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The Ultimate Guide to Defense Attorney Advertising

If you are a defense attorney looking to improve your advertising strategies, check out this marketing guide from Scorpion and grow your client base today.
Criminal Defense
Andrew Adams

This blog was updated in April 2024 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Defense attorney advertising refers to the set of activities you carry out to attract potential clients for your legal practice. It involves having a thorough understanding of your target audience and a solid marketing strategy that generates interest.

According to Clio, over 1/3 of potential clients begin their attorney search online. This means one in three people will search before asking a family or friend for a referral. To capitalize on this, your legal practice should appear at the top of the first page of search results online.

In this article, you'll learn how lawyers get clients and find some of the best defense attorney advertising tips.

Criminal Defense Attorney Marketing Principles

To get your criminal defense law firm in front of prospective clients, you need to build and follow a marketing strategy. Here are some of the main areas of marketing you should consider investing in.

Website Design

If you don't have a website, it's time to build one. If you do have one, then it's time to update it.

Your criminal law firm website is the hub of all of your marketing campaigns. The goal of every digital marketing campaign you run is to drive traffic to your website, so your site needs to make a great impression on visitors.

On-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

After your website is up and running, you can start on the SEO aspect of your law firm's marketing strategy. On-site SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results.

A good SEO strategy can:

  • Help search engines and users identify what your webpage is all about
  • Connect each page to keywords
  • Create a page that will rank well on Google’s search results page and other search engines

Many people used to think stuffing the page with as many keywords as possible was a good SEO strategy. Keyword research is crucial to SEO. However, search engines can extract the value and meaning of a page without keyword repetition.

If you're thoroughly covering a specific topic, you will naturally target and acquire relevant keywords. Just focus on your users and the topics you need to cover to address their needs.

Local SEO

Approximately 46% of all Google searches are local. This accounts for billions of searches per day, including some for criminal defense firms like yours.

Local SEO can improve your search engine visibility for local search queries. For example, if someone searches for "criminal defense attorney near me, "criminal defense lawyers California,” or “local criminal defense attorneys," your law firm will show up first.

You can check out this beginner's guide to local SEO to learn more.

Social Media

According to Smart Insights, 58% of the world's population uses social media. Criminal defense lawyers usually target members of the public who have been charged with a crime. There is a high chance that your target audience uses social media daily in one way or another.

Many criminal defense attorneys now realize the value of social media sites. You should create a profile on at least one social media platform. Linked in has over 828.1 million users worldwide. It gives you a chance to connect with other professionals and allows prospective clients to check your profile. Facebook has around 240 million users in the US alone. Meanwhile, Twitter has about 76.9 million users in the US. Both these platforms can be used for sharing useful content, joining groups, or building your reputation.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC is a great alternative to SEO. It can get you new leads quickly as SEO can take weeks or months.

PPC is paid advertising, which means you buy traffic to your website instead of earning it organically. It is very effective if you want to quickly appear above the organic search results.

The only downside to PPC is that whenever someone clicks on your Google ad, you pay a fee. In some industries the fee is low but law-related keywords carry a high fee. This is because "law" is a highly competitive industry.

Read more in this pay-per-click advertising post.

Word-of-Mouth And Referrals

Digital marketing tactics can put you ahead of your competition, but don't forsake traditional marketing methods.

Word of mouth and referrals are some of the most effective ways for criminal law firms to land high-quality leads. Attending local networking events and volunteering your services are great ways to get noticed in your local community.

10 Best Defense Attorney Marketing Tips

1. Set your marketing goals and budget

Generating leads and converting them is the main goal of your criminal defense lawyer marketing strategy. However, there are other marketing goals you can target, including:

  • Developing brand awareness
  • Building trust and credibility

Your budget will depend on certain factors, including:

  • Your current case numbers and capacity
  • The stage of growth you're in
  • How competitive the local market is

​2. Find your target audience

Developing a client persona can help you laser-focus your marketing efforts.

The first thing you need to do is figure out who your ideal customers are. You can use these five demographic elements to do so:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Salary

To go a little deeper, you can consider:

  • The legal services they require (Arson, DUI, Assault, Burglary, etc)
  • The qualities they're looking for in a criminal lawyer
  • The main questions they need answers to
  • Their main issues, challenges, or problems
  • How much they are willing to pay to hire you

3. Build your brand and highlight your value

When building your brand, highlight:

  • Why your criminal defense firm is unique
  • Why people should listen to you
  • How you differentiate yourself from your competitors

Before investing time and resources into your marketing campaigns, ask yourself why people should choose you over your competitors. This is where your value proposition comes into play.

Read this article on how attorneys can boost their reputation using branding and marketing.

Once you know the main problem(s) of your target audience, you can tailor a unique value proposition. Your value proposition should:

  • Be clear and compelling
  • Relate to the main problem of your target audience
  • Deal directly with the needs, wants, and desires of your potential criminal defense clients
  • Clearly state how you can solve their issue(s)
  • Convince website visitors that they're in the right place

Your value proposition can also relate to:

  • The emotional value you can deliver
  • Your years of experience
  • The unique personal quality you can bring to their cases
  • The number of cases you dealt with before
  • Any online reviews and awards you’ve received

4. Build or update your website

Your law firm’s website is the ultimate hub for all your marketing activity. This is why you need it to look good and provide value.

Legal consumers may visit attorney websites for various reasons:

  • To find answers and information about their criminal matter
  • To hire a defense attorney
  • To compare your criminal defense practice with your competitors

Your website should be modern and deliver a compelling message that aligns with your brand. It should also be mobile-friendly and eye-catching to get you more leads.

Consider these aspects when creating your website:

  • List the services you provide as well as practice areas and states/cities you practice in
  • Tell visitors to your page why you're the best and why they should trust you. You can do this by publishing testimonials, awards, experiences, and case results.
  • Make it easy for website visitors to contact you. Mention a phone number, provide an email or include a live chat feature.

Your website should cater to potential clients at every stage of the process. To do that, concentrate on improving the user experience and capturing leads more effectively.

5. Run SEO marketing campaigns

On-site and local SEO can increase your visibility. To get on the first page of search engine results pages, follow these SEO practices:

  • Keyword research according to user intent: Target informational and buying terms with long tail keywords
  • On-page SEO: Optimize the content on your website for your readers and search engines
  • Off-page SEO: Secure high-quality backlinks
  • Technical SEO: Optimize the structure of your site for search engines

How will your business perform in the future of search? Request a free Digital AI Audit from Scorpion.

6. Create informative and relevant content

Criminal law is a mystery to most people. When charged with a criminal offense, many prospective clients usually have questions.

The content on your website should attempt to answer these questions. Try to include the following types of content:

  • Blog posts
  • FAQ pages
  • How-to and explainer videos

7. Run PPC campaigns

PPC campaigns can get expensive for law firms since the industry is very competitive. Follow these tips to keep costs low and generate leads:

  • Define search terms to target
  • Create the right Google ads to target these keywords
  • Create a professional landing page for each ad
  • Test and improve the ads and landing pages regularly

8. Build your social media presence

Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are great choices. They can help you:

  • Attract new leads
  • Become the go-to criminal defense lawyer in your practice area or community
  • Engage with prospects and like-minded professionals
  • Build your brand and increase visibility

Check out this Facebook marketing guide for more.

9. Implement traditional marketing practices

You can get new clients for free using traditional marketing practices like word-of-mouth marketing. Past customers with good experiences will recommend you to family and friends if they require a lawyer.

Other traditional marketing methods you can benefit from include:

  • Attending network events in your area
  • Hosting a free lecture
  • Volunteering your services or doing pro-bono work
  • Participating in community events

10. Measure, analyze, and adjust accordingly

Last but not least, keep testing, analyzing, and adjusting your marketing campaign to get the best returns on investments.

Criminal Defense Marketing FAQs

Why is criminal defense marketing important?

Criminal defense marketing is important because you need your firm to stand out from your competitors. You can do this by having a solid marketing plan. This allows you to attract leads and convert them into paying clients.

How do criminal defense law firms get clients?

If you’re wondering how criminal lawyers get clients, it’s easy. Criminal defense law firms get clients by having a good marketing strategy. This includes creating a unique website, running on-site and local SEO campaigns, running Pay-Per-Click campaigns, using social media, traditional methods of marketing like word-of-mouth, etc.

Criminal Defense Advertising Conclusion

When it comes to marketing for criminal defense attorneys, a user-friendly and value-driven website is a great place to start. However, competition in the law industry is fierce. This is why you need a solid marketing strategy to attract leads and convert them to paying clients.

To do this, contact the criminal defense digital marketing experts at Scorpion. 

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