Marketing without breaking the bank
Is your firm focusing its marketing to keep your days booked and busy? This is an excellent investment in order to secure your firm’s long-term success. However, to ensure your marketing dollars are well-spent, you must decide your budget before embarking on the creative path that is legal marketing strategizing. You’re probably wondering – “how much should I spend on legal marketing without breaking the bank?”
As a whole, it’s best to consider that a robust marketing budget will depend on each firm, and no two firms will be alike. Nonetheless, the budget should reflect your firm’s long-term and short-term goals. The firms that are taking their time to put a financial plan in place are squeezing the most of their marketing dollars and staying one step ahead of the competition. They realize that without a budget, they won’t be able to measure success. Additional benefits of implementing a financial blueprint include:
- Have better control of your firm’s cash flow expectations for the year.
- Reducing the chances of extra expenses.
- Give your firm a compass of sorts when meeting goals with ROI.
- Adjust your payments according to what’s working.
- Controlling the funds at a micro-level, e.g., covering the annual bar dues without hesitating.
With all this said, having to keep track, analyze and measure the success (or lack) of the marketing channels is a time-consuming task for busy lawyers. This is perhaps why ABA states that in 2020, 59% of solo firms did not budget for technology usage. It can be a daunting task. We understand this, and we want to help.
Because of this, we want to provide your firm with guidance in keeping a legal marketing budget, the factors to keep in mind, and we’re also providing a FREE workbook which you’ll find in this reading. To help you break and easily digest all of this information, we’ll cover each section one by one. Let’s start with …
The factors law firms need to consider when budgeting their marketing
The following are the top 5 factors law firms should keep in mind when planning out their marketing expenses:
Factor 1: Size of the firm.
- How well-established your firm is with digital marketing matters a great deal. Why? Because the top law firms are already established and well-known. These firms have already gained such a reputation that clients are already aware of them and actively seek their legal matters. This isn’t the case for firms entering the digital marketing realm. Unlike the established firms, these need extra help at the beginning with expenses such as: building a website, establishing their social media presence, expanding their clientele list, and much more.
Factor 2: The practice area.
- No two firms are alike, and the same applies to practice areas. Every specialization varies in competition. For example, personal injury firms face heavier online competition than those specializing in, e.g., estate planning, due to the nature of the cases that are taken on.
Factor 3: B2B or B2C.
- Not all legal professions deal with the same audiences. The firms dealing with B2C clients, e.g., divorce lawyers, are traditionally more expensive to market. On the flip side, B2B firms, e.g., firms specializing in constructions, deal with a much more niche target audience and face less competition in, e.g., PPC campaigns.
Factor 4: Current position of your firm.
- When it comes to marketing, which stage is your firm in? According to research, well-established firms have fewer expenses because they’ve already paid all the initial fees, e.g., a website, logo design, slogan, etc. These firms also spend between 6-12% of their revenue on marketing. As for the firms that are just starting their marketing journey, their expenses will be significantly higher and can expect to spend the higher percentages of revenue: between 12-20%.
Factor 5: Location.
- Although digital marketing helps firms transcend past physical networking and physical office spaces – location matters when creating a financial estimate. For example, the cost of living and overall quotient in the U.S. depends on where you live. This is especially true for firms. The top cities for law firms are New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. In the case of New York, there’s fierce competition, and there are more lawyers per block than, for example, in Jacksonville, Florida. While the average salary will be higher for the three cities, the cost and competition are also higher.
Why having a legal marketing budget matters (a lot)
Once firms decide they are investing in their long-term success via marketing, the next step is determining the appropriate budget while considering the previously mentioned factors. As the end of the year approaches, it’s also a good idea to update your personal and professional goals for the years to come. On that note, we have created a FREE Legal Marketing Budget Planning cheat sheet to help guide your firm.
As a whole, the entire point of marketing is to generate sales. However, implementing a marketing campaign is just the first step. The must-have second step to measure success is to figure out what’s working and what isn’t to emphasize the marketing dollars in the places where it does work.
Moreover, marketing is dynamic. It’s all about refining and adjusting until the desired goals are met and, even better, surpassed. Having clear expectations from the beginning can help you yield the results needed. It gives the entire team a compass of where to place the efforts, and it helps project expected results honestly and realistically.
Are you in need of additional help? Here’s a small check-list your firm can use to see if a legal marketing budget is required:
- Will it save me time?
- Will it help me find more business?
- Will it help me save money?
- Will it give my staff and marketing team clear directions/ expectations?
The best approach is to spend your time and money wisely, and this is possible with the help of a clear financial blueprint. By having an idea of the bigger picture and clear directions of where you want to go – you can ensure your marketing dollars are well-spent and, better yet, get ahead of the competition.
While we have outlined a how-to guideline when creating your financial marketing plan, each firm will have different wants and needs to succeed. If you’d like to ask questions, learn more and even get a head start and create a digital marketing budget plan that fits your firm, we’re here to guide you.