It’s hard to grow your law firm if you’re not marketing it. It’s hard to pay for marketing if you’re not getting a lot of clients and cases. It can feel like a terrible catch-22 situation. And it leads a lot of lawyers to ask, “well, just how much SHOULD I be spending on marketing, anyway?”
That’s probably why you’re here right now! And, while there is a real answer to this question, there are some things we should talk about first.
Your Marketing Budget Should Match Your Law Firm and Your Goals
The size and age of your law firm, the types of practice areas you cover, your location—all these things impact how much you should spend on marketing yourself. For example, a growing personal injury law firm might need to spend more on marketing and lead generation than an established corporate law firm does. A hometown law firm will likely spend less on marketing than a similar law firm in a big, competitive city. So, you need to think about those kinds of factors and adjust your budget accordingly.
It really comes down to your goals. How much do you want to grow? What areas are you trying to develop?
And, even more importantly, is your law firm ready to handle it if it works?
“We have never been this busy before. It’s even a joke around the office: ‘Stop the marketing! We’re getting too busy!’ Busy in a good way, though.”
Simone may be joking in the quote above, but there is a legitimate concern there. If you get too many new leads too fast, and you don’t have systems in place to be ready for them, it could turn into a big problem. A hundred new leads won’t help you if all of them have a terrible experience on your website or with your firm.
You might be ready to go fast and furious, or you might need to start more slowly and work up to a bigger push while you improve your intake systems or follow-up campaigns. You might be better served by improving your law firm website or finding marketing automation software you like before you go crazy with new campaigns or ads.
In other words, the foundation you’re working from will impact how much you need to spend and when.
And, finally, lawyers have all different kinds of marketing approaches. A bigger or smaller spend doesn’t always correlate directly to their actual success in marketing their law firms. So, chasing their numbers won’t necessarily give you the same results. Instead, you have to choose your marketing budget with YOUR goals in mind.
So, with all that out of the way, how much SHOULD lawyers spend marketing their law firms?
How to Nail Down a Working Number for Your Law Firm’s Marketing Budget
The general wisdom is that businesses should spend between 3 and 18 percent of their revenue on marketing. For law firms, in particular, we can actually narrow this down even further and say that it’s between 7 and 10 percent of your revenue.
Depending on the other factors we talked about above, that might be a little more or less. If you want to make a big push, go a little higher. If you just want to maintain, go a little lower. But between 7 and 10 percent is a good place to start working from.
So, let’s say a law firm with an annual gross revenue of $250,000 has decided they need to reinvest about 8 percent of that into their marketing. That turns into a monthly marketing budget of about $1,667.
Or, let’s say a law firm with an annual gross revenue of $900,000 wants to put 9% of that into marketing projects. That turns into a monthly budget of $6,750.
Typically, law firms that push that number a little more—by maybe $1,000 or $2,000—outperform law firms that undercut it by the same amount.
Ultimately, you may not actually be saving money by shaving little bits off your marketing spending here and there. Instead, you could just be shaving off your future profits! So, choose your budget carefully, and be ready to adjust it over time.
And here’s another important note: if that reinvestment into your business isn’t increasing your business, then don’t make the mistake of quitting marketing altogether. Again, it’s tough to grow a business that you aren’t marketing or letting people know about. So, don’t give up. Just get more focused on what’s working for what you want to achieve.
If you aren’t focused enough on the right goals or don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, it won’t matter how much you spend on your marketing.
Track the Return You’re Getting From Your Investment
The whole point of putting money into marketing is to make more money later. So, you need to have a finger on the pulse of your marketing. Is it working? Are you getting more leads, clients, and cases? Are there ways you can leverage what’s already successful for you? Are there better ways to do what didn’t work out as well as you planned? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or work with experts. To be a great marketer, you always have to be ready to adjust your tactics and push your knowledge further. You can’t ignore it all and expect it to work!
You want to put your biggest focus on the things that bring in the best clients for your firm. That might be a referral campaign. That might be creative videos or educational content or email outreach. But don’t totally neglect the little things that build your branding and trust with potential clients.
You want to ensure you’re nurturing your existing list AND putting out lots of lines for new leads. Together, that’s how you keep tons of great clients in the pipeline. It’s a bit of a balancing act, and that’s all the more reason to know what’s going on.
Not sure what’s really going on with your law firm’s marketing? We have answers. Request a free website analysis to find out why your marketing isn’t as effective as you need it to be, or give us a call at 888.886.0939 with your questions.