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Creating a Marketing Budget for a Small Law Firm

If you have a small budget, or no budget at all, for marketing your law firm, you are not alone. According to an American Bar Association (ABA) survey from 2020, only 32% of firms with 2-9 lawyers and 14% of solo practitioners said their firms had marketing budgets. It may seem strange for a company of any size not to have a marketing budget, but this expense is often the first thing to be neglected when resources are thin.

How much money and time you budget for marketing will depend on factors, including the area of law you practice, your geographical location, and your number of competitors. Determining the types of marketing that may work best for you will also help you create your marketing budget. Your marketing budget will be unique, but you will probably want to set aside at least 2% of your gross revenue for marketing.

Acquisition and Retention

Your marketing efforts should accomplish two basic things: acquiring new clients and retaining existing clients. These two goals will require slightly different strategies, so you will need a specific budget for each.

Potential clients come to you in various ways, including a referral from someone they know, or they may have found your website through a search on the internet. Determining how potential clients find you and what converts them from a prospect to a client will help you decide the amount of your marketing budget.

You may find that you get most of your business from referrals, so you may want to strengthen your network of friends and business partners, as well as maintain an engaging and informative website. If, on the other hand, most of your new clients find you online, you will want to make sure your website appears at the top of searches in your area and that you are active on social media.

How you retain clients will depend on the area of law you practice. In estate planning, for example, client retention is critical since you want your clients to continue using your services throughout their lives. Some retention strategies to consider are emailing newsletters to your clients, posting to a blog page on your website and social media platforms, and giving presentations or webinars.

Is Your Website Actually Working? ↞

Over time you will find the balance of client acquisition and retention that works best for your practice. Finding a way to track how different marketing strategies are working will help you reach this balance. To do this, you can create a spreadsheet, or invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, to record how clients find you and how they continue to engage with you and your marketing efforts.

Cost-effective Marketing Strategies

There are many ways you can reach new clients and remain on your current clients’ minds. Various social media platforms offer ways to reach different audiences. According to the ABA, LinkedIn is the top choice for law firms of all sizes. LinkedIn will give you exposure to some potential clients, but you may use Facebook, Twitter, or another platform for others. As with your website, you will want to post new content consistently to your social media accounts.

>>> Social Media Marketing Checklist <<<

Managing social media posts on multiple platforms can initially seem daunting, but some tools can make the process easier. You can automate social media posts with tools such as Hootsuite. You can use email marketing services like Mailchimp to create and send email blasts. Budgeting the time to explore the different platforms and figuring out which ones will work best for you will help you make the most of your marketing efforts.


The time you set aside each week for marketing efforts depends on how quickly you want to grow your practice. At first, you will probably spend more time researching the various ways you can market your firm and getting into a routine. After you have a system in place, your marketing efforts should be easier.

If you think you don’t have enough time to manage your marketing efforts in addition to your practice, you can outsource some of the work. Outsourcing some tasks will free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business. If you enjoy doing the marketing work for your firm, then you may want to get help with some of the legal tasks that don’t require an attorney.

You can also hire outside help for some or all of your marketing work. Marketing agencies, such as Law As a Business, specialize in all aspects of marketing for law firms and would be a great option for those with limited experience or time. Whether you choose to manage your marketing efforts yourself or hire professionals to do it for you, stay on top of both your marketing efforts and budget to see the best results for your law firm.

Avoid common mistakes when budgeting for your firm’s marketing strategy!
how to avoid mistakes when budgeting your law firm's marketing plan

Understanding the priorities for your marketing strategy is the first step in getting the ball moving towards its implementation. Another essential component of the process is creating a realistic budget with quantifiable expectations for a return on your investment. Watch this video and learn how to get started in setting your firm’s marketing budget, how to track its effectiveness, and how to determine when adjustments should be made.

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