My services are for everyone!

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Lawyers, hear me. While it’s true that you can perform your services for anyone with certain legal problems, if you target your marketing to “everyone,” you’re making a mistake.

Not everyone will hear your message, let alone relate to it. Not everyone will be ready, willing, and able to hire you. Not everyone will be able to provide you with repeat business and referrals, which you should know by now are the sine qua non of a successful practice.

When you target everyone, you target no one.

Instead of targeting everyone, define and market to the clients you define as ideal.

You’ll get more clients and better clients when you do.

You may not want to narrow the field, because you don’t want to miss out on someone who might hire you or refer you. But if you’re willing to let go of people who aren’t your ideal, you’ll more than make up for any lost business from the people who are.

Because the narrower you define your target market and ideal client, the easier and more effective (and profitable) your marketing will be.

You’ll get more clients with less effort. You’ll spend less time and less money to find them (actually, have them find you), deliver your message, and convert them into clients.

Those clients will also pay you more because they know you are the one everyone in their niche is hiring and talking about.

More good news.

Targeting an ideal client (instead of “everyone”) doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t reach others. You will. Other people will hear about you and make their way to your door.

Take their money. Tolerate clients who aren’t in your target market.

But don’t target them.

Spend your time and money and tailor your marketing message to a laser-focused ideal client.

Who is your ideal client? That’s what you have to figure out.

To start, ask yourself, “Who is NOT my ideal client?”

I’ll help you start your list:

  • People who don’t live or work in a jurisdiction where I am licensed
  • People who don’t hire lawyers
  • People who don’t have/won’t spend money to hire a lawyer
  • People who are hard to work with, e.g., they’ve previously hired and fired (or been fired by) several lawyers on the same matter
  • People who aren’t married (if you’re a divorce lawyer); yes, they might get married some day, and they might have referrals for you, but we’re looking for your “ideal” client

And go from there. (And yes, “people” includes businesses.)

You can define your ideal client by age, industry or profession, and many other factors.

And you should.

The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll be to be sought after and hired by clients who are a great match for you.

To learn how to choose a target market and ideal client for your practice, pick up a copy of The Attorney Marketing Formula.

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It doesn’t get any niche-ier than this

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“F-F-F space, J-J-J space” — I can still hear the sound of my high school typing teacher called out the cadence for us as we learned the home row keys on our manual Remington machines.

I used typewriters for many years, in school and beyond, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Too much fussing with the paper and ribbon, keys getting stuck and, oh, those damn corrections.

But some people like typing on typewriters, even today. I just saw a few minutes of a video by a guy who is clearly a typewriter nerd. He types on them, he collects them and fixes them, and he talks about them on his channel with folks who share his passion.

Suppose there was a lawyer who belonged to that group, or who regularly networked with the people in it? What if the group had meetings and invited speakers and the lawyer was a regular? What if the group had their own publication and the lawyer wrote for it?

Most of the people in that group would know the name of that lawyer.

When someone in the group needs a lawyer, do you think they would talk to him? If someone has a friend who needs a lawyer, do you think they would tell that friend about their typewriter-loving lawyer buddy?

Yes and yes.

That lawyer could be the “go to” lawyer in that group. He would probably own that niche and get the lion’s share of the legal work in it.

Word of mouth is strong in a niche market, and there is less competition. Which makes it easier to stand out. Which is one reason niche marketing is so powerful.

Ideally, you want to find a niche that’s small, but not too small. You want to be the big fish in a small pond, not a whale in a one-gallon fishbowl.

Some would say that the typewriter-loving niche is too small, too niche-y to be worth a lawyer’s time.

But here’s the thing about niche markets: passion trumps size.

Everyone in a niche also belongs to other niches. When you are well-known by the members of one niche, you potentially have access to everyone else they know in other niches.

Typewriter-man may be the retired CEO of a big company in your target market, and have a list of contacts as long as your arm. If he knows, likes, and trusts you, because you connected via your shared interest, you may be in like Flynn.

How to choose the right niche for you

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Do you speak your clients’ language?

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I just read an article about working with clients who aren’t proficient in English. There were some good tips, but no surprises.

For most of my legal career, I maintained offices targeting non-English speaking clients. So I was surprised to see that the article didn’t mention hiring staff that speak those languages, which is what I have always done.

No, you can’t do that for every language. You also have to be ready to use one of the other options mentioned, e.g., hiring interpreters and using translation services.

But having full-time staff who spoke the languages spoken by a preponderance of the people in my target market not only made sense, it also gave me a competitive advantage over offices that didn’t.

When people in the community heard about me or saw my ads in their language, they felt more comfortable coming to me and referring their friends, customers, or clients. Even if they were fluent in English, I know they appreciated the effort we made to accommodate others who weren’t.

Niche marketing isn’t just about providing foreign language capabilities, however. Every niche has its own lexicon, its own fabric of experiences, and targeting niche markets allows you to show them you speak their “language”.

You can create content and marketing messages that are more relevant to that market. You can use their buzzwords and provide examples and stories that reflect their world. You can talk about niche-specific issues, quote influential people they recognize, and be seen as an advocate for their causes.

And thus show them you understand their market, care about it, and have experience in helping the people in it.

Word of mouth is strong in niche markets. Which means if you do things right, you can usually build a practice more quickly in a niche market than you can outside of it.

But only if you speak their language.

How to choose your niche market

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Your mind to my mind… your thoughts to my thoughts…

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When was the last time you had a mind meld with your clients? And by that I mean, when did you spend time studying your target market and ideal client?

To learn what they want, how they think, and what they already know?

Do you know what they read? Who they listen to? What ideas are roaming around in their head? Do you know how they talk? Are you up-to-date with the legal and non-legal issues in their industry or market?

I ask this because understanding your client is the single most important element in your marketing, and most attorneys spend very little time studying their market and the people in it.

But you should.

It will make your marketing more effective, by allowing you to show your clients, prospects, subscribers and followers, that you understand them.

Other lawyers show them they know the law and can provide solutions to their problems. When you show prospective clients you understand their market, and them, they don’t have to be convinced you can help them, they know it.

When you tell them something, they’re less likely to doubt it. When you offer them something, they’re more likely to accept it. When you ask for their help, they are more likely to comply because they know, like, and trust you and want to help you.

They’re also more likely to forgive your errors and omissions, less likely to stray, and less likely to second-guess your judgment or your bill.

Knowing your market also makes your marketing easier. In a few minutes, you can dash off a short email or blog post, for example, without having to figure out what to say or how to say it–you already know.

Knowing your market also helps you develop deeper relationships with the professionals and advisors in that market. When they know someone who needs an attorney, they’ll be more likely to give you the referral.

So, what are you waiting for? Start (or re-start) studying your market. The first step is to write down what you know about your target market and ideal client.

Then, start asking questions and getting some answers.

This will help.

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Are you focusing on your market or your marketing?

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It all comes down this: generic marketing (which most lawyers do) vs. marketing that is customized to your target market.

Generic marketing is “one size fits all”. It focuses on the lawyer or firm, not the market or client. Because of that, their marketing tends to produce poorer results because one size does not fit all.

If you handle family law, for example, every service you offer could be (should be) packaged and presented differently for each of the different types of clients you target.

The prosperous professional fighting tooth and nail to modify a visitation order is very different from the millennial who just wants to get things over with.

Your marketing must reflect those differences.

That’s why you need to decide who you are marketing to (and who you are not) and understand what makes them tick.

What do they want? What will get their attention? What will persuade them? What type of lawyer will they relate to?

Study your target market. What are their highest values, most painful problems, and most fervent desires?

When you’ve figured that out, your marketing is much more effective.

You spend less time and less money marketing to them. Your words and examples resonate with them. You get more of them to make an appointment and more to sign up.

Because they see that you understand them.

Generic marketing is simple. But so much less effective. Everyone hears the same message, and most people tune you out.

You have to work harder and spend more time and more money getting your message out into the world. You have to make sure your fees are “competitive” because the clients you’re likely to attract are comparing your “offer” to everyone else’s.

If you want your marketing to be more effective, if you want to get a higher percentage of people saying yes and paying more, don’t focus on your marketing, focus on your market.

As a friend of mine puts it, “Go so deep into a single niche that you know your customers [he advises businesses] better than they know themselves.”

I show you how to do that in my email marketing course

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How to get paid more for your services

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If you want to earn more than other lawyers in your field and do it more consistently and with less effort, I have some advice for you:

Target people with money.

Not the low end of the market. Not the price shoppers. Not merely people with problems you can fix but people with problems you can fix who have the money to pay for the solutions you offer.

Capice?

Hold on. In order to land this type of client, you need to persuade them that you can give them what they want.

What do they want?

They want an expert. A lawyer who specializes in problems like theirs and clients like them.

They’re willing to pay more for that lawyer because they believe a specialist has a higher degree of knowledge and experience and, more than anything else, they want a lawyer they can count on to get the job done.

They want to know that if they hire you, you will take care of the problem, without unnecessary delays or complications.

They’ve buying peace of mind, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.

There are many ways to convince these clients you can do the job, but the simplest way is to get referred to them.

The referring party, client or professional, essentially vouches for your expertise and reliability.

You don’t have to persuade the client you can do the job, the referring party does it for you, in great part simply because they are referring you.

So, if I were in your shoes, I’d do what I could to make referrals the core of my marketing.

And, in order to get referrals to clients with money, I’d make sure I got some clients with money and made friends with professionals who represent clients with money, so they can refer their friends and clients to me.

Because you get referrals to clients with money by targeting clients with money.

This will help you get more referrals

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Gene Gene The Dancing Machine

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Bet you know some successful lawyers who aren’t especially talented. They’re like Gene Gene The Dancing Machine on the old Gong Show.

They can’t dance but hey, they’re on TV.

Sure, some of them get on TV by saying and doing outrageous things. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about ordinary lawyers who don’t be-clown themselves in public but are still able to get the clients and make the money.

How do they do it?

Connections? Hard work? Luck? Are they smooth talkers, good at getting people to buy their act?

It could be any of these.

Or it could be they’re good at marketing themselves.

One way they do that is to find a niche and focus on it. They learn everything they can about that market and dedicate themselves to it. They identify some of the centers of influence in that market and get to know them.

They get a few clients and then leverage their relationships with those clients to get more.

They stay in touch with their clients and prospects, and with professionals in their niche, keeping their name in front of them, building their reputation.

That leads to introductions, word-of-mouth referrals, and more clients and professional contacts in the niche.

If they network, they do it with primarily with prospective clients and centers of influence in their niche. By going “deep” instead of “wide,” they are able to get more results with less effort.

If they speak or write a blog or create videos or other content, they make sure they tailor their information to the issues and people in their niche.

If they advertise, they target the people and problems in their niche and ignore everyone else, thereby lowering their lead costs and increasing the effectiveness of their ads.

In other words, they don’t try to compete with everyone. They focus their marketing on a small niche market and eventually dominate it.

They become the big fish in their small pond. And then, if they want to, they find another pond.

Something even untalented lawyers and dancing machines can do.

If you want help choosing a good niche market for your practice, The Attorney Marketing Formula is required reading.

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No, really, why should I hire you?

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If a prospective client asks you why they should choose you as their lawyer instead of any other lawyer in your field, what would you say?

Most lawyers would point to their experience and track record. Some will mention well-known clients they represent. Others will point out their positive reviews or testimonials.

And all of that is good.

What’s even better is being able to show prospective clients the added value you bring to your clients that other lawyers don’t offer.

Something that benefits your clients in a material way.

What might that be?

It will be different for different client niches.

Most lawyers don’t target niches. They offer their services to “anyone” with a given legal issue or “anyone” who is interested in a given legal service.

It’s hard to stand out that way.

It’s better to choose a niche market and “specialize” in it.

A niche is defined by industry or culture, type of business or occupation, or other socio-economic or demographic factors. Specializing in a niche means dedicating yourself to it.

Immerse yourself in the niche, study it, and learn everything you can about it. Learn what they do, what they want, their problems, their pains, what’s important to them. Build relationships with the people in that niche and the professionals who advise them.

That’s how you find the added value you can offer prospective clients.

Example time.

Let’s say you choose “start ups” in a certain field as a niche market. You’ll no doubt discover that these companies need investors.

Because you have built relationships with people in that niche, you will have access to investors.

The added value you bring to your clients in this niche is your ability to introduce them to investors.

Your clients benefit when they choose you as their lawyer because you do something for them other lawyers don’t do, or don’t do as well because they don’t specialize in that niche and don’t have the relationships you do.

You also add value to your relationships with the investors and their advisors in the niche, because you’re the lawyer who can bring them the deals they’re looking to invest in.

You build a reputation in that niche which helps you attract more clients.

Choose a niche and dedicate yourself to it. When a prospective client wants to know why they should choose you, you’ll have the perfect answer.

Want help in choosing a niche? Here you go

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Your clothes, give them to me. Now.

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No, I’m not getting frisky with you. Just quoting a line from The Terminator, which YouTube is offering in their new “free with commercials” program.

If you’ve never seen the original, or haven’t seen it in a long time, you might want to check this out.

But hold on. There are two versions. Which one is right for you?

The first is the TV version. It comes in at 1:29 and change. Next to it in the carousel is the theatrical version that runs 1:47.

Different versions for different audiences. Just like lawyers offer different versions of their services to different clients.

Wait, you don’t do that? You offer the same services to everyone? Same services, same fees, same marketing?

Who says you have to offer the same services to everyone?

Who says you have to charge all clients the same fees?

Okay, okay, you may not be able to offer different services or charge different fees (or want to) but you could create different marketing collateral for different niches.

Talk about issues people in that niche relate to. Use different buzzwords and examples. Share stories about their colleagues you’ve represented.

Physicians and entrepreneurs and accountants are different niches. High-tech, blue collar and “mom and pop” are different niches.

If you want more people in a niche market to see you as the best lawyer for them, you should market to them differently.

That’s all for me today. But. . . wait for it. . . I’ll be back.

This will help you find your niche

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My, what a big niche you have

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Recently, I wrote about an interview I read with the founder of a web design studio who spoke about the value of niche marketing. She said what I’ve seen saying since day one.

In response to my post, I heard from an attorney asking for clarification.

“What is considered a niche?” he asked. “Is a practice area enough of a niche? For example, PI? Or do you need to the dog bit attorney or the brain injury attorney, etc?”

I said, “PI is a practice area. Brain injuries MIGHT be a niche. Brain injuries suffered by highly-compensated executives is definitely a niche.”

He came back: “Well, I should be pleased that last year, I started the move from a general practice to a PI practice. I think it will be a great move in the long run.”

I did the same thing early in my practice and it was indeed a great move for me. I told him to, “Niche it down. PI for Hispanic small business, owners, for example. The smaller you get, the easier it is to market.”

He said he was doing that. He focuses on a certain type of tradesperson, mostly from a certain state in Mexico.

Now that’s niching it down.

I don’t know how lucrative his niche will be but that’s not the point. The point is that it is a niche that he can easily dominate and, having done so, leverage his contacts in the niche to build his name in others.

If you want to get big, start by going small.

This will help you choose your niche

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