Faced with a difficult economic environment, many solo practitioners and small law firms have slashed their marketing budgets. Indeed, I recently spoke with an attorney practicing in a specialized niche that is currently doing poorly - shopping centers - who declined to invest in a blog because "times are tight." I told him I thought this was a big mistake, and advised that the right time to invest in a blog was when business is slow and he had "downtime" to spend researching and writing posts. Over time, the blog posts would reinforce his expertise and reputation for thought leadership in the area of shopping center law, and thereby help him develop a readership of prospective clients that could convert into new business when the real estate industry turned around.
Happily, this advice was recently corroborated in an article on eMarketer, which dicussed a report showing that increasing marketing spending in a downturn can help a company prosper when the economy improves. According to the report (from Hurwitz & Associates), there is a correlation between small businesses that had raised marketing spending and businesses that expected increased revenue. The lesson? You need to spend money to make money.
That is not to say, however, you need to spend lavishly. The report also found that small businesses are shifting marketing spend to less costly online marketing tools such as social media, e-mail newsletters and search engine strategies.