Why Law Firms Need to Continue Marketing During a Recession

during You’ve likely heard talk of the recession.

The Dow Jones continues to underperform and will likely dip below 30K for the second time this year. Tech companies continue to lay off massive portions of their teams, and inflation is nearly double-digit.

We can’t pretend that times aren’t tough. Businesses that prepare for tough economic times can thrive in a recession, including law firms. Others may struggle to stay afloat.

Your firm can thrive with the right tactics.

Marketing history

You can’t control the country’s (and the world’s) economic growth. But you can manage your mindset and pivot your law firm toward success.

All successful marketing campaigns require consistency over time. SEO, in particular, is a long game—it could take six months to a year to start to see results. So, the best time to prepare for a recession is before the recession hits.

And history proves that companies willing to invest in marketing enjoy accelerated growth, even during an economic downturn.

As the popular industry adage goes, “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.”

During the 2008 recession, many businesses stopped advertising—advertising expenditure dropped by 13%. Yet data shows that companies continuing to invest in marketing experienced 3.5 times more brand visibility.

It makes sense. Many of your competitors won’t take this advice and will cease all marketing expenditures. Their result will be a decline in clients as their law firm loses visibility.

Other firms that double down on marketing will continue to grow and dominate what would be a crowded market.

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Law firm marketing is non-negotiable

The first thing many businesses do when there’s any sign of trouble in the economy is to slash or eliminate their marketing budgets.

It’s understandable why a business owner would think this is an excellent area to cut costs. But any marketer would tell you it’s a mistake. Your law firm still needs to run.

Marketing helps increase your visibility. When other law firms cut their marketing budgets in a recession, we recommend capitalizing on that and dominating the space.

The fact is that marketing is non-negotiable. Marketing grabs attention, educates customers, builds your value proposition, and ultimately gets you more clients. These are all critical things for any law firm looking to survive an economic downturn.

The legal industry and recessions

In reality, the legal industry is more recession-proof than most industries. Certain legal services will always be needed regardless of the economy’s performance.

Some areas of law, like family and criminal law, are unlikely to be affected by an economic downturn. In fact, many practice areas see growth during a recession.


Legal issues involving family relationships don’t go away when the economy crashes. Neither do criminals. Many would argue these sorts of problems are exacerbated by the stress of a recession.

And other practice areas follow the same “doom means boom” mindset.

Here are some examples:

  • In an economic downturn, commercial real estate practices may experience a decline, while commercial bankruptcy may grow.
  • In a recession, DUI arrests could decline as people save money and drink at home. On the other hand, domestic violence cases may rise.

Attorneys who understand the dynamics of the market can:

  • Position themselves to capitalize on high notes. This could involve shifting practice areas.
  • Strategically allocate resources to marketing, staffing, and overhead to be prepared for an unfavorable time.

On the whole, the legal industry is shielded from the strain of a recession, but individual law firms, practice areas, and lawyers can still feel the brunt of it.

Marketing tactics may need to pivot and adapt

With that said, changes may be needed in your marketing team, budget, or even your strategies. But what you don’t want to do is completely eliminate marketing altogether.

In general, your law firm’s marketing strategy should constantly be evolving, with budgets being reallocated to tactics that are performing the best.

What does this actually mean for your law firm’s marketing campaign?

All businesses have the ultimate goal of long-term growth. SEO (search engine optimization) is a key law firm marketing strategy. But we know that SEO can take months or years to pay off.

If short-term survival is a top priority, shifting a portion of your SEO budget to PPC (pay-per-click) ads could be worthwhile. You’ll get faster results and be able to sustain your law firm in the short term while continuing to work on SEO, albeit with a reduced budget.

Or, you could pivot your PPC budget to updating your email marketing strategy and focus on nurturing leads you already have.

Whatever you decide, base your decisions on data to keep your law firm running.

Using an economic downturn to your advantage

I mentioned that many businesses will decide to cease all marketing to “save money.”

For you, this presents an opportunity to jump into the market. It’s the best time to increase (or continue) your marketing to gain exposure as competitors get out of the market.

With fewer competitors competing for prime ad and search space, you may be able to gain premium placements and make it easier for clients to find out.

Plus, a drop in players could lead to better ad deals and placements on Google.

You can (and likely should) outsource your marketing

Digital marketing becomes more complex every year, emphasizing the need for a tailor-made approach designed for your individual law firm. The most successful law firms use multi-channel marketing tactics—you’ll find them on social media, working SEO, and running paid ads simultaneously.

This makes it challenging to run your own marketing campaign. It can take up so much of your valuable time.

Most lawyers don’t have time to get into the nitty-gritty of marketing—especially during a recession.

A law firm marketing agency like JurisPage is the solution.

The ROI of digital marketing campaigns is typically easy to track. If you’re working with the right agency, you’ll see a measurable ROI that ensures your marketing is paying for itself.

Whereas traditional marketing, like billboards and commercials, is much more expensive. It’s also difficult to determine exactly what your ROI is. During a recession, you need to be able to track where every dollar is going and what they’re bringing in.

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