Yesterday, I talked about planning what you will do to reach your ideal clients, i.e., connecting with prospective clients directly, via referral sources and other indirect means, or both. I said you should also decide how much time and resources you will dedicate to each method.
In other words, what’s your budget?
How much money will you invest this year in advertising, websites, referral marketing, email marketing, and whatever else you intend to use?
One thing you can do is to talk to your accountant. Have them set up a “chart of accounts” for you to include different categories of marketing expenses, and then provide you with an approximation of what to budget for each category. If your accountant represents other attorneys and firms, they will be able to make more informed suggestions.
If you want to put money into pay-per-click advertising for your real estate practice, for example, based on their knowledge of what other clients in your market are spending, they can tell you whether you should budget $1000 per month or $5000, or if you can get started with just $500.
If nothing more, this will give you a place to start.
You should also create a “time budget”.
How much time will you invest in marketing each week? What will you do during that time? On what days and at what times will you calendar to do those activities?
If your plan calls for joining a new networking group, for example, you’ll want to book the meetings on your calendar. You’ll also want to book time during the week to do other things relative to attending those meetings, e.g., following up with new contacts.
If you don’t know how much time to budget, talk to people who belong to the same or similar groups.
The primary purpose of creating a marketing budget isn’t to limit what you do or how much you will spend, however. The primary purpose is to force you to think about what it will actually take to carry out your plans and how committed you are to doing them.
Without that forethought, you are more likely to waste resources and get poorer results. Or not get started at all.
Here’s how to get more referrals without spending a lot of time