Every criminal defense law firm benefits from reaching new clients, but how do you know what strategies work?

Whether you’re in solo practice or working with a team of other lawyers focused on drunk driving cases, digital marketing can be overwhelming, confusing, and even frustrating. Reaching clients charged with a DUI for the first time or even subsequent charges requires consistency in your marketing campaigns.

Many law firms confront these challenges by working with a marketing company to handle all efforts or focus on specific channels such as local SEO, link-building, or social media management. Before partnering up with someone or trying to throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks with your online marketing, discover what works for DUI lawyers and how to craft strategies and tactics that drive results.

The Current State of Marketing for DUI Law Firms

DUI lawyers can’t continue to serve their market if they don’t attract and convert new clients. DUI has become an increasingly competitive practice area because almost every DUI lawyer is online and most are using similar marketing strategies—making it harder to stand out and bring in new cases.

Market Where Your Clients Are

A key aspect for any law firm marketing manager to consider is the importance of meeting DUI clients where they are at.

Clients want the process of finding, evaluating, and deciding which DUI lawyer to hire to be easy. They want to be able to do it on their phones—whether that’s through search engines, on social media, or other channels where they communicate with and get recommendations from their friends.

It’s essential that a law firm maintain a marketing strategy that evaluates both the competitiveness of the market and the instant needs of your potential clients.

When it comes to creating and implementing a marketing plan, identifying the right marketing tools makes a big difference. If every DUI lawyer markets the same way, all those firms look generic. Not every DUI attorney can or should do the same things as their competition.

It’s not just about doing the marketing work, either. That must be followed by an analysis of the strategy and tactics to course correct. Setting goals for what success looks like and then tracking them each month can help a law firm determine the most effective marketing strategies.

This helps align your budget with the activities with the highest return on investment (ROI).

Firms should focus on their community, understand the needs and concerns of their target audience, and the outcomes (what you can do for them) that the law firm’s services can deliver.

Strategy vs. Tactics: Know the Difference

A common mistake made when creating or implementing a marketing plan is failing to recognize the distinction between strategy and tactics.

They work in concert together to achieve goals, but they are not the same thing.

A strategy is an overarching guiding principle or set of goals that help you achieve an outcome over the long term. Strategies are usually intended for implementation over long periods such as six months, a year, or even three years, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Your strategy should not change very often.

Tactics are smaller actions that help you get closer to your desired outcome. Tactics shift and evolve based on real-time data to meet the needs of the present situation.

When something isn’t performing well with marketing, it’s usually a problem with the underlying strategy and not the tactics being used.

When something isn’t performing well with marketing, it’s usually a problem with the underlying strategy and not the tactics being used.

Even though these two things are distinct, they impact one another and must be evaluated together when executing a marketing plan.

Example of Bad Strategy

For example, a law firm might create a marketing strategy with key performance indicators (KPIs) of gaining new email subscribers. The tactic to reach that goal might be to run Facebook ads for a guide to recent changes to state DUI laws. Those Facebook ads direct to a landing page where the visitor enters their email and gets access to the information.

The law firm would then track how many net new subscribers it gained each week to discuss at a marketing meeting.

If there are increasing net new subscribers to the email list from the ads that were run, this tactic is a success, right?


You have to think about why you wanted new subscribers to begin with.

What was the goal?

Was it remarket to them periodically with a newsletter (FYI, your average person doesn’t want a newsletter from a law firm)?

Was it to increase brand awareness by gaining an impression with people interested in learning about the new laws?

Either way, you have to ask yourself, “How will this result in net new clients for the firm?”

Focusing too much on the KPI of high subscriber signups leads to a false sense of good activity-based performance if none of those subscribers takes the next step to become the client.

This should prompt revisiting the marketing strategy to develop KPIs that align with business metrics—not vanity metrics.

What Makes a Good Strategy

A good strategy is succinct and actionable with five core focus areas:

  1. Who do you serve (who is your target audience)?
  2. What problems do you solve for them?
  3. What makes you different from your competitors?
  4. How do you convey what makes you different?
  5. How will you execute this strategy and measure success?

Clearly Understand Who You Serve

Your target audience cannot be “everyone.” If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.

Marketing directors working for DUI lawyers have a very clear target audience: people charged with DUI/DWI and the family members involved along the way.

If you’re stuck, think back to your past ten clients. What did they all have in common? How did they find you? Why did they decide to work with you rather than another firm?

Solving Problems

Lawyers often make the mistake of assuming that they just need to showcase their ability to solve legal problems. These days, that approach falls short. It doesn’t consider that, for the most part, lawyers have similar training and education. Today, clients are looking for an overall experience through which their legal problem gets solved.

Think broadly about expanding the solutions offered at a DUI law firm by thinking through these questions:

  • What concerns might your clients have about hiring a DUI lawyer?
  • What actual bad experiences or perceptions about lawyers might make a client hesitant to contact an attorney at all?
  • What other challenges might a client experience in fighting a DUI, and how can your law firm address, reduce, or eliminate those challenges?

Standing Out from the Competition

In most cities, there’s no shortage of lawyers offering their services. This means that clients have a big choice in deciding who to work with, but they don’t always want to do the heavy lifting of sorting out what makes one firm unique from another.

You’ve got to do that work for them, clearly defining your approach to helping people through the criminal charge process.

There are many different ways to highlight your firm’s unique mission, culture, or approach. For new firms, this is usually brainstormed by the firm founder. For existing firms, look to feedback from past clients about what made their experience a good one.

I cannot reiterate enough how valuable direct qualitative feedback from your clients can be. Just ask.

Conveying Information to Your Target Audience

Once you know what makes you unique, it’s time to connect with your target audience.

There’s no point in firmly knowing who your target audience is if they don’t know who you are. To figure out the best channels for reaching your target clients, consider a few things:

  • Where do they spend time?
  • Where or from whom do they get and trust recommendations?
  • How can you deliver your message to them?

Whatever you do, don’t try to find these answers on Google. Ask your community directly. Become a walking talking qualitative feedback machine.

Executing and Evaluating the Strategy

Once you have a strategy in place, you need a plan for capturing data and adjusting your tactics as necessary. This is where specifics count.

For example, if you’re going to dive into content marketing, what does that look like on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis? How will you measure success? Through page views, clicks, comments, or growth overall?

Those are weak leading indicators of success and don’t always correlate with revenue. Instead, focus on these:

  • How many people contacted you after visiting a page on your site?
  • What pages did they visit along that journey (Tip: Use First-Click Attribution in the Model Comparison Tool with a Secondary Dimension for Landing Page Path and the Top Conversion Paths reports in Google Analytics to get some insight these data).
  • How many of those were qualified leads?
  • How many of your leads converted into cases?
  • How much were those cases worth?
  • What resources did those cases take (time, labor, expenses, etc.)?
  • What was the ROI of those cases?

Track it all the way down to revenue.

You won’t always get the full picture (perfect data doesn’t exist)—but you’ll get a much clearer picture than vanity metrics provide.

Also, it should come as no surprise by now that asking your clients how they heard about you and why they chose is a great source of insight as well.

Example of a Good Strategy

Think of our example earlier about new state DUI laws. The email subscriber route isn’t ideal because it adds too much friction without providing enough value.

Think about it objectively for a second.

Who’s scrolling through Facebook primed and ready to give out their email for a list of new DUI laws?

No one.

Does that mean they wouldn’t be interested in learning about the new DUI laws? Not at all. They may find it very interesting. The information isn’t the problem—it’s the delivery.

What do people scrolling through Facebook want to do?

Keep scrolling through Facebook!

Instead of asking them to leave Facebook and go to your landing page to get the info, meet them where they are. Give them the info right there in the feed. Run an ad with a video of you talking about the new laws, add a summary overview in the text area above it, engage with people in the comments, ask people to share it, etc.

You’ll get more value from people actually consuming your content and engaging with you than you would from collecting emails so you can send newsletters that’ll just end up buried under a pile of other newsletters from their car dealership, eye doctor, and every e-commerce website on the web they entered their email to get a coupon code for.

Takeaway: The tactic wasn’t the problem (running Facebook ads), it was the strategy (how you wanted them to consume and engage with the information).

5 Marketing Tactics for Law Firms

It’s worth making clear that channels do not equal tactics.

Channels are the places where you execute the tactics in your marketing strategy—what you do on those channels.

You use channels to distribute the message, offer information, and share ideas.

For example, search engines are a distribution channel, not a tactic. Producing high-quality content on your website addressing the questions people have when they search on Google is a tactic that you use to rank (i.e. get your message distributed) on search engines.

SEO Tactics

Search engine optimization helps you get traffic to your website. In conjunction with other marketing tactics, it can help introduce you to new followers and build a relationship with your current followers.

Most lawyers know that they can use SEO to help get their firm on the first page for important terms like “DUI arrest” or “DUI lawyer near me,” but it fits into a much bigger picture in your legal marketing.

SEO can include:

  • Optimizing each page of your website
  • Posts other places to get backlinks
  • Adding new pages to your site such as blogs
  • Updating your Google My Business profile

Social Media Tactics

Law firms need to have a strong social media presence. Not only do these profiles add a layer of credibility for the entire firm, but they provide an important opportunity to connect with followers and share behind the scenes at the firm.

For organic social media, find a social media platform where your target audience spends time. Create a plan for:

  • Frequency of posting
  • Use of hashtags
  • Length/style of posts

For most law firms, posting at least twice a week is recommended. Many firms post 4-5 times per week.

DUI lawyers can find success on multiple social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and more. The important thing is to pick a channel where your audience spends time, create content they like to engage with, and consistently commit to posting.

Digital Advertising Tactics

Another way to get your message to new audiences and your current audience is through digital advertising. Digital advertising can include display ad placements (which are often a waste of time if you don’t carefully monitor how and where they’re displayed), social media ads, and pay-per-click ads based on search results.

The most popular methods meet your clients right where they are at the moment they’re seeking a lawyer, like pay per click (PPC) ads. While a social media ad or ad placement on a prominent website might introduce the name and premise of a DUI/DWI firm to someone, it doesn’t always align directly with the viewer’s needs at that moment.

Google ads, however, match up relevant DUI firms based on what the person is looking for and display them right where they’ll catch the eye in search results.

In this search scenario, a person is looking for immediate DUI assistance. Before displaying the organic search results, two ads appear at the top of the visible screen. The thought behind these ads is that rather than scrolling down to see what other firms are available, the viewer will instead click through and hire one of the firms who has paid to put their listing front and center.

Advertising like this is what we call capturing demand. People have a problem and you’re there to solve it.

You should also think about generating demand as well though. You do that by advertising to people who don’t have a problem right now but may have one in the future. By consistently advertising you’ll increase the likelihood someone remembers you in the future when an issue comes up. Your aim here is to be so well known that you’re in the consideration set when the moment arrives—that’s half the battle.

Traditional Advertising Tactics

Just because you’re investing in digital marketing efforts doesn’t mean that you throw traditional marketing out the window. Some of them are effective. It pays to stay in front of your target audience with traditional DUI attorney marketing since you never know what image or phrases will stand out in a potential client’s mind.

Many traditional advertising tactics can create brand awareness and even drive direct calls to the firm, such as:

  • Placing print ads in local business magazines or coupon books
  • Bus benches or side-of-bus ads
  • Sponsoring local events
  • Billboards

Word of Mouth & Referral Tactics

Word of mouth and referrals are direct recommendations for your DUI firm. With word of mouth, lawyers build a reputation because of the past work they’ve done for other clients. With referral tactics, partners in other industries or other law firms who don’t do DUI work can send work to a DUI lawyer’s office when applicable.

One of the best ways to support lead generation and bring in more clients like the great ones you already have is by making it clear that you’re accepting new business.

A few words from a past client can go a long way for a future client to decide which lawyer to work with. It’s not easy for someone going through a DUI to ask another person if they know of someone good, but you want your firm’s name to be top of mind if this happens.

With referrals, other lawyers or professionals can do some of the heavy lifting for you by providing personal recommendations when they come across people with DUI cases. An established relationship with people who come across others who might need help from a criminal defense attorney builds a professional network and supports your marketing efforts.

Free Strategy Assessment

If you’re ready to take the next step with your internet marketing strategy, getting insight from a professional can give you more confidence. A company with experience in law firm websites, backlinking, SEO, and marketing efforts can evaluate your existing strategy to provide insight on room for growth.

You can do some things in-house or by working with a freelancer, but other components of your marketing plan are best handled by an expert. SEO, for example, can be all-consuming. Creating your own content can pull you away from what you should be doing (practicing law, growing the business.)

You can outsource many aspects of your marketing campaigns by choosing the right partners. These partners should possess experience developing lead generation strategies and should manage most of the work for you.

Contact us today for a free strategy assessment if you need support with determining how well-aligned your plans are with your outcomes. We have extensive experience working with law firms to optimize their strategies.