I realized quickly that I did not fit the mold of people attending law school. The vast majority were political science and English majors. They gave me, the business marketing major with blue hair, some serious side-eye. It was clear that I had a different mindset and approach to the law. Looking back, that difference is what made me successful as a freelancer vs. many of my fellow graduates stuck working for someone else’s firm. Law school teaches you how to think about and argue the law but it does not do an adequate job at teaching you about the business side of running your law firm. One of those essential business elements is developing a marketing strategy. Creating law firm buyer personas is essential for optimizing your marketing efforts and attracting the ideal client.
What is a Buyer Persona?
At the end of the day, your law firm is a business. To be successful, it needs to make money. In order to make money, you need to attract clients who will hire the firm and its attorneys to represent them in legal matters. As with any business, a particular group of people is more likely to utilize your law firm’s services. A client persona is a fictitious person who represents this group of people. A single law firm could have multiple types of clients, which means there would be more than one client persona. Each persona should include everything you can about the customers in this group. Typical information includes demographics, lifestyle, career, goals, pain points, and typical legal services needed.
Why Do I Need to Create Law Firm Buyer Personas?
All too often, lawyers blanket blast marketing out to the general public in the legal area. There is a misconception that anyone could be potential customers, so marketing efforts need to reach everyone with your law firm marketing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Think about it this way, millions of people drive a car and will eventually buy another vehicle. However, they won’t buy just any car when that day comes. For many people, no amount of advertising will change their minds on what brand of vehicle they want to buy. Buyers could focus on various points, such as price, technology, performance, build quality, reliability, or shopping experience.
These people look for a lawyer with a similar approach. There’s the person looking to spend as little as possible, no matter what. There is the person looking for the best interpersonal experience. Someone else is looking for top performance with a top-performing lawyer. Then there is the one-stop-shop person looking for one firm that can do everything.
Your law firm will not turn all of these people into new clients. So why are you wasting time and money marketing to them? Having a clearly defined law firm buyer personas in place is crucial. It allows your law firm to maximize lead generation by targeting those who fit the buyer persona and are most likely to hire your firm.
How Are Buyer Personas Different From a Target Market?
A buyer persona and a target audience are not the same things. Think of your target market as the 10,000-foot view. It’s a broad stroke. Your buyer persona is a much more targeted definition of who your ideal customer is. For example, your target market could be the local geographical area or people looking for a particular practice area, such as estate planning or real estate. Your buyer persona is a more tightly defined definition. Continuing this example, these are some example law firm buyer personas that a real estate attorney could have.
You are probably already aware that the people walking into your law firm’s offices needing these services will be very different. So while your target market defines that these people live locally and require real estate services, buyer personas provide a tighter definition of these clients. It looks at how your target client approaches the decision making process. This gives you a better understanding of your clients to encourage optimization of content marketing. A client persona is a fictional representation of your clients that defines their education background, professional, interested, goals, and challenges.
How to Create Law Firm Buyer Personas
So, how do you create a buyer persona? The good news is that it starts with something you should already be good at. Before you start crafting your law firm’s buyer personas, you need to do a lot of research. Instead of researching precedent and case law, you’re going to gather information about your current clients. If you’ve operated your law firm for at least a few years, you already have all of the data; you just need to compile it into a useful and manageable form. Any information you don’t have, you can get with the use of client surveys and feedback forms.
This is probably one of the easiest sections to fill out. These are the basic demographics that define the categorizing qualities of your client. This section should include things like age, gender, income, children, marital status, education, and living location.
This drills down into the personality of the client. Are they extroverted or introverted? Do they seek out new experiences, or do they prefer things that are familiar and comfortable? Are they trusting or skeptical? Do they have a serious mindset or enjoy a good joke?
The legal need of your law firm buyer personas should be something that your law firm offers. This is where you’ll outline the specific services that a buyer persona would hire you for.
Each of your clients comes to you with a certain amount of legal experience. This can vary greatly from one client to the next. The more experience your client has, the more sophisticated their understanding of the law and your role as their lawyer. Therefore, you will take a very different representation approach with a client who has a lot of experience with the law versus someone who has no experience.
Goals and Challenges
This section will outline the client’s goals and challenges in hiring your law firm. Perhaps the client’s goal is to secure their estate plan to ensure their assets are distributed in their desired manner once they pass away. A challenge could be that they are unsure of what their assets are. Perhaps the client’s goal is to recover damages suffered at the hands of another party. Their challenges are that they can’t afford to hire a lawyer because they are already financially strained with being unable to work and mounting medical bills.
This section will narrow down what you think the marketing message should be. For example, if you know that a particular buyer persona loves a good joke, is money conscious, and has no experience with the law. Then you can create a funny marketing message that educates them on a particular aspect of the law. Your marketing message should convey that they can relate and engage with your firm while you are also knowledgeable enough to guide them through the legal process.
Quotes From Clients
This section will add quotes from clients who fit into this buyer persona. This will give you better insight into the mindset of your audience.
Why do potential clients not hire your law firm? Perhaps it’s because they no longer need legal services. Maybe they find an attorney and law firm that they like better. Figuring this out can help you address the objections and convince potential clients to hire your firm over another. For example, a money-conscious buyer persona may object purely based on price. A personable buyer persona may object because they want to feel a connection with their lawyer.
How can you reach potential clients? The days of relying solely on billboard, the telephone book, and TV ads for your legal marketing are over. For your law firm to be successful, you need to do more. Your marketing efforts need to be where your potential clients are. This section will list the technology and social media platforms that each buyer persona is likely to use. This will vary for each buyer persona that you create. Some will be social media app heavy, while others may prefer email, direct mail inbound marketing, digital marketing, or even the old-school TV ad. Try to have a mix of communication channels for each buyer persona. That way, you can create a marketing campaign that reaches across more than one channel for consistent messaging. Additionally, don’t forget about your firm’s website, which is essential for search engine optimization (SEO).
What Can We Do?
What can your law firm offer potential clients? Obviously, it’s legal services, but this question goes beyond that. How can your law firm help potential clients achieve their goals? How can your law firm help clients overcome their challenges? What does your law firm do that sets it apart from comparable competitive firms? Perhaps you offer flexible payment plans. Maybe you offer more consistent updates. You could have a client portal where it’s easy for clients to upload documents and communicate.
Create Your Law Firm Buyer Personas
You are now ready to create your law firm’s buyer personas. Start by doing the research needed to have plenty of data and information to work with. You can then look for trends and groupings to establish your buyer personas. Use our handy template to help you fill out each category and create a complete picture of each persona. You can then use these personas to create marketing materials that speak directly to each of your buyer personas.