How Much Should Law Firms Spend on Marketing?

Law Firm Spending on Legal Marketing

Lawyer marketing services

Running a firm is no easy task. On top of the legal side, you also need to be familiar with the business side of things, including customer reception, attracting new clients, and convincing them to hire you. 

If you’re a lawyer looking to get more clients, one of the best things to get started on is legal marketing. Of course, you don’t have to risk your firm or spend hours and hours developing a marketing strategy if you hire an experienced legal marketing agency instead! 

Whether you’re here to create your marketing plan or looking to hire a design and marketing agency, you still need to know how much you should spend. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a marketing budget that can give you a high return on investment (ROI). 


How to Determine your Marketing Budget

Before you learn about search engine optimization, conversion rates, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), you should figure out how much you can spend on your marketing campaign. 

There are many factors to consider when building a budget. These include: 

  • Business strategy and goals,
  • Firm size,
  • Local market,
  • Practice area,
  • Client retention strategy, and
  • Cost-benefit analysis.

To create a practical budget, you need to understand how these factors can affect marketing and how effective they are at achieving your goals. Let’s break them down.


Business Goals

Begin with the end in mind. Before planning your budget, you should know what your marketing campaign aims to do. This depends on your firm’s situation and general status.

If you’re just starting your practice, you may want to prioritize building a solid client base. If you’re an established firm, your goal may be to increase the number of clients through internet marketing tactics like social media marketing or email marketing. 

The numbers also affect your budget. A firm that wants to double its number of clients has to allocate more resources into marketing over a practitioner who wants to increase it by 20%.

Whether you’re creating your plan or hiring a marketing company, you have to know what you want the marketing plan to do. It can be attracting more clients, getting a different type of client, or entering a new practice area or physical area. 

If you’re not sure what goals you should set for your firm, it’s best to talk to an experienced law firm marketing agency. Our experience in lawyer marketing services is valuable in shaping your marketing budget to your marketing goals. Call us now to schedule a consultation!


Firm Size 

Size does matter! The size of your firm covers:

  • the number of clients, 
  • number of attorneys/staff, 
  • and the gross revenue. 

Solo practitioners and small firms usually invest much less than bigger firms will. It’s much more practical to express your budget as a percentage of your revenue rather than a fixed amount.

On average, law firms spend around  6.7% of their gross revenue on marketing efforts. Experts say that you should invest 2% – 12% in marketing.  

This is not a set amount. You can adjust it based on what your firm needs. Newer firms usually need to put attracting clients as their priority. This means you can expect an established firm to spend less on marketing if they’ve already built a solid client base.



The location is another factor to consider in your marketing budget. If you serve a rural community, you may only have a competitor or two in the area. However, the less dense population may mean that your clients are more geographically spread out. Consider these factors when deciding your budget.

On the other hand, a densely populated area probably means you have plenty of competition. You may need to spend more to convince your clients that you are the best attorney for them. You’ll also have to include both traditional and online marketing tactics to beat your competitors. 


Practice Area

Your firm’s practice area also affects how much you should spend on marketing. 

If your firm’s clients are large entities such as government agencies or businesses, you do not need to spend as much on marketing as those who deal with individual clients. You can expect personal injury attorneys to set aside more of their revenue for marketing, as they need brand awareness and lead generation to regularly attract clients. This is true for any business-to-consumer (B2C) practice. 

There are good reasons for this. B2C firms need a wider campaign to reach many people, usually utilizing business publications, trade shows, and conferences to clients their firms can serve. 

On the other hand, a firm that serves large clients can use precise tactics to target the clients they need, rather than needing to cast a wide net. These firms can also use loyalty and word-of-mouth as part of their marketing strategy to reach clients. This is typically free and can reliably gain them new clients. 


Cost-Benefit Analysis 

Marketing is a sound investment, and like any investment, it comes with risks. Your budget should be influenced by your firm’s capacity to recover from setbacks and its risk tolerance. 

ROI is an easy way to understand your risk and reward calculation. 

The firm’s current situation plays a part in this calculation. A struggling firm usually has to invest a significant sum into a plan that can bring a high ROI. This means that their options will be limited. On the other hand, a firm that sees significant profit margins has the luxury of choice. They can either invest a hefty sum into their marketing plan or choose to start small and see where it goes. 


Client Retention

You have to know how long a client usually stays with your firm. The longer the client retention, the higher the ROI for the initial marketing expense. A single client conversion translates into years of revenue. For these types of firms, it’s okay to see a low initial ROI since the benefits are more long-term. 

For firms with high client turnover, there’s less return on each client. However, it can still be necessary to increase your marketing budget if your strategy is to bring in a huge volume of new clients per month. If your firm belongs in this category, you should view ROI on an annual basis and go for more consistent marketing spend, rather than one big initial expense. 


Final Thoughts

Marketing teams and firms bring a wealth of experience to the table. A trusted marketing partner can assist a law firm in weighing these elements and determining where it should fall within the 2-12 percent range of gross income.

Remember that every legal firm is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. Marketing efforts must also be altered regularly, which may include budget adjustments.

At Advantage Attorney Marketing, we help solo attorneys and small law firms grow their businesses. With over 20 years of experience in the U.S. legal industry, we’ve developed our marketing management system for small law firms that will build your reputation, and reach your target audience.

Don’t wait. Give our lawyer marketing experts a call to establish your online presence today!


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