At this point, it is pretty basic knowledge that when a defendant is facing criminal charges, they have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. While silence might be a good tactic for avoiding guilt, it is not so great when landing legal clients. Unless you find yourself in the public defense field, the court system will not hand you your clients on a golden scale.
For most criminal defense lawyers, finding new leads means getting a bit creative with your marketing. That is where Scorpion comes in to help. Whether you have just passed the bar or you are a seasoned attorney who simply needs to grow your client base, we have the marketing tips you need to thrive in your practice:
1. Showcase the qualities you would want in a lawyer
If you are a criminal defense attorney, you already know that your clients are coming to find you during a stressful time in their lives. Your potential clients have a lot of choices on their hands, but don’t let this intimidate you! There are plenty of ways to stand out from the crowd. One of the best-kept secrets to getting more leads as a criminal defense attorney is to exhibit these traits:
- Confidence and knowledge in the legal process
- Willingness to listen
- Nonjudgmental attitude
- Compassionate approach
- Strong communication skills
- Integrity and honesty
- Respect for clients’ time
Above all, the most important quality you need to attract and land the clients you deserve is a passion for the law. According to the International Bar Association, approximately 20% of lawyers 40 and younger have considered leaving the profession within the next five years. That is a lot of tired attorneys! If you can show your passion for your clients, you’re already one step ahead of the competition.
2. Support your clients through every step of their journey
As a lawyer, one of the best things you can be is relatable. This is especially true for criminal defense attorneys. Let’s face it — nobody faced with criminal charges is happy with their situation. Being familiar with your clients’ journey means you can put yourself in their shoes, and your empathy will go a long way. Your clients’ journeys can be broken down into the following steps:
As you might have guessed by the title, this is the stage where your client becomes aware of your law firm. At this point, they might not be looking for your services, but it is still prime time to make a lasting impression. To make your clients remember you, you must develop your brand as a lawyer. Make sure the ads they see are a true reflection of what you can offer them. You never know where your next client might find your firm, so your branding should be recognizable on every platform.
If you are successful enough to make a lasting impression in the discovery phase, you might be the first place they search when they are in the consideration stage. At this point in their journey, your clients are confronted with the unfortunate reality that they will need criminal defense services. Word-of-mouth might get you by in the “discovery” stage, but the consideration stage is a different ballpark.
At this stage, your potential clients will have questions for you, and they want the answers spelled out on your website. This means that on your website, it is important to clear up their confusion and communicate the traits that make you a strong attorney. Remember that for many of your potential clients, this is the first time they are going through this nerve-wracking process, so you want to reassure them that they are in good hands.
At the decision stage of your journey, your potential client takes their first step toward becoming an existing client. At this point, not only have they found your firm, but they have also decided to contact you. The devil is in the details, especially at this stage. How you respond at this time could make or break their final decision.
Your clients will be coming to you with sensitive issues, so it is important to establish a relationship and make them feel welcome right off the bat. Introduce yourself with a friendly, approachable greeting. Make sure your firm always answers phone calls and emails promptly. Walk them through the next steps easily so that working with you feels like a weight lifted off their shoulders.
When marketing your law firm, your efforts can be ruined if you don’t deliver on the promises you make. One bad review can have a negative impact on your reputation. The last thing you want to do is reach the engagement stage with a client and realize that you have made promises you cannot keep. This stage is crucial to use your knowledge of the law to deliver on your promises. In other words, it’s where much of the hard work occurs. You might not be able to prove every client’s innocence, but you can do your best to guarantee them the best outcome possible.
In the field of law, hard work pays off! You might only be able to win some cases, but if you show your clients you are the best for the job, they are likely to keep coming back. As you know, some of your clients might need help in the future, or they might be struggling with their probation rules. Keep in touch with them and utilize your other marketing tools. The more you do this, the more likely they will be to remember your name when asked for a good criminal defense lawyer.
3. Create an exceptional website and maintain a strong social media presence
Most of your clients will begin their search for a lawyer online, so it is important to have a killer website. You should have a strong homepage that speaks to who you are as a firm. It also needs to be cohesive with the rest of your branding content (i.e., the same logo, colors, and brand message). In addition to a homepage, you will need an “about” page that gives a short description of your background and your team’s background. You will also need practice area pages that outline the types of criminal defense services you offer. Other important parts of a strong legal website include:
- Strong website design with professional imagery
- Well-written content that showcases your skills
- Responsive layouts
- Call-to-action page for easy contact and clear social media icons
- Resource center or weekly blog to demonstrate knowledge and boost SEO
Your SEO strategy is something you should keep in mind every step of the way, including your website. Some of the best ways to keep your SEO content strong include:
- Publishing relevant, authoritative content
- Using multiple keyword phrases
- Updating your blog content regularly
- Creating relevant metadata and descriptions
- Weave links to your other content throughout your website
- Use alternative text descriptions
Once your website is up and running, getting your social media platforms on track will be much more second nature. By the time your website is live, the aesthetics and general tone of your firm should be established. Use this content to kickstart your social media presence. As you continue to publish new content on your website, make sure to post it on your social media pages as well. Above all, be interactive with your audience on social media. This will help you gain new clients and build a long-lasting partnership with them for many years to come.
4. Put an emphasis on local marketing
Your potential clients will need someone local when looking for their next criminal defense attorney. You might think that your advertising efforts will automatically meet your audience at a local level, but that is only sometimes the case. Unless your firm serves clients on a national level, you will likely want to target a specific geographic area, such as your city or state. Luckily, local marketing can actually be easier than national or international marketing because you know exactly who you need to reach. There are several marketing tactics that give you this type of personalization, including:
- Local SEO strategies
You might have heard of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, but did you know you can also target your local community with SEO? The first step you need to take to get more local traffic is to create a Google Business Profile if you haven’t already. Your Business Profile will help you show up in local search results and give your potential clients crucial information. Other key directories to optimize include Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Apple Maps.
Your content is also a key place to optimize for local results. Make sure that the content on your website, such as your homepage, service pages, and blog posts, are optimized for your location. You might find it useful to do consistent keyword research on trending criminal defense topics in your area. This way, you can either write content or hire a writer to keep your website content up-to-date and optimized for your community.
- Local services ads (LSAs)
If you’ve ever wished you could magically appear at the top of a local search, Google Local Services Ads might be your dream come true. LSAs give your firm a chance to appear before other firms. You will even appear above the local “map pack,” which is the most prominent position on the search engine results page (SERP). Of course, such an advantage comes at a cost, and you will have to approach your budget differently with this tactic. The good news about LSAs is that advertisers pay per lead, not per click. This means you will only be charged per valid leads, but the cost per lead can be rather hefty (between $140-$340 depending on how many attorneys are focusing on your city), so budget accordingly.
- Facebook ads
Paid Facebook ads work similarly to LSAs, but as you might have guessed, these types of banner ads appear on Facebook and can target specific demographics based on their social media profiles. When you advertise your criminal defense firm on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or Meta Audience Network, you will be able to select your target audience and set a budget for each ad you run. This budget is allocated over a time period, and the higher the budget, the greater reach your ad will have. Learn more about Facebook marketing and how it can help your criminal defense firm.
Are you ready to take control of your marketing strategy for your criminal defense firm? Scorpion will put you in the driver’s seat by helping you find the best strategies for your individual firm’s needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help.