Niche your content

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It’s tempting to write articles and create videos (et al.) that appeal to a broad swath of your market. Anyone who has or wants to prevent a given problem, for example. And that’s exactly what most content creates do. 

But not all. I just saw an attorney’s article that’s targeted to people who “getting married”.

People who are getting married is a niche market, and it’s different from “People who are already married,” “People who are thinking about getting divorced,” “People who want to protect their assets from their spouse,” and many other niches. 

It prompted me to remind you to niche your content. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

If you handle plaintiff’s personal injury, for example, you might target your next article to people injured in an auto collision and focus on the first (and most important) things to do. You might target your content towards people with a child injured on school property, to people who are looking for an attorney who handles claims against governmental entities, or people who are looking for a NEW attorney. 

Targeting your content to specific niches is a smart way to bring in more business. 

A post targeted to people with a child injured on school property, for example, will appeal to a different niche than a post targeted to people who sustained soft tissue injuries in an auto collision. Each will get more relevant “hits” from searches, more prospective clients reading the article, and more inquires from prospective clients who want to talk to about their case.

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

Okay, but if you target your article to one niche and someone who sees it is in a different niche, won’t you lose their business? If your content is too specific, might you lose as much business as you gain?

Maybe. Or maybe you’ll more than make up for what you lose by attracting clients who feel that your article is speaking to them and want you to be their attorney.

And hey, there’s nothing stopping you from writing other articles for other niches. (And you should).

Years ago, when your only option was to buy (expensive) advertising in a print publication, you had to pick your target audience more carefully. Today, in the digital age, you can create content for a wide variety of niches and prospective clients who find that content not by reading a newspaper but primarily through keyword searches or social sharing. 

Resist the temptation to write content targeting “everyone” and write for specific niches. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities.

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Is niche marketing right for you?

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Lawyers can learn a lot about marketing by looking at what other professionals and businesses do to market their products and services. Real estate brokers and agents, for example, use a method of marketing that allows them to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing and minimize their costs, and lawyers can use the same method.  

In a nutshell, instead of spreading their marketing “seeds” anywhere and everywhere, real estate brokers concentrate those seeds in a small part of a city or neighborhood (for residential brokers), or an industry or list (for commercial brokers), 

That neighborhood or industry is their “farm,” and that’s where they invest most or all of their marketing dollars and time.

It’s a more cost effective and impactful than trying to get their message in front of “anyone, anywhere who might want to buy or sell”. 

Open your mailbox and you’ll see the same flyers and calendars from a handful of local agents and brokers who farm your neighborhood. You may not mail flyers and calendars but if you do any advertising, speaking, or networking, instead of trying to do that ‘everywhere” and getting lost in a sea of lawyers’ messages, you can stand out in your target market by focusing on a few neighborhoods, a few industries, or a few groups.

If you advertise, don’t choose “every” keyword or publication, concentrate on keywords or publications that get your message in front of your ideal clients. To some extent, this will allow you to dominate your target market or niche because your prospects will seem to see your message “everywhere”. 

Your marketing messages are also more effective in a niche market because you can use buzzwords and stories and examples from their niche. Instead of a lawyer who does estate planning, for example, you can position yourself as a lawyer who does estate planning for medical professionals or yacht owners.

Yes, niche markets are smaller. But for each $1000 or hour of time you spend in a niche, you get a lot more bang for your marketing buck.

And you can then target more neighborhoods, industries, professionals, or lists. 

How to choose the right “farm” for your practice

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How well do you know your target market? 

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One reason I promote niche marketing is because it allows you to get to know your prospective clients on a deeper level. When you do, you get better results in all aspects of your marketing. 

Higher response rate for your offers, better-pulling ads, more leads and inquires, fewer objections, a higher closing ratio, and more repeat business and referrals. With less time and effort and at lower expense. 

Because you know your market and your market knows you.  

Niche marketing means going “deep” in your niche rather than “wide,” as most attorneys do. When you go deep into a niche, you become more familiar with that market and their problems and interests. 

You know what they read, who they listen to, and what’s on their mind. You’re better able to talk to prospective clients, in your articles and other content about things that matter to them, with specificity other attorneys cannot. 

Your stories and examples resonate with them. They see that you already represent people like them and can see why you are a better choice to represent them than attorneys who represent “anyone with a legal issue they are qualified to handle”. 

You can also get to know the influential people in that market, and through them, meet other people who can hire you or refer you, and will often do so simply because the industry leader has introduced or endorsed you. 

It’s possible to do these things when you market to the bigger market, but far easier in a niche. 

Which leads to the one reason many attorneys don’t target niche markets. 

When you focus on a niche market, the medical community, for example, your stories and articles exclude people who don’t belong to that niche. “I don’t want to limit myself,” they say. 

But just because you target one niche doesn’t mean you can’t also target others.  

Yes, it’s more complicated. You’ll probably need more than one website, different content, separate marketing funnels, and so on, to accommodate different niches. But it’s worth it in view of the other benefits, especially if by targeting a niche you’re able to dominate it, which is another benefit of going deep rather than wide. 

Start with one niche. Something you know well and where you already have clients and referral sources. If you want a second niche, you can do that later. 

But you may not need to. You may find that you can make an entire career of targeting a single niche, something I’ve done for more than 30 years.

How to choose the best niche(s) for you

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Sorry, you don’t qualify to hire me

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Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick and choose who can (and can’t) hire you?

It would and you can start doing it immediately.

Decide who you want as a client in terms of demographics, industry or market, and other factors, and don’t accept anyone else. Or, accept them if you want to, but don’t target them.

Invest your time and resources attracting your “ideal” client.

This will necessarily be a small segment of the entire market of people who might need your services. Why limit yourself?

Because it will make your marketing much more effective and your practice more profitable and enjoyable.

You’ll bring in better clients, the kinds you have determined you want to work with, and eliminate ones you don’t.

Many prospective clients will seek you out because they’ve heard about you from people they know and trust. They’ll be pre-sold on you and your services and won’t need a lot of persuading to sign up.

These clients will be able to pay you and will have a lot of work for you (because you targeted clients who do). They’ll also have more referrals for you, people like themselves who are a good fit for you.

Professionals and businesses in your target market will more readily steer people your way, because they’ve also heard about you from people they trust, some of whom will be their existing clients.

Is this starting to sound too good to be true?

Maybe it is. Maybe your message won’t resonate, your reputation won’t precede you, or people won’t trust you or want you anywhere near their clients and contacts.

But maybe they will.

How about finding out?

Start by understanding that “not everyone is your customer” and that you get to choose.

Choose well, my friend. You might be pleasantly surprised and handsomely rewarded.

If not, you can always go back to marketing to everyone and taking what you get.

Here’s how to choose your niche market and ideal client

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The chicken AND the egg

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Most lawyers don’t think about it. They present what they do to the world and see who’s interested.

“Here’s some information about the law and about me and my services. If you have this problem or that desire, here’s what I can do to help you.“

When someone shows interest, they talk to them and show them more.

In time, these lawyers get to know more about their clients and their markets and are better able to serve them and more easily market to them.

This works.

But there’s another way.

The other way is to build your audience first and tailor what you do and how you present it to appeal to that audience.

You find a niche that has a need (and the ability to pay a lawyer). You study the niche and learn all about it. And you create marketing materials, websites, and approaches that speak to that audience.

With the first approach, the market is bigger, but there is more competition. It is harder to stand out, and marketing is less effective and more expensive.

The second approach has less competition, marketing is less expensive and more effective, but by definition, the chosen niche is smaller than the broader market.

Both approaches work; which approach is right for you?

Maybe both.

Offer your services broadly and see who finds you. Learn about them and their market and build relationships with them and the people they know.

At the same time, choose a niche market, study it and target it.

I used both approaches in my practice. I started broadly, learned how to practice law and how to pay my bills.

And then I settled in on a couple of niche markets, which allowed me to grow bigger, faster.

Sometimes, the easiest way to find a niche that’s right for you is to look for it among your existing clients.

How to find the right niche for your practice

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They key to effective marketing

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You want to bring in new clients and better clients and have them send you lots of referrals, don’t you?

Okay, no brainer.

You also want this to happen almost effortlessly, without requiring a lot of time or effort.

More empty-skullery

Now, you might think I’m going to give you a complicated formula for achieving this—a long list of things you have to know or do.

But I’m not.

I’m just going to give you one thing you need to do. Because if you embrace it and do it, it will bring you everything you ask.

I’m not exaggerating. It was the key to my success in my practice and my businesses. The “one thing” that made everything else work.

It’s not a strategy, technique, or tool. The key to effective marketing is simply understanding your market.

To know all about the market or niche and the people in it. What they want, what they need, what they talk about and worry about. Because the more you know your market, the more you’ll know what to say to them to get them to see you as the solution to their problem.

Not just one solution, the best solution.

The more you understand them and the world they occupy, the more easily you can relate to them and they to you. And the more likely they will be to say yes, give you all their legal work, and refer their friends and business contacts.

Study your market and the people in it. Learn about their fears and insecurities, their pain, their desires, their fears and their doubts.

Yes, it is that simple.

Of course, in order to know your market, you have to have a market. This will help you choose the right market for you.

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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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