Building A Marketing Plan: Budgeting (Part 7)

  • For those with us throughout this blog series, you have read about a marketing plan, how to organize one, and how to track it. To reiterate, there are four distinct components of a great marketing plan: 

  1. What your firm is doing 
  2. When you are doing it 
  3. What do you think it is going to result in (or what do you hope it accomplishes)
  4. What it is going to cost

Throughout the previous six posts, we have addressed 1-3. The last point, cost, is probably the most straightforward, even though it’s the one most people are concerned about. It is essential to note that we must address time and money when looking at the budget. Lawyers are somewhat unique because they know how valuable ten minutes of their time is. 

We bring this up because there are some forms of marketing you can do where you can spend time instead of money. Networking and content marketing (writing a blog yourself) fall into this category. We’re not saying that you must include the number of hours you want to spend on these things in your marketing plan. However, putting down an estimate is worthwhile. Everything is going to cost you one of these two things. 

By including these in your marketing plan in any given period (we prefer quarters), you can be confident that you won’t overspend your budget regarding time and money. To take this even further, underspending your budget is also a concern. Granted, there may be times when you step away from a form of marketing and spend nothing, but that decision must be deliberate. 

How Much Money Should I Be Spending? 

We like the rule of thumb of spending 10% of revenue on marketing. That can be all-inclusive, so if you have marketing staff, that is included in the 10%. You could also spend 10% of your revenue on marketing activities and campaigns; marketing staff would be over and above that. At Spotlight Branding, 20% of every dollar that comes in goes to our marketing department. It covers staff salaries, tools (e.g., software), ad spending, and vendor fees. 

The beauty of a percentage is that it doesn’t matter if you are bringing in $100,000 or $2,000,000 in revenue. Ten percent should be your floor, and you should be able to spend that on marketing. If you can’t, then you may be doing something wrong. In other words, you may be spending too much money elsewhere. It’s an extreme example, but imagine the person who says they don’t make enough money but spend three hours a day watching television—which is close to the national average. This person has time but is allotting it poorly if their goal is to make more money. 

The 10% is there, but you’re spending it on something else. You could be giving it to yourself, staff, or other things. Find the 10% to put toward something as critical as marketing. Another way of looking at this is that you aren’t spending money on marketing insofar as you are investing in it. It should produce an ROI faster than, say, your retirement account.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!