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By Kevin White, CEO and President, Whitehardt, Inc.

It’s always good to have a predetermined goal in mind when you launch a direct response attorney advertising campaign, but where do you start? The optimists will expect 400 calls the first week of the campaign, the pessimists will declare “it’ll never work”, and the realists will likely use math. I’m among the latter.

Cost Per Case (CPC) = Budget / Cases In

I remember an ad in Trial Lawyers Magazine in which a marketing agency touted, “Give us $200, we’ll give you a case”. In explanation, the agency pointed out that they have represented firms that got cases for an average of $200 each in advertising costs. Is that amount a reasonable goal in every market? I would argue no. If you are fortunate enough to be in a market where the Cost Per Thousand impressions (CPM) is low, say under $3, with practically no competition, and a large percentage of the population is less educated, then you could realistically aim for such a low price point.

At Whitehardt, we look at your unique market area to formulate a realistic prediction of what your market could bear for you.

Another huge factor in setting a CPC goal for your law firm is your criteria for accepting a case. Clearly, your CPC will be lower if you are willing to take soft tissue injuries than if you refuse them. That’s why setting your CPC goal as a fraction of your case fee makes the most sense.

I estimate that if your CPC falls between 10% and 20% of your average fee, you will likely be able to make a good profit. For example, if you accept smaller cases and your average fee is $4,000, we would expect your CPC to land between $400 and $800. If you beat $400, no problem – laugh all the way to the bank. If you’re coming in over $800 for each case, you’re going to have a hard time making money over the long haul.

The formula also holds true if you’re fishing for bigger ticket cases. A nursing home case would probably generate a fee somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000. Thus, it would be perfectly reasonable to pay a $7000 CPC and still do quite well.

The law firms that do business with Whitehardt average about 13% CPC overall. Do the math for your own Cost Per Case – if yours is higher, call me and let’s talk about how to make your advertising investment produce a more profitable return.

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