Did you know that fewer than half of law firms have a defined marketing budget, and that the portion drops all the way to 14 percent for solo law offices?
The simple act of defining your marketing spend can give you a leg up in the competitive push for new clients. These legal marketing budget tips will help you define what your office’s ad spending will be.
Let’s first consider why a defined budget is so important. It’s not just about financial management (although that is a good reason). Even looked at strictly from a marketing standpoint, a budget helps get you to success. The reason is that successful marketing depends on measurement.
A personal injury lawyer might spend their ad money on mass marketing and pay-per-click digital campaigns. Let’s say after 6 months they want to pull the camera back and see how their spend is performing.
If you don’t have a budget, how do you define how much it costs to get a website visitor, a phone call and ultimately a client? How do you connect your marketing spend to the average settlement size? How do you do these things when you don’t know what your marketing spend is to begin with?
The next question then is:
What should my defined budget be?
There are a lot of factors involved, but 2 big ones immediately stand out:
- Location. A lawyer in New York City is going to have more competition within their practice area than an attorney in some rural town in upstate New York. Law offices in metro areas are always going to have to spend more on marketing.
- Practice area. A personal injury lawyer or a family law practitioner has a wide potential client base, but also the need to do more mass advertising to reach them. The attorney who does corporate securities has a small base of prospects and will likely need to rely on long-term networking relationships. Put simply, personal injury and family law will require more of an ad spend.
After the 2 big factors of location and practice area, other factors impacting your ad spend will be what your risk tolerance is. Marketing is a trial-and-error process and you need to know how many errors you can handle. This decision will tie into whatever your long-term business goals are, something your marketing strategy needs to be aligned with.
The typical range for ad spend is anywhere from 2 percent to 15 percent of the total office budget. Law offices in areas like personal injury, family law and other areas built on B2C marketing end up about 5 percent.
Most law firms are realizing that they can’t get by on the cheap when it comes to their marketing. A recent survey showed 62 percent of law offices planning to increase spending on marketing and business development. Understanding your own place on the legal landscape will help you make the most of your budget.