Understanding your ideal potential client can go a long way toward developing website content that attracts the right kind of potential clients. One of the best ways to understand your ideal potential client is to create a client persona. However, when does it make sense to have a single client persona versus several?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basic elements of a client persona and when it makes sense to have more than one.
What is a law firm client persona?
A client persona is a fictional or semi-fictional representation of your ideal potential client.
What it gives you is a deeper understanding of your clients that can be translated into the content that you’re creating on your law firm’s website and blog.
The more specific you can make your client persona, the better you’ll be able to target — and gear your content toward — your law firm’s ideal potential client. If you’re a DUI attorney, for example, go beyond a basic description such as, “I’m targeting anyone who has been arrested for a DUI in my city.”
For example, a DUI attorney who works in a major tourist destination might choose to target out-of-state visitors who have been arrested for a DUI.
As you develop your client persona, consider thinking about questions like:
- How old is your ideal potential client?
- What level of education do they have?
- Are they married? Single?
- Do they have children?
- Where are they located, geographically speaking?
Think about things like the ideal potential client’s goals and objectives. What problem are they trying to solve? What don’t they know or understand about their problem yet? Are they searching for information themselves? Is someone else helping them research their case or matter?
When does it make sense to have more than one law firm client persona?
When you begin the exercise of creating a client persona, start with just one persona. Client personas require a fair bit of detail to be a useful tool in developing your law firm website’s content, and so it’s best to start with one and develop it fully.
But when does it make sense to have multiple client personas?
You’re not likely to use the same persona for multiple practice areas. The needs and demographics of a potential client for one practice area likely differ from that of another.
Estate planning attorneys may need to consider multiple client personas if they expect that adult children will assist older parents, for example. Alternatively, a husband, wife, and adult children might all be part of the planning process. What kinds of values do each of these people have? What kind of behaviors do they exhibit, and how do you address each of their needs? This is where creating multiple client personas may make more sense.
A DUI attorney in a college town might want to target college students who have been arrested for a DUI. However, some of those college students will rely on their mothers and fathers to help them with legal assistance. As a result, it could make sense to focus on both the student persona and the parent persona.
Other factors might be tech-based: Your ideal client’s age and even their work schedule could dictate whether they’re more likely to use a desktop, laptop, or smartphone to do legal research. Younger clients may be more likely to research on the go with a smartphone. Older clients may be more likely to use a desktop computer for research.
A college student arrested for a DUI might use their smartphone from the side of the road to discover what to do after an arrest. Or maybe he or she use that smartphone to call his or her parents. If his or her parents are the ones looking for an attorney, they may be more likely to use a desktop.
This could affect how you structure your written content depending upon who you’re speaking to and what device they’re using.
In some cases, having multiple personas can be a good idea. In other cases, you might have two different kinds of personas addressed in the same practice area.
For example, a criminal defense attorney that does appellate work might have two separate audiences:
- Criminal defendants who have lost a trial who the attorney potentially wants to represent on appeal;
- Defense attorneys who might have tried the case or who might be otherwise involved (who don’t do appellate work) but who might refer a case to you.
How do you address two client personas that are very different? They’ve probably got a different set of wants and needs. In this case, an attorney could factor that into the content’s structure:
The attorney could start by explaining the basic concepts, in a way that is likely to appeal to a defendant.
As the content continues, the attorney can make it increasingly nuanced for the referral sources.
In this particular example, the benefit of creating the content in this way — this broad to highly specific fashion — is that the defendant will probably stop reading when they get the basic information that they need. However, the referral source is likely to get into the much more complicated aspects that have been created as the author attorney continues writing. But either way, when either the defendant or referral source is satisfied with the information that’s available, their exit is to contact you.
Learn more about law firm client personas
The choice a potential client makes to contact your law firm is not a binary, yes-or-no decision. It’s often a series of steps. It may start with a person who’s unaware they need an attorney. It could involve someone who realizes they need an attorney but they need to know it’s someone that has the same values they do. This is why content should not only answer your potential clients’ questions and educate them, but it should also demonstrate who you are and where your motivations and values intersect with theirs.
By creating a client persona, you’re better able to consider all the steps that your potential client may take along the way, and how those may differ from person to person.
To learn more about client personas, see the following resources: