation client. Capture all the ways they are the same and all the ways they’re different.
Guessing won’t cut it, either. Go through your client files, conduct one-on-one interviews, send an email survey, and talk to the media sources your potential clients read. They sell their advertising based on delivering a specific profile of their reader and they can be a wealth of information.
Once you’ve put together the key personas for your firm, prioritize them. Remember the advice above — you have neither the time nor money to go after everyone.
Keep your personas fresh with a regular review as well. Make sure the information you’re using to find clients stays accurate by revisiting it every three to six months. While you may not find dramatic changes, a few key characteristics can improve your chances of finding new clients.
Time to market
With robust client personas in hand, your integrated marketing plan can take flight. When your clients hear you speaking their language, see you showing up in their interest areas, and read about the strategies you employ in digital spaces, they’ll feel seen and satisfied they’re working with the best firm for their needs — and that makes them more inclined to share your connection with friends, family, and colleagues.
If this feels overwhelming, think about engaging with legal marketing experts like those at FindLaw. Backed by Thomson Reuters, FindLaw has over 25 years of experience in marketing and business development solutions specifically for solo and small law firms. Reach out for a complimentary consultation today.