The realm of law firm marketing is one not so many are familiar with. We tend to think of legal practices as perhaps so established that they don’t require marketing, or so essential to public need that they just fulfil themselves without marketing. This isn’t true of course, and legal firms of all stripes invest considerable time and money into their marketing plans.
How much of their budget do they dedicate to marketing, though? Is it the same as any other corporation would? Let’s take a closer look.
How Much Does a Typical Business Spend on Marketing?
It has long been held that a business should spend somewhere within the considerable range of 2 and 18 percent of their gross revenue on marketing their business. That’s obviously a wide-reaching and broad percentage, and the typical law firm on average does fall somewhere in between those two, but the interesting thing is that the real number will depend more on how that particular law firm operates.
For instance, if a firm has an urgent need to get new cases from other sources because referrals are too few or because the additional income is needed for other purposes, then a budget of about 15 percent of gross revenue is typical, and perhaps more. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a B2C legal practice that specialises in things like personal injury, family law or workers compensation then you might spend as little as 5-10 percent on marketing.
Between all the different types of legal practice out there, the wide range of budgets used would fit comfortably within the larger 2-to-18-percent window mentioned above.
Why Legal Firms Should Spend More on Marketing
How much a firm spends in exact dollars and cents depends on its size, of course, as well as its scope. Some firms are very specialised and niche and so will use a more budget-friendly targeted marketing strategy. Other firms offer a large wheelhouse of services and so need to reach a broader audience in their local area, and that costs money.
The industry is learning fast that online positioning, search engine optimisation, and the prominence of online reviews are all critical factors in their future success. The fact is that the newer generations of people hiring lawyers like to research local firms online first before they engage with them. Alternatively, they may meet a firm first, but then turn to online reviews to see if their impression lines up with what others are saying.
Consumers increasingly care about reviews and online presence, and for a law firm that means investing in good marketing strategies to feature at the top of Google search results and to display their good reputation as soon as people search for their company online directly.
What Are Good Ways for Law Firms to Invest Their Marketing Budget?
First of all, they should use some of the budget to engage with an outside firm with particular expertise in law firms and related marketing services. It may seem cheaper to do it in-house, but the fact is that your marketing efforts are only worth what they bring in conversion rates and returns.
An associate in a legal firm could write a brilliant submission as to why locals should trust them, but if it’s not sent through the right channels in the right way, it falls on deaf ears and the exercise was in vain.
Next, a law firm should focus on strategies that will raise their Google search results position, and that will highlight positive reviews and great feedback from the community about them. That might be social media content, direct reviews, articles about successes the law firm has had, and more. These play to the key USPs of law firms, which are its reputation and trustworthiness in the community.
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