Couldn’t have said it better myself

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I read an interview with Promise Tangerman, the founder of a “boutique graphic and web design studio.” The title of the article in Forbescaught my eye: “The key to success according to this tech founder? Stick to your niche”.

I thought that if you don’t want to listen to me when I pound the table about that very subject, maybe you’ll listen to her. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Karin Eldor (the interviewer): “Why is the concept of focusing on a niche so important to you?” 

Tangeman: When your industry feels flooded with other people doing the exact same thing as you, you have to be different in order to stand out, and you have to stand out in order to get the sale. The number one question I get asked on a daily basis is: “How do I get more customers and clients?” That answer is simple: focus on your business and create a niche for yourself.

A niche is when you create a very specific product or service that only appeals to a small group of people. So you’ll create a more focused product, market it to fewer people, and as counterintuitive as it seems, actually make more money.

Eldor: Why do believe creating a niche will help you attract more customers and clients?

Tangeman: For starters, your business will be considered unique, so people will have a reason to talk about you and tell their friends about you. As well, you’ll be viewed as a specialist in the sector of your industry, and therefore you’ll be your specific customer’s first choice. And you’ll have a better, more targeted product, so people will be willing to pay a higher price for it. As a result, you’ll have a higher and faster conversion to sale, because you’ll know exactly where and how to market your product.

Change “product” to services, “customers” to “clients,” “higher prices” to “higher fees” and this could have been written for lawyers. 

So, here I am, standing up and doing the Simon Cowell “slow clap”. Maybe even hitting the golden buzzer. 

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how to choose the right niche for your practice

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How to get more clients like your best clients

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Some clients are better than others. They have more work for you, they are willing to pay higher fees for better service, they treat you well and send you referrals.

Yes?

Ah, but while they may be better, they may not be your best.

Your best clients, your “ideal” clients, match a profile that you have decided is where you want to make your mark.

Your ideal clients have values that align with yours. They have needs and wants that you are better equipped to satisfy than most attorneys because you have more experience with clients like them. They have characteristics–personality, background, lifestyle, income–similar to those that identify your other ideal clients.

Your ideal clients provide you with your highest value and you want more of them. You’ll tolerate clients who don’t fit this profile but you target prospective clients who do.

Or at least you should.

Not just because you want more of them but so that you can appeal to them more effectively in your marketing.

When you try to appeal to everyone based solely on legal need, as most attorneys do, you dilute your message and diminish your results.

If you want your best clients to find you and hire you, focus your marketing so that it speaks exclusively to them. 

Most attorneys are “an inch deep and a mile wide” in their marketing. They aren’t intentional and they don’t focus.

Don’t do that.

To build a practice comprised primarily of your best clients, figure out what your ideal clients look like and show them why you are their ideal attorney.

This will help you create a profile of your ideal client

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What’s your shtick?

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I just downloaded an app that provides a collection of “sleep sounds,” that is, recordings you can listen to when you want to rest or fall asleep. There are many of these types of apps available. I’ve tried more than a few.

But this one is different.

It’s the only app I know of that doesn’t come with all of the audios in the initial download. You choose the ones you want and download them separately. Any sound you don’t like can easily be deleted.

I like this because it means I don’t have to fill up my phone with gigabytes of sounds I’ll probably never use. I can choose a few I like and forget the rest.

Most of the app’s reviewers agree. Choice is good. Smaller downloads are good.

But some disagree. They hate having to download each audio one at a time. “It takes too long!” they moan.

So yeah, you can’t please everyone. And you know what? You shouldn’t try.

Suppose the app developer listened to the cries of the customers who don’t like the “choose your own” feature? They would wind up with an app like all the others that use an “all or nothing” approach. They would find it difficult to stand out from their competition. And the would alienate those of us who like being able to choose.

“Choose the ones you want” is this companies shtick. Their thing. Their Unique Selling Proposition. And it works. They knowingly give up trying to please the “I want it all” crowd and from a marketing perspective, this is the right thing to do.

And guess what? Lawyers should do the same thing.

Stop trying to please everyone. Stop offering “all things to all people”. Be different. Carve out a niche. Choose a segment of the market and show the folks why you’re their guy or gal. Promote your differences to prospective clients who like those differences. And let go of everyone else.

Need help choosing your shtick? Here it is

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Why you might want to take your grandma to lunch

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Let’s rap about this niche market thing I’m always talking about.

Suppose you’ve looked at a niche market but rejected it because it looks like it’s not lucrative. Let’s use the “senior” market as an example.

Most people consider the senior market to be “price sensitive,” given the preponderance of fixed incomes in that market. If you want to find the best deals on dinner, go where the seniors go. If you want to charge premium fees for your services, seniors aren’t the first demo you think of.

You might want to think again.

Not all seniors live on a fixed income. Many have investments and real property, some have retired from running businesses but still draw an income, some are still running their business, and some are quite wealthy.

These folks may identify as seniors but lack of money isn’t an issue.

Okay, what about a lack of need? Most seniors aren’t as active as they once were, most have already taken care of their estate planning needs, and many have long standing relationships with attorneys and don’t really need you.

Many, but not all.

What if you could identify well-off seniors with unmet legal needs? A niche market within a niche market.

You could own that market.

Seniors get divorced. They get into car accidents. They even commit crimes.

They have tax issues, real estate issues, investment issues, business issues. And more than a few have not yet taken care of their estate planning needs because, you know, 70 is the new 50.

And even if they don’t need you. . .they know a lot of people. They have a lifetime of contacts: family, former co-workers and employees, professionals they have hired, and centers of influence in your niche market and community.

They can send you referrals and they can introduce you to prospective clients and referral sources.

In other words, even if they don’t hire you, their contacts can be very profitable for you.

I’m not trying to get you to choose the (wealthy) senior market as a niche necessarily. I’m simply trying to get you to think outside the box about what makes a viable niche market.

Okay, that’s it for me. I’m off to an early lunch and some networking. I hear Denny’s has a great senior special.

Need help choosing a niche market? Here you go

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Get bigger by thinking smaller

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Seth Godin just said what I’ve been telling you for a long time: niche it.

Actually, he put it this way:

“When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve.”

In other words, target small niche markets and own them.

Godin says that when you focus on “the minimum viable audience,” your message is more powerful and more effective, and as your influence in that market grows, word of mouth about you will spread throughout the market and into others.

In other words, you get bigger by thinking smaller.

Godin says that this is how big companies and brands got that way. “By focusing on just a few and ignoring the non-believers, the uninvolved and the average.”

Focus on your ideal clients and the influencers in your chosen niche markets. Get to know them. Serve them. Let them see your dedication to their market.

Forget about the rest. Let other lawyers fight over the rest, while you get the lion’s share of the best.

Want help choosing your target market? Here you go

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Focus and grow rich

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If you can remember getting interest on your savings account (if you can remember savings accounts), you recall that compound interest, as opposed to simple interest, allowed you to earn a bigger return because you earned interest on the interest.

Compounding gave you more bang for your savings buck.

The same principle applies to investments you make in your marketing.

One reason I preach the value of targeting niche markets is that by targeting small(er) niche markets, instead of “all” markets or “no” markets, your money, time, and energy compounds.

You get bigger results with less effort.

Instead of getting one new client when you deliver a presentation, for example, you might get five new clients because the people in that niche not only see your presentation, they also see your ads or read your articles or hear your name mentioned by one or more colleagues or friends.

Each instance of “you” in a niche market has a greater impact.

If you want to get more bang for your marketing buck, concentrate your efforts and dollars in smaller markets, especially where people know each other and word of mouth is strong.

In addition, group your “shots” by publishing more articles or running more ads in one or two publications (in the same week or month) instead of multiple publications. Publish a weekly or daily newsletter instead of a monthly newsletter.

You can expand your reach later, after you have saturated and dominated one publication (ads, articles), one organization (speaking, networking), or one niche market.

Most lawyers use a shotgun approach to marketing. Their message is weaker because they try to appeal to everyone. Their message is diluted, if not drowned out, by a sea of messages from other lawyers. They waste time and money and make a smaller impact by spreading their time and money too thin.

If you want to get more results (clients, referrals, traffic, subscribers, publicity, etc.), focus your message, your time, and your dollars in smaller markets, and let the magic of compounding go to work for you.

How to choose the right niche markets for your practice: click here

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How to never run out of ideas to write about

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Think about your target market and answer me a few questions:

  • What is the market’s biggest problem right now? The one that keeps people up at night?
  • What’s the latest news in that market? What are people talking about?
  • Name three websites, podcasts, or newsletters that focus on this market.
  • Who is the top lawyer, CPA, insurance or real estate professional in that market?
  • Name two organizations dedicated to that market that have networking functions in your area.
  • Name three profitable keywords for blog posts, books, or ads for that market.

Okay, that’s enough to make my point, which is that if you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t know your target market well enough.

Or you don’t have one.

Which is why, when you set out to write an email or article, you “don’t know what to write about”. Which is why you aren’t writing, or if you are, your writing is too general and doesn’t stand out.

If your last blog post or article or email is written to appeal to “anyone,” there’s a good chance it appeals to “no one”.

When you know your target market well, which you must if you want to dominate it, you won’t have that problem. You’ll have plenty of things to write about, specific to that market. In fact, you’ll have so many ideas, your biggest problem will be deciding which one to write about.

Which is a nice problem to have, don’t you think?

Need help choosing a target market? Use this

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Put away your shotgun and get out your rifle

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I found a book yesterday which purported to be about marketing for attorneys. I didn’t buy it.

I didn’t buy it because the author isn’t an attorney, nor is she a marketing expert, for attorneys or anyone else. According to her bio, she’s a freelance writer. Nothing against freelance writers, but given the choice, attorneys prefer to learn from an attorney who built a successful practice, a marketing consultant for attorneys, or ideally, from someone who is both.

Someone like me, for example.

Because of my background and experience, attorneys prefer to buy my books and courses instead of those written by people with generalized marketing experience, or no marketing experience. They’ll pay more, too, because I’m worth more. At least to them.

We speak the same language. We understand each other. You don’t have to explain your situation, I’ve know it, either because I’ve lived it or because I’ve helped others in that situation.

By contrast, the aforesaid writer doesn’t have that connection. In her book description, she reveals that failing when she says, “. . . in your attorney business,” instead of in your firm or practice.

Nuff said.

This is why I preach to you about niche marketing. Your task in marketing your services is to show prospective clients, and the people who can refer them, that you are the best lawyer for the job. The simplest way to do that is to show them that you are the closest match to what they need and want, by virtue of your experience in helping other clients like them.

If a real estate investor is looking for an estate planning attorney and learns that you do estate planning exclusively and represent hundreds of real estate investors, he is more likely to choose you instead of another lawyer, and more likely to pay your well-deserved higher fee.

The key to attracting high-value clients is focus. Stop trying to be all things to all people. Put away your marketing shotgun and get out your marketing rifle.

How to get focused and attract your ideal clients

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Two lawyers walked into a bar. . .

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Okay it’s not a bar, it’s a networking event, but a bar is funnier. Oh, and guess what? You’re one of the lawyers. I’m there too, but I’m not me, I’m the owner of a small chain of restaurants and I’m looking for a new lawyer (who does what you do).

We meet and I ask “What do you do?” You tell me you’re a small business lawyer (work with me here or my story won’t make sense) and you tell me a little bit about yourself. I’m impressed. I can see that you have a lot of experience and think you must be good at what you do. You’re a nice guy, too.

I meet another lawyer and have a similar conversation. Her name is Alice and she also represents small businesses. She also has an impressive background.

During my conversation with Alice, she asks me if I know Joe Martin. Joe is the president of our local restaurant owner’s association and I know him well. Alice has handed several legal matters for Joe personally and he’s just invited her to speak at our next monthly meeting.

Then Alice asks me if I know Karen Collins, co-owner of a popular restaurant in town. I don’t know Karen, but I’ve had several friends tell me about her restaurant and I tell Alice that I plan to go. Alice tells me I will love the food. “Tell Karen I said hello; she’ll take good care of you.”

Yes, Karen is Alice’s client. In fact, Alice represents quite a few restaurant owners.

Before the conversation ends, Alice asked me if I am familiar with a tax proposal the national chapter of our association is supporting. When I tell her I don’t much about it, she asks for my email address so she can send me an article she wrote about the bill for our association’s newsletter.

Can you see where this is going?

Yeah, sorry. Better luck next time.

It helps to know people in your prospect’s niche market. It helps to be able to say you represent many of their colleagues or neighbors. It’s even better when your prospect knows them and can ask them about you.

How does this happen? It happens when you target a niche market and build your reputation in that market by writing, speaking, and networking. It happens when you focus on that market, learn all about it, and meet the top people in it. It happens when you focus your time and resources on that market and eventually dominate it.

You can do that in business niches and consumer niches. You can do that by targeting prospective clients or people who can refer them (or both).

Gotta go. I’ve got a reservation for lunch at Karen’s restaurant. Alice sent me.

How to choose the right niche market: The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Another “fee raising” success story

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I spoke to another attorney yesterday who told me that, at my urging, he increased his fees approximately 40% and has received no resistance. His fees were low to begin with, he said, but this has emboldened him to increase his fees even further.

He said the top of the market is still 70% higher than his new fee, and we talked about what he would need to do to justify another increase.

You don’t have to be the top of the market, I told him, but you should at least be in the top one-third to 20%.

But don’t be so quick to dismisss “top of the market” fees. Why couldn’t you be the most expensive guy in town?

You could. The question is how.

Much of marketing is about perception. To some extent, you’re worth more because you say you are. Who’s to say any different?

Your lower-priced competitors, you say? See, that’s where you’re missing the boat. There is no competition at the top of the market. It’s at the lower 80% of the market where everyone does pretty much the same thing and competes on price and good looks.

If you’re mucking about in steerage, you’ll never maximize your potential.

But there is a limit to how much more you can charge simply because you want to charge more. You’ve got to find something you do better or different than other lawyers, and make that a point of differentiation.

One way to do that is to specialize not only in the services you offer but the clients for whom you perform those services. Choose a niche market to target, focus on it, and groom yourself to become the “go to” lawyer in that niche.

There are big advantages to this strategy. Besides being able to charge higher fees, marketing is easier and more effective. Instead of networking with or advertising to “anyone” who might need your services or be able to refer clients, for example, you can concentrate your efforts on marketing exclusively to prospective clients and referral sources in your niche market.

That’s what this attorney said he will do.

He’ll save time, spend less on advertising (if not eliminate it completely), and develop a name for himself in his niche.

Word of mouth travels fast in niche markets. By next year at this time, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he has indeed become the “go to” lawyer in his market.

Learn more about niche marketing, with this

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