Niche Marketing Strategies with Nicole Christie 417
Categories: Podcast

Today we’re excited to share a presentation by Nicole Christie from MaxLawCon 2021! Tune in to learn how to get the word out about the one thing that you do.

Nicole is licensed to practice in Connecticut and is a member of the American Bar Association, and Connecticut Bar Association. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor Degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. 

Nicole graduated from law school with honors. She also has a Certificate in Theology. Attorney Christie has been an active member of a church for over 20 years. In her youth, she served as a Sunday School teacher and Pastoral Committee Secretary.

1:03 riches are in the niches

4:20 I’m not doing anything else

7:29 trip all the way to Carol

10:58 county approach to practicing law

14:34 grow the practice

17:16 I used your name, and it worked

20:13 do your market research

Watch the podcast here.

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Transcript: Niche Marketing Strategies with Nicole Christie

Becca Eberhart
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from Max law con 2021. Keep listening to hear Nicole Christie as we share her talk niche marketing strategies. You can also head to the maximum lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video. Have you grabbed your ticket to this year’s conference? If not head to max law con 2020 to get yours today. Now to the episode,

Speaker 2
run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum lawyer podcast, podcast your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson metrics. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome to the show.

Nicole Christie
So what I’m going to try to do is go through all of these slides as quickly as possible but thoroughly. And my goal is to help hopefully get to a point where maybe at the end, we can have some questions. So niche marketing, getting the word out about the one thing you do. So for today, these first two talking about riches are in the niches is actually true. I want to go over and just in the first two questions, make sure that you get an idea of why I’m trying to be so persuasive with you about niching down. I like when you go to people’s website, and then you click on areas of law. And it’s just this drop down. And then I’m trying to figure out what which one are you actually good at. So you want to make sure you get that message out. Then I’ll cover very quickly deciding your niche and marketing your niche in particular. And the reason why I want to do that is there’s some trainees that we already have in the guild as well as a maximum lawyer. So I just don’t want to repeat too much information. But I want to again, be able to persuade you to nearly niche down. Alright, so riches are in the niches, I believe that to be true. So when I started in May of 2017, I knew I wanted to do a bunch of things. And I tried to pick out all the things that I’m actually interested in. So I did church law, education, family, probate, child custody matters, someone told me, I could be a contract attorney and make sure I can do that. And maybe I get some money. And so that just took me basically all over the place. And again, churches was my thing I was gonna do that actually wrote a whole business plan just based on church law. The funny thing is, I didn’t actually ask churches if they wanted a lawyer. And so after. And so when I started going out and meeting with people, they said, Yeah, we already have a lawyer. So anyone that wanted a lawyer actually had one. And then the rest was just like, it was nice meeting you. But I don’t think we can do this. So it was hard trying to figure that out. And mind you again, my whole business plan primarily was around churches. So I had to figure out, Okay, listen, I only have, and again, when I left my job as a prosecutor, all I had was my cashed out vacation time, as well as my last check. So I didn’t have time to play around and figure out what to do. I said, I need to make money. So at some point in between 2017. And in between 2020. I had someone asked me, we sure tell me you should do something around DCF, who used to work for them. So I worked for them for 11 years. And then I worked as a prosecutor for 12. So I said, Okay, I’ll do that. But instead of just doing DCF, I just added to the list. And then I threw in estate planning is again, I figured one of these is going to help me make money. It’s all something I’m interested in doing. The problem is that I was all over the place doing that, never feeling truly confident about any one area except for maybe DCF. So in May 2017, I think I made about 87,000, I started and by December, I was making 87,000. And then when I decided to add these different practices, I doubled what I made during that period of time, but again, it wasn’t always easy to get there by the time of 2020. And remember, everybody went home, we everything shut down. And in Connecticut, the state, the actual court shut down. And what I thought was funny is they shut down and they literally said we’ll let you know when your next court date is. And every court, Family Court, juvenile court, probate court, everybody just shut down and said, we’ll let you know when your next court date is. So things got really hairy at that point in time. But I don’t know I chose it that moment. I’m not doing anything else. So I started doing. I said, Okay, I’ll do in a whole state campaign. And that didn’t work out as well as I wanted to say, You know what, I’m getting rid of that. I’m getting rid of anything outside of DCF. And so I did take on a couple of education cases, but it was actually clients that I had. And when I was a DCF work, I used to do education. So I would go into IEP, they’re called I know if anybody’s familiar Individual Education Plan. And so I would go in and just, you know, foster some kind of relationship with them. So that wasn’t hard, but I stayed within DCF and I found that I was able to make three times as much as when I was working With the state, just by focusing on one thing. And so the money that I didn’t make from doing family, I made up with DCF, the money I was not doing doing estate planning, I wasn’t making a lot of money doing that at all. Because I didn’t know exactly what I should be charging. And so I got out of doing that. But all of the money that came from other different areas I made up just by doing DCF. And so I want you to think about that one focus. So I actually had an artist draw this for me, because it helps people to remind it of DCF is really about kids. It’s not about you as the parent, but mainly about kids. So I had them draw this for me. And the little boys, actually my nephew, the little girl, no yellow dress, is my assistants daughter, so I had him draw characters for them. And so I thought to myself, you know, what, if I have something I like looking at maybe when people look at the website, they think, Oh, she’s about kids. And it just triggers something for them. So I wanted to also go into this whole idea. Many of us, as I talked about, we’re doing a lot. And again, when you go to people’s website, and you look down, okay, fine, you have like 15 lawyers, and you’ll see the several different things that they do. But then you see two lawyers, and it’s still the same list as the law firm that has 15 people and you think, again, how do you even find the time. So what we want to do is just take, for example, this is the state of Missouri. And we’re going to pretend that these are all different kinds of prep areas of law. So we’re going to take St. Louis, and when I wrote this up, I did not realize that we were actually in St. Charles. So just work with me. We’re in St. Louis for today. And so St. Louis represents a state planning. Now we start with the state planning, maybe you’ve opened up your law firm, you think, I think I like doing estate planning. And so you start working on it, you start gaining clients, but you’re not gaining enough. Maybe you started your firm, or maybe this is just a real house. And so we start this work. But then cousin Carol, all the way over there, she calls us and says, You know what? And like my favorite storyline is whenever they say what had happened was, I know that’s not gonna be a good story. So cousin Carroll calls him and says, Well, what happened was, you know, I was driving, listen, I only had two drinks, I promise, I promise, I promise. And yeah, so I got pulled over, I don’t know why. And they might have found a little bit of cocaine in the car. And so they give us a story. And our brain has to take a trip all the way to cow. So we leave estate planning, and we go to cow to help her with her criminal law matter. Now, criminal law as a former prosecutor, I just don’t think that’s something you dabble in, you’re either in it to win it or don’t do it at all. But in any event, when you go to there, you stop thinking about estate planning, you stop thinking about how to improve it, you stop thinking about what’s best for your clients and estate planning. Because now you’re trying to keep cousin Carol out of jail. You’re trying to keep cousin Carol from making more incriminating statements that she’s already made. And so your brain has to do that drive. And for some of us physically, we are doing a long drive to get to the various courts. So now you’re hanging out in Carroll, but your brother in law, Barry, all the way down here. He’s called you because he’s got the first biggest contract he’s ever had. He just started building something, started a building company. And he said, Could you help me with this contract? And you look at it, it’s 30 pages long, and you’re like, oh, okay, so now you’ve left Carol, you still haven’t gone back to St. Louis, you’ve gone back to estate planning. But now you’re sitting here and Barry, trying to figure out this contract this 30 page contract, which kind of looks like your law exams, where you’re looking at it has UCC in there, it has secured transactions. And now you’re trying to figure out how to do all of that. Oh, by the way, on this Friday, you have a signing for your estate plan. You maybe your first client, maybe a couple of clients. Now your brain has to go back to St. Louis go back to figuring out how to do estate planning. Carol calls me says, Wait a minute, don’t we have trial on Monday. So this is your brain every single week, going from different types of law practices, and just traveling all over the place. This is what your brain is doing. And sometimes I think that that’s part of what exhausts us. And oh, by the way, while you’re doing all of that you’re trying to run about law firm you’re trying to hire you’re trying to balance your books you’re trying to do so much. And so this is what I call that state approach to practicing law.

Speaker 4
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Nicole Christie
When now I want us to think about the county approach to practicing law. And so when I look at St. Louis County, again, I didn’t know we were in St. Charles. But anyway, I’m looking at St. Louis County, this is what I think is the best way to actually do law. So St. Louis County can represent just estate planning. And I’ll use my example in a moment. So think about estate planning, and maybe two, which is your largest one, that’s your biggest clients how maybe you do estate planning for families, people with children, people with multiple children. And we heard earlier with individual who did state planning for people with children or grandchildren with the states of more than 5 million. And so you maybe you stay in the area of number two. But eventually, there’s other areas that are close to dealing with kids, people with kids, maybe you want to start working in. Number one, maybe you want to work with the older generation, but it’s close to what you’re already doing. So you can move into a whole nother area. And this is different than driving all the way to Berry driving all the way to Carroll because somebody called you about an area of law, you have nothing to do with. And so you look at these different areas, and they all somehow connect. And I’ll use my own firm as an example. So with DCF, which stands for Department of Children and Families, we have various areas. And so when I first started doing this, I got an investigation case. And it was a father who was he had a child who had a mental health issue, and it was very new to him. And so the hospital called and said, you know, this father is neglecting his child because he won’t give him medication. At the time the father didn’t really understand his child had a mental health issue and said, I don’t want my child to be medicated. And it’s actually his right. And so I stepped in to say, Listen, he’s not neglecting his child, it’s probably an issue of education and the hospital needed to take a minute to explain to him why does this medication work? Why will it make his child better? And so with doing that I started in that area DCF investigations eventually could lead to substantiation. So if they find that the child has been neglected and the parent did it, that substantiation stays on your record for ever. It doesn’t go away. Sometimes the substantiation and we do hearings just for that alone, substantiation is, you know, trying to get that reversed. I love picking apart the investigators working like they did this wrong, they did that wrong, you didn’t interview these people. They’re not cops. They’re just people who just, you know, took a training, and they’re doing interviews. So I just pick those things apart. Eventually, one of those top two can end up in juvenile court. And so typically, the basis of their filing in juvenile court comes from the investigation. So by virtue of me having a very good understanding of what happens in investigations, it makes me tougher in court, because I can pick out the weaknesses of their case, because that can pick out the weakness of the investigation. And eventually, sometimes there are relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles who want to intervene, and they want to get in touch. And they say, You know what I want to get to juvenile court. So they’ll call me say, I want my grandkids, I don’t understand why I can’t get my grandkids. And so because I have an understanding of juvenile court, and I know how motions to intervene works. So I can have people hire me just to do that alone. And so by virtue of moving around these different sections of my DCF County, because I become proficient in all of them and see how they’re connected. It helps me to actually grow the practice because I can take a case load of investigation cases, they only last 45 days. I charged them just for the 45 days. If it becomes something longer than that, that’s a whole new fee. And with substantiation hearings, I love doing those as I said, and then you know, just for an example I had a relative call me and say we want to get our niece and nephew. They’re in two separate foster homes. We want to keep them so I filed a motion intervene in juvenile court. I knew everything I needed to do in juvenile court. But found out they had a 14 year old substantiation. And that was hindering them from even being licensed. So we actually had to have a hearing for the substantiation, and then turn around and have a trial on their motion to intervene. So all of that comes from being able to stay within just the DCF County. So what I encourage you to do is not just think of your niche in terms of, okay, there’s only one kind of case I can do. But expand, think of that one thing and think about the different areas that will keep you in that one thing, but also give you other cases to handle. So I want to go back to this state. And if you think about if you are just doing a state planning, and you’re just staying in St. Louis, and other people who are doing other types of law, figure out that that’s all you do. Number one, they realize you’re not their competition, therefore, they start to think well, there’s a DCF case, I’ll just give it to Nicole. So I literally have referral partners. And I have one of them right here. That will send me all his DCF cases, if he gets a call, call Nicole and Jerry Wayne’s firm is also another one, they’ve actually put out one of the partners put out a memo, if it’s DCF, call Nicole, that’s just business. I haven’t advertised, I haven’t paid anybody. That’s just business coming to me. So I want you to think about it that way. So instead of being because once you go into Carolyn, once you go into bear, once you do criminal once you tried to do business law, people then start to think that you’re a competition. But if you stick with that one county, and granted, you’re going to have other people doing things in that one county, but if you become the best in that one county if you become proficient, we heard that earlier. In your craft you’re studying, you know, the law. I love when I start quoting DCS policies and procedures against them. I love when I get the memo from DCS Commissioner, and then I’ll say, well, your boss, your highest boss said that this is what you’re supposed to do. Okay, Nicole, we’ll follow up with that. And you become powerful. I actually had a client say to me, she didn’t hire me actually. I think she was calling just to get advice. But I talked with her. And she said to me, You know what? I used your name. And it worked. They actually gave me what I wanted. I told them I’m going to call the Christie Law Firm. I’m like, Really, I love that. So, you know, I don’t know if you remember that commercial. I know in Connecticut, they would have that marquee Salamone, and they would say, I’m gonna call Marquis, Salamone, and there would be this doom, Doom doom. I’m like, wait, I’m gonna marquee sell them on a DC. So you want to be that person, you want to be that go to individual, you want to be that beast of what you do. Because when everybody else starts to learn about that, then they come back to you. And I love when clients who’ve been referred to me by other attorneys will go back to the attorney or she was great. And I have sometimes gotten calls from people I don’t know. They said, well, cafe down at the court sent me to you. I don’t know who Kathy is. Michael, can you tell me look at all remember, I love when they just say this man who told me to call this lawyer, who then told me to call you sometimes is to three people away. Because this is all I’m known to do, where I’m from. And so I think about and this is part of my own vision. So what if you took this is, you know, resenting Missouri right now. But what if you started taking that model and moving it to other markets, if you become the beast where you are, you can move to other different places that maybe doesn’t have what you do, and be that go to person. So instead of thinking this niche, okay, this is the only thing I know how to do. This is the only area of law, don’t limit yourself, make sure you think about the other types of law that’s close to what you’re doing. But then you can take what you’re doing right now. And that was my goal. And then just start moving into different areas, I want to do the northeast, I want to do the upper northeast. And so when you’ve got that set goal, and again, you need your systems, like we learned about this morning, you need your marketing, and if everything is so solid, you can then take that one thing and say, You know what, I’m going over here, maybe you have a friend on the other side, maybe you have a friend in California, somebody that just opened their firm and said, Listen, if I teach you how to do child protection, you learn about how it runs in your particular state. Every state has one of some sort. And if you can learn how to do it in that state. Now you have just redeveloped and you’ve actually done something more with just that one thing. So the next piece is how to decide your net gladder memorizes. So when in deciding your niche, actually Jim hacking did a video actually did I think it’s a podcast right now? And what would I do if I lost my law firm? And so with that particular podcast, he talked about how to even decide his niche. So first thing I would recommend you do is think about who in your hair area so if you’re very new and You just starting your law firm, look at those areas of law that no one else is doing. And he also talks about do your market research like I did, I’m just gonna represent churches, and then no one was hiring. So you don’t want to spend time developing a whole business plan. And you know, going on and say, I’m going to open this law firm doing something that nobody wants, you want to make sure that there is a demand. And then he talks about narrowing your focus, as you narrow your focus, try to develop a theme. So for us, the key question actually was said in our previous presentation, what are you good at doing? So it’s one thing to pick a particular area. But when you pick something that you’re good at, maybe you try to different, you know, different areas of law, but you know, you’ve been getting good results. For me it was when I started doing DCF. In that very first case, I’ll never forget it, I knew what the investigator was supposed to be doing. And she managed to go to my client’s second home, she never went to his first one, she didn’t know he had a whole nother home. And he was trying to keep that quiet because he didn’t want you know, he had a home with baby mama. And then he had at home with current baby mama, he didn’t want the two to know each other. So, you know, I had to keep those homes separate for his piece. And so I was able to just finagle and give that worker what she needed without complicating his life. So I knew I started to be good at it. I knew I had some confidence. And that’s what I think picking the thing that you’re good at gives you that level of confidence instead of going into an error. And you’re like, I don’t know, I’m not sure I was doing estate planning. Like every time I did a signing I’m thinking is this right? Now? I feel like I have to go back. And I don’t know. But with DCF I know I’m right. Because I know what they were supposed to do. I know I’m confident about it. And it’s not to be conceited, but in this job and inland doing a law firm, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, the client picks up on that, well, are you sure. And I love when they say Have you won these kind of cases before how many of you want I’m like how many of you want, but you have to think about I need to be confident. And so you have to take that and even if you gotta you may say fake it till you make it. If you’re doing what you’re good at, you don’t really have to fake it, you just do what you do. So if you’re deciding a niche, and you’ve got a couple of different areas of law, I say if you’re going to try to narrow down find something that you’re good at. And so this is the Christie law firm. And we say that we’re making family stronger with a child centered approach. And so when you look at our website, and you go through the different pages, we always have kids on every single page, because we tell our clients, it’s about the child. And when I’m actually interviewing or doing a screening with someone, and they’re just talking about themselves. I won’t take their case, if they’re not talking about oh my gosh, I don’t know what’s going on with my kids. I’m scared. I just don’t want them to be separated from me, then I want to take their case, which is some reason why I don’t do family anymore. Because I hate it people talking about each other. And I’m like, No, it’s not about you. And no, we’re not going to do that. Because that’s not right for your kids. And I found it was hard for me to really connect in that area. But when I could focus on kids, and then I can get the parents by it. And then we now team up again to DCF so it makes for a better working relationship. And so when I keep a child friendly, I have my artists do pictures of my nephew, I just send him pictures. So throughout my website, you’ll see pictures of my nephew, and my paralegals daughter, and I love that because it also reminds me what is my goal? What is my center, and I know that when kids get to stay with their parents that pretty much better off as long as the parents are doing well. But if they can’t, I work on a plan B. So follow the general guidelines around marketing on your niche. And again, if you can stay within your county will be very helpful to you.

Speaker 2
Thanks for listening to the maximum lawyer podcast. Stay in contact with your host and to access more content content, go to maximum Have a great week and catch you next time.



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