Mastering Criminal Defense Marketing in 2024
This is a complete guide to our strategies in 2024 to consistently win more high-value cases for our criminal defense clients.
So, if you’re looking for:
More visibility on Google.
Better positions for the top keywords in your market.
More high-value cases.
Then, you’ll love the proven techniques we cover in this guide.
Let’s get started!
To stand out in the highly competitive criminal defense market and achieve this goal, you need marketing strategies that actually move the needle, and this is where Constellation shines. Why listen to us? We are experts at helping criminal law firms consistently add new cases and increase their revenue. Take a look at some of the results we generated in 2023:
- Added $60,000 in 60 days for a new client
- Helped multiple firms exceed seven figures
- Helped multiple law firms scale from $20,000 per month to beyond $80,000
- Consistently generated 2-14x ROI
Why Should I Invest in Marketing for My Criminal Defense Firm?
First, criminal defense law practices find it nearly impossible to scale their firms by focusing solely on referrals. While significant, they can be infrequent and prevent you from meeting your revenue goals.
Next, your prospective clients use search engines to find a criminal defense lawyer, and there is a low chance you will naturally appear in the top results without working at it. Lastly, your competitors that implement effective marketing efforts will likely snag the cases you are better equipped to handle.
An effective marketing plan is vital to long-term growth and success as a criminal defense attorney.
We’ve consistently found that SEO (search engine optimization) is the key to a successful marketing plan for lawyers.
Let’s dig in.
SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers
Did you know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most prevalent source of new business for criminal defense attorneys? This rings true for our clients who focus primarily on SEO and those who use advertising as their central marketing strategy.
Why is SEO our #1 strategy?
Look at the chart above, which shows all criminal client leads during the 4th quarter of 2023. By far, the most successful producer of unique leads was organic traffic coming from our SEO efforts.
- You can scale your efforts, almost infinitely, by comprehensively covering criminal law topics on your website.
- If done well, your cost per lead acquisition will be less than any other form of marketing (outside of referrals).
- It works!
Achieving high rankings on search engine results is a long-term strategy that requires patience and dedication. It’s also an investment in your criminal defense law firm or practice because it will pay off over time with more customers at lower costs.
This can be tough for the solo criminal defense lawyer to juggle new cash flow while investing in new client acquisition. This is why we are flexible with our solo clients and would rather grow with you than exhaust your financial resources before your practice gains momentum.
Hundreds of factors go into Google’s ranking algorithm, but it is primarily believed that links and content marketing for attorneys are the most important. These are commonly called on-page and off-page SEO (search engine optimization).
Let’s talk about some essential elements of a successful SEO campaign.
Case Study: DWI Law Firm in Missouri Adds $70,000 in Monthly Revenue
Prior to working with Constellation, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center was on the 5th page of Google. Their website received around 50 new visitors from Google each month. The firm was only ranking for their own name and found new leads outside of referrals hard to come by.
They needed a way to reliably generate new, high-value prospects.
Fast forward to today, and the firm is an SEO juggernaut in the State of Missouri.
The firm’s site is now on the 1st page of Google for over 580 keywords. And as a result of that visibility in the organic search results, they now see an average of over 1,500 users per month, all from organic search. Acquiring the same number of visitors through Paid Ads would cost thousands and thousands of dollars every month.
Even though the firm is located in a small suburb in metropolitan Kansas City, they command top positions for numerous highly-lucrative, statewide keywords.
On-Page SEO for Criminal Law Firms
This process refers to ranking web pages by optimizing for controlled variables on your site.
On-page SEO aims to help provide the best user experience on your site by creating high-quality content optimized for relevant keywords to your criminal defense practice.
You have full control over when to publish content and change something on your site to increase your organic rankings, which results in greater organic traffic.
More and more criminal defense attorneys are using content to attract new clients.
Creating pages on your website that correspond with the top searches in your market is THE primary engine to bring people to your site.
Content marketing aims to create high-quality, informative content to attract new leads.
When someone has a pressing need, they get out their phone and Google it.
You want to be here at this PIVOTAL MOMENT when they seek help from a criminal defense attorney. Content marketing can help you be there; the best part is that it’s free.
Off-Page SEO for Criminal Defense Lawyers
Off-page SEO is the process of bringing quality links to your site from other high-quality websites.
Every aspiring content marketer has heard the message before: Links are key to your success. But how do you get them?
If you want authoritative backlinks, there’s no secret ingredient. It doesn’t take a genius-level intellect to determine that links from authority sites will help your organic ranking more than anything else!
Below are link-building tips you must follow to get the boost your law firm website needs:
- Focus on quality, not quantity – A backlink from a high-authority site trumps backlinks from thousands of low-quality sites. Therefore, it’s best to determine link opportunities that deliver higher ROI regardless of how few they are.
- Give people a reason to link back to you – There are many reasons why people link to others. However, providing helpful content to your target audience is one of the best ways out there. Once websites link back to your content, they look authoritative by association.
- Check competitor backlinks – If you need ideas to jumpstart your link-building strategy, look at your other law firm link profiles. Find opportunities that you can use to get your backlink profile off the right track.
Technical SEO for Criminal Law Firms
There are lots of on-page factors to consider. But before hiring SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists, below are simple things you can do to help increase your site’s organic traffic.
- Use keywords and phrases at the right places – Mention them in your title tags, headings, text content, and alt-text images. Place the most important keywords near the beginning of a post to show them up on Google search results pages when someone searches those keywords.
- Speed up your site – How fast your web pages load will determine where they rank on search engines. Therefore, you need to reduce the file sizes of your images and use CDNs to optimize your content distribution, to name a few.
- Refine internal linking strategy – Make sure that related pages that cover the same topic link to each other. Doing so not only improves user experience but also informs Google regarding the relationship of interlinked pages, thus increasing your topical authority.
Your Criminal Law Website
A healthy law firm website is essential to any successful SEO strategy. When someone leaves Google and lands on your site, you have a split second to deliver a great first impression. And as a criminal defense attorney, your prospective clients most likely need help NOW. So if they don’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they’re moving on to your competition.
Google is always searching for high-performing websites that can answer their users’ questions. If you’ve done all the hard work of getting someone to click on your page, don’t screw it up with a lackluster site.
Want your law firm’s website to stand out? Ensure it has fast loading times, modern technology, and a responsive design.
Constellation’s Golden Rules for Good Law Firm Websites
1. Make it load as quickly as possible
2. Clearly tell users what you do and why you’re the best option
3. Make it dead simple to get in touch with you
4. Add social proof
We’ve highlighted this website because it checks all the boxes:
- Lots of CTAs (Call-to-Action)
- Social Proof (Legal awards, memberships)
- Lighting Quick Load Speed
There are different platforms where you can launch your criminal defense law firm or attorney website, but we prefer WordPress.
WordPress is arguably the most popular platform for building websites. It’s easy for beginners and powerful enough for advanced users to maximize their marketing efforts for a criminal defense law firm or other attorneys.
Best tools to use: WordPress CMS
Local Search for Criminal Defense Law Firms
Did you know that Google has a separate algorithm for “local” searches? Appearing on the search results map when someone has just been arrested is powerful. Your proximity, reputation, and other signals help determine these search results.
The unique part about this section is that you can significantly impact the results without a complicated SEO strategy. The primary component is receiving reviews consistently, which will likely elevate your law firm in the search results.
Here are some tips for improving your local SEO:
- Registering with Google Business Profile – Sign up for this free platform to establish your local presence in the local market. You can create pages that include business hours or reviews of services you provide for potential clients in your area who are looking online!
- Local citations – Sign up to local business directories using the same and latest NAP (name, address, phone number) that you used on GMB. This creates consistency across all directories, increasing your chances of ranking on Google’s local-3 pack.
- Generate positive customer reviews – Getting 5-star Google reviews from customers does not push your search rankings to the top of your target keyword. However, the average star rating and the number of reviews appear as a SERP feature once your site starts ranking on Google. Many prospective and potential clients look at user-generated content to help them make an informed decision and sway them your way.
In criminal defense marketing, the power of Local SEO cannot be overstated. It’s a game-changer, a strategy that, when executed with finesse, can elevate a law firm’s visibility in its community to unprecedented heights. Let’s delve deeper, shall we?
Deepening Local SEO Content
Local keyword optimization is not just about sprinkling location-based terms into your content. It’s an art. Imagine a potential client in your city searching for legal help. What specific phrases might they use? “Best DUI lawyer in [City Name]” or “Affordable criminal defense attorney near me”? Identifying and integrating these hyper-local keywords can significantly boost your firm’s relevance in local search results.
Then, there’s local link-building, a somewhat overlooked yet crucial tactic. It’s about creating a network, a web of local relevance. Collaborate with local news outlets, legal blogs, and community websites. Each local backlink is like a vote of confidence, enhancing your firm’s local digital footprint.
Incorporating Local Success Stories
Case studies are powerful. They’re not just stories; they’re proof. For instance, consider a local law firm that optimized its website with city-specific keywords and saw a 50% increase in local traffic within months. Or another that engaged in local link-building and climbed to the top three Google search results for key terms. These real-life examples serve as compelling evidence of Local SEO’s potential impact.
Highlighting Local Engagement
Engaging with your community online is about building relationships. Participate in local online forums, not just to advertise but to offer genuine legal insights. Sponsor local events or collaborate with other local businesses for cross-promotion. This enhances your online presence and builds trust and familiarity among potential clients.
Utilizing Local Schema Markup
Lastly, using Local Schema Markup is like giving search engines a guided tour of your firm’s local specifics. You’re communicating your location, services, and local reviews by embedding this structured data in your website. It’s like placing a signpost that says, “Here we are, exactly what you’re looking for!”
In conclusion, Local SEO for criminal defense marketing is not just about being seen; it’s about being seen by the right eyes in your community. It’s a blend of technical savvy, community engagement, and storytelling. By deepening your Local SEO strategies, you’re not just climbing search rankings but becoming a local authority and a trusted name in criminal defense.
Advertising for Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal defense law firms should consider investing in paid advertising. Why? It’s the best way to reach more criminal defense clients quickly!
Pay-per-click advertising on Google is the undisputed gold medal winner for criminal defense firms. No other advertising engine gives you the scalability that PPC does.
Criminal defense attorneys enjoy these advantages when using Google PPC Advertising:
- A fabulous return on investment: A single DUI case can produce a satisfactory profit (depending on your niche). And if you’re handling felonies that could go to trial, you’re in a great position to acquire some very lucrative cases!
- It’s nearly instantaneous: You can get a campaign running in a couple of days and realistically add clients within your first 30 days.
Google Local Service Ads
If PPC is the undisputed champion, then Google’s Local Service Ads are the runners-up. Unlike Google’s PPC offering, LSAs work on a pay-per-lead model, allowing you to dispute leads that don’t fit within your targeting.
We’ve seen criminal defense lawyers start these and BLOW UP their intakes. We especially recommend them if there is not a lot of competition for these in your market.
Case Study: Criminal Law Firm in Georgia Adds $80,000 in Monthly Revenue
The Problem: Inconsistent Revenue Growth
- A criminal law firm in Athens, Georgia, faces fluctuating revenue, with some months performing well and others showing no growth.
- The firm’s self-managed advertising efforts yield inconsistent results, contributing to the unpredictability of revenue.
- Previous collaborations with various advertising providers did not successfully stabilize revenue growth.
The Solution: Integrated Advertising Strategy
- Our expert advertising team crafts a strategy combining Google PPC and Google LSA to address revenue inconsistencies.
- Implementation of a dual strategy enhances the advertising impact, targeting both broader and local audiences.
- Key enhancements in PPC campaigns include improved ad creation, comprehensive negative keyword lists, and active management.
- Google LSA strategically targets local services, optimizing audience relevance and engagement.
- The strategy demonstrates effective budget utilization, leading to lower costs per lead and a more robust return on investment.
The new approach immediately paid dividends and has built a sustainable pipeline of quality leads. This approach significantly increases the firm’s revenue within nine months, adding an extra $80,000 monthly. The integrated approach boosts monthly revenue and establishes a more consistent and predictable financial growth pattern for the law firm.
Social Media for Criminal Defense Lawyers
Sharing engaging content across social media platforms is a low-energy marketing strategy for criminal lawyers.
Criminal defense lawyers can track their brand name and keywords online, manage their social inboxes, and monitor how their top competitors run their digital marketing strategies on social media.
Increasing Activity on Social Media Platforms
Consistency is key. Your firm’s social media channels should be buzzing with activity. But it’s not just about quantity; it’s about quality. Share insightful articles, firm updates, and legal tips. Each post is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and keep your firm top-of-mind. Remember, social media algorithms favor active accounts, so the more you post, the more visible you become.
Engaging with the Audience Through Regular Posts
Engagement is a two-way street. When you post, don’t just broadcast; interact. Respond to comments, ask questions, and participate in discussions. Regular engagement can transform your social media pages from mere billboards into thriving communities. For instance, a weekly Q&A session on legal topics can spark conversations and establish your attorneys as approachable experts.
Using Social Media for Brand Building and Client Interaction
Social media marketing for law firms is a powerful tool for storytelling and brand building. Share success stories, client testimonials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your firm. These humanizing moments create a brand narrative that resonates with potential clients. Additionally, use these platforms for direct client interaction. Quick responses to inquiries and active participation in relevant conversations can enhance your firm’s reputation for client-centric service.
In conclusion, social media is not just an accessory to your marketing strategy; it’s a cornerstone. By increasing your activity, engaging with your audience, and using these platforms for brand building and client interaction, your firm can harness the full potential of social media. It’s about creating a digital persona that reflects your firm’s professionalism, expertise, and approachability. In the competitive criminal defense arena, a robust social media presence can be the difference that sets your firm apart.
Direct Mail for Criminal Law Firms
Direct mail marketing for criminal lawyers is an offline “old school” strategy that is still a big part of the marketing equation for some law firms. The method focuses on identifying recently arrested individuals and sending them a letter with a loose solicitation.
We work with several law firms that utilize this, and it does work, especially if you’re mixing direct mail into a mature marketing strategy that’s already producing. However, new criminal defense attorneys may want to hold off on direct mail because it is a more significant investment with an often smaller yield.
LTV (Lifetime Value) Strategies for Criminal Defense Attorneys
You should spend most of your time as a criminal defense lawyer perfecting your inbound client acquisition system. It’s the most challenging part of acquiring new clients, and if you can nail it, you’ll create a moat around your criminal defense practice that competitors can’t penetrate.
Most criminal firms’ client interaction is one-off, but it doesn’t have to be. You can reap long-term rewards from your clients by using the following lifetime value strategies:
Reviews help establish your credibility and increase your conversion rates. If your past criminal defense clients had a great experience, capture their feedback with Google Reviews (or as anonymous feedback that you can incorporate into your website). Take
You don’t need to aim for the moon here to be successful. A simple newsletter that addresses common legal concerns showcases positive results in the courtroom, and shares valuable content goes a long way with the people in your network. Email marketing for lawyers is the ultimate low-cost, low-labor digital marketing strategy that can produce a significant return on investment (ROI).
Networking may be considered old-school, but it still works! Criminal defense lawyers who consistently build on their network and cultivate relationships enjoy more long-term success than their counterparts who avoid networking.
Becoming an Authority in Your Market
You want to be known as the best criminal defense law firm for DUIs, felonies, or misdemeanors in your area. Consider contributing thought leadership pieces to your local bar association or sending helpful insight to other lawyers about improving their legal practice. Having a friendly, “give-first” reputation can pay big dividends!
Criminal defense lawyers can leverage video marketing in a couple of ways.
First, they run ads on digital platforms like YouTube. This allows them to present their services directly to a targeted audience.
The main challenge with video marketing for criminal lawyers is the difficulty in precisely targeting individuals who need their services. There isn’t a specific ‘criminal’ demographic that can be isolated to identify potential clients. This means that while video ads on platforms like YouTube can reach a broad audience, they may not effectively connect with individuals actively seeking criminal defense, as there’s no definitive way to filter viewers based on their immediate legal needs.
While people may search for criminal lawyers on YouTube, they are more likely to seek informational content first, not being immediately ready to select an attorney. However, using YouTube for video marketing is a better strategy for criminal lawyers than traditional broadcast methods like TV or radio, as it offers a platform to provide valuable information to potential clients in the early stages of seeking legal advice.
Perhaps a better way to utilize video marketing is within your website to develop trust with potential clients. Video marketing is different than advertising because it doesn’t require paid distribution. Instead, we encourage you to utilize video marketing to increase conversions once a potential client has landed on your site.
Let’s dive into how video can revolutionize your firm’s engagement and content experience.
Client Testimonials: The Power of Storytelling
Imagine a former client, on-screen, sharing their journey. Their challenges, their fears, and how your firm turned the tide. This isn’t just a testimonial; it’s a story that resonates. Client testimonials in video format are compelling. They add a human touch, making your services relatable and trustworthy. It’s one thing to read about success; it’s another to see and hear it directly from those impacted.
Explainer Videos: Simplifying the Complex
The law is complex, but your clients’ understanding of it doesn’t have to be. Explainer videos can break down intricate legal concepts into digestible, engaging content. Use animations, infographics, and straightforward language to demystify legal processes. These videos can position your firm as knowledgeable and a helpful guide through the legal maze.
Insights from Experts: Establishing Authority
Featuring insights from your legal experts in video format can significantly boost your firm’s credibility. Discuss recent legal changes, offer opinions on high-profile cases, or provide practical advice. This content showcases your team’s expertise and keeps viewers informed and engaged.
Video content in your marketing strategy offers a richer, more engaging user experience. It’s about creating a connection that goes beyond words on a screen. Videos can convey emotion, credibility, and clarity, making your firm’s message more impactful and memorable. In the competitive landscape of criminal defense law, a well-crafted video strategy can be a game-changer, setting your firm apart and capturing the attention of potential clients in a way that text alone cannot.
What Didn’t Make Our List of Marketing Strategies for Criminal Defense Firms
Not all marketing efforts are created equal. When it comes to marketing for criminal defense, the following strategies usually fall short because they don’t work, are hard to track, expensive, or won’t appeal to your target audience.
We’re not saying they can’t work, but they don’t deserve nearly as much attention as SEO and advertising. Why? These two channels consistently produce the best results. As marketers, the “best result” is acquiring a high-intent, qualified lead for your criminal practice. You are not looking for tire-kickers, and neither are we. Some of the channels below can produce leads, but are they high-quality? The majority of the time, the answer is a hard no.
Podcasts are not an effective marketing channel for criminal defense lawyers as they tend to have a more general audience, making it challenging to target specific clients who need criminal defense services. Additionally, the format might not align well with the serious and sensitive nature of criminal defense topics. That being said, there are still some ways to get value from podcasting marketing.
Billboard marketing is not an ideal marketing channel for criminal defense lawyers because they cannot target the specific demographic that requires legal services. This broad approach often leads to inefficient use of marketing resources, as it doesn’t effectively reach individuals actively seeking legal representation in criminal cases.
Placing billboards near courthouses may seem more targeted for criminal defense lawyers, as they could catch the attention of potential clients. However, this strategy hinges on several factors aligning perfectly: the individual must notice the billboard, find the advertisement appealing, and not already have legal representation. More often, individuals facing criminal charges tend to immediately turn to online searches, like Google, for legal assistance, making digital marketing channels more effective in reaching clients at their moment of need.
No thanks. TV advertising for criminal lawyers is expensive and poses challenges in tracking effectiveness. The high costs associated with TV ads can be prohibitive, especially for smaller law firms or solo practitioners. Additionally, measuring the direct impact of TV ads on client acquisition is complex, making it hard to ascertain the return on investment and to adjust strategies for better results. This lack of precise tracking contrasts with digital marketing methods offering more detailed analytics and audience targeting options.
For criminal lawyers, Facebook ads can be a more cost-effective option than traditional advertising, including Google Ads. They are less expensive and can generate leads more easily. However, the leads from Facebook ads are often of poor quality, hard to track down, and not well-qualified. People typically use Facebook for leisure and distraction, not for making immediate decisions like hiring a lawyer. In contrast, when people need immediate services such as a lawyer, they are more likely to turn to Google.
Geo-location marketing is a strategy that uses a potential customer’s location to display relevant advertisements to them. This approach leverages technology like GPS and IP address tracking to pinpoint a user’s location. Businesses can then deliver personalized ads or content that are more likely to be relevant based on the user’s local area or proximity to specific locations, such as a courthouse or a law firm’s office.
Geo-location ads can be ineffective in targeting potential clients for criminal lawyer services due to the often poor quality of the underlying location data. The specificity of the location is rarely accurate enough to ensure that ads are seen by individuals actively seeking legal services. Additionally, the likelihood of reaching a target audience who needs a criminal lawyer is low, as the ads may be displayed to a wide range of users in a specific area, most of whom would not require such services.
Avoid these methods in your marketing strategy, as they often are not worth the time, money, or effort.
Measuring Criminal Defense Marketing Success
The golden rule of marketing is to track everything. It’s impossible to know what works without metrics. A few common key performance indicators (KPIs) for criminal defense law firm marketers include:
Cost Per Lead (CPL)
CPL is the cost of acquiring a single lead. You can calculate this by dividing your advertising costs by the total number of leads generated over that period. For example, if you spent $10,000 on advertising and generated 100 leads in three months, your CPL would be $100. This metric helps you determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and where to allocate more resources.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of leads that become paying clients. The higher your conversion rate, the better. Ideally, you should aim for a conversion rate of at least 20%.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
This metric calculates how much it costs to acquire a new paying client. You can calculate this by dividing your total marketing costs by the clients acquired in that period. For example, if you spent $15,000 on marketing and gained 10 new clients, your CPA would be $1,500.
Return On Investment (ROI)
ROI is one of the most crucial metrics to measure the success of your marketing efforts. It shows the revenue you generate for each dollar spent on marketing. To calculate ROI, divide your total revenue by your total marketing costs and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.
Quick Tip: discuss ROI early with your marketing provider so you understand how it will be calculated. Don’t go in blind and discover 10 months later that you aren’t on the same page!
Consult with a Criminal Defense Marketing Expert
Marketing for a criminal law practice can be complex and time-consuming, but it is essential for success. You need to speak with a proven marketing expert.
To ensure your efforts are practical and efficient, consider consulting with a marketing professional specializing in law firms. They can guide you through creating a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that targets potential criminal defense clients and helps your firm stand out on search engine results pages.
At Constellation Marketing, we have experience working with many criminal defense firms and helping them 10x their law practice. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you attract high-value cases through effective and efficient marketing strategies.
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