Should I do my own law firm marketing? A cost-benefit analysis

Taking a look at the obvious and hidden costs to doing your own marketing at your law firm.

You’ve hung up your shingle. The next step is getting potential clients in the door.

To do that, you must advertise and market your Elder Law or Estate Planning practice. So it only makes sense that a portion of your budget should be spent on marketing.

But what if you are a small firm? Does that mean you should be focusing less on marketing and advertising?

Absolutely not!

With a smaller budget, it may be tempting to take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to marketing to save money. I mean really, how hard can it be?

We have worked with hundreds of Estate Planning and Elder Law attorneys across the country. Those attorneys have shared with us that there are surprising and unexpected marketing costs (both financial and otherwise) that you may not be aware of. Let’s break it all down for you.

How much time should I spend on marketing for my law firm?

Studies show that attorneys who do their own marketing spend an estimated 183 hours per year on marketing tasks. 

That’s almost an hour every single working day.

How much does it cost to do my own marketing?

If the average billable rate for Estate Planning law firm services is $315 per hour (according to AttorneyatWork), the cost of their marketing time is $315 x 183 hours per year = $57,645 annually.

If you use a flat pricing structure, think about it this way:

  • Your firm charges $5,000 for a basic estate plan and it takes 12 hours to produce.
  • $5,000 /12 hours = You are generating income at a rate of $412 per hour

Spending 4 hours per week on marketing activities would effectively “cost” you $1,648 per week or $7,141 per month.

Are you an effective enough marketer to generate income at $412 per hour doing those activities?

Or, is your time better spent conducting consultations, drafting documents, and doing other revenue generating activities?

Using someone that already has marketing skills could save you thousands of dollars.

Hidden costs of DIY marketing

As an attorney, you went to law school and have taken countless CLEs. You know how to help someone prepare for their future, protect their assets, qualify for Medicaid, and more.

Do you feel as comfortable in your knowledge of marketing strategies?

How much time are you spending on low-level marketing tasks such as:

  • Posting on social media
  • Monitoring and responding to social media comments
  • Writing and posting blogs on your website
  • Keeping your website updated with legal industry changes
  • Recording, editing, and uploading YouTube videos
  • Creating Facebook Ads and landing pages for live workshops or webinars
  • Drafting content for a weekly or monthly e-newsletter
  • Creating and scheduling email campaigns to follow up with prospects

Marketing your law practice effectively requires specialized knowledge and experience.

Consider the opportunity cost of you as the attorney first learning how to do marketing tasks, then actually doing the tasks, vs. hiring a company that understands your business and can hit the ground running.

Quality is important

Your clients should feel that you feel that you are professional and trustworthy. If you aren’t an expert at marketing, you may not be projecting the image you desire. When you take the DIY approach, your marketing may – unbeknownst to you – end up being poor quality due to your lack of experience.

An experienced marketing agency that specializes in your practice area will likely deliver better quality and results than your DIY tactics.

Be sure that you are giving your practice the reputation it deserves with quality marketing and advertising.

Consider your work-life balance

If you are spending 183 hours per year on marketing tasks, it’s likely that some of that time is taking up your evenings and weekends.

Are you effective enough at marketing that the financial return for your efforts is worth the time you spent working on them?

Not included in that calculation is the ramp-up or training period for you to gain the skills you need to be an effective marketer.

Brainstation says: “depending on your experience, you may be able to acquire the skills you need to become a digital marketer in as little as 12 weeks. However, mastering many of the techniques and skills—particularly soft skills learned on the job like leadership and communication—may take years.

Hiring someone that already has those skills could not only save you thousands of dollars, but also give you back weeks, months, or even years of your time.

Hiring someone in-house

Effectively marketing and advertising a law firm is a full time job.

It may be tempting to find a generic “Marketing Coordinator” job description and post it online with a salary of $58,000 (the U.S. average), hoping good candidates apply.

While $27/hour is certainly less than the billable $412/hour that your time is worth, there are many other factors to take into consideration.

When you hire someone for an in-house marketing position, be sure to consider all of the financial and non-financial aspects, such as:

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Vacation time
  • Sick time
  • Training
  • Who will manage this new employee
  • Possibility that employee could resign at anytime

Hiring someone in-house is better than you, as the attorney, DIYing your marketing, but be sure you are prepared to dedicate time or financial resources to each item on the list above.

If you opt to hire someone, invest the time to train them properly. We offer a group coaching program for attorneys and office staff that trains you on a new marketing topic every month.

Advantages of outsourcing

Elder Law attorneys spend years learning, refining, and practicing their work, and so do marketing experts.

The way that you would be more successful than a PI attorney when getting someone qualified for Medicaid, an experienced marketer is going to get your firm the best results.

A good marketing agency can make your firm rank higher in Google search results, get the attention of clients on social media, and give you insight from a different perspective that will get more people through your doors.

Another huge benefit to outsourcing your marketing and advertising is that you only pay for services that you need.

You can pick and choose the things that are important to you, or that you simply want to offload. How nice would it be to “set it and forget it” with your social media and weekly e-mail newsletter?

Using a marketing agency you won’t incur the expenses and time-commitment of hiring someone in-house, and you won’t have the long learning curve of going the DIY route. You’ll have direct access to someone that is already an expert in their field and can get started immediately.

In conclusion

Building a successful law firm isn’t easy. And marketing isn’t something you stop doing once you have “enough” clients.

Adding marketing tasks to the work you already have adds another layer of stress to the pile. You have to handle your current caseload, manage the day to day business side of the operation, and continuously try to bring in new clients to guarantee the firm’s future success.

By outsourcing the tasks that take you away from clients, you can put your full attention on your current clients while letting an expert grow your bottom line.

Outsourcing your marketing with the right organization can help you save time, become more efficient, and make more money.

At Bambiz, we help Elder Law and Estate Planning attorneys get in front of quality clients. We handle all aspects of marketing for your firm, from smaller things like providing monthly social media content, to larger things like managing your website, SEO, and live workshops.

Schedule a free, no obligation, 15-minute call with us to learn more.

Click here to check out our SEO and blog writing services. With a variety of options that fit every budget, we will get your law firm in front of your target audience.

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