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May 05, 2008

Want Your Ideal Client? Be Their Ideal Lawyer

Identifying who your ideal client is, well, just the beginning.  You need to learn how to attract your ideal client so they will actually contact you to determine if they need your services and if you are 'ideal' to deliver those services to them.  How do you do that?

This post is not about branding directly.  I've discussed branding here and here.  This post is about understanding who you are targeting by generational differences and reflecting back their values in order to attract their business.  Each generation is classically 'labeled'.  Understand there are always exceptions and subsects within each group, but in general you should not be targeting the exceptions.

In James Chartrand's (of Men with Pens) post on Copyblogger, "Are You Talking to My Generation?" he writes the following:

There are four generations out there right now, all with money to spend: the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X (or the Thirteenth Generation) and Generation Y (or the Millennial Generation).
These people are zooming through the Internet connections. They’re surfing and buying every day. They’re looking for solutions, and you may have exactly what they want.

You’ve done your research. You know the demographics of your target market. You know their needs. You’ve chosen a design that appeals to that group and you’ve wordsmithed your content to be rich in benefits.

People hit your site. Those potential customers take a look and then…

Click. They’re gone. You’re left wondering…

Where’d Everyone Go?

Sales that don’t soar may be a problem of generational targeting. You might be targeting the right audience, but you may be turning them off with the values your website portrays. In essence, you may not be effectively conveying what makes your audience feel comfortable.

Gen X might like friendly, slightly cocky content. The Silent Generation may prefer a professional, authoritative tone. Baby Boomers may like a site that stimulates thoughts of self-gratification and leisure. Gen Y might be searching for what’s cool and trendy.

Each generation has a core set of values that define the group as a whole. Life events and experiences shaped each generation’s way of thinking. They have specific beliefs, opinions and values that they uphold.

These generations needs to know that the company they’re dealing with supports what they believe to be valuable.

Are you the business they’re looking for?

It is important to first identify the ideal client you are targeting then learn their generational values and see where they may fall in the following categories:

Silent Generation: respect for authority; conformity and adherence to the rules; law, order and duty; dedication, hard work and sacrifice.

Baby Boomers: personal gratification; personal growth, health and wellness; optimism and positive attitude; teamwork and being involved.

Generation X: diversity and global thinking; self-reliance and independence; life balance; fun and informal attitude; technologically literate.

Generation Y: confidence and achievement; sociability and collective action; diversity and morality; street-smart; optimistic and savvy.

These days, it’s not enough to slap up a nice design and some well-written content. You have to get into the heads of your buyers and learn how they think – and why they think that way. Targeting your market means intimately knowing who’s going to feel good about your business…

And who isn’t.

These are very important concepts when designing a marketing campaign and creating branding for yourself and your firm.  If you don't know how to effectively appeal to your target market's generational values, get help. But make sure you build that bridge.

If your services transcend generations you may need to consider separate campaigns.  Consider Coke.  They go after young and old in very targeted markets.  You may remember recent Coke campagin where a can of Coke inspires an older gentleman to skydive, etc. (the fountain of youth?).  Yet Coke targets the youth in other campaigns.

Given the nature of internet marketing, this can be easily done.  I can envision a well crafted website with landing pages for each age category or something along those lines. If you understand the concept, be creative.

But generational targeting can also be important in helping you to understand how to actually 'deal' with your client in the attorney/client relationship. 

If you are not sure how to get started doing research, be a little more informal. Canvas your existing clients, the ones you consider 'ideal' and say, "while I have a normal system of operation in my business (this is you maintaining control over your business and time) are their particular things you would like to see in the communication or interaction during our relationship which would make it more comfortable for you? If I can accommodate you I'd certainly be willing to try."

I have clients that flat out ask their favorite clients questions you would see in focus groups like 'please review my website...what would you improve upon?  Now that you know me in my capacity as an attorney, do you think my site accurately reflects my personality and what I do for you? Am I reflecting your values? Be creative...but never shy.  This is your livelihood.

(Please take the time to read the comments on Are You Talking to My Generation as it is a highly informative and thoughtful discussion of generational targeting.)


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James Chartrand - Men with Pens

Thanks very much for the links, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Amy Derby

I keep telling James that no matter what blog I go to, he's already left a comment... but I never thought I'd stumble across him on a legal blog. LOL

I found your blog through what I like to call the 6 Degrees of Blogland. Sort of like Kevin Bacon, but without actually having to watch his movies. I believe Home Office Lawyer was the blog I came through. But this is what happens no matter where I go: I run into James!!

Anyhow... back to commenting about your blog! :-)

What you say here is so wise. I wish all the lawyers I blog for would read it. So many of them think that just because THEY find what they're talking about interesting, that everyone who stumbles across their blogs will too. Then they ask me why they're getting a lot of visits but no new clients. And it becomes my job to "re-create" their "voice." I'm all for keeping myself in work, but I also wholeheartedly believe that blogging lawyers would do so much better for themselves if they took the time to learn what you're talking about here.

And now that my comment is probably longer than your post, I will stop my rambling. ;-)

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