You have started your law firm and need to build your clientele. Just using your immediate network will result in limitations in reach. In order to build your business, you need to invest in strong digital marketing efforts. At Array Digital, we offer the law firm web design and marketing solutions law firms need to create a robust demand and steady stream of leads. Contact us to learn more about how you can get started today.
How Much Do Law Firms Spend on Advertising – What Should Your Law Firm Marketing Budget Be?
For many organizations, the focus is on marketing spend – how much money they are putting into their budget to gain leads.
What is interesting is that many law firms do not have a marketing budget at all. In the legal industry, this may be common, but it is sometimes the dividing factor between the growth and development of the company.
That is changing, though. New surveys find that 68% of law firms are increasing their focus on marketing due to internal pressure to generate revenue, while 46% say they are doing so to reduce the number of firms they work with. Lead generation is a big part of any marketing strategy, as many law firms make adjustments.
Some law firms continue to spend money on traditional marketing rather than digital marketing. When they do this, they lose out greatly on their market share. When marketing efforts are not producing the return on investment (ROI) desired, it is often time to look for new solutions.
Yet, many law firms continue to focus on how much they should spend on digital marketing to hit the goal they desire. Many factors contribute to this.
One rule of thumb is to allocate 2 to 18% of your gross revenue to marketing. The Legal Marketing Association and Bloomberg Law reported that, in 2018, law firms allocated an average of 6.7% of their gross revenue to their marketing efforts. Is that enough? It depends on your lead generation goals and overall revenue.
Altogether, these numbers indicate that most organizations have room to grow when it comes to marketing investment. It is often a good idea to consider the total marketing budget of the law firm as a percentage of the company’s target growth. If you want your business to see revenue grow by $500,000 annually, you need to spend a lot more than a few hundred dollars on marketing services.
Expenditures on marketing campaigns often provide results. Marketing done well, such as marketing your practice area services using search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC), can often help businesses to get more out of their marketing spend. Simply asking for referrals is no longer enough.
How Is Digital Marketing Different Than Traditional Marketing?
Traditional marketing has a lot to offer, and it continues to be one component of many law firms’ marketing reach. However, digital marketing is quickly outpacing traditional marketing.
Digital marketing focuses on the use of platforms such as Google and Facebook to build brand awareness and generate leads. The marketing methods of traditional and digital marketing are a bit different, but what is most likely to differentiate these two areas is the medium in which they operate.
Traditional marketing may use newspapers, TV ads, and magazines. Digital marketing uses digital media, like social media websites and a law firm’s website and blog.
While both remain available for law firms to use, it is often wise to choose the right medium to reach customers based on where those customers are going for their needs. It is much harder, for example, to target potential clients with legal marketing on a TV ad for personal injury that could reach a few people with a case rather than providing a way for people already searching for personal injury lawyers on the search engines or talking to their friends about their need on social media.
Those law firms using just traditional marketing are losing relevance in today’s world. They are also missing key opportunities. Newspapers and broadcast reach is far less than what is possible with digital marketing. In fact, the majority of broadcast and cable networks have seen a decline in viewership over the last few years. One survey found that those networks saw a 90.3% decline in the average audience in 2021 compared to 2016.
Why would you want to put your law marketing budget in an area that does not provide you with the type and level of support you need to find new clients?
What Marketing Channels Are in Use in Digital Marketing?
Client acquisition through digital marketing requires a careful hand by an experienced team. There are four main ways to create this type of reach that applies to any practice area, including family law, estate planning, criminal defense, and other areas.
Array Digital, our marketing agency that specialized in marketing for law firms, offers four main services, that can transform the results you are getting.
A healthy website is a critical component of attracting new clients. Website development is more than just creating a site with basic information on it. Rather, it is critical to ensure your website will pass Google’s Core Web Vitals. Google is a business. Its success comes from providing its customers – those who search for products and services – the right information for them. For that reason, Google wants to ensure every website they put in front of their customers is the best it can be.
One way to do that is through various forms of search engine optimization (SEO). A digital marketing agency will help to ensure that these components are on target.
What are Core Web Vitals? In short, they are problems that impact user experiences, such as pages that take too long to load or have navigation problems. A Core Web Vitals report shows how the pages perform based on how everyday people use the website to achieve their goals.
Technical SEO is another component of this process. Technical SEO is a bit different in that it focuses on the backend of the website and possible server optimizations that help to improve search engine ranking. That is, these are tasks necessary for improving how search engine spiders crawl across the website, determine the value and purpose of each page, and rank them in the search engines accordingly.
Search Engine Optimization
As previously stated, SEO is a very important part of most websites for legal services. There are six specific pillars of SEO that are quite valuable. Here is a brief description of each:
- 1. SEO Strategy: In this area, we focus on creating a comprehensive game plan to improve the organic search engine results of your website. This includes knowing which popular and appropriate keywords to use for your business, writing high-quality content, and creating descriptive page titles and heading structures.
- 2. Content: Content marketing is a big part of any successful website. All search engine algorithms that define the success of a website in the search engines value quality content. More so, quality content leads to backlinks in which other websites include a link to your website.
- 3. Backlinks: Backlinks themselves are valuable. They help the search engines know that your website is trustworthy and you are a source of authority. Your marketing plan should include components of backlinking. At Array Digital, we conduct a backlinking campaign for all of our SEO clients.
- 4. Technical SEO: We’ve touched on this pillar already. It is establishing the server and website optimizations necessary to enable web crawlers to rank your website. This may include things like improving page speed and providing accessibility on mobile devices.
- 5. On-page SEO: This type of SEO refers to the steps you can take on the website pages to improve your ranking position. This may include interlinking between website pages and editing meta descriptions. Doing so will allow you to market to your target audience more efficiently.
- 6. Local SEO: To gain prospective clients in your area, you need to be able to target them with local SEO practices. For example, if you provide real estate law in Manhattan, New York, you want the title, headings, and page content to include several mentions of that local keyword. It is not just about the type of law but where your location can help you rank well.
SEO is essential for increasing leads. Having a website is just the starting point of this, though. You need to work to understand your target market, create a website that ranks in the search engines, and then fill it with quality information.
If you do not do this, there is no point in having a law firm website. People need to be able to find your website when they perform a Google search for the information they need. SEO helps solve this problem. SEO accounts for the greatest amount of website traffic, which directly leads to the highest conversion rate. If you want new business, it is critical to track these metrics to get you to that point.
A core part of business development for law firms is investing in online advertising. This often happens through Google Ads and social ads, such as those on Facebook. These ads work in the same basic way in most cases. You will design the ads, and when someone is looking for information that is related to the type of service you offer, your ad displays. That could be in the search engines, or it could be on the person’s Facebook page. You pay for these ads when someone clicks on them.
These ads are very important because they can be very targeted. If someone is looking for a very specific type of law in your area, those ads will appear for them.
To use this type of marketing method, you will need to set aside a daily budget and make frequent adjustments to it to ensure that you are bringing in the most effective leads. This does take time, and many attorneys do not have the time or a deep enough understanding of pay-per-click advertising to achieve these goals on their own.
Social Media Management
Social media is one of the most important tools for marketing. Facebook is a good example of this and tends to do well for law firms. In January of 2022, there were 2.912 billion active users of the platform, easily making it the world’s most active social media platform. That use continues to grow as well.
Attorneys need to tap into this audience. If you fail to use social media, you are likely missing out on huge opportunities to gain brand awareness and potentially some leads. It’s important to view social media for what it is – a place where people go to get information and recommendations, communicate, and gain insight. If you are not there, you cannot profit from all of those legal service conversations people are having.
How Much Can I Expect to Spend on Digital Marketing for My Law Firm?
The amount of money you can expect to spend depends on the method chosen. In short, you have options that you can select from to meet most needs.
Doing It Yourself
This is the least expensive option, of course. If you do it yourself or hire freelancers or employees to do the work for you, you can expect to spend 40 or more hours to set it up and 8 hours a month or more to manage it. That can cost $20 to $75 a month after setting it up.
Hiring a Freelancer for a One-Time Project
In this method, you can hire a freelancer to complete a specific project for you. Projects tend to range from $1,000 to $7,500, depending on the scope. However, once the project concludes, you will have to pay for hosting and make updates on the website yourself. Many lawyers forget to update their websites over time, leading to an outdated site.
Hiring an Agency with a Monthly Retainer
A monthly retainer allows you to set the amount of work you get on an ongoing basis. You pay a retainer fee each month to meet that amount. This can range from $1,000 up to $100,000 (yes, it can get that high). However, with an agency, you do not have to worry about finding time to make website changes or hiring more employees (who come with other costs, like paid time off, health insurance, etc.). Oftentimes, attorneys find that hiring an agency is more cost-effective, results in the highest quality work, and produces the most leads in the long run.
What If I Have a Small Marketing Budget?
Many organizations do not have a large budget to spend or the time to commit. Array Digital works with both small and large firms that have wide ranges in their allocated marketing budget.
We can assure you that even if your budget is small, the team at Array Digital will find a solution to maximize whatever you can spend. With quality digital marketing done at a small scale, we can scale up as you begin to produce more leads and grow your business.
Array Digital Offers All-Inclusive Pricing to Meet Your Needs
Array Digital understands that everyone is working within a different budget. Our founders will sit down with you to help you develop a comprehensive budget that meets your needs, gets results, and scales over time. If you are ready to build your business and create a digital presence, you need to consider the benefits of law firm marketing budget creation and execution. We are here to answer all of your questions.