Many lawyers and law firms who do not advertise justify their lack of marketing by pointing out that they do not have deep pockets. In other words, the justification is that one cannot advertise with money they do not have.
Similarly, when other competing firms advertise with greater ferocity, the same lawyers and law firms that do not advertise often assume these other law firms have deeper pockets. They might take this a step further by assuming these law firms that advertise had substantial resources when they started the law firm that allowed them to advertise from the beginning.
This assumption can make some lawyers and law firms feel indifferent about not advertising. In other words, they might feel as if they never could compete with those who have deeper pockets. Some law firms, however, view lawyers who advertise with contempt. They may even harken back to the days when lawyers were not allowed to advertise and may conclude this was a better time.
While some law firms might have vast resources from day one, may law firms that advertise do not fit into this stereotype. Instead, they just made marketing a priority. They understood the importance and apportioned some amount of their budget on marketing — with the realization that marketing should not be put on the back burner. Over time, many of these firms have incrementally raised their marketing budget.
While some law firms might invest in expensive and large office space they do not need when they begin their law firm, other law firms might opt for smaller and less expensive space. The law firm then allocates a certain amount of their budget to marketing efforts.
While some lawyers might invest in copy machine contracts, and spend exorbitantly on other office equipment, furniture, and supplies on day one, other law firms might buy a used copy machine, furniture, and office equipment. The law firm then may allocate a certain amount of their remaining funds to marketing efforts.
While some lawyers might spend exorbitantly on custom suits and clothing, other lawyers may buy first-rate clothing used on eBay. They then allocate the remaining funds to marketing efforts.
While some lawyers might draw all of the funds in their operating account to pay themselves, some lawyers might leave a certain amount in their operating account. The law firm may then allocate some of the remaining funds to marketing efforts.
Over time, marketing efforts result in more business. When there is more business, the law firm is making more money. When the law firm is making more money, the law firm can incrementally raise their marketing budget a little bit each year.
Interestingly, these law firms often end up with the funds to buy the nicer office space, furniture, and equipment at a later date because they invested in their marketing. At the same time, they can also pay themselves and their employees more, or even buy that custom suit, due to their marketing investments.
By raising the marketing budget a little bit each year, the reality is that the marketing efforts can become powerful and effective. But that does not mean the law firm always began with a large savings account. In many cases, it might just mean that the law firm understood the importance of marketing and made it a priority from the beginning.
What does this mean for those who are starting a law firm or hanging a shingle? Even if a law firm is spending a few hundred bucks on marketing at the beginning, some amount of money should always be allocated to law firm marketing. Over time, the number should be increased incrementally as the firm is able. This may even mean putting a little more money into marketing than what a law firm may be initially comfortable with. It also may mean being conservative with other expenditures, while being slightly more aggressive with the marketing.
The truth is that most marketing efforts work if a law firm commits to it. Often, the difference between law firms that succeed with their marketing, versus those who do not, is that some law firms made marketing a priority, while others did not.
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