The dictionary defines a niche as “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.” Most attorneys have probably heard the advice to “choose a niche,” and many have done it very well.
For those who haven’t narrowed down their practice, or are just starting a practice, this article explains why choosing a niche is a good idea, and outlines a simple five-step process to choose one.
Why is a niche a good idea?
A niche can improve your marketing, make it easier to streamline your business, increase your margins, and overall make your practice and life easier.
Digital marketing is significantly easier when you market to a specific client. You may have heard of the concept of “door law,” which refers to the idea that an attorney will accept any case that walks in the door. This idea may have worked decades ago, but very rarely do potential clients literally walk in a door anymore. More and more, consumers seeking an attorney are doing their initial research for, and communicating with, those attorneys online. In my opinion, that trend will only increase.
Like searching for anything online, it’s usually easier and more effective to be specific, rather than general, about what you’re looking for. Consumers are more likely to search for an attorney who can solve a specific problem, rather than a general practitioner.
Search engines are designed to help a user find useful information, and to connect individuals with businesses that can solve their specific problems. If your website is aimed at a very specific niche and solving a very particular problem, it’s more likely that your website would be ranked higher for relevant search results, and therefore easier for ideal clients to find.
In addition to improving digital marketing, focusing on a specific niche makes it easier to create written systems that can be delegated to your team. This works because the clients have similar demographics and need a similar problem solved. It’s significantly harder, if not impossible, to create systems when every single client has a unique problem.
Finally, it’s easier to become an expert when you’re repeatedly doing the same thing. This allows you to study and practice the issue in greater detail, deliver more efficient solutions, and earn more for your services through higher prices or lower production costs.
By narrowing the focus of your marketing, creating a streamlined workflow to help those who respond to the marketing, and earning more for that work, your life will become easier.
How to Choose a Niche
Building a profitable business based on a niche is easier said than done, but any attorney who commits to it is more likely to be successful if they’re passionate about solving a narrow problem and can offer a unique solution to it.
To get started, figure out what you’re passionate about.
If there is a downside to choosing a niche, it’s that you’ll solve the same problem over and over again. This works if you’re passionate about the problem. If you’re not, it won’t be as easy.
When your business is built upon a passion, that will show in the marketing, the systems, and in client satisfaction. A great book about passion and the benefits of building a business around it is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.
Once you’ve made a list of all the things you’re passionate about, figure out if there is a problem worth solving.
Many people adopted puppies during the pandemic, and who isn’t passionate about puppy adoption? But, is there a problem worth solving in puppy adoptions? Is there enough business to make a puppy adoption niche work?
Use the internet to see if a market exists. Are people asking how to solve the problem? Are other businesses marketing to the problem? Are people seeking attorneys on social media? If you cannot find anything, that may be a good sign that the market may not exist to support your own passion.
Next, narrow down your market even further.
Family law is a great example of how to narrow down a market. In and of itself, “family law” isn’t a niche. You can narrow it down and be more effective by choosing to focus on just uncontested divorces, high net-worth community property disputes, or representing only one gender. Can you imagine how a female-oriented divorce firm would differ from one that is male-oriented?
After you narrow it down, figure out who else is in the market, and how you can differentiate yourself if necessary. It may be hard to compete against a competitor with a very low price and significant capital, or in a market where dozens of competitors already exist. That may be a sign that you should go back to your passions, or narrow it down a different way.
Finally, test your narrow market. Testing doesn’t have to be very complex. Buy a domain name based upon your jurisdiction and practice area, and add content. Buy Google Ads to promote that website to see how much traffic it generates. Within a few months, you should have enough data to tell you whether or not it’s worth it to continue carrying on in that niche.
Narrowing your practice area will limit the number of potential clients, but remember that that’s the goal, and that it’s a good thing. Overall, it will improve your marketing, streamline your business, earn you better returns, and make your life easier.
About the Author
Andrew Legrand is the founder of Spera Law Group, LLC, a remote-first and paperless law firm in New Orleans. Contact him @LawByLegrand.