Criminal Defense Attorney Marketing: Tips for DUI Lawyers in 2023

Article by Chintan Zalani Chintan Zalani

Last updated

Criminal defense attorney marketing refers to the set of activities you execute to get your legal services in front of more potential legal clients. It calls for a thorough understanding of your target audience and crafting a marketing strategy that generates interest for your criminal defense practice.

The courthouse and word-of-mouth referrals by previous clients can generate only limited new business. To grow your law firm, internet marketing offers a level-playing field against billion-dollar law firms with huge pockets.

We know because, with our premier SEO services for DUI attorneys, we’ve scaled the leads for Stroleny Law (a premier criminal defense attorney in Miami) by 4175% in a year:

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As an award-winning digital marketing agency (with a decade of law firm SEO expertise), here’s our actionable guide to law firm marketing for DUI law and defense attorneys. Let’s get you more of those criminal defense clients, shall we? Below is an overview of the marketing ideas we’ll cover in the article.

Build a responsive attorney website

As a premier law firm website design company, we’ve seen a fair share of shabby looking and outdated websites. If you’re in the same boat, or worse, don’t have a site at all, it’s bad news for your criminal defense practice. You see, your target clients are likely to turn to the internet when seeking legal representation.

So if you don’t have a law firm website (like the 13% of respondents in the 2020 American Bar Association (ABA) survey), you’re losing business.

A client-centric website has a modern design that represents your law firm accurately. It’s also search engine friendly, establishes your unique value proposition, and works smoothly across devices. Here’s our client, Stroleny Law’s interactive and elegant website, for instance:

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Doesn’t it make a strong first impression?

Further, the site has compelling info clearly presenting their practice areas, contact info, and a CTA to “Request Consultation.”

The Clio Legal Trends 2021 report indicated “marketing website and domain” was second on the list of where law firms would spend their additional funds. It’s time you also refresh your website’s appearance and functionalities if it’s been long overdue.

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Leverage PPC ads for instant traction

Pay-per-click marketing is one of the most underutilized direct response marketing strategies by lawyers. It can get you high-quality leads to your law firm’s website instantly — as long as you have a decent advertising budget.

Specifically, Google Ads can lend you a berth to the top of Google’s search results and get you in front of criminal defense clients looking for legal services right now.

Suppose you’re a criminal defense firm in New York. Here’s what Google AdWords and the organic SERPs look like in your region:

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The average cost per click (CPC) for the above keyword is $30 as per Ahrefs:

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So you need at least a few thousand dollars of monthly advertising budget. You also need high converting landing pages for your campaign where visitors can learn more about your services and firm. Here’s the PPC landing page used by Marble:

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To improve your ROI from the campaign, you’ll need to experiment with the ad copy and audience targeting. So search ads do require a consolidated system for achieving optimum results, but they can get you more clients in a pinch.

If you want experts to manage your PPC campaigns end-to-end, consider hiring our law firm PPC services. We begin with a commitment-free 28-point PPC audit for your niche that looks like this:

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Crack the code for local SEO for criminal defense lawyers

The local-3 pack in Google Maps and localized organic results are prime real estate for attorneys.

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To rank attorneys on the map for relevant local search results (like we did Stroleny Law, as visible in the screenshot below), begin optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) for relevant keywords.

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Some important details to improve the relevance of your listing include your primary GBP category, your business info, and the usage of keywords in your GBP title.

Besides, you need to get more positive Google reviews because consumers read online reviews before buying legal services. It’s against the search giant’s policies to offer incentives for positive reviews. But can request clients who had a positive experience with you to add a review for your criminal defense law firm.

Once you build positive momentum on your GBP, consider leveraging more local SEO for law firms’ tactics.

Get organic search traffic via relevant criminal defense lawyer keywords

While all elements of SEO have a local search element, law firm SEO entails the holistic growth of your law firm’s website nationally. Here are three of its most important components:

To establish your topical expertise in search, you need to create content hubs on keywords related to your practice areas. Here is Stroleny Law’s set of pages for the hub: “drug crimes.”

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Creating local content for all practice areas could involve a lot of content writing. For instance, below are the legal content order details we raised for Stroleny Law:


Creating such SEO content and taking care of on page SEO for it includes:

  • thorough coverage of all the subtopics related to your main keyword,
  • optimizing its title tag, meta description, and heading tags,
  • using visually appealing and relevant graphics, and more.

As this can be a LOT of work, prioritize building the pages around your best-selling legal services. Alternatively, you can also hire our expert content writing services for help.

Want to improve your search rankings?

Then you need to get backlinks. They count as a vote for your site and arguably the most tricky part of law firm SEO.

You can build some links for your website by creating a profile on legal directories like Justia,, and the like. But the easier it is to build a link, the lesser its value for your attorney website.

Another way to build links is by contributing as a guest author to credible websites in the criminal defense industry or the broader legal industry. Here’s an example website,, that accepts guest posts from attorneys:

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Another tactic is becoming a source for other content folks. For instance, Twitter regularly gets requests from writers with #journorequest. You can follow such a hashtag or proactively search for such requests:

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I discuss more such tactics in this link building for law firms piece that you can check out.

Set a strong foundation for technical SEO

Incorrect page indexation, bad page speed, and unplanned website architecture are some of the most common website issues for law firms. With Google’s emphasis on page experience in its algorithm, a strong technological foundation for your website is no longer optional.

Begin with a crawl of your website using the free Ahrefs Site Audit tool to diagnose any such technical issues. Then have your developer fix them on priority:

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Here’s how criminal defense law firms can use social media platforms…

81% of law firms confessed to building a presence on social media in the ABA tech report 2020. LinkedIn and Facebook were among the top social media platforms respondents claimed to use:

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However, when I got in touch with Julian Stroleny, the owner of Stroleny Law said that social media was ineffective for the legal industry. “For my particular industry, I don’t believe in social media marketing. I know there are many consumer services where social media is everything, but I have a niche audience. I focus solely on SEO marketing for my business.”

Mr. Stroleny even went to the extent of saying that the marketing costs of social media outdid the revenue it generated. “I have attempted social media marketing in the past, but any increase in revenue did not even cover the marketing costs.”

Being a full-suite law firm digital marketing company, we have found similar results. Direct response marketing tactics tend to be the most effective in the legal industry because prospective clients generally seek immediate service.

With that said, if you like being on a certain social media platform anyway, then it’s a superb brand awareness channel. Specifically, you can try to answer frequently asked questions of your clientele in a video format on YouTube as it will instill confidence in your prospective clients.

You can also get personal and honest. For instance, here’s Hugh Green candidly answering why he enjoys being a criminal lawyer:

Don’t expect direct conversions from social media and the ability to measure the ROI of your social efforts. But building your reputation as a trusted DUI lawyer on social media could be a nice addition to your marketing arsenal.

Leverage PR to build social proof

Starting a PR digital marketing campaign in 2023 could still be effective at improving your public perception. For instance, look at the national coverage Joe Exotic’s attorney received after the premiere of the Netflix show Tiger King:

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Their website received huge media attention and lots of valuable links, which also helped their SEO efforts:

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You don’t need a Netflix show for yourself for PR. But it could establish your thought leadership if you’ve strong opinions on pressing issues around subjects related to your law practice. Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer, reached over 7.9M people through his impassioned TED talk about racial bias in the American criminal justice system.

All legal PR campaigns won’t be successful. Even if more people in your local community get to know you as a criminal defense attorney through a campaign, they are more likely to inquire about your services when they need them.

Here’s an example of a criminal lawyer sharing a day in his life with a jobs portal for law students and graduates in Australia:

Such interviews can get your name out there, so hiring a PR agency to find such opportunities and pitch on your behalf could make sense.

Start a podcast for your criminal defense firm

Podcasting is a warmer medium of communication than text. It also makes for more convenient consumption for your website visitors. Besides, an interview-style podcast can scale the reach for criminal defense firms — especially if your interviewees share their podcast episodes with their network.

Sure podcasting remains a less crowded channel, but maybe because it’s difficult to launch one. For instance, what subject do you start a podcast about? You can begin producing informational episodes to educate your defendants. Here’s a Texas Criminal Defense firm’s podcast episode where they discuss white-collar crimes:

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You can also invite your audience to ask questions you can answer on your show. Stephen Palmer, a criminal defense attorney at Yavitch & Palmer Co, is a co-host for Lawyer Talk: Off The Record, and they offer the option to submit a question:

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Final thoughts

Marketing for criminal defense in 2023 needs to integrate digital marketing tactics because most consumer journeys today start online. Hope the strategies in this article help your marketing efforts and reach many prospective clients.

If you’re short of time and need a hand with criminal defense law firm marketing, then get in touch with us sharing your business goals. We’ll get back with a free audit of your website!

Article by Chintan Zalani

I’m the inbound marketing director at On The Map Marketing, taking care of content marketing and SEO for our website. Previously I have helped numerous SaaS businesses with content and got my own website to over 50k monthly visitors. I have written more than 500 articles on digital marketing, small businesses, sales, and related subjects, with my work appearing on the likes of Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Institute, WordStream, CoSchedule, and G2.