I get this question constantly. Everyone wants to know what they should be spending on marketing. They want a dollar figure or, at a minimum, a percentage of revenue as a guide.
What’s the answer?
The answer is, ideally, zero.
In an ideal world, you’d be spending nothing on marketing and 100% of your revenues would come from the positive word of mouth circulating about you in your community.
Everyone would know that you’re the go-to lawyer for family law matters. No one would need to be reminded that you exist because your name would be on the tip of every tongue. Your stellar reputation would be well known by everyone.
Is that possible? It certainly is. I’ve reviewed P&Ls for many lawyers that are generating substantial revenues and spending next to nothing on marketing. You can do it also.
It’s a slow process. It takes time. You’ve got to do excellent work. You’ve got to stay visible in your community through speaking, volunteering, being engaged in civic groups, etc.
I would suggest to you that this approach to marketing is the dominant approach of the majority of successful family law practitioners.
If you’re not willing to wait, if you’re not willing to put in the time in your community, if you need to make some money right now then you’re going to have take a more aggressive approach.
So what should you spend? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s easy to spend less than you should to achieve the results you seek. It’s hard to evaluate the results of spending a great deal.
My experience is that family law practices spend between zero (as I already mentioned) and twenty percent of revenue. If you spend at the high end of the range it’s tough to find smart places to put your money. It’s easy to experience diminishing returns as you spend more and more.
Where to start? If you’re going to be aggressive, start about about 5 percent of revenues. Do some testing. See what happens to your revenues and your profits. If it’s working and you want to keep growing then add to the spend slowly and keep measuring. Keep moving the number up until you start to see a drop in the rate of return.
As you increase the spending, keep careful records. Become a data driven decision maker. Keep spending, but only if there’s solid evidence of a very favorable rate of return.
Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.