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Thinking in terms of business-to-business versus business-to-consumer marketing, are you B-to-B or B-to-C? Your law firm is a business, of course—a “B.” So, is your target client another B, or a consumer—a “C?” If you don’t know the answer, you’d better figure it out. It’s important.
Before you can put together an effective marketing plan, you have to define your target demographic. For some practices, the B or C classification will be obvious when selecting tactics. For example, a full-page ad on the back of the telephone directory or daytime cooperative TV advertising might be effective in reaching a C audience for your claimant workers’ compensation practice. Marketing employment discrimination litigation on behalf of management—a B target client—requires something different. If, though, you do general civil litigation or appellate work, the dichotomy may not be so clear-cut, so you need to spend some time defining your target niches. (Note: “Whatever comes in the door” is not a market niche.)
Whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer, one way to start a marketing plan is to make a list of possible tools, and then refine your plan from there. Don’t limit yourself. Give your creativity free rein—you can weed out the impractical options later. (You might even start with a book such as Women Rainmakers Best Marketing Tips, a quick read that will take you through the possibilities, if I do say so myself.)
As you make your list, consider how to make each tool appropriate for your audience. Might you give seminars? The adult education program at the local high school might be appropriate for an adoption practice, a C audience option. Or, you can seek out trade industry groups to speak on B topics such as new federal legislation regulating hospitals and nursing homes.
Marketing to both audiences may make sense. You will probably want to choose different content, though, even if you are using the same device. A newsletter for B industry insiders might include jargon and technical references. However, a C newsletter may need to provide more foundation information and come at the issue differently for readers to understand why they need your services. Never provide conflicting content to different audiences.
Whether reaching out to a B or C audience, appropriateness is the guiding principle when deciding which marketing tools are likely to grow your practice.
Teddy Snyder is an attorney and structured settlement broker with Ringler Associates. She has practiced law for 33 years, including 10 years as principal of her own firm. Her B.A. cum laude is from State University of New York at Buffalo, and she earned her J.D. at Loyola University School of Law. Teddy is a frequent speaker and has written four books on law practice management, including Women Rainmakers’ Best Marketing Tips, 3rd Edition, available here. In 2011, she was inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management.
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