Busy criminal defense lawyers know how important it is to keep a steady flow of clients growing their law firm. Developing a digital marketing strategy is essential for getting your name out there and showing up in the places where your prospective clients spend time.
Since marketing takes a lot of time and resources, it’s best to start off on the right foot. Before picking your criminal defense firm’s channels and assigning marketing budget, you need to determine your target market and the most effective methods for reaching that audience.
Notice how that other criminal defense firm who’s been stealing your clients seems to be everywhere? Chances are they’ve invested in marketing expertise from a leading agency. There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same, and focus instead on what you do best: representing clients.
Define Your Target Audience
Your target audience is not every person facing criminal charges in your city. If it were, you wouldn’t build a strong reputation in your niche and win more business.
For example, maybe your best results come from DUI cases. If you have data supporting this, you can refine your criminal law marketing strategy.
The more you know about your target audience, the easier it is to craft messages that speak directly to them and their needs throughout all of your marketing.
You define your target audience by clarifying who you will target and where you’ll reach that audience.
Who Will You Target?
As a criminal defense lawyer, you likely have a track record of helping people with many kinds of criminal charges. The more you can narrow down your target audience, however, the better.
Your target client is facing a specific legal issue, which can help you stand out among other criminal attorneys.
For example, perhaps your law firm has a strong track record in white-collar defense. Rather than positioning yourselves as general criminal defense attorneys in your city or region, lean into the specific experience you have with these cases.
When a new client looks for a law firm with extensive white-collar defense knowledge, you will need relevant content and marketing messaging that speaks to that person if you want to increase the odds you’ll get their call.
Consider a few questions in determining how you can best connect with your target audience:
- What stage of their case are they in when they’re most likely to call you?
- What concerns does your target client have about finding or working with a lawyer?
- What is most important for your client in the handling of their case?
- Are they reaching out to a lawyer on behalf of a family member or friend?
When you answer these questions, you will have made the first step towards connecting with the needs and addressing the fears of your target client. This will help you frame your marketing messaging and focus your marketing channels.
Where Do They Go for Answers to Their Problems?
When planning how to reach your target client, put yourself in their shoes. Where do they go when seeking information or looking for answers? Do they check out social media? Do they read reviews on Google My Business? Do they type questions into Google and read articles delivered by that search?
Knowing as much as you can about your ideal clients will help you refine your marketing channels. It’s best to pick one channel at a time to start with, and then you can add in other channels after you master your current area of focus. If you have past clients, ask how they found you.
If you’re not sure where to start, finding marketing channels is something you can discuss with your expert marketing agency. If you find yourself wondering how your competitors seem to dominate certain channels, it’s because they’re likely working with a marketing team who knows the legal industry.
Successful criminal defense lawyers usually use a combination of organic and paid channels to reach out to potential clients.
Organic channels include search engines, social media, and word of mouth. These are not those channels where you’re paying to place ads or for priority placements in a directory.
Although you aren’t paying for placements, you’ll still invest time and/or resources to achieve results with organic channels, and most lawyers retain outside experts to get the most out of efforts with these channels.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Think about the moment in which criminal defense clients are most likely to find you on Google search. They’re probably typing in things like criminal defense attorney Dallas, TX or asking specific questions about criminal issues, such as penalties for second DUI charge in Texas.
Ranking in search can only be achieved through organic SEO and every DUI attorney in Texas wants to show up as the number 1 result for the terms mentioned above. This means that getting those rankings becomes highly competitive for valuable search terms.
SEO helps criminal defense website achieve rankings in search results through the following actions:
- Content Marketing: Creating high-quality content that resonates with potential clients and builds authority with search engines.
- On-page SEO: Optimizing the content on the site so that Google understands what it’s about and is more likely to rank it.
- Link-Building (Off-page SEO): Getting respected and relevant websites to link to your own. This acts as a form of endorsement for your content and demonstrates to Google that your site is trustworthy.
The best criminal defense lawyers use marketing experts to help with law firm SEO services to get the most out of their sites. You should too.
Search engines consider proximity one of the most important factors when determining which law firms show up for relevant geographic search terms. This means you need to plan out your online local search presence.
This is extremely important for criminal defense attorneys since clients want someone close to them or their court hearings.
To succeed with local SEO, you’ll need to consider law firm directory listings, review sites like Avvo, and your firm’s Google My Business profile.
While every lawyer should explore organic digital marketing tactics, it can take time to see a return on your investment. For quicker results, invest in paid channels.
Paid channels can be more expensive than organic channels in the long run because, depending on the type of ad, you have to pay each time it provides a lead, click, or impression. Also, some paid options (e.g., Google Display ads), tend to perform poorly for criminal attorneys.
Consider working with a dedicated marketing expert who will help you determine your budget, where to channel it, and relieve some uncertainty.
Social Media Advertising
Another way to attract potential clients is advertising on social media. For a criminal defense lawyer, your mileage may vary based on your area of focus. For example, running ads to a targeted audience on LinkedIn might be a good choice for a white-collar criminal defense lawyer, but Facebook ads might cast too broad of a net.
Google Local Service Ads (Pay-Per-Lead Advertising)
Pay-per-lead advertising is another way to position your law firm to get qualified leads for a criminal defense practice. When you invest in Google local service ads, your law firm can show up above other search results, even pay-per-click ads. Putting your firm name at the top isa great way to continue earning new criminal clients.
Rather than paying per lead, pay-per-click means paying for results from your ads in terms of impressions, clicks, or conversions. These ads can get excellent results, but only when you know what you’re doing and regularly review your budget and outcomes. The best thing to do when diving into PPC ads is to hire outside marketing pros.
Email marketing is hit or miss for criminal defense lawyers. In some cases, providing guides and content over email might build trust with your audience. However, most people accused of a crime act quickly to search for help and don’t want to spend time reading emails from a law firm. Evaluate other marketing options before deciding to go all-in on email marketing.
Determine Your Value Proposition, Messaging, and Positioning
To reach your target clients with your criminal law marketing strategy, you must know what makes you different from your competition. This comes down to determining your value proposition.
What do past clients remark about how you served them? What makes your services or approach different from other law firms in the area? Lean into these benefits as you start to develop a marketing message.
Since you’ll use that marketing message repeatedly throughout social media, your website, and ads, every attorney in the firm should also resonate with that message.
Set a Budget
There are so many options for marketing a criminal defense law firm that it’s easy to feel unsure about the best way to maximize your budget. A criminal attorney’s marketing budget should include direct costs such as ad expenses, payments for working with marketing agencies or freelance experts, and any other costs like the expense of making collateral with a graphic designer.
Your budget might be a consistent amount spent every month, or it might change over the year.
Build a Fast, Modern Website
All of your marketing likely points to your firm’s website, which means you need an easily accessible and functional website. Your website should be clean and portray your most important marketing messages, making it simple for potential clients to find the pages they need most.
Case results and testimonials form a basis of “social proof” that you can use throughout your website to back up your services. Demonstrating outcomes and experiences in this way increases your chance of converting that viewer into a new client.
Website Design Basics for Criminal Attorneys
Although you want your website to highlight what makes you unique, for the best chance of capturing new leads, there are a few simple principles that apply to any criminal law firm.
A mobile-first website is a must for a criminal lawyer. Consider that many of your clients might be googling search terms immediately after getting pulled over or arrested. Family members might be grabbing their phones in the heat of the moment to help set up criminal defense representation.
When those precious seconds matter for getting someone’s attention, your firm’s website should load quickly and properly on mobile devices.
Optimized for Search
Before launching a new website, make sure you’ve optimized every page for organic search. Sending the right signals to search engines like Google helps you tap into better rankings.
Combining local SEO tactics and general keywords for your target audience positions you to be at the top of the results list. Google uses many factors in its algorithm to determine who ranks for what, so your SEO strategy requires regular maintenance.
Rankings.io delivers first-class SEO results for many law firms. With our experience, we’ll set up and monitor your criminal defense marketing efforts to maximize your impact.
Live Chat Features
In the heat of the moment, your prospective clients want answers or at least someone to communicate with, and live chat can address that need.
Live chat points prospective clients in the right direction and grabs their attention when they most require help, giving you a leg up on your competition.
Clear Calls to Action
Sometimes potential clients browse articles to learn more about their rights, and other times they might look directly for your contact page. Your goal is to anticipate their next move with a sensible call to action.
For example, on a page about what to do after getting arrested, you might include a direct link to your contact form so a potential client can get in touch immediately. On a page about being investigated for securities fraud, however, you might provide links to other blog posts on the site about white-collar crimes.
Each page should have one clear call to action. Even though your reader ultimately wants to decide who to hire, you need to provide them with an obvious next action step. Without a good call to action, they might just hit the “back” button and find another law firm on the search engine results page.
Any time you have the chance to use someone else’s words to talk about the strength of your law firm, take it. These trust signals make your claims more believable and tap into the needs of your target audience. This can come in the form of quotes, testimonials, Avvo, or Google reviews.
Build Awareness & Generate Demand
Make sure you have a consistent way to build brand awareness and generate demand from ideal clients. When you position yourself as an industry leader and do the work to keep your brand out there, you can win the business of qualified leads.
Google Ad buys, soliciting Google My Business reviews, content marketing, link building, and posting on social media are tactics that work for criminal attorneys.
Tactic #1 Google Ads
Once you know the most desirable keywords your clients search for, you can put your law firm at the top of the paid ad results. From there, it’s the job of your website to get and keep their attention so you can turn these viewers into a client.
Depending on the competitiveness of your local market and chosen keywords, Google Ads may not carry a good ROI. Make sure not to focus too much on Google Ads at the expense of your organic SEO traction.
Tactic #2 Content Marketing
Every page of your website serves a different purpose, from a practice area page explaining how you help clients accused of drug charges to blogs sharing how relevant law changes impact criminal defense strategies.
Developing and implementing a content marketing plan is a lot of work best handled by someone who knows the legal world well.
Service pages break down specific aspects of criminal cases and how you can help the reader with their case.
A service page should walk the reader through some common questions they may have about their issue—such as timelines and potential penalties—then demonstrate how you can help them and why they should pick you to represent them.
Local Service Pages
When you want to focus on a specific service in a local region, this is an excellent way to narrow down your marketing efforts. For example, if your last five DUI cases all came from Dallas, you might build a local service page.
Local service pages are similar to general service pages in that both inform potential clients about how you can help them and why they should pick you. The difference is that a local service page tells the reader and search engines that you provide those services in their local area.
Testimonials and case results are essential for a criminal defense lawyer. While you can’t guarantee results, someone accused of a crime wants to know that you’re experienced and dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome.
You can tell that story on your own throughout your content marketing, but make sure to sprinkle in the opinions of others whenever you can, too.
Blog posts are best for answering questions and addressing common concerns from your target audience, but many lawyers don’t know how to jumpstart a high-quality blog.
Think of your blog as a growing resource hub or library rather than a publication. It’s important to pick the most relevant topics and keywords and develop content targeting them. Do this through keyword research.
Tactic #3 Google My Business Reviews
When someone lands on your Google profile from an ad or direct search, one of the first things they’ll see is how many other clients have left you a review.
Google includes the number of reviews and your average in this view. It’s to your benefit to add new reviews every month by making it standard to solicit, or even automating, feedback requests from clients. Even if someone is uncomfortable leaving their full name or describing their case, you can anonymize any revealing details or even reach out their family members who may be more willing to share how well you treated their loved one.
Tactic #4 Link Building
Showing a positive association between your website and other sites is a solid way to earn traffic and grow your credibility on search engines. Link building simply refers to your ability to earn links from these other places.
Ideally, these are reputable websites such as legal directories, your social media profiles, or sites where attorneys can guest post.
Tactic #5 Posting on Social Media
You can share firm news, answers to questions, and even blog posts on social media. Choose social media channels where you have the best chance of connecting with your target audience and don’t feel compelled to be active on every platform.
Capture Leads Through the Channel You Selected
All the hard work of marketing, from attracting social media followers to increasing website traffic, pays off when you convert leads into criminal defense clients.
Capturing leads through your chosen channels is one way to tell what’s working and where to put more effort. You might discover that content on Instagram gets likes and follows, but videos about legal rights on TikTok garner more actual interest from new clients.
Measure Results and Make Adjustments
Setting key performance indicators is important for ensuring that your marketing efforts are paying off in terms of conversions. Evaluate your marketing data on a regular basis and use it to make informed decisions about channels, tactics, and budget.
Finding a Partner for Criminal Law Marketing Services
As a criminal defense lawyer, your main job is to help your client navigate the justice system and protect their rights. To continue that critical work, it’s important that you always seek out new clients.
Rankings.io is dedicated to serving the legal industry because of the unique needs of attorneys. We know what it takes to make your criminal defense firm visible in your local market, and we use only industry-leading tactics to help you hit your marketing goals and continue to grow.
Internet marketing is central in today’s marketplace. Whether your firm is new to marketing, or if you need help taking your results to the next level, Rankings.io can help you hit your goals and scale your growth. To learn how, contact us today for a consultation.