Know Your Niche: Knowing Your Target Audience Will Help You Distinguish Yourself From The Competition
Some frequent frustrations solo practitioners
and managing directors of
small firms express about legal marketing
are: They spend more money, time
and energy than they’d like on marketing
activities that don’t bring the desired
results; there is no difference between
their firm and the competition; and they’re
trying to be all things to all people and
When a solo practitioner or small
firm practices a variety of specialties,
prospects and referral sources tend to
view the lawyer or firm as a generalist.
Worse, prospects don’t remember any
specific areas because the firm does not
differentiate itself from competition.
Not knowing the specifics of the
niche target market will result in the loss
of marketing dollars and time, and can
lead to frustration. Most of all, it will
leave you disillusioned. You can’t be all
things to all people. Clients can see when
you are spreading yourself too thin.
Target or niche marketing will allow
your firm to stand out from the pack.
Knowing specifics of your target niche
will help you institute client management
systems, such as client surveys and focus
groups, and will help you understand how
the niche group likes to work.
Specificity is key. If you are an immigration
attorney, all illegal immigrants
cannot be your target group. You may, for
example, focus on restaurant workers,
illegal day laborers or English speaking
Europeans. If your firm does personal
injury, you may narrow it down to medical
injuries at birth, day laborers and accidents
with public transport.
When you have narrowed your target
audience, you know the ins and outs of the
target population, including their legal
problems. Your marketing material should
address their problems.
When done correctly, a couple of
things happen. Your marketing is no
longer hit or miss, it becomes focused.
You know what types of clients you like to
work with, where your clients/prospects
are, what they read and where they network.
When you have a specific audience,
you become known fairly quickly within
the target audience’s circles. The firm’s
name becomes synonymous with that
group. The more recognized you become
as a valuable service provider in that particular
target group, the more expertise
you develop, allowing you to charge premium
Where do you start? The first thing
you should do is get together with other
key partners and office managers in the
firm — any individuals with important
roles — and start at the beginning.
First, decide if this is the particular
group you like to work with. If not, why
not? When creating a profile of your target
market, respond to the following questions:
These questions will help you discover
and understand your niche market.
Once you can answer these questions,
your other marketing activities — such as
speaking, writing, networking and
becoming a source for press — will
- What are the demographics of your market? What are the measurable statistics of this group, such as age, income or occupation?
- What are the psychographics of this market? Often overlooked, these are just as important as the demographics. This includes more the internal workings of this group. What are the preferences of this group? Do they watch World Cup? Where do they live? What values do they have?
- What type of connection do you have with this community? Are you actively involved in this community? Are your friends, family and colleagues members of the community?
- What professional organizations, clubs, or activities does this target market networks with or belong to? Do you know where they go for help?
- What newspapers, magazines or Web sites does this group read?
- What specific legal problems does this group face? Will your product or service help them?
- What languages are spoken by the group? Knowing the vocabulary of your intended market lends credibility.
- Who influences this group? What individuals does the group respect? What do these thought leaders advocate? Can you align your services with these thought leaders?
This article is reprinted with permission from the FEBRUARY 12, 2007 issue of the New Jersey Law Journal. ©2007 ALM Properties, Inc. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.
About The Author
Paramjit Mahli of the Sun Communications Group is a former journalist who has worked with international news organisations including CNN Business News, and now helps small to mid-sized law firms increase their visibility, build their reputation and helps them grow their business by using public relations. She also developed popular tele-seminar class, "How To Grow Your Law Practice On A Shoestring Budget".
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.