How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Marketing
How much law firm’s budget towards marketing can be quite a confusing topic, and we’ll never know the real answer because many firms don’t accurately track their marketing spend. Without fail, the majority of law firm owners I meet are either spending too much or too little on marketing their law firm because they are unsure about how much is the right amount to spend.
The accepted number floated around is to spend 10% of the law firm’s budget on marketing. According to a Dynamics Law Firm Study, law firms spend an average of 1.9% on marketing. That number is abysmal, but not surprising.
The reason marketing is often ignored in solo and small law firms is because lawyers are never taught how to run a business. We’re often told “do good work, and the cases will come,” but that’s entirely untrue. Sure, you need to be a competent attorney, but you won’t get clients by twiddling your thumbs waiting for something to happen.
Clients cannot hire you if they have no idea you exist. While having a reliable referral system and word-of-mouth marketing can net you some good cases, you can only go so far without investing in your law firm.
Yes, you need to spend real money to grow your law firm. I understand the hesitancy of spending money, and it can be a significant mental barrier that you need to overcome to run a successful (as in, profitable) law firm.
A Word About Comparing Yourself to Others
I’ll keep this brief, but my most significant piece of advice is to not assume that the uber-successful attorney you’re competing with is actually generating more leads than you. Do not get marketing inspiration from other lawyer’s websites or marketing strategies that you believe work without any proof.
In reality, if every lawyer is doing something that you think might be interesting and cool, it’s not that special. You need to look at what other lawyers are doing and find opportunities that they are missing because doing what others are not is how you truly stand out amongst the competition.
Why Lawyers Need to Understand Marketing (Outsourcing Can be Dangerous)
Marketing companies and services know that law firm owners do not understand marketing or running a law firm, and they waste no time to take advantage of the misguided attorney. We like to call these companies and people marketing vultures.
A marketing vulture is someone is makes big, bold promises for a premium price but doesn’t have anything to show for it. They promise big numbers like “impressions” and “likes” but cannot explain to you how their services lead to more clients and money.
By taking the marketing of your law firm into your own hands, you are taking your success into your own hands. Of course, there will be hiccups along the way, but once you understand how to implement and track marketing, it’ll pay dividends.
How Much You Need to Spend on Marketing
Throw the 10% rule out the window – it’s foolish. You should never limit the amount of money that you spend on marketing.
Let me explain. If you knew with certainty (more on that later) that for every $10 you invested in marketing your law firm you got $100 back, wouldn’t you continuously invest in that marketing? By capping your spend at 10%, you are missing out on thousands upon thousands of dollars in revenue.
How to Track Your Marketing and Eliminate Wasteful Spending
To understand which marketing strategies are duds and which thrive (which determine where you need to increase and decrease the budget), you must track the data.
Some digital marketing options, like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, will track your data automatically, but for most other strategies, you’ll need to create a system to track them on your own. By the way, tracking is not an Excel sheet that someone plugs information into that is never reviewed and quickly forgotten.
Here are a few ways you can quickly track your marketing efforts.
Campaign URL Builder
Campaign URL Builder is a free tracking service offered by Google that gives you specific URLs to use in your marketing. Using this service allows you to track the source, medium, and campaign for each strategy used. It easily connects with Google Analytics to break down the data.
Tracking Phone Numbers
Services like CallTrackingMetrics.com and CallFire.com can be used to buy custom phone numbers that connect to your office. The first tracking number you should purchase should be used for online advertising. This phone number should be used in all of the online directories, so you know who is coming from the internet.
This is also a great option if you are split-testing a marketing campaign. One medium can drive people to call a unique tracking number, and the other medium can drive them to call a different tracking number. Then you can quickly pull the data to see which advertisement is generating the most leads.
Simply Asking Them
Incorporating a simple, “how did you hear about us,” in your intake can provide great data. Of course, not everyone will know, but some callers know exactly what advertisement they saw that drove them to call you.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.