Marketing a law practice to new clients is different from many types of advertising because it needs to reach a “thin market.”
In a typical thin market, demand for products or services is infrequent, often occurs in response to an urgent need or crisis, and prospects are only in the market for a short period of time. Many types of legal services, such as family law or eviction defense, are examples of a thin market and can be a challenge to market effectively. Above all else, prospective clients must be able to find you at the exact moment that they need you.
You could spend a lot of money branding your law practice on TV, radio, or print media. But this costly marketing approach will only work in a thin market if the individual views or hears your message at the precise, and short period of time they are in the market for your services. At all other times and by all other people, your branding message is ignored and your marketing dollars are wasted.
This is not to say a good brand isn’t important. Indeed, it’s critical to the success of any law firm and should be cultivated and protected. But for the solo practitioner or small law firm, where advertising dollars are limited, it is much more effective to focus your time and money marketing to actual prospects, that is, targeting the thin market.
Yellow Pages advertising has been the traditional approach to reaching such prospects. However, increasing numbers of potential clients are now turning to the Internet to find legal help.
A Well-Designed Web Presence
It is important to have a well designed, inviting Web site for your law practice. Part of the design is to make sure that potential clients can find your Web site using search phrases pertaining to your law practice, such as “San Francisco Divorce Attorney” or “SF Eviction Defense.”
To ensure that your site shows up for all relevant searches, you could allocate some of your marketing budget to search engine advertising in Yahoo! or Google. You can also obtain listings in the natural search results, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get on the first or second page this way.
By reaching your thin market through search engines, you can bring very targeted prospects to your Web site, and hopefully convert some of them into paying clients.