How to Create Your Firm’s Marketing Budget

As a firm owner, surely you have a master budget that you keep track of and update regularly. For many firms, Marketing may just be a line item and a catch-all for anything marketing-related they plan on doing. However, if you want to better track your marketing’s ROI and take control of how your hard-earned revenue is being allocated, start by revising your budget.

Remember: all marketing is not created equal. For our marketing budget at Spotlight Branding, we have multiple line items for various types of marketing. In other words, the money we spend on advertising is categorized differently from the events we sponsor. 

For example, you may have various line items for things like:

  1. Marketing Staff — this is anyone who works for your firm who handles marketing. At Spotlight Branding, each department is responsible for its own payroll. If you do it differently, that’s okay!
  2. Advertising/Lead Generation — This is where you’d categorize things like pay-per-click ads, SEO, or any kind of TV or radio spots.
  3. Events — Do you sponsor any local or industry events? The sponsorship and travel costs should go here.
  4. Content — This is where any content-related charges go, even if it’s just the outsourced payment to a vendor. However, any costs for blogging, video, podcasting, etc. go here.
  5. Software — It’s really hard to marketing without some sort of software helping you out. Maybe you pay for MailChimp, Hootsuite, or some other apps. Those charges go here.
  6. Offline Marketing — Do you have an aggressive direct mail campaign or a print newsletter?
  7. Referrals — What sort of investment do you make each month to obtaining and nurturing your referrals?
  8. Miscellaneous — It’s always good to have a miscellaneous line for those things that may not quite fall into any other category. Just make sure you stay consistent.

Are all of those things (aside from payroll) marketing activities? Yes, but we do this because we want to make sure we’re intentional about where we spend our money. We’re not just throwing money at the proverbial marketing wall and hoping something works out. We have specific budgets within our budget to track each activity. 

What’s the point?

When you understand that various marketing strategies produce different outcomes and that your firm needs to market differently to people depending on where they are in their buyer’s journey, it becomes easier to break things down and track individual ROIs.

For example, you may be able to generate all the leads you need for just $1,000 each month. However, you’ve noticed that those leads take several months to convert. After some research, you learn that content marketing can help nurture those leads along, so you decide to invest in that. Being able to see that separated out and broken down in your budget will help you develop a better understanding of your ROI.

The only question remaining is how much money should be devoted to each line item. Unfortunately, we don’t have that magic answer because it depends on the firm and its objectives. We can say that you should be devoting about 10% of your revenue to your marketing activities. From there, decide what’s most important to you and start spending!

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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!