Does your actual law firm target audience – the people you’re currently reaching – represent the ideal clientele you want to attract?
With so much going on in digital marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in counting the wrong numbers and chasing after the wrong people. We tend to oversimplify things and just go along with the general idea that numbers going down are bad, and numbers going up are good. When it comes to reaching an online audience, many think bigger is better, regardless of whether or not they are achieving the results they’re after.
While your firm is obviously going to want to reach as many potential clients as possible, it’s important to keep in mind that potential clients and audience members are not necessarily the same thing. Working to grow your audience is an essential first step, but you should always be working to increase the value of your audience as well. Proven methods exist that can help your firm better understand the preferences, composition, and size of your true target audience — and if you’re actually reaching them.
Dig Deeper Into Your Data
The easiest and most practical way to begin analyzing your audience is to start with the information you’ve already got on hand — the email subscription list in your CRM or marketing automation tool. As you go through the list and learn the details of this part of your audience, you’ll start to get a sense of whether or not you’re attracting the people and/or companies that really are ideal prospects for your law firm.
Create Segments Based On Demographics And Firmographics
Start breaking your list down by the personal characteristics (demographics) and company characteristics (firmographics) of your subscribers. Think about the parameters that make the most sense for your particular situation. Gender, job title, company size, industry, and location could all be relevant indicators.
By tagging and sorting contacts with these indicators, you should be able to gain some basic insights into who is on your list and how well they fit the profile of your firm’s ideal target. It will also allow you to see if your audience is made up primarily of any group or groups such as business owners, individuals, company executives, men, women, etc.
You will undoubtedly find gaps in information as you go through your list. First, if you’re not collecting anything more than a name and email address on your website email signup form, you should update it to collect as much relevant information as possible (without going overboard) for the benefit of future analysis. There are also “data-appending” services that can take the data you have and conduct searches to help you fill in anything that is missing. Then, there is always the manual method of searching for additional information on your own through sites like LinkedIn.
Creating Segments Based On Behavior
If your firm makes use of a marketing automation system, you’ll most likely have the ability to create segments in your list based on behavior, too.
By tracking what the people on your list do on your website, it becomes possible to gain insights into what really makes your audience respond the most. This can help greatly with future content production choices.
Understanding The Broader Market
Once you’ve got a good overview of the people you’re already reaching, it’s time to see how that group compares to your target market as a whole.
By taking a deeper look at the market you’re trying to reach, it becomes easier to judge whether or not the audience your law firm is attracting is actually made up of the people you want.
Identify Your Ideal Target Audience
Your target audience should be based on your profile of the ideal client for your law firm. (Which you can create using this free guide.) Once you’ve decided on the type of person that will make up that ideal audience, you can estimate how large the overall market is.
Knowing the market size will help you determine what you’ll need to do to reach your audience. When determining the market size it’s also important to consider if you want to take a small piece of a larger, more generalized market or go after a bigger piece of a smaller, niche market. For example, a firm may be interested in any clients involved in the medical field, or they may only wish to deal specifically with doctors in private practice in a certain area.
Choose Which Characteristics To Compare
Once you know who your overall target audience is, you should choose a set of characteristics that you can use to break that audience down further. In most cases, the same characteristics, or a subset of the characteristics, that you used to analyze your email list will be the most useful. If you were targeting medical professionals who work in hospitals, for example, you might be interested in their gender, job position, and location. This will allow you to create and look at specific segments just as you did with your own email list.
Once you know who makes up your audience and the characteristics you’d like to compare, it’s time to look for the actual data. Unfortunately, there’s no single place to look. LinkedIn can be a great source of information to help you arrive at good estimates. Many industry or professional associations will also have plenty of statistics that could give you some great insights.
The idea is to compile data that shows you how big the overall audience is, and who makes it up. For example, you might find that there are 159,000 medical professionals in your intended marketing area. Of those 159,000 people, they are split up almost evenly between 3 different counties and consist of about 65% males and 35% females. Now you have some data that you can compare with your own numbers.
Putting It All Together
Now that you have information on both your actual audience and your ideal target audience, you can compare the two and get an idea of where you stand. You want to look for places where your actual audience deviates from the target audience and see where you need to make corrections.
A few examples:
- If your target audience is split more or less 50/50 between males and females, but your actual audience is 80% males, there is a significant part of your audience that you are not reaching.
- If your ideal audience is doctors in private practice but your actual audience is mostly made up of hospital staff, you’re reaching the wrong people.
- If you are targeting a relatively small niche market and only seeing a response from 1% of that market, you might need to reinforce marketing efforts to reach more people overall.
Create Audience Personas
From there, you can begin to create audience personas. Audience personas are fictional profiles marketers create in order to identify who their target audience is. Include characteristics like:
- Demographics: What are their age range, gender, and marital status? Do they have children? What is their average household income?
- Educational Background: What level of schooling did they complete? If college graduates, what were their majors and what schools did they attend?
- Company: What industry is their company in? What is the size of the business and how many people does it employ?
- Job Title: What is their current role with the company? To whom do they report? Who reports to them?
- Career Path: How did they obtain their current position? What prior jobs did they hold? Does their profession coincide with their chosen major in college? Have they ever been promoted?
- Specialized Skills: Does their job require a specialized skill set? Where did they acquire these skills? Which programs and tools do they use every day? Every week?
- Challenges: What are their biggest struggles right now? How might they plan to solve them?
- Lifestyle: How does their typical day look? What would a busy day look like at work? What do they do on their own time? Do they have any hobbies? What books, movies, and television shows do they enjoy? How often do they use the internet? Do they frequent social media or read blogs?
- Consumer Habits: Where do they shop? Do they prefer online or brick-and-mortar? How do they search for product information online? What is their most recent purchase?
Once you’ve established your client personas, revisit and update them quarterly to ensure they remain as accurate as possible.
Leverage Your Personas
Now that you have your personas, they should become an integral part of your marketing plan. These personas should shape and dictate everything you do, as this is essential for making sure you’re reaching the right audience. For example, if you’re creating a blog, you should take a look at your audience personas, and ask yourself what their most pertinent questions would be right now. Or if you’re creating paid or organic social posts, the content you write should revolve around your personas’ preferences.
The insights you gain will depend greatly on your firm’s individual situation, market, and the data you’re able to obtain, but those insights will be extremely valuable as you tune your marketing efforts for maximum results. There simply is no better way to improve your marketing results than to learn as much as you can about the audience you are marketing to.
Reach Your Most Ideal Client With Intent Data
Once you’ve completed research to discover where your audience currently stands and the attributes of those you’d like to target, your firm can take things a step further by leveraging an entirely new class of data offerings. Intent data looks at the online actions of users and determines what services or products they are likely to purchase. For law firms, this means you can zero in on the prospects who are most likely to convert and execute marketing campaigns that are much more likely to be successful.
Harnessing intent data makes reaching your ideal client easier than ever, and gives your firm a competitive edge over competitors who are still targeting broad audiences. In the end, it means less wasted time and resources
Getting to know your target audience is a critical step in any digital marketing strategy.
Once you’ve identified your ideal clients and better understand the challenges they face and the problems they need to solve, you can begin creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, guiding prospects along the funnel until each is poised to become a valued client.
As a leading digital marketing agency dedicated to the legal industry, our team can help your firm develop and execute a customized strategy for engaging with the target audience necessary to achieve its business development goals. To learn more, connect with us today.
This post has been edited and republished from Oct. 4, 2021.