Everyone in law marketing today wants to talk about niche markets. But what is a niche market, really, and what niche market will provide you with the biggest profits in both the short and the long term? When you're trying to compete against hundreds or even thousands of other law firms in your area, you need a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. That goes double once you decide to market online. In this guide, you'll not only learn about a history of legal niche markets, but also about how to find a niche market that helps your bottom line and your career satisfaction.
A Brief History of Niche Markets for Lawyers
Just a hundred years ago or so, most attorneys didn't have a particular niche market in mind when they started their practice. In that much more rural America, being able to be versatile and flexible, handling all types of cases, was more important than asking what is a niche market.
Even in that era, though, some attorneys learned about niche markets and specialized in particular kinds of cases. Some attorneys became private criminal defenders and began to carve out a niche market in the criminal court system. As divorce became more common in the United States and no-fault divorces exploded, many attorneys started finding niche markets in family law.
The internet changed the answer to what is a niche market. While a niche market used to just describe attorneys who'd chosen to specialize in a particular legal field, that's no longer enough. In just your area, there may be a hundred other people working in, for instance, personal injury plaintiff's litigation. You'll need to figure out niche markets to successfully compete against people who are already marketing heavily online.
What is a Niche Market Today?
Today's niche markets are smaller and more specific than ever before. It's no longer enough to just answer “what is a niche market” with a basic practice area. Instead, you're going to need to think about narrowing your field further. For instance, instead of just practicing personal injury law, or even using vehicle accident plaintiffs as your niche market, you need to be more specific.
Consider specializing in a particular kind of vehicle accident: for instance, accidents that occur at stoplights, or drunk driving accidents. This kind of specialization can make it much easier for you to generate web traffic for so-called “long tail keywords,” which happen when people type a very long list of search terms into a search engine.
Can Niche Markets Help Even if I'm a Solo Practitioner?
Sometimes solo practitioners in today's competitive market feel a need to try to take literally any new business that comes through their door. When this is your legal philosophy, your question isn't so much “what is a niche market” as “why would I want one?”
What you may not realize is that by trying to be all things to all people, you may actually be cutting off your own best routes of getting new business. You're never going to be able to compete with your biggest firm competitors in every area of the law—why not develop niche markets where you can be the big fish in a small pond?
A great niche market can be the foundation of a highly profitable solo practice. While other solos are still trying to be generalists and haven't even asked “what is a niche market?” yet, you can be well on your way to niche success.
Getting Help Choosing Niche Markets
Marketing consulting agencies and computer tools can both help you to find a niche market if you're not confident about your niche marketing ideas yet. Using an agency is usually the better idea if you have a large budget for your niche marketing, but if your budget is smaller you may have to rely on inexpensive or free tools.
Niche market finder tools are becoming popular with businesses all over the country who want to know what niche markets are in high demand and short supply in their area. Remember, though, that computer tools don't always tell the whole story, especially if your niche marketing idea involves populations without a lot of computer use.
What if My Niche Market Gets Less Popular?
Sometimes, you can actually choose niche markets that you know won't be as popular in a few years. What is a niche market with this kind of short period of viability? Let's say that you want to make a niche in plaintiff's law for people who've been hurt by, for instance, a recently recalled vehicle or prescription medication. If that vehicle or medication has been pulled off the market in response to lawsuits, you won't have that niche market forever.
However, that doesn't mean that these are bad niche markets. What is a niche market good for if it doesn't last forever? Well, you can make a lot of money in the meantime as one of the few attorneys operating as a specialist in those niche markets. Just keep an eye on the market, and when it starts to run dry, start a new website for a closely related niche market (for instance, another recalled car or medicine).
Choosing Niche Markets Through Demographics
Another way to choose a successful niche market is to look at demographics. What is a niche market that is demographically based? Well, let's say that your law office is in or right next to a neighborhood with a high population of an ethnic group. If that group tends to speak a different language than English, they may have a difficult time finding competent legal help when they have a problem. If you're fluent in the language already, or can at least hire a translator to help you, you'll have much better success with the niche in your area.
You can also use age demographics to successfully target your niche marketing ideas. For example, if you're in an area where many people are retiring, you may want to develop a practice based on asset management, wills, and trusts.