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  • Ad budget for law firm

    The reality is that your law firm needs more leads and more clients…Now. But your marketing may have been put on the back burner. Whether your law firm has been busy keeping up with caseloads or simply focused on other efforts, it’s hard to bring in high-quality leads without a strong online presence.

    Regardless of whatever has been holding you and your law firm back, now is the time to cut the excuses and come face to face with reality.

    You need more clients to survive. The quickest way to infuse more leads and ultimately more clients is to create an ad budget for your law firm and launch an effective ad campaign (or call Exults for help). 

    If you plan on DIY-ing your digital marketing budget, your first question is likely…Where do I start? First, focus on building an advertising budget before executing the plan. 

    Want to set up your law firm’s ad campaigns right the first time? Let’s start the conversation to build out a plan.

    Why Your Law Firm Needs To Create An Ad Budget

    In the world of advertising, there is no one definite answer to finding the perfect ad combo.

    With continually changing algorithms, user behavior, and popular platforms, it can be a full-time job to set up and operate an ad campaign. Beyond the time it takes to run ads on your own, the biggest issue we see with law firms is that they do not create an ad budget before they press “publish”. 

    As a result, these campaigns usually run up costs, produce leads that you may not actually want, and bring more headaches than profitable clients. If you’re spending most of your budget on social media advertising, it may not actually be your best strategy. Creating an ad budget can relieve some of your stress and set you up for future success.

    But what is an ad budget? An ad budget simply allows you to track how much you’re willing to spend for each lead (i.e. your cost per lead).

    5 Steps To Create An Ad Budget For Your Law Firm

    Law Firm SEO Services

    To avoid the common mistakes of running ads, it’s important to create an ad budget for your law firm. There are 5 things you can do to create that and set you up for future advertising success. 

    1. Determine Your Law Firm’s Expenses

    First, you need to have a firm understanding of your law firm’s expenses. Consider the following expense categories:

    • Case-Related. Evaluate court filing fees, medical record expenses, lab fees, travel expenses, witness fees, etc. While these expenses may be passed through to the client, they may impact your immediate cash flow. 
    • Insurance. The last thing that you want to be hit with is a malpractice suit against you or your practice. Malpractice premiums are a necessary evil.
    • Technology. From the computers you use to run your practice to storage, cyber security services, and general IT, your technology budget can eat up a decent chunk of your total expenses. 
    • Subscriptions. Your firm requires you to have several subscriptions that can range from MCLE subscriptions to legal research to bar association memberships. 
    • Office. Even though work-from-home has made many law firms mobile, your firm may still require an office. Don’t neglect the rent and everything that keeps your office running smoothly. 
    • Personnel. Beyond salaries, you also need to consider benefits, continuing education, and training for every employee. 
    • Miscellaneous. Don’t forget about the random expenses that are hard to pinpoint or anticipate, like client gifts, travel, bonuses, etc. 

    The goal here is to see where your money is currently going and where there are opportunities to trim your expenses. Planning around an accurate budget is key for law firms of any size. Especially as your law firm scales up, changes, or acquires new partners, you should track where every cent is being spent to find gaps, tighten them up, and use those funds to develop a solid digital strategy.

    P.S. You may have noticed that we didn’t include marketing in this general list of expenses, and that was intentional. We’ll get into that in step #3.  

    2. Review Your Settlement Forecast

    Once you know where your law firm’s money is going, review your settlement forecast. If you don’t have a settlement forecast yet, gather the following information for each case:

    • Name
    • Stage
    • Type
    • Settlement date
    • Settlement amount or your fees

    This will produce a good inventory of where you are currently. But then you want to compile that data into a couple of different viewpoints, like cases by:

    • Type
    • Settlement amounts (set broad categories – low, medium, high)
    • Date

    Once you have your settlement forecast, identify your monthly or annual revenue goals. The viewpoints you just created will help you discover where you are, what areas you need to focus on, and how quickly you need to implement ads to support your firm. Then compare where you currently are revenue-wise to your revenue goals. You want to see where the settlement gap is. Some great questions to ask when you’re comparing those 2 numbers include: 

    • Why aren’t you reaching your goals right now? 
    • Where did you come up with your settlement goals? And are they realistic? Do you need to adjust them? 
    • What happens if you don’t meet your goals?

    Then, review how you currently attract, nurture, and close leads into clients. 

    Are you conducting the necessary activities to fill, maintain, and close your sales pipeline? For example, if you need to sign an engagement letter with an average of 5 clients at an average settlement of $20,000 and your average close rate for discovery calls is 40%, then you know you need to talk to 12-13 prospects per month. 

    Don’t forget about seasonality! Know your low and high seasons for your business. This will help you to anticipate potential settlements. 

    3. Define Your Law Firm’s Marketing Investment

    More than a third of potential clients start their attorney search online, which makes digital ad management essential. But there’s more to setting up ads than you’d think. This is because ad management is similar to turning on and off a fire hose. Once you put a budget behind it, you get leads. But once you turn it off or press pause, your lead flow dries up immediately. We want to ensure that you’re building a marketing funnel that continues to feed your business regardless of whether ads are running.  

    That’s why we recommend looking at your entire law firm’s marketing investment. 

    Moreover, go beyond what you think marketing is and explore all possibilities. 

    Law Firm Digital Marketing

    Start by evaluating whether you need to create or revamp your website. In this day and age, your clients will Google you and evaluate your credibility based on your site. That’s why you need a solid law firm digital marketing strategy to generate the leads you need. 

    At Exults, we help law firms like you on:

    • Designing beautiful, user-friendly, and effective websites
    • Optimizing those websites for search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
    • Sharing your firm’s value on social media
    • Driving traffic through paid advertising
    • Following up with those leads with retargeting
    • Promoting the work you’ve done in public forums

    If it touches the Internet, we can take care of it for your firm and drive the results you need. 

    Still managing your own marketing efforts? It may be the time to outsource while you fulfill your settlement forecast. Explore Exults today.

    Law Firm Traditional Marketing

    Even though digital marketing seems like the only lead generation solution available, do not neglect some law firm traditional marketing tactics, including:

    • Billboards. Offline, billboards account for about 13% of leads for law firms and attorneys. Especially for personal injury and accident attorneys, billboards have about the same impact as display ads. 
    • TV advertising. How often do you have the TV on around you without even noticing? You may choose not to turn on a TV all day and still hear an advertisement or 2. Aside from having TVs at home, many people also find TVs in public places like the local health clinic, corporate offices, gyms, and restaurants. TV ads have a habit of sticking in an audience’s head, even when they aren’t completely aware of it. This is likely why just over a quarter of leads for law firms come from TV advertisements. (CallRail) 
    • Radio advertising. What’s important to understand about radio advertising is that its meaning has changed over the years. Radio ads no longer refer solely to those that come on in between breaks or DJ sets. Several streaming services that play podcasts, music, audiobooks, etc. also use radio ads. Oftentimes, getting the “ad-free” version of anything costs extra, which plenty of people avoid. This is probably why radio ads account for 13% of leads for law firms alone (CallRail).
    • Public relations. How does your law firm get out a specific message or otherwise share big news with the public? The way your firm shares important announcements, promotes services or gets a main message out to the media is the purpose of your public relations communications. Because this is a time-consuming marketing tool, many law firms hire a PR or digital marketing agency (like Exults) to take care of this for them.
    • Reputation management. If your law firm’s public relations team is how you get your messaging out, then your reputation management is how you handle other people’s opinions and criticism. This is critical as most people (87%) of consumers read online reviews before deciding to work with a business. This includes responding to feedback online, attempting to resolve negative reviews, and maintaining your law firm’s brand and reputation.  
    • Brand development. The more consistent your brand is, the more likely you are to have the brand recognition you need to attract high-quality leads. Developing your law firm’s brand for growth includes addressing the quality and consistency of your logo, website design, copy, messaging, and visuals like videos, graphics, fonts, and colors.
    • Print advertising. Next to TV ads, print ads make up 22% of lead generation results for law firms (Small Biz Trends). Again, ensure your print ads are as sharp and informative as your digital ads are for the sake of your brand’s consistency. The last thing you want is to confuse your audience about who you are and what you do.

    While many of these strategies will funnel back into your digital plan, there may be a missed opportunity if you sleep on tactics. If you’re not quite sure where to start, it’s important to speak with a marketing expert who can guide you on what to focus on first. They’ll start by asking similar questions that we’ve already discussed in this article like: 

    • What is your settlement forecast?
    • What are your revenue goals?
    • Who is your target client?
    • How are you currently generating leads?

    Ready to experience the results driven by Exults? Contact us for a custom quote today! 

    4. Find The Gap In Your Marketing & Settlement Efforts 

    Next, it’s important to search for the gap in your marketing and settlement efforts. Every law firm and business has some. This will help you and any other marketing provider you work with create a strategy that will sustain your business growth. 

    Don’t know where to start? Try looking at these areas:


    Consistent brand awareness can boost your revenue by up to 33%! Your audience may not know that you exist or that you solve a problem they didn’t know they had. Make them aware of your law firm and the problems you solve for them. Here are some quick questions to ask yourself to see if you need to fill the awareness gap:

    • Do you have a brand (i.e. name, core message, logo, colors, etc.)?
    • Do you have a website?
    • Can prospective clients find your website?
    • Do you have social media pages? 

    The more consistent your brand is across the board, the less you have to try to make it memorable. The idea here is to have a steady overall look, feel, tone, and attitude that is unique and unmistakable to your brand.


    Prospects know you exist but they may have not connected with you. Move the client relationship forward with an engagement campaign. This could include:

    • Convincing them to reach out to you via the contact form, email, or phone number
    • Signing up for your email newsletter
    • Reading a recent blog you published
    • Following you on social media 

    Ask what results you would like to see from a marketing campaign. If your dream is to grow your social media account(s) to 5,000 followers, write it down and ask about its feasibility as you shop for a marketing partner. Pay attention to how each agency answers the question and if what they’re saying sounds overpromising or too good to be true. You will want to be on high alert for anyone who promises to “make you go viral” or suggests that you buy your followers to reach your goal. 


    Have a great conversation with a prospect but end up ghosted? Follow up with them to get the ball rolling again. Many companies struggle to keep their audience engaged. According to Business of Apps, 77% of new app customers are lost by the third day. When you apply this methodology to your law firm, follow-up and re-engagement are essential to closing a client. You want to avoid them forgetting about working with you or moving on to a competitor. 


    Working with a client once and never seeing them again? That may work for your firm, but retention could also mean getting referrals from your previous clients. 

    Each of these areas requires a different ad strategy and may impact your overall ad budget. So it’s important to identify at least one area you want to focus on. 

    If you need to work on each area, an ads partner like Exults can help you build different campaigns that build on top of each other. This makes a clean experience for your prospects. 

    5. Find An Ads Partner To Drive Results

    Lastly, you want to find an expert who can operate your ads for you. Not all ads are treated the same. Social media, Google, Bing, billboards, radio, TV ads, etc., are all created, written, and executed differently. This is why it helps to start by connecting with an ads partner that is equipped to drive results for your law firm, like Exults. 

    Your advertising partner will take your ad budget, distribute it among the different mediums, create the ad copy and target keywords, and manage your budget so that you get the lowest cost per click possible. 

    Exults takes all the information you’ve collected in the first 4 steps to develop a campaign strategy that will scale your firm how you want. All you have to do is engage with the leads we produce for you and close business with them. It’s a formula we’ve implemented for hundreds of law firms and businesses over the last 19+ years.

    Advertising Frequently Asked Questions

    Check out the following answers to our most frequently asked questions:

    What Is A Law Firm Ad Budget? 

    It may appear like your law firm’s ad budget goes to one place or platform, therefore, it should be easy to see what you spend your money on. 

    However, there are typically several people who specialize in various areas of marketing working together to make your campaigns work for your law firm. This means that your law firm’s ad budget may go into general “marketing” but includes covering the costs of graphic design, audience research, messaging, copywriting, development, etc. This is important to keep in mind as you financially plan for the future of your firm.

    Where Can A Law Firm Place Ads? 

    When you hear “ads”, you may only think of the traditional pay-per-click advertising found on search engines like Google. But it can be so much more than that. The key is to find placement locations where your target client will be hanging out. Think beyond PPC, and explore:

    • Social media 
    • Billboards
    • Radio
    • Television
    • External blogs
    • Podcasts

    With plenty of various outlets to choose from, this is why it’s vital to assess the needs and goals of your law firm. You want to put your marketing budget into a portfolio of advertising efforts that will yield optimal results. As you continue to focus on your business, your ads also work for you constantly to… 

    • Increase your leads 
    • Bring higher-quality leads
    • Free up the phone for clients closer to converting 
    • Talk about who you are and what you specialize in without having to lift a finger
    • Bring leads directly to your website instead of your competitors
    • Streamline your sales process for you by answering questions, providing contact information, etc.

    Again, many formulas have the potential to work for a law firm’s marketing efforts. This is even more reason to have a dedicated team working on your marketing even when you don’t have the time, know-how, or resources to do it yourself.

    Should I Put My Entire Marketing Budget Into Advertising? 

    If you need quick lead generation, advertising will direct those prospective clients to your website. But in the long run, you want a well-balanced marketing strategy that includes SEO and advertising. Strategize with Exults to see the right marketing matrix for your law firm. 

    Is SEO Or PPC Better? 

    Choosing to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) versus pay-per-click advertising (PPC) depends on the goals of your law firm’s digital marketing strategies. Long-term brand recognition works well with a sound SEO strategy that has room to adjust and change as needed to achieve maximum results.

    However, if you have more short-term goals like increasing website traffic, social media engagement, etc., PPC advertising will be the better tool to give you those results. The most popular PPC ads include:

    • Display banner ads
    • Embedded video
    • In-app advertising
    • Native advertising content (sponsored content)
    • Pop-up ads in a website or app
    • Text-based search engine results (SERPs)
    • Video ad within a video (for example, on YouTube)

    Is It Ethical For An Attorney To Advertise?

    Yes, as long as they are speaking to their audience in general. Lawyers and law firms may advertise as long as they are not calling anyone out in particular. According to the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 7.3 regarding Solicitation of Clients, it’s simply best to advertise legal services to an entire group rather than single someone out who may or may not need it.

    Want To Drive More Business To Your Law Firm?

    We’re here to make money for you. When you work with Exults, you have a new ad experience. We provide the reality of your campaigns with metrics that actually mean something to your business so that you’re able to make informed decisions moving forward. 

    Your law firm is waiting. It’s time to start the conversation and get a custom quote today.

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