Every business needs to spend time researching and defining their target demographics, and for law firms, it’s even more important. You likely already know what type of practice you want to start, but what types of demographics do you want to focus on?
For example, if you practice family law, you may focus on families with children, couples with no kids, empty nesters, or a combination of all three.
Your choice in target demographics will have a massive impact on your visibility, the direction of your practice, and ultimately, your success. So how do you begin?
The Importance of Demographics
Let’s start by explaining why it’s so important to name and focus on certain target demographics in the first place. Your first instinct may be to target your services to “everyone,” capitalizing on the biggest audience possible, but this is rarely the best approach.
Instead, narrowing the scope of your content, services, marketing, and advertising to specific demographics can help you in these areas:
- First, understand that your legal practice is going to face a lot of competition. Regardless of which field of specialty you choose, you’ll likely be competing with dozens of firms like yours that already exist. Focusing on a specific demographic gives you the opportunity to differentiate your firm from others, helping you stand out to potential new clients.
- Focusing on the needs of a specific target demographic can also make your content more relevant to that demographic. This is especially important when you consider your marketing and advertising. Providing a potential client with a message that’s specific to their situation and their needs is much more effective than trying to win them over with a generic statement.
- Dedicating your attention to one specific group of people also allows you to cultivate and build an area of specialty. Over time, you’ll get to know this demographic much better, and you’ll be much more capable of serving their unique needs. This ultimately leads you to better reviews, more referrals, and a stronger reputation.
Making the Choice
So how can you choose which demographics are the best fit for your brand?
- Area of practice. What are your main areas of practice, and who are the types of people most likely to be in need of these services? For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney, who are the types of people most likely to be injured and seek legal action after an injury?
- A good shortcut is to look at the demographics your competitors are targeting. Who are they speaking to in their messaging? You may want to differentiate your brand by targeting a different segment, but you can learn something regardless.
- Consider conducting interviews with people in your prospective target demographics, in survey form if possible. What are these people’s attitudes toward lawyers? Have they ever needed legal assistance in the past?
- What is your personal experience? Is there a demographic you’ve encountered that is underserved in the current industry?
- Finally, spend some time doing demographic research, relying on the most trustworthy sources of data you can find. How does this group live? What are their values?
How to Improve Your Understanding
Once you’ve identified a strong target demographic to start with, you’ll need to improve your understanding of that demographic. There are a few ways to do this.
First, you can improve your understanding with objective research from Census.gov, Pew Research, and other high-quality sources of demographic information. Second, you can conduct surveys to gather more qualitative data. Third, you can spend more time with these demographics directly. The more you immerse yourself in information from these sources, the clearer your understanding of these groups will become.
Targeting Multiple Demographic Segments
You can also target multiple demographic segments at once, and many firms are successful with this approach. If you do this, the best strategy is to segment your strategies. Try to maintain different content feeds and email lists for each demographic, and include different sections of your website for those different verticals.
Over time, you may find that much of your client base is drifting to one demographic over another, or that you’re experiencing great results with a demographic that you didn’t previously expect. Because of this, it’s important to remain as adaptable as possible; be ready to change your strategy as you gather more information and experience.
Choosing the target demographics for your law firm is a stressful and impactful decision—and not one you can afford to take lightly. No matter what you choose, there will always be time to change your approach, but it’s better to do your research in advance and start off with the best possible targets.