How much should law firms spend on marketing?

Law firms spend 1-16.8% of their annual revenue on marketing, depending on which study you’re reviewing. That’s a pretty big range. And an American Bar Association report suggests that many small firms don’t even have marketing budgets. So, what’s really going on? What kind of spend is associated with successful firms? Well, we see the most successful law firms testing various marketing spends, then doubling down on the winners. Here’s a quick guide.

To be successful, how much should law firms spend on testing marketing options?

With the average law firm spending 1.9% of their annual revenue on marketing, it would seem there’s opportunity to outcompete and win. Maybe that’s why Thomson Reuters did a study suggesting that market-leading growth law firms spend $13,600/per employee on marketing, and static growth firms spend $11,300. However, in our opinion, it seems unlikely that the extra 20% per employee annually is the magic key to success.

We think it’s much more likely that the answer lies in how the firm spends their marketing budget. In our experience, we see Los Angeles law firms succeeding any number of different ways. Whether it be content marketing, law directory media buys, or even Google Ads. The successful firms have tested various techniques across platforms, found successful strategies, and then invested almost all of their budgets in the winners.

So, what kind of law firm marketing should your firm test? Content marketing, law directories, and Google Ads. And that’s it. To be clear, we have never heard a measurable success story about print advertising, PR, radio, podcasts, nor television. That’s not to say that radio and television don’t work (especially for personal injury attorneys) — we’ve just never been privy to any stories of radio and TV marketing success. Whereas, we see content marketing working in every single instance.

How much do lawyers spend on digital marketing?

Most lawyers should spend 100% of their marketing budget on digital marketing. (The exception being referrals.) We see all our client success derived from digital spends. We see very limited or no measurable success coming from TV, radio, and print advertising. And as an exception, larger firms should consider a PR budget.

In our opinion, your law firm should spend 70% on content marketing (and SEO), 20% on strategic law directory placements, and 10% on strategic Google Ads.

How much do law firms spend on SEO?

Law firms should spend a minimum of $5,000-10,000/month on content marketing and SEO. We’re combining content marketing and SEO in this case, because SEO doesn’t work alone. SEO requires content marketing (blog articles and Youtube videos) to generate leads.

There are publications out there suggesting that some firms spend $20,000/month on SEO. In our experience, we’ve never encountered a firm spending that much on just content marketing and website performance. So, we suspect this large number suggests a very large law firm is spending on enterprise SEO tools like BrightEdge. BrightEdge is primarily a data management tool, not a magic elixir. It suggests where SEO opportunities exist, and leaves it to your website development team to strategize and implement. In our opinion, for most small- to large law firms, equal insights can be obtained using industry leading tools like SEMrush and Moz, for about $299/month. We are happy to answer your questions about this.

What law firm marketing strategy should we test first?

Content marketing and Google Ads are the first law firm lead generation strategies to test. Smart content marketing always works in the long run (3-18 months). And insightful Google Ads strategies can begin to work the first week. While Google Ads might seem like the easy answer, in our experience, content marketing will drive 10x more leads, and far higher lead quality. It simply takes a few months to get rolling. We often find ourselves recommending both content marketing and Google Ads to start, then reducing the Google Ads spend every month (eventually, in many cases, to zero.)

Have questions? We help law firms like yours, every day.


About Seolos

Seolos is an advanced SEO and content marketing agency in Los Angeles, CA. We serve law firms and attorneys in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Denver, and nationwide. Across practice areas, from probate litigation to complex business law, our past and present clients have all seen dramatic organic traffic growth quickly. Our best-in-class strategies include Advanced SEO, Content Article Writing, Youtube Video Creation, Law Directory Optimization, and Website Design. Have questions? Schedule a free consultation or email: