Small law firms face unique challenges when marketing their services effectively in today’s competitive legal landscape. You’re not alone if you have yet to learn how to build a marketing budget. The American Bar Association survey found less than half (46%) of law firms and only 14% of solo lawyers reported having a marketing budget.
A marketing budget is crucial for small law firms as it allows them to allocate resources strategically, increase brand visibility, and grow their client base. Here, we will guide you step by step on how you can create an effective marketing budget:
A. Decide What You Want to Achieve
The first step in creating a successful marketing budget is to set clear goals. Some common law firm marketing objectives include:
Increasing client acquisition
Improving client retention
Establishing thought leadership in a specific practice area
Expanding into new markets or areas of law
Enhancing brand awareness
Once you have decided what you want to achieve, set strategic, clear, measurable and achievable goals. This will help you determine how much you should allocate to marketing and where those funds should be directed.
The allocation of your resources also depends on your area of practice and target audience. For example, suppose you specialize in serving businesses and contract law. In that case, it’s more likely that your retention efforts will yield a higher return on investment (ROI). Therefore, it would be wise to allocate more spending towards retention efforts. On the other hand, for criminal lawyers, the ROI may be higher when dollars are spent on acquiring new clients. So, depending on your area of expertise, you must strategize your budget accordingly.
B. Work Out Your Marketing Budget
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to determine the size of your marketing budget. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, allocating 7%-8% of a firm’s gross revenue towards marketing efforts is recommended. However, law firm management consultants suggest that spending between 2% to 5% is sufficient. Still, this figure can vary depending on the area of practice, geographical location, and the law firm’s establishment level.
C. Level Up On Digital Marketing
In today’s digital age, the internet opens the doors to many new clients and connections. You may want to learn more about Digital Marketing through some of CoreMatter’s helpful guides:
For your digital marketing efforts to be successful, you must also understand these four stages:
Stage 1: Awareness
Here, your goal is to make potential leads aware of your services. Leads are potential clients. Investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website will help ensure your firm is visible to leads searching for legal services. You may invest more in paid search ads or other SEO initiatives if you need consistent traffic.
Stage 2: Interest
If you aim to capture potential leads’ interest, you can use stories to build trust and create a compelling hook to draw users in. These stories can be in social media posts, videos or blog posts. Investing in business cards can also help you meet prospective clients and drive interest.
Stage 3: Decision
At this stage, you showcase customer testimonials to support potential leads in deciding to work with you. Displaying testimonials on your website, landing pages, and retargeting ads is an effective way to test at this funnel stage.
Stage 4: Action
Finally, your potential lead takes the desired action in the action stage, such as booking an appointment.
Understanding your client’s journey is essential to accurately allocate a budget to the various stages of the sales funnel. Therefore, it’s critical to understand your client journey and allocate your budget accordingly clearly.
If you need help converting your website leads into paying clients, consider seeking a law firm marketing consultant.
D. Allocate Your Budget
With your budget size determined and your digital marketing initiatives in place, it’s time to allocate your budget wisely. Consider the following distribution of funds:
Digital Marketing: Allocate a significant portion of your budget to online marketing efforts, including website maintenance, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media advertising.
Content Creation: Invest in creating valuable and informative content for your website, blog, and social media channels. High-quality content positions your firm as an authority in your practice area.
Networking and Events: Dedicate funds to attending legal conferences, seminars, and networking events. These can help you build valuable relationships within the legal community.
Client Retention: Remember to allocate a portion of your budget to retaining existing clients. Sending newsletter updates and maintaining a robust online presence can help keep clients engaged.
Legal Technology Subscription: Consider the cost of legal technology within your budget. Tools like CoreMatter are essential for streamlining your law firm’s client management and marketing efforts.
E: Monitor and Adjust
Your marketing budget isn’t set in stone. Regularly monitor the performance of your marketing initiatives. Analyze data and adjust your budget allocation as needed to maximize your ROI. If a strategy isn’t yielding results, reallocate those funds to more successful efforts.
In a Nutshell
Small law firms must embrace the power of digital marketing and leverage technology to succeed in today’s competitive legal landscape. By setting clear goals, determining an appropriate budget, and utilizing technology effectively, small law firms can increase their visibility, attract new clients, and thrive in the digital age of legal practice. Remember, marketing is an ongoing process, so continuously evaluate and refine your strategies to achieve the best results. So, go ahead and take the first step towards your marketing success!
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