Almost every legal professional realizes the importance of legal marketing to the growth of their firm. However, marketing for criminal defense attorneys is particularly important — and extremely different from marketing in other areas of law.
There are a couple of things that make criminal defense marketing unique:
- Criminal defense attorneys use hourly fees, retainers, or fixed fees to bill for their services. Therefore, they must market to clients who can afford their services (as opposed to lawyers who work on contingency).
- Criminal defense clients typically have an extreme sense of urgency when looking for a lawyer. Defense clients may be under investigation or charged with a crime. Therefore, they tend to make quick hiring decisions when searching for legal representation — making strong legal marketing becomes all the more necessary.
- Criminal defense can be difficult for SEO. Many defendants use search terms like “Defense lawyer” or “DUI lawyer” in Google to begin their search for an attorney. However, defendants can face a wide variety of charges, ranging from the notable, like “homicide,” to the obscure, like “possession of a controlled substance.”
Indeed, many defendants input terms from their charge sheets to try and connect with the right lawyer. Therefore, defense attorneys may need to target a large number of keywords to drive traffic to their site.
- Criminal defense representation is about trust. As soon as potential criminal defense clients come across your site, they will ask themselves whether they can trust you to protect their best interests. You may be the last line of defense between them and serious jail time or criminal penalties.
Therefore, your marketing needs to show your trustworthiness to handle their criminal case.
Criminal defense lawyer marketing can mean the difference between appearing before the right clients at the right time and not coming on their radar at all. It can mean the difference between coming across as compassionate and trustworthy to not making a lasting impression in the least.
If you aren’t using legal marketing for your criminal defense firm, you’re missing out on opportunities for growth. If you’re looking for strategies to begin or enhance your legal marketing journey, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll discuss everything you need to know about criminal defense attorney marketing in this resource, including website design, SEO, social media, and more. If you still have questions, contact LawRank to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help.
Table of Contents
Build a Dynamic Website for Your Defense Firm
Legal marketing, especially for criminal defense lawyers, begins and ends with a compelling, user-friendly website. As mentioned above, criminal defense clients must make quick-twitch hiring decisions for an attorney if they are charged with a crime or under investigation for a crime.
Nearly 40% of consumers use the Internet to find an attorney.
If they find you, they will likely visit your website. Almost three-fourths of consumers go to a law firm’s website before taking any other action to contact them.
What does this mean for you? If you don’t have a dynamic website, a potential client could leave your page before they ever learn about your services.
If you want to keep users on your website, it needs to be user-friendly, visually appealing and filled with high-quality content. Your website should detail why you are the right fit for the reader’s legal needs.
It should also highlight your experience and professional distinctions so readers know what sets you apart from your competitors. Your content should also strike the right tone, showing users you are professional and trustworthy.
But a good website is more than just branding; it’s about user experience. You want to make sure your website has:
- Easy-to-navigate pages so clients can get where they want to go on your website
- Multiple calls to action on each page directing visitors to contact you for help
- Fast load speeds so visitors aren’t waiting too long for the information they need
- Great mobile responsiveness for users who access your website with a smartphone or tablet (which accounts for over 50% of web traffic).
If you don’t invest enough time and resources into developing a high-quality website, your criminal defense firm will not have effective legal marketing. Most digital marketing strategies will build on your website.
Use SEO To Drive Traffic to Your Site
Unfortunately, having a great website may not be enough to generate large amounts of traffic to your site. If your site isn’t optimized for search engines, potential clients may not be able to find it — regardless of its design or quality.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is pivotal to the success of your legal marketing campaign and firm growth. Most potential clients use a search engine like Google to research and select the right criminal defense attorney for their legal needs.
If your firm’s website doesn’t rank highly on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), you’re likely missing out on significant lead generation.
Why? Because most people only look at the top search results on Google when searching for a business or service.
Research shows that fewer than 10% of Google users reach the bottom of the first SERP, and less than 1% of users visit the second SERP. Therefore, if your website isn’t in the top results, you’re being overlooked by most people.
That’s where legal SEO comes in.
SEO refers to digital marketing strategies that drive traffic to your law firm’s website, thereby boosting your brand awareness and generating more business.
Useful law firm SEO tools include:
- Conducting keyword research to determine which keywords and phrases your target audience searches in your area
- Optimizing your website using on-site SEO techniques to enhance a user’s experience
- Adding high-quality legal content to your website that is engaging and informative
- Conducting competitor research to determine how your competition drives traffic to their website
- Link-building strategies that increase the number of links to your website, boosting your authority on Google
- Implementing local SEO strategies to target potential clients in your geographic area and appear in the local pack
These legal SEO strategies will help you rank highly in Google’s organic search results. This will significantly increase the likelihood of a prospective client finding and retaining your law firm.
However, it’s important to note that there is no universal approach to legal SEO. You need a digital marketing strategy tailored to your criminal defense law firm’s goals, target audience, and geographic area.
Working with an SEO firm familiar with criminal defense is vital to the success of your SEO strategies.
Create Content that Addresses Readers’ Legal Issues
Criminal law can be complex and confusing. When potential clients search for information online, they want easily digestible information that answers their legal questions.
Your website needs top-tier content that addresses your readers’ legal issues and demonstrates your knowledge and authority as a criminal defense lawyer.
Your website should contain the following types of content:
- Practice area pages that are branded, informational, and address the types of cases you handle (e.g., assault, theft crimes, DUIs, etc.)
- Blogs that address key legal topics, answer frequently asked criminal law questions, and provide insights on what to do after an arrest
- Resource pages that cover in-depth discussions of specific criminal law topics
- Infographics that portray complicated information in an understandable way (e.g., charts and diagrams)
- Informational and engaging videos discussing who you are, the kinds of criminal law matters your firm handles, and important topics related to your practice
You should frequently post new material to your website and keep your content updated.
You should also conduct keyword research to see what terms and queries potential clients are searching for.
Also, keep in mind that if a client is seeking information about a criminal law topic, they may be facing one of the most challenging times of their life.
Therefore, your content needs to be informative and relevant, but it should also have language that alleviates their stress and worries.
Utilize Paid Ads to Elevate Your Presence Online
Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the most effective methods of online advertising for lawyers. Pay-per-click allows you to place ads on various platforms (like Google and Facebook) and appear before users in your geographic area.
With PPC, you only pay for the ad when a user clicks through to your site.
Many platforms allow you to tailor your paid ad based on your target demographics, desired time of day, and, in the case of search engines, the target keyword for which you want to appear.
PPC can be especially valuable for a practice area as time-sensitive as criminal defense.
It can help you appear prominently before the right clients (people who can afford your legal services) at the right time (when they are searching for an attorney).
PPC is best used in conjunction with other legal marketing strategies like SEO. Therefore, you should consider working with a legal marketing agency to manage your PPC campaigns.
Encourage Reviews and Referrals from Satisfied Clients
Client reviews are an essential component of your online profile. Have you ever checked a business’s online reviews and declined to visit due to negative ratings?
Prospective clients do the same thing when they’re searching for a criminal defense lawyer.
If you don’t have any reviews or have numerous negative reviews, you could be painting the wrong picture.
Requesting client reviews will improve your firm’s reputation and increase potential clients’ confidence in your legal services. Ask your clients to review your legal services on Google, Facebook, and legal directories like Avvo and Justia.
Engage with people who leave you reviews – even if they’re negative. Clients want to see that you are courteous and responsive.
Ask Your Clients and Others for Referrals
Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals — even in the digital age. People still consult friends, family, or coworkers when looking for legal representation.
If clients had a positive experience with your firm, they’ll likely be willing to recommend your services to others. So, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!
Other ways to garner referrals include attending legal conferences and other networking events, performing pro-bono legal services, hosting lectures on relevant criminal defense topics, or being active in your community.
Use Social Media to Connect with Your Audience
Social media is an important component of criminal defense lawyer marketing. Why? Social media is a great way to connect with your followers and other social media users in your geographic area.
Remember; criminal defense marketing is about establishing your trustworthiness as much as increasing your presence online.
Posting useful content to your social media accounts can help you appear more accessible to potential clients. Your posts may give you the relatability boost your firm needs for a client to pick up the phone and schedule a consultation.
Having a robust social media presence extends your reach and provides you with greater exposure online. Therefore, you should utilize multiple social media accounts, including Facebook (Meta), Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
You should post content to your accounts frequently to help increase your digital footprint and establish your firm as a legal authority in your geographic area.
LawRank Can Help With Criminal Defense Lawyer Marketing
There’s no sugar-coating it; criminal defense marketing is difficult.
You have to manage traditional legal marketing strategies, such as website design, SEO, and social media. However, your marketing has to make a quick and powerful impression on clients who need immediate legal help.
You may wonder how you are supposed to implement a good digital marketing plan and focus on your full caseload. The short answer? You don’t have to.
LawRank, the best SEO agency for lawyers, can manage all of your digital marketing. Our agency focuses exclusively on legal SEO, and we have helped numerous criminal defense law firms grow their business through legal marketing.
In fact, we have helped our criminal defense clients reach the first pages of Google for some of the most highly coveted keywords online — in the most competitive geographic markets.