Client Acquisition Plan for Service-Based Companies and Law Firms
All businesses need a continuous flow of clients to scale and thrive in a competitive market, which is achieved through client acquisition. This is especially true of service-based businesses, which rely on customer lifetime value and retention for success (in part).
Law firms need a robust client acquisition strategy like any other business, especially as the environment becomes more competitive. Fortunately, this can be achieved through client acquisition strategy.
Client Acquisition and the Client Acquisition Funnel
Client acquisition is the process of gaining new clients. Businesses use client acquisition to understand the value of paying clients by measuring the money they spend to bring new clients in – the lower the marketing spend, the higher the profit.
Like other marketing efforts, the client acquisition process is visualized using a funnel. Similar to the sales funnel, the client acquisition funnel is intended to guide the client from the first stage of realizing a need and available businesses to the purchase that makes them a paying client.
The client acquisition funnel needs to be designed with this goal in mind and appropriate messaging to guide the prospective client through each stage.
Stages of the client acquisition funnel:
- Awareness: This stage is when the client understands their needs and starts researching options. The marketing at this stage should be focused on brand awareness.
- Interest: This stage is when the client realizes pain points and starts seeking solutions. The marketing should be focused on the benefits of a product or service.
- Consideration: This stage is when the client becomes aware of the different options on the market and starts to evaluate them. The marketing at this stage should be focused on in-depth information about the product or service that helps them understand its context and value.
- Intent: This stage is when the client intends to make a purchase and is looking for more information through consultations or demos.
- Evaluation: This stage is when the client is evaluating possible solutions and needs an incentive to choose a specific company, such as a discount offer or free trial.
- Purchase: This stage is when the client has decided to make a purchase and prepares for the next steps.
All stages of the client acquisition funnel have targeted marketing to guide the client through each stage effectively.
Preparing a Client Acquisition Strategy
Define the Audience
The target audience is an essential starting point for a client acquisition strategy. Marketing messaging needs to be targeted to the ideal client to be successful, and that can’t happen without a defined audience.
For service-based businesses like law firms, defining the audience can be particularly challenging. Often, these businesses serve a variety of clients with different intents and needs, making it difficult to tailor marketing messaging to all of them.
If this is the case, you can segment the audiences by their similar interests, psychosocial characteristics, demographics, and more. Law firms, for example, may have different audiences based on the area of practice, such as personal injury law or divorce and child custody law. These audiences have unique needs, and segmenting them ensures the messaging resonates with each one.
If necessary, you can segment each of these audiences further to ensure the messaging is as tailored and personalized as possible.
Goals and Objectives
Goals are necessary to a client acquisition strategy to determine if the strategy is working. While the overall goal is obviously acquiring clients, the strategy should have more drilled-down goals within it.
SMART goals are the best tool for strategic planning. These goals are:
- Specific: Goals must be specific, such as the number of clients to bring in within a given time period and from what channel.
- Measurable: Goal setting is worthless without a way to measure and see if the efforts are working. Set goals that can be verified by metrics and benchmarks.
- Attainable: Setting lofty goals will only set you up for failure and disappointment. Make sure goals are achievable and realistic, so you know they can be accomplished with the right strategy.
- Relevant: Goals should always serve client acquisition. Other business or marketing goals aren’t relevant to client acquisition and should be part of their own strategy.
- Time-Bound: Goals shouldn’t be open-ended. Put a realistic timeline on goals with milestones to see if you’re on track to achieve them. You can have different timelines for different goals that are appropriate for the goal itself, the channel, or the audience.
Client Acquisition Content
Content specific to the client acquisition process is essential to guide clients through the funnel toward conversion. While the content may be slightly different than general content strategy, it serves the client’s needs throughout the process and helps them make the purchasing decision.
You can use a broad range of content for client acquisition, such as short- and long-term video, webinars, blog posts and articles, PR pieces, ebooks, case studies, and more.
Remember that each piece of content should be directed at the appropriate stage of the funnel. For example, a prospect in the awareness stage would benefit from a blog post about the problem they’re looking to solve, while a prospect in the intent stage may be swayed to a decision by a case study that demonstrates how the product or service helped someone like them.
Selecting Marketing Channels
There are numerous channels for marketing, from social media to paid search ads to email campaigns to print advertising. Add a broad audience and it can be difficult to determine the best channels. Dividing marketing efforts between all of them is not only costly, but likely won’t provide a targeted campaign that converts on any.
Service-based businesses have varied audiences and benefit from a combination of inbound and outbound marketing efforts on selective channels. Inbound marketing may include paid ads, digital marketing, and content marketing, while outbound marketing may include networking and cold pitching.
However, you choose to allocate your marketing resources, make sure you devote attention to the best channels for your audience. Once you’re successful, you can consider branching out into underutilized channels to find new audiences.
Develop a Robust Client Acquisition Strategy
Client acquisition is expensive and challenging, but it’s a must for long-term growth and success in service-based businesses. These tips should help you create a strong client acquisition strategy that fuels long-term success for your business.