Do you hear that noise? That swoosh followed by the sound of a cash register? Do you know what it is? The sound of your competitors skirting by you in search engine results, social networking, and online brand awareness. It’s the sound of your competition reaching the clients that you’re qualified to represent. It’s a sound that started the moment your competition embraced digital marketing and promotion and your firm didn’t.
This is not to say that your firm isn’t doing a bang up job getting clients from traditional methods, like phone book and word-of-mouth advertising, but the fact is, folks are turning to the internet for local business information and you really need to make the change with them. Odds are, your competition is spending about 3.4 percent of their annual collected fees on marketing.
One of the issues that prevents law firms from moving forward with digital marketing is building a solid budget that will allow them to achieve their online goals while not eating up the funds for traditional marketing. The catch-22 is that if your marketers don’t have enough money to make an impact on the web, then the funds are wasted and the budget is shot. So we’re going to walk through setting up your marketing budget.
- First, list your current available expense funds along with your current sales revenues.
- Then list your current fixed expenses.
- Next, develop a chart of how much revenue you estimate you will bring in per current client over the next 12 months.
- Then create a forecast of the number of new intakes you estimate you’ll get each month for the next year and how much you expect to gross with each.
Once these steps are complete, you’ll have a working knowledge of your average expected income. From here, you need to create a list of the marketing activities you’ll engage in, as well as the cost for each. Key activities that have proven beneficial to law firms are:
- Social networking (including LinkedIn)
- Effective website design geared towards the user experience while being mobile friendly
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Reputation Management
Check out a variety of online marketing companies as well as the services they offer and the costs for each. Today, it’s not too hard to find a reputation management company that can build your website, write your blogs, update your social networks, and optimize your website for search engines. Dig around and don’t feel that you have to go with the most expensive company. There’s plenty of small reputation management and SEO companies that do a bang up job for far less than the bigger companies.
Creating a simple Profit or Loss statement will help you determine how many new clients you need to grow your firm as well as how much money you will have available for your marketing budget and what type of profit you can expect annually. Knowing these important facts will help you find the best marketing company for your needs and will help that marketing company determine the best strategies for your goals.
Teresa Shaw is an SEO consultant with 10 years of experience helping attorneys and law firms across the country increase public awareness of their services.