If your law firm could use more clients (and what firm couldn't?), the answer you can expect to hear from many marketers is “find your niche.” Instead of competing with tens of thousands of attorneys working in a broad legal practice area, you can become an expert with a particular type of case or client. Keep reading this guide to explore how the right niche market idea can change your law firm, and for some fast niche market ideas based on your own strengths.
How to Create Niche Market Ideas: The “Double Narrow” Technique
Often, attorneys seeking out a niche market idea initially just can't narrow down their ideas enough. It's time to stop thinking about the law in terms that your bar association or law school might have thought of. Instead of thinking about a huge, broad topic—like “personal injury law”—think of some specific facet of personal injury law that has held an interest for you and that you have excelled at.
Got it? Great. Now narrow it even further for better niche market ideas. Personal injury attorneys are a dime a dozen, even car accident attorneys are kind of a snooze, but what if you become a specialist in car versus train accidents? This is a “double narrow” niche market idea: it is narrowed twice from the broad legal field it occupies.
You can do the same kind of “double narrowing” in any legal field to generate niche market ideas that work. Patent attorneys, because their work is already so specialized, often need a double or even triple narrow niche market idea to excel. The more that you narrow your parameters, the more expertise you can obtain in that niche field, so try to be inventive with your niche market ideas.
Find Niche Market Ideas in Your Existing Clients
Of course, no niche market idea will be successful if it goes against your personality or your existing client base. One of the best ways to get a great niche market idea is to think about the clients you already have, especially the clients who bring the most value to your firm. What do those clients have in common?
Sometimes, what clients will have in common is a particular type of legal problem. This means that you should be gearing your niche market ideas towards specializing in those legal problems. However, maybe that's not what your clients have in common. Maybe what they have in common is that they all work for a particular industry or employer, or maybe you're best with clients who are over age 60. Whatever it is, the right niche market idea for you can come from these thought experiments.
Use the Demographics of Your Community
In the current economy, many newly minted attorneys are attempting to find niche market ideas even before they've had their first client. If you don't yet have a client base to help you form a great niche market idea, all hope isn't lost: you can still come up with ideas by looking at the people in your community and where their unmet needs are.
Odds are that your community has some demographics that are significantly different than other places in your area. Once you find out what those demographic differences are, you can begin to work on niche market ideas that target those specific demographics. Let's say you live in a town with a heavy military population due to a local base. Instead of just specializing in family law, you may want to narrow your niche market idea to military divorce law or military child custody cases.
Put Your Non-Law Knowledge To Work
In many cases, the best niche market ideas for attorneys come from thinking about communities, not dry legal topics. For example, if you're an attorney who speaks a foreign language fluently or nearly fluently, you may want to consider a niche market idea that would put you into a neighborhood of people who primarily speak that language.
Similarly, if you have a child who is receiving special education services and you've had to duke it out with schools over accommodation plans, you may turn into a great specialist if you focus on a niche market idea for a special education boutique firm.
Advertising Your New Niche Market
Of course, the best advantage of developing a niche market idea is that it's much cheaper and more effective to advertise to smaller markets. Once you've narrowed down your niche market ideas and decided on the one that is right for your firm, you can start thinking about your advertising options.
Not every niche market idea will require the same kind of ad campaign. For instance, if your client base is made up primarily of people who are senior citizens, you probably won't want to focus as much of your advertising strategy on online marketing but will want to maintain a presence in magazines targeted toward your local senior population.
When you use keyword advertising for your new niche market idea, you'll be able to use “long tail” keywords—long, sentence-like keywords that are narrower the longer they get, like “tampa truck accident attorney.” These long-tail keywords are often substantially cheaper to market than more generalized keywords, so you'll be able to save money right away with niche marketing online.
What If Your Niche Doesn't Work?
There are a few reasons that your niche marketing idea may end up dead in the water. If you're not really an expert at the area of law you're trying to practice, many clients may see through the ruse and ignore your firm. Also, if your niche is poorly targeted toward your community, you won't reap the benefits of niche marketing. A rural area in Arkansas probably doesn't need an IP attorney specializing in copyright infringement, and you won't get a lot of work if you're advertising a farm accident niche in an urban region.
If you're convinced that your niche really isn't working and that you won't change that fact any time soon, consider changing your niche. There are so many great niche market ideas out there that there's no reason to stick with one that isn't working after you've given it a try.