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Criminal Defense Law firm Marketing Guide

Learn how criminal defense attorneys can up their digital marketing game using 18 killer tactics!

15 min


Apr 4, 2024
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Criminal defense attorneys play a crucial role in the justice system, but their legal services can often go unnoticed by those who need them most. This is where effective marketing comes into play. Criminal defense attorney marketing is all about getting your legal services in front of potential clients so that you can generate more leads and ultimately grow your law practice. However, with so many law firms vying for attention in this saturated market, it can be challenging to get ahead of the crowd.

In this article, we will explore the 18 best strategies for criminal defense practice marketing, including defining your brand, building a responsive website, and utilizing SEO and PPC advertising. By implementing these tactics, you can increase your visibility and attract more clients who are in need of your expertise.

1. Determine Your Ideal Client

For a criminal defense lawyer, there are a number of buyer persona possibilities, but one could be 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.

Keep in mind that the characteristics of your buyer persona may be prone to change over time or at certain times of the year due to the arrival of the holiday seasons, important events and occurrences, and societal trends.

As such, it is important to continually reevaluate the characteristics of your desired client base and adjust your marketing strategy with the guidance of a criminal defense marketing company.

Your buyer persona
Research audience demographics, motivations, and behaviors for accurate profiling

2. Build a Criminal Defense Law Firm Brand

Criminal defense marketing is unique; special care should be taken to understand its idiosyncrasies and how to use them to your advantage. If you don't, your marketing efforts may fail to capture the nuances that are important to successful criminal defense attorney marketing.

How does marketing for criminal defense attorneys differ from marketing for other types of lawyers? It is even more vital for criminal defense lawyers to establish trust by matching their personality with client expectations and conveying to clients that they have their best interests in mind.

Criminal defense lawyers must take the following into account:

  • A short decision cycle, which creates a sense of urgency
  • Criminal defense clients who can afford to pay upfront, in contrast to personal injury lawyers
  • A need to project a personality that matches clients' expectations
  • A larger number of keywords to target

Some keywords searched for by criminal defense clients are common, such as "DUI" and "defense attorney." But potential criminal defense clients face a wide variety of charges. They tend to research their specific charges on the internet, which means more keywords to work with.

3. Build a Responsive Criminal Defense Website

Did you know that nearly 50% of website visitors will leave if a page doesn't load in three seconds or less? Not to mention, 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 looking for a new criminal defense law firm.

How Do You Build a Criminal Law Firm Website That Brings New Leads?

Here are some tips on how to build a responsive law firm's website:

  • Be optimized for mobile use. More and more people are using their smartphones to search for legal services. A mobile-optimized website ensures that prospective clients can easily navigate the site, view important information, and contact the attorney without frustration. It's also worth noting that Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in search results, which is why it's important to find criminal defense web design experts that understand the importance of mobile optimization.
Mobile-friendly lawyer website
An example of a mobile-friendly website
  • Create practice area pages. By listing practice areas, a criminal defense lawyer can attract clients who are specifically looking for representation in those areas. For example, if an attorney specializes in DUI cases, listing this on their website can help them attract more criminal defense clients who have been charged with DUI offenses.
Show our practice areas
An example of a lawyer's website with a list of practice areas
  • Provide clear ways to contact your firm, including a live chat option, contact form, and phone number.
Provide ways to contact you
Make it easy for clients to communicate with your law firm
  • Build trust from the get-go. Use testimonials, awards, and the like to inspire trust with site browsers. Video testimonials can be quite effective.
Show your clients' testimonials
Establish trust with website visitors right away by showcasing testimonials, awards, and other credibility-enhancing elements on your site
  • Integrate videos and images. Media will support the legal literature on your website. Doing so can help keep browsers on your site longer and make them more engaged.
Integrate media on your lawyer website
Use videos and images on your website to boost engagement and visitor session duration
  • Have consistent design. Use your brand's color scheme throughout the website, along with your logo and other identifying trademarks of your firm. Doing so will help ensure you have consistency throughout your site.
Your website brand's color
Maintain a cohesive design across your website
  • Have an easy-to-understand layout. Keep your site easy to navigate with straightforward menus, as well as footers, headers, and dropdowns.
Straightforward menu
Ensure that your website has a user-friendly layout with simple navigation
  • Include photographs of your attorneys. As well as other members of your legal team, including paralegals and secretaries. Prospective clients love to put faces to names early on when deciding who to hire.
Your law firm team
Boost client engagement by including pictures of your legal team
  • Add calls to action throughout your website. Criminal defense clients often respond well to calls to action, like "fill out our form" or "contact our team," and many will not act without one.
Include call-to-actions throughout your site
Incorporate calls to action, such as "contact our team" or "fill out our form," throughout your website

It takes skill, training, and experience to accomplish these tasks successfully. Instead of building a law firm's website from scratch, look to an experienced digital marketing agency that works with law firms. Find one with a demonstrated track record of successful law firm website design, and let them help you maximize your website.

If your law firm's website is lacking in the key areas we've enumerated, that's a strong reason to have our legal marketing pros review and enhance your site. Partner with us today to get the high-impact online presence your firm deserves!

4. Create a PPC Advertising Campaign for Criminal Defense Lawyers

PPC ads will appear at the top of a search page — even above the sites that organically rank at the top — granting you more visibility. Each time a user clicks through google ads on the link to your site, you'll pay a small amount. If they don't click, you don't pay.

PPC for criminal defese attorneys
PPC ads for criminal defense lawyers boost visibility by appearing at the top of search pages

Running a successful criminal defense PPC campaign requires choosing and using the most effective keywords that will successfully bring prospective clients to your website. With enough time invested, you can set up and launch a viable PPC campaign on your own. If you're busy running your law firm, it may be difficult to find the time to manage your own PPC campaign. If you're interested in finding expert help, hiring a digital marketing agency that offers PPC services for a law firm is a great option.

If you do decide to carry out your own PPC campaign, there are a variety of tools — many of them free — that will help you research the keywords you will need. Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google Ads are good places to begin keyword research.

Type a keyword into Google
Choose relevant keywords to rank your website at the top of search engine results

These platforms will help you identify and choose the most relevant keywords for your site. Since they are user-friendly and straightforward, it's not a bad idea to take an hour or two and check them out. To get started, head over to Google and enter phrases like "criminal defense attorney" or "DUI attorney" into the search box. Observe the results that appear on the search engine results page (SERP). From what you see here, you can begin building your keyword list.

Type a keyword into Ahrefs
An example of cost-per-click stats, a metric used in online advertising to measure the cost an advertiser pays for each click on an ad in a PPC marketing campaign
Discover the top legal marketing companies that offer professional PPC services specifically tailored for law firms.

5. Create a Comprehensive SEO Strategy for Criminal Defense Law Firms

This means optimizing your attorney websites content or blog for the bots that search engines use to match websites with a user query, such as “DUI lawyer near me.” 

You can take clear, effective steps to carry out search engine optimization for your website, many of which are detailed below.

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6. Build a Local SEO Presence with Criminal Defense Attorney Marketing

Local 2-pack for criminal defense lawyers
Local SEO can help attract more criminal defense clients by ranking high in local search results. A few visible initiatives can instantly generate more leads

Those facing criminal charges are usually 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 for legal industry, but for now, let's concentrate on a few visible, easy-to-launch initiatives that can produce more leads immediately.

7. Create a Google Business Profile

Google My Business for criminal defense attorney
Google Business Profile is like a free online directory listing for your law firm. It boosts search rankings if fully completed

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.

8. Set up Location Pages

Location pages have the power to put your firm in contact with a steady stream of prospective clients from your targeted area. Clients generally prefer local attorneys and typically respond more favorably to attorneys that cater to their geographical region. Even for criminal defense firms with a wider reach, target audience will still gravitate to web pages that mention their city, town, or region.

Location pages on a criminal defense website
Location pages help firms connect with target audience in specific regions and can attract clients who prefer local attorneys

For example, a criminal defense or DUI lawyer working in Dallas may want to expand their business to serve clients in cities and towns in the surrounding area. Hence, they would likely benefit from having separate practice area web pages, or satellite location pages, for these cities and towns instead of a one-size-fits-all Dallas advertisement for each of their services.

9. Register for Law Firms Local Directories

Legal directories work well for criminal defense advertising strategies if law firms put effort into creating and maintaining their listings. With most legal directories, advertising works because these sites receive a high amount of traffic, both organically and directly. These directories then send the traffic to the firms and lawyers listed on their websites.

Here are the best criminal defense legal directories available today:

  • FindLaw
  • Avvo
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Findacriminaldefenseattorney.com
  • Super Lawyers
  • Justia
  • NOLO
  • Martindale
  • Lawyers.com
  • HG.org
  • Mediate.com
  • Lawyer.com

If your law firm is listed in most or all of the major legal directories, potential clients can get to your website quickly and easily with just a click. It is an efficient and inexpensive method of developing another stream of traffic to your website. You can also boost your appeal to target audience by customizing your listings on these directories' websites.

10. Build Off-Page SEO

Establishing these links requires you to write content about your area of legal practice — typically, a short article — and have it posted on a respected website. These guest posts, as they are called, help build confidence in your brand and establish your competence as a defense attorney for potential clients who browse these reputable sites.

There are many legal sites that allow guest posts by attorneys, but it is important to focus your energies and resources on sites that will contribute the most to your website development efforts.

Resources for lawyers
Guest posts on credible websites can establish you as a skilled defense attorney to potential clients browsing those sites

11. Focus on a Few Technical SEO Aspects

Suboptimal technical aspects of your site can damage your efforts because poor user experience means low rankings on search engine results pages. These are typical issues with any underperforming law firm website:

  • Incorrect page index
  • Slow page speed
  • Clunky website architecture

Google algorithms, which determine which pages are relevant enough to be at the top of search returns, emphasize strongly performing sites.

12. Stay Mindful of On-Site Optimization

Onsite optimization main elements

On-site optimization is important for getting your pages ranked highly in searches. Each page includes multiple elements that can be tweaked for optimization. Here are 5 basic ones that will help your criminal defense content rank higher on Google:

  • Title of page: This appears in bold when your site or page is ranked. It should contain your main keyword and a call to action.
  • Meta description: This description appears with the title when search results are posted. It offers a great opportunity to hook readers.
  • Title structure: The title structure is important for criminal defense and DUI attorneys as it determines the hierarchy and responsibilities within a law firm. It also establishes the level of experience and expertise required for each position, which can impact the quality of legal representation provided to clients.
  • Alt tags: These are required bits of information that describe the visual information on your site to visually impaired visitors.
  • Effective internal links: Anticipate the needs of your clients and use hyperlinks to direct them to parts of your criminal defense website that guide them toward the answers and services they need.

13. Create Engaging Criminal Defense Content

Attorneys can create compelling and engaging content to educate existing and potential criminal defense clients about the criminal defense industry. Criminal defense attorneys can create content that addresses common issues that they handle, such as DUIs, drug charges, and domestic violence cases.

Some examples of content that criminal defense attorneys can create include:

  • Blog posts that provide insights on common legal issues, such as DUIs, domestic violence, assault, and more.
  • Videos that offer tips and advice on navigating the criminal justice system.
  • Infographics that explain complex legal concepts in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Social media posts that highlight recent case wins or provide updates on changes to the law.
  • Webinars or podcasts that offer in-depth insights on specific topics in the legal industry.

This content can help build trust with their audience and generate new leads.

14. Establish Your Presence on Social Media

Although prospective clients don't usually look for a defense attorney on Facebook or Instagram, social media marketing can effectively lead to more clients for a criminal lawyer with a relatively small amount of consistent effort. If you establish a social media presence as an experienced and competent criminal defense attorney, people will remember your name and brand when they need legal help.

Establish your lawyer profile on Twitter
Investing in a consistent social media presence can yield a significant return on investment for law firms

Relatability is one of the most important aspects of your image on social media. However, developing and presenting a social media image can be challenging and may be best left to an experienced criminal defense law firm marketing agency.

Prospective clients want to choose attorneys who are not only experienced but who also inspire confidence.

What Platforms Can Criminal Defense Lawyers Use to Find Prospective Clients?

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are less professional than LinkedIn, but your criminal defense clients spend their time on these social media platforms as well. You can interact with them without directly advertising to them.

One way of accomplishing this is by posting content dealing with a relevant criminal law issue that affects more criminal defense clients. You can also respond to posts with useful information regarding criminal justice and defense issues.

Joining groups on these social media platforms is also a great way to increase your exposure. Once again, you do not have to engage in overt advertising and sales strategies to eventually pull clients from social media platforms. Your presence and interactions in these online communities can go a long way in establishing you as a go-to person for criminal defense services.

15. Build a Criminal Defense Lawyer LinkedIn

If you do want to take on this challenge alone, you can find success by following a few guidelines. First, create an optimized profile on LinkedIn, which is the premier platform used by professionals for networking. What goes into an optimized LinkedIn profile:

  • Photographs taken by a professional
  • A headline using relevant keywords
  • An about section explaining your services
  • An education and experience section highlighting your competence
  • A skills and endorsements section

Once your profile is set up, you can start growing your network by connecting with other professionals. Eventually, you can amass a large network of contacts who are familiar with and respect your work.

16. Build Trust Through Online Reviews

Reviews about lawyers from real clients
Use social proof, such as testimonials and case studies, to show prospective clients that you have the experience and skills needed to handle their criminal cases

A criminal defense lawyer can build trust through reviews and testimonials by showcasing their past successes and satisfied clients. When prospective clients see positive reviews and testimonials from previous clients, they are more likely to trust the attorney and feel confident in their ability to handle their criminal cases as it creates social proof. Here are some ways that criminal defense attorneys can use reviews and testimonials to build trust:

  • Display reviews on your website: Criminal defense and DUI attorneys should prominently display positive reviews and testimonials on their websites so that potential criminal defense clients can easily find them.
  • Encourage clients to leave reviews: A criminal defense lawyer should ask satisfied clients to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or Avvo.
  • Respond to negative reviews: While it's important to showcase positive reviews, criminal defense law firms should also respond to negative reviews in a professional manner.
  • Use case studies: Criminal defense firms can use case studies to showcase their past successes and demonstrate their expertise in handling different types of cases. Case studies can include details about the charges, how the attorney approached the case, and the outcome of the case.

17. Measure and Analyze Results

No comprehensive marketing strategy or campaign is complete without a way of gauging its performance. If you can't accurately judge the effectiveness of criminal defense marketing services, you will have no way of knowing what is working and what is not, which is essential for your campaign's success as well as the efficient use of your resources.

Google Analytics gives you the power to scrutinize a number of different outcomes of your criminal law firm website development efforts, such as:

  • Clicks and views from visitors
  • Duration of site visits
  • Visitor numbers
  • Cost-per-click
  • Domains that referred traffic
  • Sales leads
  • Number of new clients

The information found in these points of evaluation is readily applicable to your website development efforts and allows you to make well-informed decisions about what and where to tweak for optimization purposes.

It's important not to wait until the end of a campaign to gather results. Instead, you should monitor your data during the execution of a plan and adjust accordingly.

18. Hire a Pro Law Firm Marketing Company

While these tactics can be implemented by criminal defense attorneys, they can also be time-consuming and challenging to execute effectively. This is why criminal defense law firms can choose to partner with a professional digital marketing agency like Grow Law Firm (GLF); they can focus on their core business of providing legal services to their clients, while an agency takes care of the rest. Our criminal defense marketing agency can help attorneys develop and execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that helps them achieve their business goals.

The benefits of working with an agency like GLF include:

  • Access to a team of professionals with expertise in marketing, graphic design, web development, and other areas.
  • Customized marketing strategies that are tailored to the needs of the attorney's specific practice.
  • Assistance with content creation, including blog posts, videos, and social media posts.
  • Search engine optimization for criminal defense attorneys to improve website visibility and generate more traffic.
  • Criminal defense PPC strategies to target specific keywords and demographics.
  • Analytics and reporting to track the success of marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions.

Unlock The Power of Criminal Defense Attorney Marketing with Grow Law Firm

Digital marketing will help many criminal defense firms establish a steady stream of clients who need the exact services you have to offer. However, you may be quite busy with important case work and not have the time you need to completely manage every aspect of a digital marketing campaign. That's where Grow Law Firm comes in.

We are an award-winning law firm SEO agency that helps law firms achieve their visions of growth through aggressive and effective online strategies and marketing campaigns. Many of our clients rely on us to manage every aspect of their digital campaigns, but we also lend a helping hand to criminal defense law firms that choose to handle some of the digital marketing campaign tasks themselves. To help build a digital marketing strategy that brings you more clients and revenue, contact us today and learn how we can help your criminal defense law firm grow and thrive.

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