15 Ways to Get Criminal Defense Clients

Article by Kim Barloso Kim Barloso

Last updated

Criminal lawyers often find it challenging to promote their services and acquire new clients for a number of reasons. The legal industry is highly competitive and small law firms might have limited resources and knowledge to run successful marketing campaigns. 

Thankfully, most powerful marketing strategies can be studied and criminal lawyers can start implementing a marketing plan once they understand the fundamental principles of digital marketing for lawyers. Learn how you can get more criminal defense clients using effective marketing strategies that have been proven to work.

1. Earn Referrals From Clients

Before the rise of digital marketing, law firms have acquired clients through word-of-mouth and referrals from past or existing clients. This remains an effective method of getting more criminal defense clients. Referrals bear considerable weight because people trust recommendations from someone they know.

2. Offer Free Initial Consultations

Most people hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal representation due to cost concerns. 

Free initial consultations can help take away this resistance and make it easier for potential clients to get help with their legal concerns and learn about a law firm’s service. 

Most law firms offer a free consultation and state it on their law firm website like our client, Parikh Law. This is a best practice in creating a law firm website that converts. 

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3. Get More Customer Reviews

A recent survey says 43% of consumers regularly read online reviews of businesses. This proves that businesses like law firms need to focus on getting more customer reviews if they want to attract new clients. 

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Here’s how your criminal defense firm can get more customer reviews:

Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Satisfied clients are more likely to write a review, so give them great things to write about your criminal defense law firm. Focus on providing a great client experience and your work is halfway done. Be present in consultations, listen to their concerns, and offer thoughtful and insightful advice for stressed clients facing criminal charges.

Ask For Reviews

A consumer survey shows that 65% of consumers left reviews when asked by a business. Simply asking for reviews can boost the number of customer reviews for your criminal defense law firm. You can personally ask for them to leave a review on your website or review platforms like Google or Yelp. You can also send them an email or SMS with a link to submit their review. 

Respond To All Customer Reviews

Responding to reviews demonstrates professionalism and sincerity in providing better service to your customers. For negative reviews, you can respond and thank the reviewer for the feedback, acknowledge the concern, and assure that you are taking the feedback to improve your legal practice.

4. List Your Law Firm in Online Directories

Listing your criminal defense law firm in online legal directories like Avvo can help increase your visibility in search engines and reach your target audience. 

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Legal directories are high-traffic websites that allow lawyers to create a profile with details on their service including practice area, years of experience, and certifications.

Lawyers also include their contact details and links to their website and social media platforms for people who are interested in reaching out to them. When listing your criminal defense attorney profile, make sure your name, address, and phone number are consistent with your other listings like Google My Business and Yelp. 

5. Optimize Your Criminal Defense Website

To appear on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google, your law firm website be built with search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. SEO is a process that improves a website’s visibility and rank in SERPs using specific optimization strategies.

Here are some aspects of SEO that you can apply to make your website more visible in organic search results.

Keyword research

You need keyword research to identify keywords people are using to look for a criminal defense lawyer. These keywords will then be incorporated in your website so it can appear and rank higher on search engines.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO involves optimizing your website’s content and structure to improve its ranking in SERPs. This includes page titles, URLs, image titles, and meta descriptions. Because this process is highly technical, most law firms hire a law firm SEO agency for best results.

We followed this strategy for the website of one of our clients, criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Blecher:

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6. Run Google Ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) Ads like Google Ads offer a measurable and cost-efficient method of generating new leads for businesses. When you run PPC ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. 

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Google ads appear on top of SERPs and marked as Sponsored, making it easier for people to find your business without having to solely depend on organic ranking. 

7. Sponsor Industry Events

Whether it’s a national or local event, a great way to increase your brand awareness offline is to sponsor events related to criminal defense. Carefully choose events where most participants can be part of your client base, such as discussions around families of wrongfully accused or racially discriminated inmates.

8. Optimize for the Local Map Pack

People trying to find a criminal defense lawyer near their location are likely to discover law firms that appear on the Local Map Pack. The Local Map Pack is the top three businesses that appear on Google Maps when a user makes a location-based query.

Below is the Local Map Pack for the search query “Criminal defense attorney Orange County CA”.

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To optimize for the Local Map Pack, you need to create and implement a local SEO campaign which involves listing a Google Business Profile and optimizing its contents so it ranks higher on SERPs and appears on the Local Map Pack. 

9. Start Criminal Defense SEO

As a criminal defense law firm, you’ll need to stand out from all other law firms promoting their services online. You can do this with a customized SEO strategy that shows your unique brand and differentiates your criminal defense practice from the competition. 

In addition to keyword research and on-page SEO (mentioned earlier), here are more ways to use SEO for improving your online visibility:

Link building – This refers to other relevant sites linking back to your website. These links, called backlinks, are significant indicators of a website’s authority, which can help with its ranking in SERPs.

Content marketing – Write content that is focused on relevant keywords according to your keyword research. Provide useful information to people looking for it online and encourage them to learn more about your service in the process. 

Local SEO – List your law firm in Google My Business to appear in local search results.  

Technical SEO – Improve your website’s security, speed, and usability with Technical SEO. Websites that load fast and easy to navigate provide better user experience and result in more conversions.

10. Run Local Services Ads

Local Services Ads (LSAs) are pay-per-lead Google Ads that are shown for local businesses promoting their services within a specific area. 

LSAs are different from regular Google Ads in a few ways:

  • LSAs are only for verified businesses that passed Google’s screening process. 
  • To qualify for LSAs, a business must:
    • Be located in a country where LSAs are available
    • Offer only the services that are eligible for LSAs
    • Have a business license
    • Have a good reputation
    • Have a Google Business Profile

Law firms are eligible for LSAs, so as long as you follow the steps on running LSAs for lawyers and pass Google’s verification process, then you can promote your criminal defense law firm using this method. 

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11. Craft Blog Posts on Criminal Defense Topics

A great way to attract criminal defense clients for your firm is to create a blog around topics related to criminal cases and how your law practice can help. Blogging for lawyers helps build trust with your audience and demonstrates your expertise in criminal defense by writing high-quality articles that educate readers.

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A common approach to planning your content is to use the pillar content method wherein you create a general post about a specific topic and write more specific, in-depth posts about the same topic. 

Whatever your blog post topic, always end with a call-to-action (CTA) at the end so prospective clients can take action, whether it’s to fill out a contact form or set an appointment. 

12. Participate in Community Outreach

Community outreach is another way to take your legal marketing offline and reach even more people who might need your legal services.

Research community organizations in your area and list the ones that your law firm might be able to contribute. Whether it’s providing pro bono work for people who cannot afford legal services, supporting a cause like criminal justice reform, or helping organizations exonerate wrongfully convicted people.

13. Advertise in Local Newspapers

Law firm marketing is not limited to the digital platform. Surprisingly, a 2023 statistic shows that 23% of Americans aged 30 to 49 still read newspapers. Newspaper advertising can be an effective way to reach people who need legal advice but are not active online. 

14. Experiment With Video Marketing

A 2023 survey revealed that 91% of businesses that use video marketing helped generate leads. With free tools and apps for creating videos, it’s now easier than ever to include video marketing campaigns in your marketing efforts.

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Some examples of video types you can create for your criminal defense law firm are:

  • Explainer videos
  • Presentation videos
  • Testimonial videos
  • Social media videos
  • Behind-the-scenes videos

Videos have better connection and engagement with your audience, helping you solidify your brand among your viewers.

15. Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

When you’re not an expert on SEO and other forms of digital marketing strategy, you are bound to make mistakes and it might take a while before you see results.

Law firms hire digital marketing agencies to manage their marketing campaigns for them. Whether it’s website design, social media marketing, SEO, PPC, or content creation, there’s a marketing agency for the job.

On The Map Marketing is a full-service, award-winning digital marketing agency with extensive experience in working with law firms including criminal defense. We have developed solid strategies to provide highly successful campaigns for criminal defense lawyers

Contact us today to create a custom attorney marketing plan that will help you get more clients. 

Kim Barloso

Article by Kim Barloso

Kim Barloso writes different types of content that helps businesses and brands establish their online presence. Before venturing into writing ten years ago, she was a communications trainer for customer support companies. These days, she keeps herself busy with writing and catching up on true crime documentaries.