If you’re a personal injury attorney, who also handles business contracts, medical malpractice, DUI defense, and sometimes dabbles in divorces – your practice could be suffering from multiple personality disorder.
In efforts to gain clients, small law firms often branch into several practice areas, taking any client or case that comes along.
But does casting such a wide net, actually lead solo and small firm attorneys to lose business (or prevent them from getting the clients they want)?
Think about it like this:
If you were looking to hire a lawyer because you were bitten by a dog and badly injured, would you hire a jack of all trades or someone who focuses specifically on dog bite injury?
This is why we recommend that all solo and small firms take an honest look at what areas they are specifically passionate about, and then go all in.
Developing a niche is nothing new (and it’s not specific to marketing).
The ABA has encouraged lawyers to develop niches since 2012. Their reasoning:
- It’s cost-effective. You can focus your resources on one industry, and not have to reinvent the wheel with each case.
- It brands you as an expert and a knowledgeable leader in your field.
- It levels the playing field. Potential clients don’t care about the size of law firm, so long as they know they are dealing with an expert.
Yes, yes, yes. I get it, but where to begin?
Start by narrowing down to three practice areas.
These should be areas you feel comfortable practicing, that tend to generate your most steady kinds of cases.
You can see what this looks like from a recent website we’ve developed for our client Sam Winston. Notice how these practices areas are interrelated and whittled down to specific areas of criminal law.
As you think about building out the website, think about what questions the clients you want tend to have.
For example, if you are seeking clients who need help with estate planning, you’ll probably want your website to incorporate terms like “trust litigation,” “elder law,” “special needs planning,” and “federal estate tax” –to name a few.
Honing in on these keywords can help you target your message to your dream client, and should be incorporated in the copy throughout the website that yes, you will stop procrastinating and build this year.
How can building a website help you find your niche?
A website is essentially an outline, a map, a guide, a little handbook for people to learn all about you and your firm.
Going through the practice of creating a website allows you to create an outline of your business, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what type of clients bring you the highest value.
This is why website creation continues to be a leading marketing trend going into 2018. Clutch (a business research firm) found that in 2016 barely half of small businesses surveyed had websites, but this percentage jumped to 71% in 2017.
I’ve figured out my niche practice areas. I’ve got my keywords. Now how do I build a website?
The answer to this is that building your website can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. But let’s put it this way: if you hate writing about yourself, are entirely swamped with your caseload, would rather mow the lawn than focus on it…you may want to consider letting us handle it for you.
On the other hand, if you like to tackle a web project there are a few resources we recommend.
Start by ordering a copy of Online Law Practice Strategies: Turning Clicks into Clients. It provides an update, easy-to-understand, guide to knowing what you should do to build your website.
If you are bold enough to start your own site, we recommend Bluehost for your web-hosting. And please for all that is good and holy, use WordPress–it’s the easiest to build out and is the most compatible with current plugins*, as your firm grows. You’re future web manager (when your firm grows and you will need one) will thank you.
If you are building your own site and need some step by step guidance, you can also enroll in our 6-Week WordPress Website Development Course for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers.
If you get stuck, just schedule your free 15 minute call with us. In that short time we can assess where you’re at, and give you our honest opinion and advice on the best course of action for your online presence.