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Small law firms and solo attorneys need to prioritize marketing if they are going to compete with the bigger law firms in the area. Creating a marketing budget for a small law firm is integral for growth and success. And if you have zero experience building a marketing budget, you’re not alone.
The Importance of Setting Your Marketing Budget
When starting to set your marketing budget for your small law firm or solo practice, you may be reaching out to various marketing agencies to determine what the standard rates might be. Many of these marketing agencies will offer services with flat fee rates.
While this can help you plan ahead, if you do not know how you should be budgeting for your marketing strategy in the first place, you may not know whether the rate is fair or if you are being taken advantage of.
If you do not have a set budget in mind, you will not be able to measure the success of your marketing campaign. This could be devastating for your marketing strategy, especially if it does not deliver, and you are unable to tell where your marketing strategy went wrong.
What Do Most Small Law Firms Spend on Marketing?
So where should you start with your marketing budget? Most law firms spend anywhere between two and fifteen percent of their revenue on marketing. However, if you are a solo attorney or operate a small law firm, your marketing budget will likely be on the lower end of that scale. We recommend setting aside 6% of your gross annual gross revenue for marketing purposes, but if you’re in a high-volume practice like DUI or PI, that goes up to 10-15%. This money should be spent on marketing, advertising, and business development.
A good way to gauge how much you should be spending on your law firm’s marketing is by taking a review of your revenue over the last three months. This will give you a baseline idea of how much money you’ve brought in and how much you can reasonably spend on your marketing budget.
Remember, having a smaller marketing budget won’t hurt you if you spend your marketing budget more wisely than a law firm that has a bigger marketing budget but is spending it poorly.
How Should You Allocate Your Law Firm Marketing Budget?
Once you have an idea of how much your law firm is going to be spending on your marketing budget, you will need to decide how to allocate these funds. The different types of marketing that you start with can determine where your budget should be allocated.
For lawyers and firms, it’s the journey a prospective client (lead) takes before signing on to work with you. At its core, a marketing funnel has four stages –
Understanding the four stages will help you confidently determine a feasible budget for efforts in each area.
Your prospects /leads won’t know you exist without your brand awareness. Your job is to ensure leads are aware of the services you offer. It might sound simple, but don’t be fooled. At the minimum, this stage requires you to show up wherever they go to find a lawyer. Seeing as how nearly 40% of clients find a lawyer via an online search engine, you should be investing in SEO for your website. Optimizing your overall search rankings will provide numerous ways for leads to discover your firm, click through to your website, and eventually book a consultation.
When allocating budget to this funnel stage, consider the current levels of awareness you’re generating. Try putting yourself in your leads’ shoes.
Now that the awareness is created, its time to create and develop interest. Using stories to relate to leads at this stage is one way you can build trust and ultimately form a relationship with leads.
They should know a little bit about you and why you’re passionate about helping them through this stressful time in their life. Whether you write the copy yourself or not, the words and overall story need to serve as a hook to draw users in and ensure they feel empowered to move into the decision stage.
We encourage you to diversify your marketing activities and budget to increase the chances of connecting with as many leads as possible.
Encourage your leads to make the decision to seek more information or work with you. You’ll need to convince them how much they’ll benefit from your services. Displaying customer testimonials is one of the most effective ways to support someone in deciding to work with you.
Showcasing testimonials on your website, landing pages, and retargeting ads is one way to test at this funnel stage.As mentioned above, when allocating budget to the various stages, it’s essential to know as much about the client journey as possible.
Many factors will determine conversions at every step. Therefore, the awareness stage won’t require substantial spending. If you find your website has high bounce rates, you may want to invest more in the interest stage. High bounce rates indicate that you need to make website improvements to hold your leads’ attention.
An action a potential client might take on your website could mean submitting their contact information, scheduling a consultation, subscribing to your email newsletter. You can measure click-through rates (CTRs) and determine which actions are converting into leads.
In this case, a conversion means a potential customer has successfully completed an action on your website, becoming a lead. At every funnel stage, factors such as your area of practice and market competitiveness will contribute to how eager your website visitors will convert to leads. If they have many lawyers to choose from with intuitive websites, you’ll have to work harder to convert them.