These days, you can ask a smart voice assistant such as Google, Alexa, or Siri pretty much anything, and you’ll at least get some form of an answer. However, there are some questions that can only be answered by you. Most lawyers are sitting on a gold mine of data that they have never explored. One data set that can be most helpful in making marketing decisions includes your clients. Spending some time, energy, and if necessary, money to mine this data could pay substantial dividends or at least save the expenditure of significant unnecessary and unproductive funds.
The idea is to seek to define your model client. While recognizing you might end up with more than one, seeking to define them as succinctly as possible is the overarching goal. This exercise is applicable to every type of practice, plaintiff and defense, estate planning, corporate, real estate, large firm and small, big city and small town.
First, you must weed out the clients that you have and have had who are not ideal. Those cases that you had to take for one reason or another. We all have them.
The reality is that many of them were not matters that we had to take on. Think about it, how many of those cases (you know the ones) were we finally able to extricate ourselves from and made a mental note – “never again?” We ought to hold ourselves to it. If your gut says “nah,” listen to it. It isn’t your gut but your brain recalling those past experiences. Weed these folks out of the mix.
Next, consider current clients.
While you may not know how their matter will wind up, you’d likely take the case again if it presented itself. Then there are those which you can already tell were a mistake. Weed those out too.
The best data is probably made up of former clients. Those cases that you would take again in a heartbeat.
Who are those clients?
What do they have in common?
Where are they from (ZIP codes)?
How did they come to you?
What did you like about them?
What do their cases look like?
What facts or factors do their matters have in common?
You may realize that you don’t have as much information about these clients as you’d like to have. Make a note to update your intake process to gather more basic demographic information.
There may be data points that are totally irrelevant to their claims or cases which most of them share. That kind of data is gold. You might also find that your ideal client looks different than you first thought. This works for corporate and defense lawyers too. While you may not gather demographic information from your clients or client representatives in your file-opening process, you can certainly make and keep a record of it as you learn more about the company and the individuals with whom you work.
Okay, I've gathered the data. What now?
First, you will begin to see some patterns and notice some standards which can serve as guidelines on which matters you will take in the future. You may also find that you have a niche that you never appreciated before.
Then, you can address how you are going to market to these ideal clients. For example, ZIP codes can be very helpful in digital advertising. Noting their hobbies and interests may also give you some unique marketing and client relations ideas.
Once you gather this information, put processes in place so that you continue capturing it. Then review the data with some regularity to note any trends that show changes. After all, your practice and thus your marketing focus will change over time.