One of the most challenging marketing tasks for any business is establishing their marketing budget. This is true for Personal Injury attorneys as well. A quick review of “benchmarks” for the industry is not especially helpful, with ranges from 5-25% of gross revenue commonly found. To develop an effective PI marketing budget, you need to take a number of factors into consideration.

Industry Benchmarks

Industry benchmarks are usually nothing more than averages. If you are an “average” firm that might work for you. We find that each firm is unique, with their own needs and desires. So, while benchmarks provide guidelines of range, they don’t consider different factors that influence your practice.

Goals and Objectives

We have our clients start with their goals and objective. Where do they want their office to be in one year, three years and five years? What is the best way to get there? Are there certain practice areas that the attorneys relish or areas that are underperforming? Another way to grow is by expanding the geography from which you draw clients. Or you can simply become more efficient at signing cases from your existing practice areas and geography.

As part of this exercise understand who your target audience is. This may vary by practice area. Try and develop a client avatar. Identify the buyer persona of your ideal client. Is the ideal client male, female, professional or blue collar. Learn about their interests and values. The more precisely you can describe the ideal client for each practice area the more efficient you will become.

Lifetime Value of Client

Do you know the value of a client? Not only for the firm as a whole but by practice area.  The value of a client will directly impact your marketing budget. If the average auto accident client is worth $30k to the firm, you will budget differently if they are worth $130k per client. If past clients are a source of referrals, even a few, factor those client values into your numbers.

Now that you know the value of a client, determine the cost you currently pay for a lead. That will include all marketing expenses including networking, meals and time. Next, calculate the number of leads needed to retain a new client. You now have your customer acquisition cost.

When constructing a marketing budget consider diversifying spend. People learn differently. Some are more auditory (I hear you) others are more visual (I see what you mean). Similarly, some people rely more on digital media while others spend time with traditional outlets.

Develop Awareness

Next determine how you are moving people through the sales funnel. Assume that no one knows you. Begin by generating Awareness or branding. For Personal Injury firms this is an extremely important component to marketing. You have a lot of competition. This is where you let people know about the problem you solve and for whom. It is when you explain your unique selling proposition. In other words, what makes you different and better.

Engagement Phase

Once your target audience knows who you are the next step is to foster Engagement. In the Engagement phase you demonstrate your expertise on the subject. This is the content stage. People will spend a lot of time learning about you to determine if they are comfortable with you. Various kinds of content pieces are necessary for each practice area you promote. Besides highlighting your knowledge, prospects want to see that you are relatable.


The third stage is Conversion. A conversion is when a prospect takes an action that is favorable for your practice. Examples of a conversion are calling your office or filling out a form on your website. Content that works well here includes testimonials, followed by a clear call-to-action.

Different media work well in each stage of the sale funnel. Outdoor and banner ads are great Awareness builders.  Explainer videos are an effective Engagement tool. Retargeting ads drive lots of Conversions. Some media can cover two phases. Depending on the messaging some media like TV and Search can do all three. However, multi-media, multi-platform campaigns are always the most successful.


Every marketing campaign needs to be tracked. For most Personal Injury firms, the goal is to increase conversions. You are also looking to decrease the cost of customer acquisition. From a marketing perspective you will track the number of prospects who enter the sales pipeline at the top. Then measure the amount of Engagement and finally how many people convert.

If some or all of these tasks are beyond the scope of your firm, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing company.

Develop An Effective PI Marketing Budget

Based on the firm’s goals and objectives, the current client acquisition cost and the lifetime value of a client you can begin to determine a reasonable investment in marketing. The figure you decide on will need to consider the finances of the firm and your tolerance for risk. Budget for a year. Marketing has its best results when undertaken for the long term. Consistency is a rule for success in advertising. When all of these points are evaluated, you can develop an effective PI marketing budget rather easily.