You Are What You Know – Targeting the Right Audience With Buyer Personas

You Are What You Know – Targeting the Right Audience With Buyer Personas

You are what you know – Targeting the right audience with buyer personasLast Updated: February 12, 2024

Before we get started, let’s talk about Spotify. The digital music service is notorious for its ability to create a truly custom streaming experience for customers. From playlists based on specific moods and behaviors to hyper-personalized email campaigns, the company uses personal insights to write a unique story for all 170 million monthly users.

That’s the difference between knowing your audience and actually connecting with them. As a law firm, you may know about a client’s background, their career path, and maybe even the motivations and challenges that shape who they really are. But are you using those personal details to communicate with them on a deeper level?

Use the information that you’ve come to learn about your clients to create your firm’s buyer personas, or fictional representations of an “ideal” consumer. Similar to a Facebook profile, these personas capture the personal and aspirational details about the specific audience you hope to target. Because if you want to communicate effectively to the right people, you need to know how to speak their language.

A legal consumer buyer persona in action

To fully understand buyer personas, let’s get to know Tracy, an estate planning practitioner working in a small firm outside of Cincinnati. A normal workday for Tracy means working with two different types of clients – someone recently retired and looking to prepare a will, and a person under 40 who is dealing with the unexpected loss of a parent.

It’s no surprise these two clients react differently to Tracy’s marketing tactics. In her experience, the older customers are not as engaged online and have typically experienced financial success, placing more importance on reputation and looking for legal directory listings and other distinguishing factors like nominations or awards. However, the clients under 40 are usually looking for fast answers and prioritize multiple contact options, including social media and online chat when they’re on the go and in a hurry.

In this case, Tracy’s firm would create two buyer personas that capture the details of her main customers. Of course, she deals with other types of clients as well, but it’s not necessary to create a persona for every person you work with. Instead, focus on the two or three target customers who make up the majority of your business.

It’s about legal market research, not ballpark guesses.

Creating buyer personas can be a fun and creative exercise, but it isn’t a guessing game. To properly gauge who your clients are and what they’re looking for in your service, you’ll need to conduct thorough market research throughout a variety of channels. To begin:

  • Set up one-on-one interviews with current and past clients. One of the most effective ways to gather information about your target audience is to simply talk to them. A conversation with someone can shed light on their decision-making process and if your current marketing message is hitting the mark. To start, identify eight to 10 customers from all different stages of their legal journey to ensure you’re capturing the full story.
  • Monitor website analytics. Your website and social media accounts have powerful insights about your target audience, including age, gender, location, mobile use, interests and more. These stats can show similarities that you can use when creating buyer personas. For instance, if a large portion of your clientele is women between 35 and 40 years old, one of your personas should represent this demographic.
  • Send out a survey via email or social media. Surveys are a great way to get a pulse on what people think about you and your brand. When creating one, keep it under three minutes to complete and make the questions easy to answer. It’s also never a bad idea to offer a giveaway or incentive to increase participation.

Making it come to life with legal consumer personas

Now it’s time to see what a buyer persona looks like in action. Below are examples of Tracy’s two main clients. The profiles include demographic information, details about their particular legal situation, technology usage and decision influencers to capture a holistic view of the typical client.

Example buyer persona A

When creating your own personas, you can include even more information like hobbies, interests, fears and goals that fully define your target consumer.

Example buyer persona B­­­­­

Addressing ethical considerations in legal consumer data collection

In the digital age, law firms have unprecedented access to a wealth of information about their potential clients. However, with great power comes great responsibility. As legal professionals, it’s imperative to navigate the fine line between leveraging personal insights for marketing and respecting individual privacy and consent. Here’s how law firms can ethically approach the creation and use of buyer personas:

Compliance with Privacy Laws and Regulations: First and foremost, ensure your data collection practices comply with relevant privacy laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other regional data protection laws. These regulations mandate clear consent from individuals before collecting their personal data, along with transparency about how this data will be used. Law firms must provide easy options for individuals to opt-out of data collection and to request the deletion of their personal information.

Transparent Data Collection Practices: Be upfront with your clients and website visitors about the data you collect and the purpose behind it. This transparency can be achieved through clear and concise privacy policies and cookie consent banners that inform users about the tracking technologies employed on your website. Transparency not only builds trust but also ensures that clients feel in control of their personal information.

Respecting Client Confidentiality: As legal practitioners, maintaining client confidentiality is paramount. When creating buyer personas based on client information, it’s crucial to anonymize and aggregate data to prevent any possibility of identifying individual clients. Use generalized insights to construct personas rather than specifics that could inadvertently reveal a client’s identity or personal circumstances.

Secure Data Handling and Storage: Implement robust security measures to protect the personal data you collect from unauthorized access, breaches, and leaks. This includes using encryption for data transmission, securing databases, and conducting regular security audits. Additionally, ensure that any third-party vendors or digital marketing agencies you work with adhere to the same high standards of data security and ethical practices.

Ethical Use of Personal Insights: When leveraging personal insights to craft marketing messages or content, always consider the ethical implications. Avoid manipulative tactics that could exploit an individual’s vulnerabilities, fears, or legal situations. Instead, focus on creating value-driven content that informs, educates, and empowers potential clients to make informed decisions about their legal needs.

Consent and Opt-out Options: Always give individuals the choice to consent to data collection and the use of their information for marketing purposes. Provide clear mechanisms for users to opt-out of marketing communications and to control their data preferences. Respecting these choices is not only a legal requirement but also a practice that fosters trust and respect between law firms and their clients.

By adhering to these ethical considerations, law firms can ensure that their use of buyer personas and personalized marketing strategies respects individual privacy, complies with legal obligations, and maintains the high ethical standards expected in the legal profession. Ethical data practices not only protect the firm and its clients but also contribute to building a trustworthy and reputable brand in the legal market


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When you know who your consumer is, you know how to talk to them. By using buyer personas, you’re able to engage the right people with the right message for a truly meaningful conversation.

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