What's Your Market?

This post originally appeared in Susan Kostal's Legal Marketing Bits & Bites Newsletter. Sign up for more content here.

Marketing 101

Consumer companies create dozens of consumer personas to sell products. Anybody who sells anything has likely labeled you, your needs, and your interests. Does the necessity to create client personas apply to law firms? Absolutely. You are selling a product--legal services--and you need to figure out who's in your market. Marketing is the process of identifying your market and reaching them to drive sales.

Linus is currently in the perfect demographic for under-the-desk work.

What's Your Market? A client persona is a detailed description of the targeted buyer. It drives all marketing efforts, content, and business development. Most firms and practice groups work with a certain type of client. Talk to the lawyers at your firm or recall your best attorney-client relationships. What clients seem to be the best fit? What clinched the deal for the last three clients you brought on? What are the attributes of those hiring you, and of their companies? Brainstorm the demographic information for these clients and really flesh out their features: family unit, leisure time, personality, income, education level, etc. Next, list what clinches the hiring decision for these personas? Does it come down to price? Flat fee or fixed? The diversity of the team? The length of the relationship with the firm? The firm’s billing transparency and project management prowess? Then, merge this list with the personas. That should give you a very detailed picture of the ideal target client and their objective. That allows you to specifically tailor your marketing materials and outreach efforts.

What's Your Brand?

Lawyers and firms also need personal brands and sales narratives. They ensure you recruit and retain employees that share your values. Moreover, employees in line with your professional values will find clients who share similar values. The process varies slightly for firms vs. solo practitioners, but the elements are the same. Brainstorm your corporate or personal values. Be brutally honest. Your values may include diversity, professional development, pro bono work, humor and collegiality, and more. Your list may be long or short, but make sure it's complete, of-the-moment, and totally honest. Bringing It Together Now that you have an idea of your market, your brand, and your corporate values, you need to create a cohesive narrative. Frame your work to date into a compelling story that speaks to your clients' mutual values. It's difficult, but the end result is invaluable for your marketing efforts. Your narrative is there. You just need to unearth it.

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