When you are marketing your court reporting firm, who are you trying to reach? Who are the marketing efforts focused on?
A good marketing strategy includes a target audience. Who will your court reporting firm market its services to? Have you defined your client profiles?
Defining your firm’s client profiles is a critical step in determining the type of marketing tactics and words you’ll use. Your strategy’s effectiveness can be tied back to how defined your client profiles actually are. It can make the difference between having a shotgun approach to marketing or more of a targeted sniper rifle approach.
It is really easy to quickly gloss over this step and assume it is already figured out. Most firm owners will be able to quickly say who their firm works for (which includes who schedules the services from their firm) – attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, conference event planners, schools, insurance companies, etc.
However, each of these types of clients can be defined further by asking questions such as:
- Who is your ideal client?
- What are their goals?
- What are their priorities and challenges in accomplishing those goals?
- Where are they located geographically?
- How and where do they spend their time?
- How do they learn about information related to their job?
- What and who influences them? (Ex: associations, media, publications, websites, other companies, co-workers, peers, etc.)
- What do they want?
- What are their challenges as it relates to your services?
- How does your firm help solve those challenges?
- How do they look for information when deciding which firm they’ll hire?
- When do they look for a firm or court reporter?
As your client profiles are defined, there will be distinctly different types of people that your firm will do business with.
Regardless of the roles these clients have (attorneys, insurance companies, schools, etc.) they will fall into one of these categories:
- Those who have never been a client but have a need for your service now
- Those who have never been a client but will have a need for your service in the future.
- Those who have been a client and will need your service in the future
Any owner would love to reach more people who are in need of their service and ready to become a client now. A good portion of your marketing strategy should be devoted to those people.
For the rest of this article, let’s think about the other two categories of potential clients. Firm owners are typically not as proactive and strategic as they could be in marketing to these individuals.
What is your firm’s repeat business strategy?
In a typical court reporting firm, the majority of the business comes from repeat work with their regular client base. This is good. This means that your clients like something about the way you do business and the service you provide. As you know, it is easier to generate more business from a satisfied client than someone who’s never used your firm. What does your firm do to encourage more business from those clients? Don’t assume that just because you think your firm provided good service the client will use your firm again.
If the majority of a court reporting firm’s business is repeat work, shouldn’t there be a specific strategy to increase that repeat work?
Do your clients know about all of the services you provide? We’ve discovered that many attorneys and paralegals are not aware of all that their court reporting firm can do for them. And, if they are aware of other services provided, they often do not understand how those services would be beneficial to them. What is your firm doing to educate your clients about all that you provide?
Also, some of your clients will only have a need for your services a few times a year (or less). What is your firm doing to stay “top of mind” with your clients, to ensure they think of your firm the next time they need court reporting services?
How well is your firm marketing to and building relationships with those not ready to become clients?
You might be thinking, “Of course we should market to those who we haven’t done business with.”
However, are you thinking about the potential clients who may use your firm at some point but just aren’t going to right now? These people will typically fall into one of these categories:
- Those who are out-of-town. These potential clients are based in a region you may not cover (unless you’re helping with scheduling another reporter in that region). They probably already have a court reporting firm or reporter they regularly use. But, if they ever need a reporter in the region you cover, you want them to think of you first. Other court reporting firms and reporters are also in this category. More firms are claiming nationwide scheduling capabilities and then will network with other firms to help get their client’s out-of-town jobs covered. Do they think of your firm when they’re scheduling in your region?
- Those who are in the region you cover. These potential clients already have a court reporting firm or reporter they’re currently happy with and they really don’t have an immediate reason to go to another. Even though they might not be ready to use you now, they may in the future if they become unhappy with their current firm or reporter, they need a service that there current firm doesn’t provide, or just need a deposition covered their current firm cannot.
If you make the mistake of not having a long term marketing approach to stay in these potential client’s minds, you run the risk of missing out on a decent amount of future business.
Another reason to include these people in your marketing is that they may lead other clients to you. Court reporting is a relationship business. The value of one potential client or current client can be far greater than the one deposition your firm covered or may cover for them.
Who does your marketing reach? Have you defined your client profiles enough? Could your firm improve upon its marketing strategy with repeat clients and with those who are not yet ready to become a client?
This article addresses one of the many aspects that is important to think about when improving your firm’s marketing. If you want to improve your court reporting firm’s marketing and sales, we created Marketing Fundamentals for Court Reporting Firm Owners for you. In it, you’ll discover the 10 common marketing and sales mistakes you should avoid (some of them are costing firm owners tens of thousands of dollars a year) and what to do instead. If you haven’t already accessed it, learn more about it here.
If you’d like to speak with us about your specific marketing or business challenges and how you can start addressing them now, go here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Nesbitt is a small business consultant and managing partner of Strategic Business Directs. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+. He has also been a continuing education instructor for the Stenograph Prince Institute Center for Professional Development (a court reporting school).