Yes: The world has changed. Your ideal client is probably slightly different than they were before the coronavirus pandemic hit. But the sentiment remains: Even now, if you think the best bet for growing your firm is to gather as many clients as humanly possible, no matter who they are, well — consider this:
Not every potential client is meant to be yours.
While you might think you need to make a cash grab for any client who will have you right now, take a breath. You can still be discerning in tough times. The age-old rule applies: quality over quantity.
There are certain individuals out there who will benefit the most from your legal services. These are the clients poised and ready to find you, convert and become loyal clients for years to come.
The best way to find and attract the clients you want is to define them yourself by creating an ideal client persona.
On this Page
The Importance of Determining Your Ideal Clients
Your legal services are meant for clients with specific problems that only you can solve. And these problems might have changed over the past few weeks and months, so it’s time to think through two lenses: What evergreen problems do your clients have? And what new problems have they developed?
Determining your ideal clients will help you:
- Connect with your audience more deeply. Connection is a powerful thing. We especially need connecting right now. It’s what solidifies your relationship with your clients and makes them believe they chose right when reaching out to you. Your clients are looking to you to lead and help.
- Build a solid marketing strategy that works. A marketing strategy will only work when it’s targeted at the right audience. How do you find the right audience? You guessed it—by determining your ideal client.
- Create an exceptional client experience. Did you know that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a service from a brand who provides a personalized experience? That’s because being seen and known are beautiful things. Offering an exceptional, personalized experience requires understanding your clients on a deeper level.
- Attract the right clients, instead of the wrong ones. Many attorneys come to us with concerns about attracting clients they know will be difficult yet taking them on anyway. Being clear about who you want to serve will ensure you’re clear on who you don’t want to serve, too. As a result, you’ll begin to attract the right clients to your firm.
- Decide which services to offer. If you’re a new attorney or an attorney starting a new law firm, defining your ideal client will help you decide which services, strategies, and delivery models to offer to serve them best.
How to Identify Your Ideal Client
To begin defining your ideal client, there are some important steps to take.
- Define your services. First, clearly define what services you want to offer and what unique problems those services solve. This will help you pinpoint those clients who need what you offer the most. We know your services might be a little in flux now during this remote transition. That’s OK. Write down what you offer at this moment.
- Gather information from your existing clients. If you’re an established firm, you probably already have clients you’d like to see more of. Survey them and ask why they chose you above your competitors. Take note of their demographics, fears, needs, and more. Ask them what help looks like right now.
- Look into who’s finding you online. Review your website’s analytics to see who’s finding you online. Where are your online visitors coming from? What keywords and phrases are they using to find you? What are clients searching for now during this particular period of time?
- Check out your competitors. Who are your direct competitors serving? Although you can’t see their analytics or speak directly to their clients, you can see who they’re trying to target online.
What Is a Client Persona?
Once you have some background information about your ideal client, the next step is to build a client persona. A persona, also known as an avatar, is a written profile that accurately depicts your target client. They’re a detailed description of what makes your ideal client tick.
Law firm client personas help you in many ways. They guide your marketing efforts, the client experience, and more. They ensure your team is on the same page when it comes to understanding who you serve. Personas ensure you’re working to attract the clients you want to serve instead of those you don’t.
How to Create a Client Persona
Your client persona should be located somewhere your team can have quick access to it. We recommend using a Word document, a spreadsheet or if you want to get fancy, a visual. Next, start building your persona:
- Give your persona a name. Yes, a real name. Your persona is a living, breathing representation of who you serve. To make it as personal as possible, name your persona.
- List their defining demographics. Next, list the demographics that define them such as their age, where they live, their occupation, and so on.
- Identify their pain points. The most important service you can offer is one that eliminates your client’s pain points. Record these pain points in your persona and how you plan to solve them.
- Identify their goals. What will life look like for your persona after they work with you? For example, will they exit their marriage with confidence or continue to grow their business securely with your advice?
When creating your persona, the more specific you can be, the better. To dive even deeper, ask yourself these questions about your ideal client:
- What’s the single most valuable thing a lawyer could provide for them right now?
- What worries keep them up at night?
- What are their hobbies?
- How much money do they make?
- Who do they follow on social media?
- Do they have kids?
- What does their daily routine look like?
- Which influencers do they follow?
- What news outlets do they turn to?
- What might be getting in the way of them seeking help?
It is often helpful to think of actual people you know who would fit this persona. For instance, if you have already had clients, who were your favorites? What made them stand out? What other details about them should you record? Also, consider the clients that didn’t work out well. What about those situations that made your job difficult or made it impossible for you to deliver what your clients needed?
Don’t Accidentally Exclude Demographics
As you create your persona, be careful to avoid accidentally excluding the demographics of those you want to attract. Double-check your persona for biases as you move forward. This means making sure you’re thinking more about your ideal client’s needs and only using demographics to support your persona.
Do Your Research
If there’s one thing to gather from this guide, it’s this: don’t wing it. You must put some elbow grease into developing your persona. Do your online research and get out and talk to people. Look at NextDoor and Facebook groups to research and talk to your ideal clientele.
The more information you can gather, the better and more comprehensive your persona will be.
Use Our Ideal Client Worksheet
If you need some extra guidance, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow ideal client worksheet you can use to define your persona. Download the ideal client worksheet now and get started.
Thoughts on Creating Multiple Ideal Client Personas
You may already be considering creating more than one persona for your firm. Perhaps this is because you have more than one practice area (e.g., family law and estate planning). Or perhaps it’s because you serve two very different audiences within one area of law (e.g., landlords and tenants).
Before you move forward with multiple ideal client personas, we recommend first getting really good at working with only one persona. Work through the process of defining one persona and then use that persona to move forward, as we outline in the sections below.
If, and only if, you begin to truly connect with your first ideal client persona should you consider creating more.
How to Use Law Firm Client Personas in Strategy, Service, and Marketing
Your new ideal client persona is like a compass you can use to guide your strategy, client service, and marketing. With every new initiative you start and every decision you make, refer back to your persona.
Finding and Attracting Your Law Firm Client Persona
How do you find and attract your ideal client persona? Chances are, you’ve done enough research to know where your ideal clients hang out online and offline. Now, all that’s left to do is show up.
Advertising and Online Content
The best way to show up in front of your ideal client is through law firm marketing. For example, place an ad in a publication your ideal client likes to read. Or, participate in the social media platforms they like to scroll through.
The next step is to create content (blogs, ads, website copy, social media posts, etc.) that speaks directly to your ideal client. Use your persona to speak to your client’s pain points and how you can alleviate them. Speak to their goals, their dreams, their fears. Tailor your message to your ideal client and they will come. Be a resource.
Your Ideal Client Persona and the Client Experience
Around 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue. Why? Consumers crave experiences that make them feel special and safe. Your clients are no exception.
Knowing who your customers are and what they expect is the first step in creating an unforgettable experience. And guess what? You’re already halfway there with your client persona. Using your persona, you can improve the experience you offer through personalization. For example:
- Does your ideal client prefer email communication or phone calls?
- Do they like paper forms or do they prefer using electronic forms?
- Will they benefit from new payment systems such as subscriptions or flat-fee pricing?
Your Ideal Client Persona and Your Law Firm Strategy
Your ideal client persona will also directly affect your law firm’s strategy. In fact, your business plan should center around serving them to the best of your ability.
The Ideal Client Journey
Your law firm’s strategy is built around your mission, vision, and values. It’s also dependent on your clients and their journey to and through your firm. You must have a documented ideal client journey to properly steer your ship.
This journey will differ depending on your ideal client persona. The journey begins when they first see a legal problem on the horizon and continues through identifying potential solutions, selecting a solution, and experiencing the process of having their issue resolved.
For each stage of this journey, determine where your clients get their information, what they’re looking for, and how you can deliver. With persona in hand, you can map each stage of the client journey (awareness, evaluation, conversion, onboarding, service, and loyalty) to your ideal client’s specific needs.
Define Who You Serve to Guide Your Firm Toward Success
As a new attorney or a lawyer ready to start your own firm, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking on any and every client that comes through your door. Yet, we know that when you define and work to attract only your ideal clients, you’ll start to guide your firm toward true success. Plus, you’ll be much more content in your work.
Learn More About Serving Your Ideal Clients: Download Chapter One of The Small Firm Roadmap
Defining your ideal client is a great first step toward building a successful law firm. Our new book, The Small Firm Roadmap, will teach you the strategies you need to serve your clients in the best way and keep growing your firm. Download the first chapter for free today.