The following is adapted from The Game Changing Attorney by Michael Mogill.
Many law firms want to have a general practice. They think it’s a smart call to offer a wide array of services so that no opportunity is missed.
The reality is, the more areas of law you claim to practice, the less authoritative you become—and the more opportunities you’re going to miss out on.
In my book The Game Changing Attorney, I write that if you can dial in your focus and narrow it to a specialized area of practice, you can gain a competitive edge, become more credible, and ultimately be more profitable.
Here are eight strategies to help you niche down and find your sweet spot.
1. Define Your Niche Audience
If given the choice, most attorneys don’t simply want more cases, but better cases.
Ultimately the more discerning clients—those who shop on value rather than price, do their homework, seek out the experts, and pick the most credible attorney—will be worth ten times the case value of those hiring just on commodity.
To find these ideal clients, you first need to define their mindset and traits.
- How do they decide which attorney to hire?
- What are their goals and pain points?
- What questions do they have?
Flesh them out fully so you know exactly who you’re targeting.
2. Create an Avatar
With the ideal client criteria in hand, you can create an avatar client.
You can use this avatar when evaluating potential clients to know who is going to be a fit and, perhaps more importantly, who isn’t. Clients who don’t fit your avatar are likely to cause you the most headaches. It’s easy to justify taking them on in the interest of keeping your practice afloat, but the truth is, they’re often not worth your time.
By defining your avatar, you can better identify these time and resource vampires from your practice and be more effective choosing the right ones.
3. Consider Your Name
Many firms simply use their primary partners’ or founders’ last names. This practice is a holdover from the days when most business came through referrals, but it has since outlived its usefulness. Long names are hard to remember, hard to pronounce, easy to misspell, and offer nothing to distinguish you or your practice area.
Instead, go with a name that communicates what you do—New York Personal Injury Experts, Denver Divorce Law, and things like that. Naming your practice based on what you actually do is a great way to distinguish yourself and is easier to remember.
4. Narrow Your Focus
Choosing your niche involves a path of discovery that take times and some trial and error. As a new lawyer, get experience where you can, and then use that experience to start dialing in on an area of practice you’re both good at and passionate about.
As you continue to build experience, keep narrowing your focus until you’re the only one who does what you do. Ultimately, the idea is that the more specialized your niche, the more clients with that specific need will go to you rather than a generalist. Eventually, you become the go-to attorney for a narrowly defined practice area.
5. Identify Personal Factors
Your personal story can inform your niche.
If you were adopted, for instance, you may find that this personal interest has led to a desire to focus on adoption law. The key is identifying an area where you could see yourself making a difference and that you’d be willing to learn inside and out.
Maybe you already have a deep passion for aviation, you have your pilot’s license, and you love to go out flying on the weekends. Maybe you have a taste for craft beer, you love the industry and the people, and you want to help see it flourish.
Whatever the case, let the passions that stir your soul inform your niche.
6. Support Your Specialty with Content
A search engine’s job is to deliver the most relevant results to the user, which means a website focused on a niche is more likely to get served to the right people.
If you’re a Wisconsin trucking lawyer, make sure every page on your website says so. Double-down on this idea by creating content specifically focused on that niche.
7. Become More Recognizable
Becoming the go-to attorney in a certain practice area doesn’t only benefit you in terms of attracting clients. Other attorneys will be likely to refer cases to you that fall within your specialty and the media is likely to contact you as a subject matter expert.
Generalists have to compete with other generalists and also specialists. But if you niche down effectively, sometimes you don’t have to compete with anyone.
Ultimately, this means better case volume and higher rates. Discerning clients pay for expertise, and if you’re the only game in town, you’ll have your pick of the best clients.
8. Continue to Simplify
When you niche down, your marketing becomes simpler because you can clearly see where to focus your marketing efforts, how to communicate your message and the kind of client you should be targeting. Just as you become an expert in your niche, you become an expert on your audience. The more you know about them, the more you can focus your message even further to ensure you connect with the right people.
You’re no longer marketing to the world, but rather to a select group of people who will feel confident that you’re the right person for the job.
For more advice on creating effective marketing videos for your business, you can find The Game Changing Attorney on Amazon.
Michael Mogill is Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group (www.crispvideo.com), the nation’s fastest-growing legal video marketing company and the author of the “The Game Changing Attorney” (available on Amazon). He’s helped thousands of attorneys — from solo and small firms to large practices — differentiate themselves from competitors and earn millions in new revenue. Crisp has been named to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies and has been awarded Best Places to Work. A sought-after speaker, Michael often presents at national conferences on innovative ways to create exponential business growth. His advice has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc., Avvo, ABA Journal, The Trial Lawyer, Huffington Post, and Wall Street Journal.