When you’re building a new website and online presence for your law firm, or when you’re revamping an older website that desperately needs an update, you should be thinking about a variety of ways you’ll bring traffic to your website and will attract potential clients to your law firm. If you’re not familiar with online marketing for law firms, there are some terms and ideas with which you might not be familiar. One of those is the “buyer persona.” While you might not be thinking of your potential legal clients as “buyers” or “customers,” the term can help you to think through the ways you can design your website, your practice area pages, and your blog content with specific types of readers in mind.
In other words, focusing on the idea of the “buyer persona” for your law firm can provide you with a better understanding of who might be landing on your website or reading your blogs, and ultimately how you can get those people to take the next step in contacting your law firm for possible representation.
What is a Buyer Persona and Why Should I Think About It?
Law firms are businesses. Although they’re offering services that are certainly distinct from other partnerships, LLCs, and corporations, law firms are still businesses that need to consider clients’ interests and needs in order to be successful. Similarly, like other businesses that provide varied types of services, law firms need to market themselves to potential “buyers” (i.e., clients) in order to keep the firm running. And, of course, not unlike other businesses, law firms need to gain the trust of clients in order to continue attracting new clients, and to demonstrate to other legal practitioners that they’re providing valuable services to their communities. We’re not suggesting that law firms necessarily have anything in common with, for example, art galleries in the same area of town. What we are saying, however, is that, regardless of the content of your business, it can be helpful to use business marketing language to develop the most effective strategies for marketing your business. For a law firm, this means you can find a lot of value in thinking about your “buyer personas.”
So, what are buyer personas? According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is the most detailed “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer” that you can imagine. Where does the buyer persona live? Where does she or he work? What kind of home does that buyer persona live in? What kinds of social issues does the buyer persona care about? What types of cultural matters are significant to the buyer persona? How old is this semi-fictional person? What are some key features of this semi-fictional person’s other socioeconomic or sociocultural background? You might think of a buyer persona as a roadmap for the type of person you want to gain as a client (or, if you’re recruiting, as a potential new employee at your law firm). Who are you selling your website and blogs posts to? You’ll want to answer that question before you ever begin writing.
And as you consider your buyer personas, you’ll want to think about the specific area (or areas) of the law in which you handle cases, and the types of clients you serve or want to serve in the future. The answers to these questions likely will be a bit different for every law firm.
Find more ways to service your clients with our Guide to Law Firm Marketing.
Why Do I Need to Develop Buyer Personas?
Developing buyer personas is one of the most effective ways to create content that will help your business succeed. If you don’t know who you’re hoping to target with your practice area pages or your detailed blog posts, you probably won’t be too successful in actually bringing those readers to your pages and other types of content. However, if you spend a significant amount of time at the start, you can tailor your online presence and content to attract your ideal clients and to meet those clients’ needs. Otherwise, you could end up attracting the wrong type of client altogether or attracting no clients at all.
How to Develop Your Buyer Personas: Start with Research
Now that you understand more about buyer personas, it’s time to sit down and think about the buyer personas for whom you want to develop online content on your website and in your legal blog posts. The first step in any process of creating a buyer persona is to do your research. Your research can take many different forms, but it will most likely involve looking at detailed information about your past clients, especially those who are similar to clients you’d like to be able to attract in the future. Your research may also involve actually going back and asking some of your previous clients to agree to fill out a survey questionnaire, to do a brief interview, or to write a testimonial that provides answers to certain questions. In short, you’ll want to gather as much information as you can about past clients whose cases were similar to those you plan to handle in the future, and who are most similar to what you imagine as your ideal client.
Your research should also explore trends pertaining to website visitors and information about anyone who has shared your content in the past. This type of research can be more complicated for a couple of different reasons. First, you may need to seek advice from a website developer who can help you to obtain and make sense of the data about visitors to your website who have clicked on certain links or have shared certain content. What links were clicked most often, and what type of visitor clicked them? Which of your pages or blog posts have been shared most frequently, and who shared those blog posts?
Keep in mind that this type of research certainly isn’t limited to prospective or previous clients. Anyone, or any entity, that regularly shares your posts and drives visitors to your website should be considered when you’re thinking about buyer personas. For example, maybe a local bar association routinely shares your blog posts in which you analyze case law or legislation. Or, for instance, if you work in an area of law that allows you to contribute to nonprofits in your community on a regular basis, maybe some of those nonprofits often share your posts or pages on their own social media accounts and thereby drive new traffic to your law firm’s website. These kinds of entities should also be taken into consideration when you’re thinking about buyer personas. Different types of legal blogs will allow you to attract interest and visits from your various buyer personas.
Naturally, this kind of research is really only possible if you already have a website and simply want to increase the benefits of your online presence by revamping your site and developing a blog. For law firms that don’t yet have an internet presence, it won’t be possible to gather information from previous clicks and shares.
Create a Template for Your Buyer Personas
For each buyer persona, it can be helpful to develop a template in which you fill in the following information:
- Demographic data for the buyer persona;
- Your buyer persona’s motivations and interests;
- Keywords or key phrases your buyer persona might use to run internet searches;
- Your buyer persona’s ultimate goals; and
- Concerns your buyer persona might have.
Considering these issues, and any others that seem relevant, can allow you to develop content that will bring in precisely that type of visitor you’re hoping to attract. From practice area pages to blogs, you can craft your content with your buyer personas in mind.