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Digital Marketing For Criminal Defense Attorneys (Comprehensive Guide)

April 25, 2022
12 min

How can you grow your criminal defense firm? Whether you’re a solo practitioner helping clients with general criminal defense or a multi-location firm specializing in a particular crime, such as cyber or financial crimes, you need a steady stream of new clients to maintain and grow your business.

Criminal defense is a competitive niche, and standing out from others can be a challenge. Marketing to your potential clients requires targeted, relatable communications and a demonstrated understanding of their criminal defense needs.

This guide delves deeper into criminal defense attorney marketing and provides simple, actionable steps to:

  • Craft criminal defense marketing initiatives that reach the right audience
  • Focus on digital marketing best practices
  • Make authentic connections with potential criminal defense clients
  • Generate more solid leads and increase your conversion rate

As an award-winning law firm digital marketing agency specializing in marketing for criminal defense attorneys, we offer you expert SEO services for lawyers and the benefit of our experience working with criminal law firms.

What Makes Digital Defense and DUI Attorney Marketing Unique?

Internet marketing for criminal defense lawyers is distinct from other types of practice areas. First, you want to attract clients who can afford to pay for your services. Spending money on clients who cannot or don’t want to pay for a defense attorney isn’t a good return on your marketing dollars.

Second, your customers are almost always ready to buy NOW. Unlike other legal services, where clients may interview several law firms, those charged with a crime will typically hire the first credible or recognizable lawyer they find. They may have a hearing coming up or wish to have a legal advocate during police questioning.

Your criminal lawyer marketing needs to establish trust and authenticity, from the layout of your website to your verbiage in advertising copy and even your law blogs. Your potential clients seek someone they can trust and relate to, so when you tell them, “This is the right strategy to protect your interests and avoid a harsh penalty,” they believe you.

Establishing your name and lawyer reputation ahead of time builds a strong foundation of trust for new clients.

Determine Your Ideal Client

We mentioned filtering out clients who cannot pay for a defense attorney earlier, but identifying — and marketing to — your ideal client as part of your overall criminal defense attorney advertising can make the intake process at your firm more streamlined.

Understanding who your clients are is the first step in creating digital strategies that secure conversions. In marketing, we call this the “buyer persona,” a character that represents your ideal client. The buyer persona has specific needs and interests. Positioning your firm as one that sympathizes with their interests and meets their needs leads clients to identify with and trust you.

For a criminal defense or DUI lawyer, your buyer persona is someone who has been arrested for driving while intoxicated or a friend or family member of that person. Your persona should consider age, income and education, marital status, and employment status. Once you’ve identified your buyer persona and target audience, you can tailor your criminal law ads to respond to that buyer’s needs.

Build a Strong Criminal Defense Law Firm Brand with a Clear Value Proposition

criminal defense law firm message and brand

Branding is an integral part of your defense attorney advertising. A brand is more than just a law firm logo or a motto — it encompasses your entire online presence and is a snapshot of your values, skills, and professional persona.

Building your brand starts with a clear value proposition and a promise to deliver the perfect solution for your clients’ needs. The value statement of your DUI defense attorney firm explains what you offer and how this helps your client.

Do this by clearly articulating your services and how those services benefit your client. Reiterate your understanding of their problem and speak directly about how each service meets their needs and wants.

For example, your firm offers:

  • Sound legal advice for people charged with a DUI
  • Representation in all court appearances
  • DUI law education for clients to prevent drunk driving in the future

In addition to articulating your client's needs and solutions, your value proposition needs to be different from what they can get from another firm. Once you convince your website visitors of the value your firm offers, they’re more likely to take the next step of scheduling an appointment.

Build a Responsive, Well-Designed Attorney Website for a Great User Experience

responsive web design lawyers website

You can have the best legal marketing for criminal defense lawyers in your area, but your clients won’t hire you if your website is clunky. Did you know that nearly 50% of website visitors will leave if a page doesn’t load in three seconds or less? Your clients can’t hire you if they can’t navigate your site to find information on how to contact you.

A responsive, functional law firm website design that's intuitive and scalable to handle unexpected bumps in traffic will keep site visitors from going to the next DUI law firm.

Your website should be visually appealing and easy to navigate. It should also:

  • List your services — be specific
  • Contain testimonials and other detailed reasons why clients should have you represent them in court
  • Provide clear ways to contact your firm, including a live chat option, contact form, and phone number
  • Reiterate your value proposition and contribute to your brand persona
  • Be optimized for mobile use — many of your clients may be using their phones to find a lawyer

Don’t skimp on website design and administration. Nearly all of your potential clients are searching for a criminal defense attorney online, and your website is the first impression of your firm. Opt for a professional law firm web design company.

Enhance Trust by Placing the Right Accents

law firm client trust

You've told your clients why they should hire your firm through an enticing value proposition, clear definition of your services, and authentic mission statement. Now, it’s time to show them why they should trust you by establishing credibility from outside sources.

Demonstrate to your clients that you’re capable of providing the results they need with confirmation from others. Several components reinforce your digital criminal lawyer advertisement.

Trust Badges and Awards

A “trust badge” can be a professional membership, such as the New York DUI Lawyers Association. In addition, any award or accolade you and your firm have won, from professional societies to being published in a legal journal to inclusion in a city-wide “best of” poll, should be featured on your site.

Client Testimonials

Satisfied clients, especially those you successfully defended in a criminal matter, may be delighted to provide a testimonial for their positive experience with your firm. If you have several practice areas, seek testimonials from clients in each one and place quotes thoughtfully on your website.

Information About Your Team

Relatability is a key factor in building your brand, and personalizing you and your legal team is a significant part. Include professional headshots of every attorney in your firm, and have small bios about each one, featuring their professional accomplishments and training and a couple of personal details.

Case Studies

Your clients want to know specifics about how you helped people in similar situations. Publishing a few case studies about the defendant’s experience and your representation from initial arrest through the court process and the eventual result will give your clients a better understanding of what to expect.

Your Practice Areas

Illustrate the full range of services you provide. While your firm might be “criminal law,” there are all kinds of charges you can help clients with. List each one, such as DUI, drug charges, reckless driving, theft, etc. If possible, link individual service pages to each area for more detailed information.

Boost Your Performance with Well-Thought SEO Strategy

SEO strategy for a law firm

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for all online criminal defense marketing. If your customers can’t find your website, they can’t hire you. If you aren’t on the first page of a search return, you may as well be invisible — 93% of users don’t click past the first page.

SEO for lawyers means optimizing your attorney website content or blog for the web bots that search engines use to match websites with a user query, such as “DUI lawyer near me.” Search engine marketing is complex, and website features that rank first often change. A law firm SEO company can manage your site to ensure it remains relevant and impactful.

Create Relevant and Engaging Content with the Right Keywords

The right keywords match what potential customers look for, but building a great site that ranks high on search engines is about more than just using the right words. Professional content writing services for lawyers can help ensure that your site has fresh, relevant content that appeals to search engine bots.  

Google and other search engines ensure that your content — both law firm landing pages and blogs — is organic and features important keywords naturally in order to deem it relevant. Legal clients are typically looking for either:

  • Answers for legal questions — they may search for “DUI laws in Tennessee”
  • Transactional searches when they need to hire in a hurry, such as “Nashville DUI lawyer near me”

Breaking down your site to niche keywords related to all of your service areas will help boost your rankings. The more specific keywords and strings you have in your copy, the more relevant your site will be.

Invest Time in Citations and Link Building

Linking to other credible sites from your own is one way to help boost your SEO ranking. Citing reputable legal sites like Wex or Justia in your content is a good example. Having other sites link back to yours is impressive. Publishing a thought leadership piece on a legal blog with a link back to your site is a great way to enhance your SEO.

Do Not Neglect Technical SEO

Suboptimal technical aspects of your site can damage your efforts because poor user experience means low rankings on search returns. Incorrect page index, slow page speed, and clunky website architecture are typical issues with any underperforming law firm website. Google algorithms, which determine which pages are relevant enough to be at the top of search returns, emphasize strongly performing sites.

Improve Your Local Presence

law firm local services

Criminal defense clients are looking for local representation. Your legal firm’s site should rank high for local SEO for law firms, which can be a different approach than general SEO. There’s a lot more detail to go into with local SEO, but for now, let's concentrate on a few visible, easy-to-launch initiatives that can produce more leads immediately.

Google Business Profile (Previously Known as Google My Business)

Google Business Profile is a free service from Google that is arguably the second-most important part of your web presence (after your own site). These snippets appear alongside the search results and offer details about your firm, including contact information, star rating, practice areas, and hours of operation. There are a few more fields, and Google will rank law firm GBP entries that are completely filled out higher than those that aren’t.

Local Directories

Don’t neglect local attorney directories. For example, sites like Justia, Find Law, and Avvo all offer free or paid listings for legal firms. When clients are looking for general legal information, the sites may offer to help them find a lawyer near them. Having a listing here can increase your prospect stream.

Location Pages

Satellite location pages are especially useful for lawyers practicing in a larger metro area with smaller towns or suburbs surrounding the city center. Your firm may be Dallas DUI Law, but your location pages can be structured to be listed as McKinney DUI lawyer, Plano DUI Lawyer, Arlington DUI Lawyer, etc., to capture people within your practice area who are searching for their specific town.

Leverage the Instant Power of PPC Advertising for Criminal Defense Lawyers

PPC Advertising for Criminal Defense Lawyers

Defense Marketing

Pay-per-click, or PPC advertising, can be very effective, especially for smaller firms. These ads appear at the top of a search return page — even above those sites that organically rank at the top — granting you more visibility. Each time a user clicks through the link to your site, you’ll pay a small amount. If they don't click, you don’t pay.

The best part about law firm PPC advertising is that you can target niche clients with specific keywords and query strings. When you have purposeful and planned law firm PPC services, you may be able to get qualified leads for less than general DUI lawyer advertising would generate.  

However, successful PPC campaigns need planning and an idea of which keywords will optimize your budget without breaking the bank.

Proper Criminal Defense Keywords and Quality Ad Copies

Bid on long-tail keywords specific to your specialization, or make sure that your keywords are specific, not general. For example, “Third DUI in Nashville” will likely get you more qualified leads than “Best DUI lawyer.”

Relevant Landing Pages

Once your users click on the ad, they need to land somewhere. Having a dedicated landing page for the specific service they're searching for is better than just dumping them onto your firm’s home page.

Establish Your Presence on Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool for establishing your brand. While your clients may not turn to Twitter when they need a lawyer, if they see your name pop up on their feed or you’ve established yourself consistently on social media, then your firm will look familiar and trustworthy when they do need an attorney.

Marketing a law firm on social media successfully means being professional and relatable. You may want to have a social media management service release posts and photos on your behalf, helping you stay relevant.

Last but Not Least: Encourage Reviews

Google reviews help boost your criminal defense attorney SEO, while positive reviews on other sites can help drive business your way. Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied clients to leave a review for your services once your business with them is concluded. Or, you may reach out for client testimonials on your own and publish them on your website and your GMB entry.

Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling with how to get criminal defense clients, a stronger online presence and targeted digital marketing strategy can help. Grow Law Firm is a digital marketing agency focused on helping attorneys establish a robust online presence and leverage media marketing to help increase their client roster. Contact us today to see how we can help grow your firm.

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Top techniques for busy lawyers to bring in more clients in 2022
  • Easy steps you can take to bring in more clients and up this year’s revenue
  • The top website and marketing mistakes holding your law firm back
October, 31st
1 pm CT60 minutes
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    Sasha Berson is a legal marketing expert

    Sasha serves as Managing Partner for Grow Law Firm, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency focused solely on specialized growth strategies for attorneys and their practices.

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