In today’s hyper-competitive legal environment where legal consumers retain control and expect you to adapt your legal services to their needs, your law firm needs to distinguish itself from its competitors to become more profitable. Today’s clients also expect you’ll know who they are personally and have a full understanding of their legal needs before they’ll allow you to work with them on their legal issues.
You’ll have to tell them what distinguishes your firm in your practice apart from other firms in your area practicing the same law both in legal ability and personal service. But you also must know whom you’re targeting. That’s where a legal marketing persona, which gets integrated into your legal marketing plan, becomes a crucial part of your market research.
What is a legal marketing persona?
A marketing or client persona is a detailed profile or actual archetype of each client type you want to help with their key legal issues. While these personas are fictional, you develop them from information you get from real people. However, you won’t use only demographic data but behavioral data, surveys and in person or phone interviews with real people.
Legal marketing personas are more than generic client profiles full of generalities about a target market because those general profiles fail for targeted marketing programs. Personas are detailed profiles you’ll identify by a first name and title based on the characteristics of your ideal clients. For example, if your ideal legal client is divorcing fathers, one of your marketing personas might be, “Dan—Divorcing Father of Two.” If you’re a real estate attorney and one of your ideal clients is urban professional, then a marketing persona might be “Susan—Single Professional Buying Investment Property.”
These critical client profiles help you attract the most profitable clients to your law firm by targeting your marketing directly and exclusively to them and those who know and refer them to you. You’ll create several that are composites of each of your ideal clients. But, focus initially on those who would be most lucrative for your firm. It’s not necessary to create one for every imaginable prospective client.
What must be included in legal marketing personas
It’s important you complete these marketing personas effectively if you’re going to attract the most profitable clients for your practice. Using comprehensive research methods, you’ll create specific client personas that describe ideal clients for your firm as if they are real people.
In this process, you’ll detail who they are and what makes them tick. For example: “Susan is a single professional living in a big city. She has an MBA from an Ivy League and works as a consultant for an international trade firm. She wants to her first home in a posh condo community and needs legal advice.”
You’ll clearly describe what motivates Susan personally, what she is trying to meet in her life, profession, including her financial goals, what objectives propel her behavior, how she thinks, how she buys any services and why she reaches her buying decisions. That means you’ll have to ask consultants with MBAs and real estate buyers in your area many questions, including related to:
- Personal background (to get demographic and other information)
- Employer or business
- Role in their company or business
- Professional and personal challenges
- Professional and personal goals
- Where they get business and personal information
- Where they network professionally
- Buying preferences
While all of this information is important, this last aspect, “buying preferences,” is essential for law firms to understand. You should recognize that today’s target legal clients, no matter what their level in an organization, are not only cost-sensitive, they typically buy legal services the same way they buy other products and services in their personal lives or businesses. Their legal buying decision is not just based on the need for your legal services, but how much you’ll charge and how you’ll provide them.
It’s crucial, therefore, to learn and include those details (and all the others) when creating these client profiles. Understanding these persona elements helps your law firm not only create the right content for its business development process but develop effective reach strategies for its legal content marketing.
Since it’s likely you’ll receive client referrals from various sources, you should consider doing personas on your referral sources, too, so you can reach them with the right marketing messages.
Make your legal marketing client personas exclusive, too
It’s as important when developing these personas that you create “negative personas” that exclude people you are not targeting. That can mean those who can’t or won’t invest in your legal services, the matters you wouldn’t take or people with whom you don’t like working.
That way, you’re sure to develop content redirects unwanted clients to other resources. You also won’t spend time disqualifying bad leads because your content attracted the wrong audience. By showing these legal consumers you can’t serve them, you’re doing yourself and your bottom line a favor.
How to use your legal marketing personas
After you’ve done this research, you identify or categorize the different audience or market segments represented by those ideal client personas for which you will develop specific content that addresses their legal obstacles and personal motivations. Your law firm marketing team or consultant next integrates those personas into the firm’s marketing plan.
Then, they create and execute a specific messaging plan that speaks directly to each persona and produce the right content at the right time and the right place for where consumers are in their decision-making process. They couple that with a reach strategy that distributes that content across the digital platforms where those personas actually live.
Make sure you use the proper tactics in this process based on a content marketing plan. That way, legal content marketing based on these legal marketing personas can lead to converting your ideal prospective clients into billable ones.
So, now more than ever, in a highly competitive legal environment that’s expected to become more so soon, it’s important to undergo this critical aspect of your market research process and identify your legal marketing personas right if you want to achieve the best results in your law firm marketing.