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Attract the Right Legal Clients for Your Small Firm

Dana Moran

Written by

Dana Moran


March 2, 2022

Attract the Right Legal Clients for Your Small Firm

Your firm is only as good as its legal clients. If firms attract the right type of clients, they will build mutually beneficial, long-lasting working relationships. Attorneys will enjoy the work that they do — which will increase engagement and performance. On the other hand, the wrong type of legal clients will be a never-ending disturbance. They might be overly demanding, rude, regularly ignore your attorneys’ advice or simply not pay on time.  

Let’s dig into how you can identify and attract your dream legal clients — and why you shouldn’t be afraid to let go of clients that aren’t the right fit for your firm. 

Identify your ideal clients

What do we mean when we say “the right legal clients”? It totally depends on your firm’s capabilities, goals and your staffers’ preferences. Ideal clients may be determined by their budget, their industry, their company size or their desired working relationship. Generally speaking, however, successful firms are those that:

  1. Consistently bring in high revenue
  2. Enjoy the work that they do

This basically means you need to attract high-paying clients that your staffers like working with. Easier said than done? Not necessarily. 

To identify the precise characteristics you’re looking for, conduct an 80/20 analysis of your current clients. Work out which 20% of clients bring in 80% of your firm’s revenue, and which 20% bring in 80% of your attorneys’ enjoyment. Then, clearly split your existing clients into two groups.

Group 1: We love them, and we want to work with more clients these these

Group 2: To be honest, we can’t wait to get rid of them

Next, examine the positive commonalities in Group 1. With Smokeball’s Law Firm Insights feature, you’ll gain an at-a-glance view of your existing crop of clients. By comparing your existing clients to determine their common characteristics, you’ll gain a precise matchmaking profile for the right legal clients. 

Devise a matching marketing strategy

It’s not enough to know which types of clients you like and why — you need to actively attract more of the right type going forward. 

First, you need to optimize your inbound marketing strategy. Make sure your website and review sites like Google are updated with glowing testimonials from clients in your target profile. Use Smokeball’s Legal Tasks and Workflows to set a reminder to ask satisfied clients to share a review.

Your website also should feature relevant, SEO-based content around your successful outcomes for your ideal clients. Delve into the issues they commonly face and outline how your firm helped similar clients overcome these hurdles.

Related: 4 SEO Tips for Small Law Firms

When it comes to outbound marketing, think about how — and where — you attracted your existing crop of dream clients. Did you meet them through conferences? If so, attend more conferences this year. Tactics that worked well in the past will likely generate future results. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. The worst that a client can say is, “Sorry, I don’t know of anyone suitable.” In the best-case scenario, however, they’ll gladly send your details to high-value potential clients. 

Not only are referrals free marketing, but they’re considered incredibly trustworthy — 59% of people rely on referrals when hiring a lawyer. If your existing clients act as advocates for your firm, you’ll be well on your way to attracting more of the right legal clients. 

Don’t be afraid to let go of clients 

Letting go of clients can be a daunting prospect — especially for firms with a small client roster. 

However, you’ll never be able to create your dream firm unless you’re incredibly selective about who you work with. You might find that just 60% of your existing clients are ideal for your firm. If attorneys are too busy to take on new clients who fit your ideal profile, they need to gently let go of existing clients.

Releasing a client doesn’t have to be an awkward process. Make sure you communicate clearly, explaining why they’re not the right fit for your firm. In an ideal world, you’d even suggest another firm that might be better suited for their specific needs.

Put your future first

It’s time your firm stopped working with the wrong type of clients. 

Identify the traits of the right legal client — those who bring in the most revenue and are most enjoyable to work with. Specifically target more of these clients with your inbound and outbound marketing efforts. Once you attract a bounty of high-quality clients, don’t be afraid to let current clients go if they don’t fit your target profile.

If disaster strikes, is your firm prepared?

Join Attorney and Smokeball Legal Technology Advisor Jordan Turk for our next FREE CLE webinar on December 15th at 1 PM CST.

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