Digital marketing plays an integral role in developing a law firm’s brand and generating new business. Law firms that properly invest in digital marketing can more easily reach and influence their prospect’s decisions. What becomes complicated for most firms is deciding how much money to spend and where to spend it. As the online landscape evolves and becomes more fragmented, the answer is not always transparent. This leaves lawyers wondering: how much should be budgeted for digital marketing in 2020, and which channels are most appropriate? In this article, we’ll guide you through important considerations when it comes to setting up your law firm’s digital marketing budget and allocating resources.
1. Rely on historical data as a basis of budgeting
Start by analyzing the previous year’s budget. Based on last year’s performance, try to assess what performed well, and cut the areas that may have under-performed. There are a number of law firm analytics tools including Google Analytics that can help provide a holistic view of your marketing performance.
Should your 2020 digital marketing budget be higher than 2019?
If your revenue has increased from last year, it would make sense to think about investing more money into your firm’s digital marketing. According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey, marketing budgets across small businesses average about 11% of their overall revenue.
2. Business objectives should be the key driver
After analyzing historical performance, start to consider all of your firm’s business objectives. Don’t think abstract here. Business objectives should be specific and quantifiable. For example, “I want to increase revenue by 15 percent over last year” or “I want to drive 15 leads per month.” From there, you can decide on which strategies and tactics you’ll need to reach each goal.
If your main objective is getting more leads, take a close look at your closed business and what brought your clients in. A way to do this is by listing all of your current clients and tracking lead source and revenue in a simple Excel sheet.
3. Capitalize on whitespace in your market to fuel growth
Take a look at what your competitors are doing and what they aren’t doing. In this process, you may uncover missed opportunities of engagement, known as white space. Such unsaturated areas in the market may present low-cost opportunities for your firm to reach and engage your target clients.
SEM Rush is a competitive intelligence tool that can help you identify your competitor’s search keywords. It will take more time, money and resources to attempt to outrank competitors on Google versus bidding on keywords they may have missed.
4. Consider the marketing channels that are most effective
When developing your omnichannel marketing strategy, focus on your audience, what form of communication they are likely to respond to, and what your messages should be. If you’re deciding where to invest to achieve the best results, we recommend the following strategies and tactics:
SEO + Content
Content creation is more important than ever, and building a proper website that draws the right traffic is a great marketing exercise in its own right. Spend a good portion of your budget managing your website, SEO, and curating valuable and relevant content.
According to 2019 CMO Survey, CMOs are anticipating an increase in social media marketing investment over the next five years. More specifically, we’re seeing more and more firms adopting paid social strategies. In this year’s Social Law Firm Index, we uncovered that 30% of Am Law 200 firms are using paid LinkedIn. Paid social gives law firms the ability to expand their reach in an extremely precise way.
Marketing technology enables marketing teams to achieve more in less time. According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey, spend on martech jumped from 22% of marketing budgets in 2017 to 29% in 2018.
From marketing and email automation to analytics and personalization, marketing technology has changed the way law firms scale their marketing engine and reap the rewards. A well-crafted marketing technology stack increases marketing efficiency, decreases lead to sales time and ultimately increases overall revenue and client satisfaction.
Video marketing can boost your search and SEO rankings, improve engagement with your audience, and help influence clients to choose your firm. It’s no longer an “up-and-coming’ content strategy. More consumers are interacting with videos today than ever before and by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic (Cisco).
5. Outsource certain functions
Today’s evolving digital landscape presents more opportunities than ever to reach and engage prospects and clients online through digital marketing. In-house law firm marketing departments often have a difficult time keeping up with the changing technologies and shifting consumer online habits behavior and trends. Often, this means that firms need to outsource certain functions to find the best-in-class expertise in certain areas.
According to a recent study which surveyed over 100 CMOs at large law firms, the firms reported outsourcing the following top 10 skills:
- Website building (69%)
- UX design (40%)
- Video content development (33%)
- Crisis communications (24%)
- SEO/SEM (19%)
- Public Relations (19%)
- Podcasting (19%)
- AdWords (18%)
- Email Design (13%)
- Marketing Automation (10%)
As you can see, there are innumerable factors to consider when developing your law firm’s digital marketing budget in 2020. To achieve maximum ROI on your efforts this year, keep an eye on your competitors, build off of tactics that have worked in the past, and test new tactics and avenues to reach your target audience. If you’re not making enough of an impact online, you’re either not spending enough overall on your digital marketing, or you’re not allocating your budget in the proper channels.
If you’d like help designing a digital marketing strategy that fits your law firm and drives tangible business results, contact us today.