How legal market research can benefit your law firm

Last Updated: February 9, 2024

You think you’re doing everything right. Your firm has a successful track record, your website is comprehensive, you’re active on social media and respond promptly to potential clients’ inquiries. However, despite these efforts, your phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook.

If your firm isn’t enjoying the level of success you know it could or should, you probably don’t know enough about your target market. One of the quickest ways to close this knowledge gap is to conduct market research.

Market research is a crucial component of building and maintaining any type of business. Much like retailers take steps to learn more about their customers, attorneys need to take steps to learn more about their potential clients.

So what can market research tell you? And how do you get started?

Do your homework on legal market research

Market research helps you gain a better understanding of who your potential clients are and what they want and need, by providing insight into the following:

  • Your community – How well do you know the demographics and income levels of your neighborhood, city or region? Who are the top employers? What are residents’ main concerns?
  • Your competition – What are the strengths and weaknesses of firms that have similar practice areas? How do they attract clients? What do they provide that you don’t, and what can you offer that they don’t?
  • Your firm’s strengths and weaknesses – Take a close and objective look at your firm’s existing marketing materials and online presence. How do you talk about your firm? Do you explicitly call out how you’re different and why someone should retain you versus a competitor down the block

Develop a plan for your legal market research strategy

A successful market research strategy requires an organized approach. Think about your goals. What do you hope to learn? As an attorney, you have extensive experience conducting research. Use these skills to quickly discover information that can help you reach potential clients, including:

  • Demographics – The U.S. Census provides a wealth of demographic information. Your region’s economic development agency and chambers of commerce also provide useful data about local businesses, including planned community developments.
  • Competition – You can learn a great deal about your competitors by viewing their promotional materials and visiting their websites and social media channels. What attributes do they highlight? How do they aim to appeal to and win over prospective clients? What do current and former clients say about competitors on review sites?
  • Your firm – Be honest. What can you do better and how can you improve your firm’s overall performance? Review comments on your firm’s social media channels and popular review sites. Take time to talk to clients—both the happy and not-so-happy ones—to learn what your firm is doing well and where there’s room to improve. It’s particularly important to examine how your firm is or isn’t addressing potential clients’ needs and concerns.

Use digital analytics and feedback for improving your legal market research strategy

Leverage Digital Analytics: Digital analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, social media insights, and website heatmaps, can offer invaluable data about how potential clients interact with your online presence. These tools can help you understand which pages on your website attract the most attention, where your visitors come from, and what actions they take on your site. Analyzing this data allows you to identify trends, gauge the effectiveness of your content, and optimize your website to better meet the needs of your target audience.

Gather Feedback Through Online Surveys: Implementing online surveys on your website or through email campaigns can provide direct feedback from both potential and existing clients. Ask specific questions about their legal needs, preferences for legal services, and feedback on your website or other marketing materials. This feedback can be instrumental in refining your marketing strategy and improving client satisfaction.

Monitor Social Media Conversations: Social media platforms are not just channels for broadcasting your content; they’re also rich sources of market insight. Monitor conversations related to your practice areas, track mentions of your firm, and engage with users to understand their perceptions and needs. Tools like social listening platforms can automate this process, helping you stay informed about relevant discussions in real-time.

Act on Client Reviews: Online reviews on legal directories, Google, and social media offer candid insights into what clients appreciate about your services and where there may be room for improvement. Regularly review these comments, respond professionally to both positive and negative feedback, and implement changes based on constructive criticism to enhance your firm’s services and client experience.

Conducting market research helps you learn a lot about your target market, competition and firm. This information helps you be more targeted and effective when positioning and marketing your firm’s services.

Yes, market research takes time – unbillable time. However, when done right, the time you put in pays dividends when it comes to your firm’s growth and prosperity. Need help getting started? Download our Market Research Template.

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