In our previous post, I discussed what your ideal target market and client might look like.  This post continues that thought and moves into a discussion of creating a niche marketing plan.

To Niche or Not to Niche?
Should you focus on a particular niche or let the niche find you-see what types of client you attract. There are different schools of thought on this topic. You may fall into the pro-niche or the no-niche camp or find that you, like me, prefer a combination approach.

Why Niche Your Practice?
It’s certainly helpful to be able to concentrate your marketing efforts in a particular area. Instead of limiting you, it can help position and focus you. You will have targeted marketing materials and a clear Unique Competitive Advantage, UCA, or elevator speech. Selecting a niche doesn’t mean that you can’t work with other clients outside your target area.
A niche can also help with name recognition and branding. You’ll develop a reputation as being the attorney to contact for certain challenges. You’ll be more memorable to people you meet and will increase your chances of getting referrals. If someone can’t describe what you do/who you do it for/ and how they benefit, they won’t be able to make a compelling case for why someone should call you.
It can be more comfortable in the beginning when you are building your practice to specialize in an area you know well and with a segment of the population that may mirror yourself. For instance, if you have extensive management experience, you may want to target other managers.

How to Determine a Niche
Go back to the Friday, December 7 post and look for the overlaps between what you have to offer and what your clients need. Brainstorm possible target markets or niche names.

Why be Flexible about a Niche?
Your ideal client profile may change over time. In addition to building confidence and experience, this will help you determine who you enjoy working with and who you don’t. You’ll discover which practice areas energize you and which ones drain you.
During this experimental phase, you may want to remain open to possible target markets. It’s important to pay attention to the types of clients who come your way.

What Types of Clients are Most Commonly Referred to You?
When you get inquiries from prospective clients, what’s drawing them to your and your services? Keep track of your clients and see if they don’t begin to naturally fall into one or more groups. You may find that you attract clients you can learn from or who can learn from you. Their situations may mirror your current or recent challenges. Becoming aware of these commonalities is a way to let your niche find you.

It’s fine to have more that one specialty or niche. Often attorneys have a bread and butter niche-a segment that can afford to pay them well and another one, perhaps for starving artists, whom they love working with but who pay scholarship rates. Sometimes it’s helpful to test the waters to see if there’s a demand for your specialty. You can continue working with an established clientele as you determine whether or not to branch out into a new practice area. Remember, nothing is set in stone. You can always rename your business, print new business cards and update a website.


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