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Five Tips for Criminal Defense Attorney Advertising

Criminal Defense

Grab attention.

That is the goal of criminal defense attorney advertising. Meeting that goal requires strategy, know-how, and creativity. Also, knowing what to do with that attention once you have it, is equally important in criminal defense attorney advertising.

Before we provide the five tips to make criminal defense attorney advertising successful, it’s important to note the types of advertising available. Generally, advertising falls into two main buckets: traditional and digital.

Traditional Criminal Defense Attorney Advertising

No matter how old you are or where you live, you can probably picture a billboard, newspaper advertisement, or even a Yellow Pages listing for a criminal defense attorney. Whether it’s an aggressive-sounding voice on the radio giving advice about what to do if stopped by the police for a suspected DUI or a tough-looking attorney, arms crossed over her chest, on the back of the bus in front of you at a stop light — these are both traditional ways of advertising a criminal defense law practice.

Any criminal defense attorney ad that is not online is considered “traditional.” These include ads in or on:

  • Printed newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals, including advertorials or sponsored content
  • Printed telephone directories (yes – they still exist!)
  • Billboards
  • Buses and bus stops
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Telemarketing
  • Direct mail

While digital marketing has eclipsed traditional advertising in many industries, traditional advertising still has benefits for criminal defense attorneys. These include creating brand awareness through repeated exposure, connecting directly with a local audience, the ability to utilize an advertisement for a longer time, establishing credibility because of the belief held by many that traditional ads are “trustworthy,” and reaching a diverse audience.

Digital Criminal Defense Attorney Advertising

While advertising is a digital marketing tactic, not all digital marketing is advertising. The distinction is whether it costs money to share the content or not. Creating a Facebook post that links to a blog post on the firm website is an example of digital marketing. Paying to have that post boosted on Facebook is an example of digital advertising.

Digital criminal defense attorney advertising can take many forms, including:

  • Boosted social media posts
  • Pay-per-click ads on social media, search engines, publications like newspapers and other platforms
  • Sponsored content or advertorials (which may also be PPC)
  • Directories
  • Referral services
  • Review and rating sites
  • Google Local Service Ads

The advantages of digital advertising include the ability to target ads based on demographics and user interests, ranking higher in online searches, flexibility in design and content, control over a campaign, analytics to measure how well an ad is performing, and providing a quick and easy way for people to link back to the firm’s website to learn even more.

Five Tips for Criminal Defense Attorney Advertising

Whether you are using traditional or digital ads, follow the five best practices below for criminal defense attorney advertising:

  1. Follow the rules and regulations governing attorney advertising and marketing. Most states follow the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. These cover the professional and ethical obligations attorneys and law firms must heed in all marketing activities.

  2. Be sure a legal marketing strategy is in place before jumping into advertising. By creating and implementing a legal marketing strategy for your criminal defense practice, you’ll ensure that the advertisements are effectively reaching the right audience with appropriate information. This is because the legal marketing strategy has already defined the service being promoted, the target market, the value proposition, a competitive analysis, messaging, and a budget.

  3. Potential criminal defense clients will want a criminal law attorney nearby, so focus on local advertising strategies.

  4. Every criminal defense attorney advertisement must include clear branding, such as the firm or attorney’s name and/or logo, contact information, and a call to action. The CTA is the thing you want the audience to do. A CTA may be a phone number or contact form, a download, a link, etc.

  5. Whenever possible, incorporate storytelling into the ad. Stories, even short, two-sentence tales, catch attention and illustrate not only your service, but how it helps people. Stories create a memorable connection between you and the audience.

There are many advertising options to fit every criminal defense lawyer or firm’s needs, goals, and budgets. Advertising is a proven marketing tactic to attract new clients by boosting visibility, creating awareness, and using content to inform and connect. With smart design and messaging, criminal defense law advertisements help you stand out from the competition.