Four Things You Need to Know About Your Target Market

Good marketing starts with understanding your target market. This is true for businesses of every size, and it’s true for your law firm.

In order to effectively market yourself and your services, there are a number of fundamental questions you need to be able to answer regarding your target market. Without this information, you’re flying blind. You’re sitting at the controls of an airplane with no idea how to reach your destination, hoping that you’ll get lucky and see it appear on the ground beneath you. (It almost certainly will not.)

Before we get into the details, note that there is a difference between knowing how your target market thinks, and knowing how you think your target market thinks. You may assume that you have the answers. But that assumption could cost you huge amounts of money. Don’t assume. Spend enough time immersed in your target market that you know how they think. Read their industry publications. Attend their trade meetings. Spend time with individuals and ask them questions. Test various messages and communication channels until you know what works.

Here are four specific questions that you should be able to answer:

1) Who your ideal clients are and where you can find them. If you ask most lawyers who their ideal client is, they’ll tell you that it’s “anyone who can afford my retainer.” That mindset leads lawyers to chase any client with money – whether or not the lawyer enjoys performing the type of work that needs to be done, whether or not the client is a jerk and a complete pain-in-the-butt to work with, and whether or not the lawyer is particularly skilled in that specific area of law. Don’t be afraid to identify a niche and narrow your practice. And once you’ve done that, find out where your ideal clients gather. Figure out which networking functions they attend, which LinkedIn Groups they post in, which websites they visit, which radio stations they listen to, which conferences they attend. And build a presence in those places.

2) What keeps your ideal clients up at night in fear. What are your clients afraid of? What stresses them out? Are they afraid that they are going to lose their house in foreclosure? That they are going to lose a lawsuit and lose everything dear to them? Lose their kids in their divorce? Lose their good reputation and perhaps even lose their freedom? When you legitimately understand their fears, you can address those fears with your marketing, and that’s powerful. If you position yourself as knowledgeable, empathetic, and uniquely qualified to prevent their worst fears from becoming a reality… you’re in a very good place.

3) What your ideal clients really want to get out of their relationship with you. Similarly, identify the often-unspoken upside that clients are hoping you will be able to provide. A business owner isn’t looking for a good business lawyer just so that he can get transactional work done… he wants a good lawyer so that he can sleep well at night. Or enjoy time on the golf course. He wants to know that his lifetime of work is in good hands, that his kids will be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Don’t focus on the nuts-and-bolts that your clients need to purchase… take the time to understand WHY they want to purchase them and you will be able to communicate on a much deeper and more inspiring level.

4) How to speak their language. Finally how does your target market communicate? Chances are they DON’T speak and write in the same way that you learned to speak and write in law school, or in the same way you speak and write to your fellow lawyers. Don’t use technical and legal jargon that doesn’t make sense to your audience. I mentioned earlier the importance of immersing yourself in your target market, and one benefit of doing this is that you learn how they think and how they speak. This allows you to communicate in a way that makes sense to them. It inspires trust and it gives them a compelling reason to hire you instead of some other lawyer who “just doesn’t get it.”

What does this have to do with your website, your social media, your videos, your e-mail newsletters?


Your website, your social media profiles, your video, and your e-newsletters are marketing tools first and foremost. Everything about them – from their design to their content to their function to their delivery – needs to be calibrated and built for maximum appeal to your target market. And until you know who your clients are, where you can find them, what they’re worried about, what they’re dreaming about, and how to communicate in language that resonates with them… you can’t create an effective internet marketing presence.

So answer these questions. And get in touch with us when you’re ready to create a web presence that resonates with your target audience and brings them one step closer to becoming your next client.

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Daniel Decker

Daniel Decker is a co-founder and Partner at Spotlight Branding. In addition to helping lawyers stand out from the crowd, he spends his time writing, dreaming up new marketing strategies, and coming up with catchy subject lines. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, guitar, politics, and Minnesota sports.