One of the most exciting and diverse areas of the law is criminal defense. That being said, it is also one of the most competitive parts of the law for attorneys.
If you need some help boosting the effectiveness of your criminal defense attorney marketing, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Establish an Area of Expertise
Similar to other specific types of attorneys, criminal defense attorneys will first need to establish an area of expertise. This will help determine how you should organize your overall content and voice.
For example, the world of “criminal defense” is incredibly broad. Someone who needs a criminal defense attorney could be charged with anything from embezzlement to aggravated assault, among many other charges.
You’ll likely want to pick an area where you have knowledge and experience. If you have an excellent track record with DUI cases, for example, you may want to advertise along those lines; this is because it’s easier to establish credibility as an expert in areas where you have a tangible history.
More importantly — that history has to be one of success. Don’t advertise yourself as an expert drug trafficking attorney if you’ve never won a case in defense of a drug trafficker.
Specificity will be especially critical when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
Determine Your Audience
Once you know what area you want to focus on, you’ll need to determine who needs that service. Marketing is all about demographic information — catering to specific groups in order to communicate the importance of your product or service. The audience you target will be completely dependent on the sub-category of criminal law within which you’ve chosen to specialize.
For example, if you’ve chosen to advertise yourself as an expert DUI/DWI lawyer, you’ll likely want to target adults between the ages of 21 and 45. Historically, these crimes are also committed overwhelmingly by male drivers, so you may want to focus your marketing on men.
You’ll also need to determine your audience in terms of location. Attorneys are, in many ways, limited by their physical proximity. Likewise, there’s more competition in more populated areas. The more specific you can get, the better; you’re more likely to appear on a search for “Chicago DWI attorneys” than “Illinois DWI attorneys.”
This demographic information also can be used to create an overall marketing plan. If your target audience consists of adults, then you’re better off targeting Facebook ads than Instagram because the audience is older there. It all comes down to determining where your client-base is and meeting them there.
Develop a Brand
Once you have an audience and area of expertise picked out, it’s time to develop your brand identity. Most people are searching for legal advice online, so the way you present yourself becomes crucial.
Your brand’s identity will come from a combination of the language you use, the channels of social media you communicate through, the partnerships you make, and much more.
The first step to developing a brand in the world of criminal law is through a value proposition. Essentially, what is it that you are actually offering to your client? This message needs to be carefully crafted and easily identifiable. Keep this message highly visible — on your homepage, in the description of your firm’s Twitter page, and anywhere else you share your information.
This statement can be presented as something tangible, like how you’ll mount a case with a potential client. Or it could talk about how many steps your process has. Maybe you focus on a few key areas of preparation with which you provide help. You can also talk about the human side of your firm and empathize with potential clients first. You’ll see some firms that present themselves as stalwart defenders and those that align more with empathetic humanitarianism.
If you’re stuck on this step, you might need to reevaluate your demographic information before moving forward.
The two main avenues for your online marketing strategy will be your website and social media. Social media is a vast, sometimes-confusing landscape that changes every day. This makes it incredibly volatile and difficult to master; however, it also holds an incredible amount of potential.
As we mentioned earlier, your specific targeted demographic will have a preferred social media channel. However, it’s best to cast a wide net when it comes to your marketing plan. The key is to make sure your voice is consistent across all channels, even though you’ll want to tailor your message to the different locations.
For example, you don’t want to have an excellently curated Twitter profile and a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in months. Designating certain people on your team to keep tabs on your social media traffic and engagement is an excellent start.
Social media platforms will also differ in how they allow you to interact with clientele. Instagram can let you post pictures and videos, which forms a completely different strategy to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. If you’re using multiple channels, you should identify which types of content belong where. LinkedIn and Twitter may be better for link sharing, whereas Facebook is best for event organizing.
Your website is going to be incredibly critical to effective marketing because this is the “home” for everything about you and your firm. This page should be linked to all your social media accounts and succinctly provide potential clients with all the information they’re looking for.
Usually, clients will stay on your website for only a few minutes. That being said, the more places they have to click to find the desired information, the less likely they are to choose you. All of the information should be easily navigable, ideally on the main page or through the use of a search function or directory.
Every firm is different when it comes to how many different pages to include within their website and will find different strategies to work effectively. Non-negotiables should include a Contact page, About Us page, and testimonials.
A Contact page provides clients with the information necessary to get a hold of you and can also be a great opportunity to have them enter an email address or phone number — that way, you can follow up with them directly.
An About Us page should be quick and to the point, while previewing the service, someone can expect if they choose to hire you. The best way to do this is to link to other successful cases you’ve won or statistics related to those successes.
Similarly, testimonials from past clients or colleagues help build your credibility. Having someone other than yourself tell potential clients about you goes a long way. Direct quotes are best, and providing them scattered throughout your site is a great strategy.
The content you produce for your website and social media channels will need to be optimized for search engine performance. This SEO process includes various methods of making your brand perform better when it comes to Google, Bing, and other popular search engines.
The biggest of these engines, by far, is Google. The goal should be for your website and content to appear on the first three pages of any search; oftentimes, clients won’t scroll past that point. The idea is to make your name synonymous with keywords or phrases that potential clients would search for.
The biggest part of SEO is identifying and properly using keywords. These are words or phrases that people use in searches; companies that most effectively use these keywords and are clicked on will climb the SEO ranks.
You’ll want to include general keywords like “criminal defense attorney,” but realistically, it’s near impossible to reach the top results for that search because of all the competition. More specific keywords should be used to include the area you’re operating in or a price-point for your service.
Keywords can be tricky because the instinct is to put as many in as possible. However, this can saturate the search power of those terms and might even distract the site visitors that you do get.
This is called “keyword stuffing” and should be avoided at all costs. The trick is to identify main words and phrases along with a few secondary ones. Your primary keywords should be used a few times each, while the secondary ones should only be used once or twice.
In addition to keywords, you’ll want to include internal and external links in your website’s content.
Internal links will help users find different parts of your website and can help make your site more professional and navigable.
External links will connect your site to other pages around the internet. You can link to news articles that include your successes or big-name publications to help build your credibility. The possibilities here are truly endless.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep the number of links on each page to around one to three. Along the same lines of keywords, stuffing should be avoided.
Contact Us Today
If you’d like help with optimizing your criminal defense attorney marketing, contact us here to grow your firm and get more traffic. Our team of experts can help you get started and answer any lingering questions.