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October 14, 2008

How Do Your Clients Find You - Or Do They?

If you are reading my blog chances are you have a certain comfort level on the internet, do searches through popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and others, maybe book airline flights, order from Amazon, joined Facebook and/or LinkedIn.  My readers run a range of ages but they all have one thing in common - they found me using the internet as I do not market myself any other way. My target audience IS on the internet primarily.

Do you know how your potential client will find you?  Have you done a survey of your existing clients or studied secondary information if you are just starting out to determine the best marketing/advertising vehicles to reach them?  With money tight, the scatter shot approach is foolish and wasteful of scarce resources.  The old approaches may just not be effective at all.

Here are some interesting statistics for you.  And given we are living in an aging demographic (meaning the mean average age of the American is getting older) this collection of information should hold some interest for you:

Jay Foonberg spoke at the National Solo and Small Firm Conference in Santa Fe the first week of October and stated the following:

As of 2006, 22% of blue-collar Americans and 11% of middle class Americans find their lawyer in the yellow pages. (H/T Lisa Solomon for the Tweet)

This statistic is two years old.  It's fair to say this number has most likely decreased as more homes include computers and training on computers. Anecdotally, look at your own personal increased computer usage and those around you these past two years.

In the September/October 2008 edition of AARP, the editors compiled statistical data from surveys by Focalyst and Dynamic Logic, and the Pew Internet and American Life Project:

Think technology is just for the young?  Thing again.  A significant number, 37.6 percent to be exact, of Americans 62 and older are now logging on and taking advantage of the World Wide Web.  These 'Connected Matures' - a whopping 17 million individuals - spend an average of 44 minutes a day surfing the Net. (That totals almost 750 million minutes each day!) And despite the commonly held stereotype, this group is doing a lot more than just e-mailing their grandchildren and looking at family photos.


52% of Americans 62-71 years of age are online


Who's Doing What?

  • 59%  - using search engines
  • 59%  - keeping up with family and friends
  • 43%  - checking out news, current events, and weather
  • 38%  - getting health - related information
  • 23%  - paying bills
  • 21%  - playing games
  • 13% -  accessing education and training

Here are some broad characteristics of 62-plus individuals who are online, compared with those who aren't connected.

Attended college           75%    Online             42%  Not Online
Employed                     26%                          13%
Married/Partnered          70%                          48%
Annual Household        $55, 000                     $27,000

If you look at your practice areas, this type of information can help you direct your marketing/advertising dollars from blogs to Google adwords, Yellow Pages to particular magazines, newspapers, targeted mailings and more.  But you must know who your audience is and their uses of various media.

US adult Internet users surveyed spent an average of 21 hours per week online, according to a study conducted in May 2008 by Illuminas for Cisco Systems.

Average Weekly Time Spent with Media by Adult Internet Users in Select Countries, 2007 (hours)

And, not surprisingly, the group who uses the internet the most is the affluent:

The researcher found that the average number of hours logged weekly increased with income, and that users in the top income tier spent nearly 6 more hours online per week than those whose incomes ranged from $100,000 to $150,000.

Average Time Spent with Select Media According to US Affluents*, by Household Income, March-July 2008 (hours per week)

Based upon some of this information, you should now look at the vehicles you are using to present your services to the world.  Does it jibe?  If you are doing immigration in blue-collar, urban areas with high unemployment are you using a state of the art website with flash as your only vehicle?  Wouldn't make sense.  If you are doing complicated trusts and estates for the affluent in Miami are you using Yellow pages and billboards?  I hope not.  You may be the best at what you do, but make sure you are focusing your marketing/advertising dollars and efforts in the vehicles your potential clients are using.


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I have just heard from two lawyers how incredibly important Yellow Pages ads are, but they started their practices in the 1990s. This post is timely because I am waiting on bar results and planning my practice. You may have just saved me a lot of money, money better spent on other things.

Susan Cartier Liebel

@Adrian, what has worked in the past and what will work in the future...always changing. It isn't the message which has to change but the method of delivery and this turns on properly identifying your client demographic.

I hope I have saved you some money...or at the very least, gotten you to question 'conventional' wisdom

Grant Griffiths

I stopped using the yellow pages in my practice when I was still actively practicing family law. I did that as soon as I started my family law blog. It did not hurt my business. In fact it increased my income and new cases a great deal. I also know other lawyers who don't even bother with the yellow pages any more too.

A presence on the internet is even more important now than ever before.

Joe Dane

@Adrian - as a new solo myself, I looked into the Yellow Pages. While they may work for some attorneys (and many I know use them exclusively), what can you really put in there? A phone number, the obligatory picture in front of a bookshelf and maybe the nature of your practice? With a website - particularly a blog - you give potential clients a flavor of yourself and information they need & want. They're more apt to call if they "get to know you" on your site.

Then the bonus - it pays for itself and continues on. With Yellow Pages ads, you constantly have to feed that beast stacks of cash to keep it happy.

Good luck in your future practice.

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