How Much Should a Small Law Firm Spend on Marketing?

Small law firm

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Thinking of expanding your client numbers or getting more leads?

It’s time to level up your marketing game.

Forget conventional marketing methods and switch to digital marketing.

Well, that is what you are here for, right?

But your prime concern is your budget.

Don’t worry, here you will get to know everything; from the initial marketing budget to choosing the right company, everything that is required to kickstart your digital marketing journey.

So let’s start first with one of the most asked questions.

What is the Average Marketing Budget for Law Firms?

  • On average, top U.S. law firms allocate approximately $2.4 million to their marketing budgets each year.
  • Small law firms are advised to spend around 7-8% of their gross revenue on marketing.
  • Law firms tend to invest a significant portion of their marketing budget in online marketing efforts. In fact, 65% of law firms allocate most of their marketing budget to online marketing strategies.
  • Print and billboard ads account for about 19% of law firms’ marketing expenditures, while TV advertising makes up 17% of their marketing budgets.
  • An average range for law firm marketing budgets falls between 5% and 12% of their gross revenue, depending on the specific goals and strategies of the firm.

What Should be the Typical Marketing Budget for Small Law Firms?

A typical marketing budget in the range of $5,000 to $15,000 is significant and provides a good foundation for law firms or businesses to implement effective marketing strategies. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how such a budget might be allocated:

  • Digital Advertising (Paid Media)

A substantial portion of the budget, around 30-40%, could be allocated to digital advertising. This includes pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google Ads and social media advertising on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Such advertising helps in targeting specific demographics and generating leads.

  • Content Marketing

Allocating 20-25% to content marketing is wise. This covers the creation of high-quality blog posts, articles, videos, and other content assets that provide value to the target audience. Content marketing is essential for brand positioning and building authority in the legal industry.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Around 10-15% of the budget could be invested in SEO efforts to improve the law firm’s online visibility and rankings in search engine results. This includes on-page optimization, keyword research, writing content, quality backlink building.

  • Website Development and Maintenance

A portion of the budget, about 5-10%, should be set aside for maintaining and enhancing the firm’s website. A user-friendly and informative website is crucial for online presence.

  • Social Media Marketing

About 5-10% of the budget can be used for social media management, including content creation, engagement, and advertising on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Email Marketing

5-10% of the budget can be allocated to email marketing campaigns for nurturing leads and client communication.

  • Legal Directories and Associations

A smaller portion, around 5-10%, may be set aside for membership in legal directories and associations. These can enhance the law firm’s reputation and credibility.

  • Monitoring and Analytics

A small percentage should be reserved for analytics tools to track the performance of marketing efforts. This is essential for making data-driven decisions and optimizing campaigns.

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    Which Digital Marketing Channel is Best for Small Law Firms?

    The right and straightforward answer to this question is ALL.

    When it comes to choosing the best digital marketing channel for a law firm, the “all” approach may sound appealing, but the reality is more complicated.

    Every digital marketing channel has its unique strengths and is suited for specific objectives. Here are some key digital marketing channels for law firms and the scenarios in which they excel:

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Ideal for capturing clients actively looking for legitimate legal services. SEM includes PPC or pay per click advertising marketing on search engines like Google. It places your firm at the top of search results when potential clients are looking for legal help.

    Social Media Advertising: Great for brand awareness and engagement. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer targeted advertising options, making it effective for reaching specific demographics.

    Content Marketing: Establishes your firm as an authority. Through blogging and informative videos, you can attract and retain clients seeking expert advice.

    Email Marketing: Effective for maintaining client relationships and promoting services. Building an email list and sending relevant content can generate repeat business.

    Referral Marketing: Encourage satisfied clients to refer others. Implementing referral programs can incentivize referrals and grow your client base.

    Local SEO: Optimizing your online presence for local searches ensures potential clients can easily find your firm when seeking local legal services.

    Online Reviews: Building a positive online reputation is crucial. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews on platforms like Google My Business to build trust and credibility.

    Video Marketing: Creating informative legal videos on platforms like YouTube can help reach a broader audience and showcase your expertise.

    Now, you might be wondering how much you need to invest in your choice of digital marketing channel. Well, let’s find out.

    Note: Don’t start calculating all the amount that you are going to read further as the given budget indicates the average charge of each task.

    Budget for Web Development for Small Law Firm

    Budget for web development

    Basic Template Design: If you opt for a basic template design, the cost typically ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. This option provides a cost-effective solution with pre-designed templates that can be customized to suit your firm’s branding.

    Custom Design and Functionality: For a more personalized website with custom design and additional functionality such as contact forms, blog integration, and case study galleries, you may budget between $5,000 to $10,000.

    Responsive and SEO Optimization: Ensure that your website is responsive (mobile-friendly) and optimized for search engines (SEO). Investing in these features can add around $1,000 to $2,000 to your budget.

    Content Development: Content is crucial for law firm websites. If you need assistance with content creation, budget for copywriting services, which can cost approximately $500 to $2,000, depending on the amount of content required.

    Maintenance and Updates: Don’t forget to allocate a portion of your budget for ongoing maintenance, updates, and security. This can range from $500 to $2,000 annually, depending on your needs.

    Additional Costs: Consider additional expenses like domain registration, web hosting, and any third-party tools or integrations you may need.

    Monthly SEO Services: Small law firms can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,500 per month for ongoing SEO services. The cost depends on the scope of work, including on-page optimization, content creation, link building, and keyword research.

    Local SEO: If your firm focuses on serving a specific geographic area, investing in local SEO is crucial. Local SEO services can range from $300 to $2,000 per month, with an average of around $800. This includes optimizing your website for local search and managing your online listings.

    One-Time SEO Campaign: If you’re looking for a one-time SEO campaign, such as an initial website audit and optimization, it can cost between $500 to $2,000. This is a good option to kickstart your SEO efforts.

    Comprehensive SEO Packages: Small law firms may opt for comprehensive SEO packages that include a wide range of services. These packages can cost between $1,000 to $4,000 per month or more, depending on the level of competition in your legal niche.

    Content Creation: Content is a vital component of SEO. Budget for content creation, including blog posts, articles, and legal guides, which can range from $100 to $500 per piece.

    PPC Advertising: If you want to complement your SEO efforts with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, allocate a portion of your marketing budget to PPC. On average, 20% – 50% of your marketing budget can go towards SEO and targeted PPC ads to increase website traffic.

    Budget for Content Marketing for a Small Law Firm

    Monthly Content Creation: Allocate a budget for producing regular blog posts, articles, and legal guides. The cost per piece of content can range from $100 to $500, depending on the complexity and length of the content. A small law firm may choose to produce 2-4 pieces of content per month, which could total between $200 to $2,000 per month.

    Content Promotion: Budget for promoting your content through various channels, such as social media advertising and email marketing. Small law firms can allocate around $500 to $1,000 per month for content promotion.

    SEO Services: To optimize your content for search engines and ensure it reaches your target audience, consider investing in SEO services. SEO costs can range from $300 to $1,500 per month, depending on the scope of work.

    Content Distribution: If you plan to distribute your content on legal directories or industry-specific platforms, budget for submission fees, which can vary widely. Some directories offer free listings, while others may charge one-time or annual fees.

    Content Management Tools: Invest in content management tools, such as a content calendar or analytics software. These tools can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 or more per month.

    In-House vs. Outsourced Content: Consider whether you will create content in-house or outsource it to content writers. Outsourcing content may involve additional costs for hiring writers or agencies.

    Budget for Paid Advertising for a Small Law Firm

    Search Engine Advertising (e.g., Google Ads): Allocate a budget for paid search advertising. Small law firms can start with a monthly budget of around $500 to $1,000, and adjust it based on the cost per click (CPC) and desired exposure.

    Social Media Advertising: Budget for advertising on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Monthly budgets can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on the audience size and campaign objectives.

    Display Advertising: Consider display ads on relevant websites or legal directories. These ads can cost around $200 to $500 per month or more.

    Video Advertising: If video ads are part of your strategy, allocate a budget for platforms like YouTube. Costs can range from $100 to $500 per month, or more for more extensive campaigns.

    Local Advertising: Invest in local directories and legal platforms. Costs can vary but typically range from $100 to $300 per month.

    Agency Fees: If you’re working with a digital marketing agency, budget for their service fees, which can range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more per month, depending on the scope of work.

    Content Creation: Consider costs for creating advertising materials, such as ad copy, graphics, and video content. This could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per month.

    Testing and Optimization: Allocate a portion of your budget for testing and optimizing ad campaigns. Regular adjustments are essential to maximize the ROI.

    Budget for Social Media Marketing for a Small Law Firm

    Social media marketing budget

    Monthly Advertising Budget: Allocate a monthly budget for social media advertising on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Typically, small law firms can start with a budget of $500 to $1,000 per month and adjust based on campaign performance.

    Content Creation: Budget for creating engaging and informative content for your social media platforms. This can include the cost of hiring a content creator, graphic designer, or photographer. Costs can range from $200 to $500 per month, depending on your needs.

    Social Media Management Tools: Consider investing in social media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social to streamline your efforts. These tools can cost between $50 to $200 per month.

    Monitoring and Analytics: Allocate funds for social media analytics and monitoring tools to track your performance. These can cost around $50 to $100 per month.

    Sponsored Posts and Promotions: Plan for occasional sponsored posts and promotions to increase visibility. Budget around $100 to $300 for these campaigns.

    Influencer Collaborations: If applicable, set aside a budget for collaborating with social media influencers or industry experts to promote your firm. Costs will vary based on the influencer’s reach and reputation.

    Community Management: If you require community management to respond to comments and messages, consider budgeting for this service, which can cost around $200 to $500 per month.

    Training and Education: Allocate a budget for continuous training and education to keep up with social media trends and best practices. This may range from $100 to $300 per year.

    How to Calculate a Marketing Budget for Your Law Firm Using LTV:CAC Ratio Method

    Determine LTV: Calculate the Customer Lifetime Value for your law firm. This is the total revenue you can expect to generate from a single client over their lifetime as your customer. To calculate LTV, consider factors like average revenue per client and the average duration a client stays with your firm.

    Calculate CAC: Calculate the Customer Acquisition Cost, which is the total cost associated with acquiring a new client. Include all expenses related to marketing, advertising, and sales efforts.

    LTV:CAC Ratio: Divide the Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) by the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). The formula is: LTV / CAC. This ratio indicates how much revenue you can generate for every dollar spent on acquiring a new client.

    Set a Target Ratio: Determine the desired LTV:CAC ratio that makes your marketing investments profitable. A ratio greater than 1 is ideal, as it means that your client acquisition is generating more revenue than it costs.

    Allocate Your Budget: Based on your target LTV:CAC ratio, allocate your marketing budget. Ensure that your marketing expenses do not exceed the CAC if possible. If your LTV:CAC ratio is 3:1, for instance, you can allocate one-third of the LTV to your marketing budget.

    Monitor and Adjust: Regularly monitor your marketing performance and the LTV:CAC ratio. If it falls below your target, you may need to adjust your budget and marketing strategies to improve efficiency.

    Consider Industry Benchmarks: Compare your LTV:CAC ratio with industry benchmarks to ensure competitiveness.

    Using the LTV: CAC ratio ensures that you’re making profitable marketing investments by estimating the long-term value of each client and aligning your marketing budget accordingly.


    Let’s break it down with hypothetical numbers:

    Determine LTV (Customer Lifetime Value):

    Suppose the average client’s LTV is $50,000 over their lifetime with your law firm.

    Calculate CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost):

    Assume that you spend $10,000 on marketing and sales efforts to acquire new clients.

    Compute LTV:CAC Ratio:

    LTV / CAC = $50,000 / $10,000 = 5.

    • Set a Target Ratio

    Based on industry benchmarks and your firm’s financial goals, you may decide that a minimum LTV:CAC ratio of 4 is necessary to make your marketing investments worthwhile.

    • Determine Your Marketing Budget

    Given the desired ratio of 4, you can allocate your marketing budget based on the CAC. If you aim for a 4:1 ratio, ensure that your marketing budget does not exceed $2,500 per client acquisition ($10,000 CAC / 4).

    • Calculate the Number of Clients

    If your budget allows spending $2,500 per client acquisition, then your marketing budget of $10,000 can effectively acquire four new clients ($10,000 / $2,500).

    Remember that these numbers are hypothetical and should be adjusted based on your firm’s specific circumstances and financial goals. Regularly assess your LTV:CAC ratio and marketing performance to refine your budget for optimal results.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, as a law firm’s revenue and client base expand, it’s essential to adjust and scale the marketing budget accordingly to support growth.

    Yes, data suggests that firms spending at least $10,000 per month on marketing tend to achieve better results.

    Small firms should evaluate their goals, resources, and competition to create a budget that aligns with their objectives.

    Yes, as a law firm’s revenue and client base expand, it’s essential to adjust and scale the marketing budget accordingly to support growth.

    Depending on the practice area the advertising can range from $10,000 to $50,000 per month.

    23 replies on “How Much Should a Small Law Firm Spend on Marketing?”

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