Legal Marketing 101: How to Identify a Target Audience and See Real Results

Your audience is more important than your attorneys. We realize that’s a little blunt, but without a clear understanding of your existing clientele, attorney marketing is futile.

While core knowledge of audience demographics and psychographics has always been key to any business marketing plan, it can be tricky to understand audiences in the legal world, where:

  1. audience sets are extremely diverse, even though “pain points” (such as victim rights) may be shared
  2. traditional law-firm advertising practices have focused on attorney achievements over client needs
  3. audience analytics in the digital space are completely new to many lawyers in an exceptionally interpersonal industry

However to capture your clients’ attention in an increasingly distracted world full of many commonplace messages that all blend together, the more you know your audience the better you can:

  • market to them in general and position your law firm,
  • have a thought-leading presence on the platforms they are on,
  • create a thoughtful content strategy with the tone and topics that resonate, and
  • convert users interacting digitally with your brand into clients—and, ultimately, brand advocates.

Without identifying your audience, marketing strategy is more of a “shotgun” of approach. And, while Network Affiliates staff members know lawyers well, we don’t know many that want to pay for a throw-everything-to-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks strategy.

Fortunately, technology has made understanding audiences much easier and cheaper than in the past. Rather than combing through database information to glean commonalities, conducting pricey focus groups or running full-blown surveys, lawyers have loads of free tools available to learn about audience habits, hurts and motivations.

Such metrics can quickly divulge where clients are coming from, what current content marketing efforts are working best, and what tactics might be worth testing on new or existing audiences in the future. In fact, much of the market research that was once time consuming, cost prohibitive and woefully incomplete is now accessible right online to any attorney.

Assuming that most law firms have a website and use a major social platform to leverage the content they are producing, let’s start with identifying some of free tools you already have in your shed that can help you get to know your audiences more intimately.

Google Analytics: Undeniably one of the most helpful digital tools for gauging audience behavior, this website-linked application will serve up demographic data, general age group stats, audience interests, and insight on users’ devices and operating systems. This type of analytical insight can provide support for answering those bigger questions: Who are your followers versus your paying clients? What are their engagement starting and ending points online? What patterns do they follow in the decision-making process?

Facebook Insights: Specific to your Facebook community (the people who follow you on the social platform), Facebook Insights not only provides demographic breakdowns, but also tracks the types of posts that resonate most with users, such as video or graphics or text. The real-time tool also shows you which days of the week and times of day have the best engagement and will work best for posting content to reach more of the people you want to reach.

Twitter Audience Insights: This is another intuitive social gizmo that can confirm your audience demographics, but the best part of this application is there are hundreds of audience dimensions—occupation, lifestyle, political affiliations, consumer behaviors, etc.—available to your marketing firm for further dissection and strategic planning.

It’s all well and good to have data. Knowledge is power, right? But it’s only powerful if you understand what you’re looking at and how it truly applies to your audiences: Who they are; how they feel; and in what way they make decisions. So let’s dig a little deeper into what the metrics from some your digital tools can actually tell you about your visitors and followers. Such insights can start to expose gaps in your current attorney marketing efforts.

Seeing behavior in numerals  

Begin with your audience demographic metrics, including age, gender and location. These biggies will help you categorize priority audience sets and therefore speak to current and prospective clients appropriately. For example, Boomers may need a different level and style of communication than savvy millennials. Women and men certainly speak different languages, but is there some middle ground that feels right? If 80% of your business is coming from inside your town or state that also means something significant for your marketing messages.

Another helpful statistic is mobile versus desktop users. Monitor this to figure out how to best reach your audiences going forward. Across the board, people are moving more towards mobile applications. So, how quickly is your specific audience is catching on and therefore expecting your firm to communicate in mobile-friendly formats? Find out. It’s extremely important to know and plan for in online marketing.

Within your social tools, knowing what time of day your audiences come on online and how much time they spend there is also important. This will show you when people are most likely to engage with your legal brand. It may sound nuanced, but having these behavioral patterns at your fingertips can help your law firm market more strategically than the competition.


From insights to inspiration

So what are lawyers really gleaning from these digital insights? Simple: Knowing where to be and how to talk to audiences to convert them into clients.

Search and social analytics on audience will continue to drive future content strategies, from what topics are appropriate, to how and where your firm’s owned content gets shared, even to what time of the day people “promote” your brand online. Because content drives a lot of online strategy, knowing what type of content to produce and where to place that content to get the most traction will make a world of a difference in your online marketing efforts.

While we hope this is helpful information, having so many marketing tips and tools at your fingertips it can feel both empowering—and overwhelming. Don’t let this kind of digital data throw your attorneys for a loop. Understanding how audience behavioral tracking can actually lead to marketing results is powerful source of knowledge.

To better understand your audience analytics, contact a Network Affiliates representative. Our online-marketing mavens and SEO pros can get your law firm going in the right direction! Call now (888) 461-1016.