How to Get (More) Criminal Defense Clients

Discover the secrets to attracting more criminal defense clients with our proven strategies.

Criminal law is one of the most competitive legal services to market. In this post, we’ll discuss the most effective digital marketing strategies to increase your law firm’s online presence, making it easier for clients to find you and hire you. From YouTube videos to email marketing and more, here’s how to improve client acquisition.

The main goal of criminal defense attorney marketing is to get more traffic, leads, and clients for your law firm. Traditional word-of-mouth referrals are relevant, but they’re outnumbered by online searches. Digital marketing is now the most cost-effective and lucrative advertising method.

See how marketing can help you stay ahead of the competition
See how marketing can help you stay ahead of the competition

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See how marketing can help you stay ahead of the competition

How Do Criminal Defense Law Firms Get Clients?

  • Create an outstanding law firm website
  • Start with law firm SEO strategy
  • Set up Google Ads to get new criminal defense clients
  • Use local SEO and online directories
  • Promote your criminal defense practice on social media platforms

How law firms can generate leads

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8 Criminal Defense Attorney Marketing Strategies to Get New Clients

If you really want to know how to get more criminal defense clients, the answer is online. Between 2005 and 2014, the internet went from the least popular option to look for lawyers to the most popular, according to Thomas Reuters’ research.

1. Set Up Lawyer SMART Goals For Criminal Defense Client Acquisition

SMART goals help achieve clear, focused, and successful objectives

When people first venture into digital marketing, they often fall prey to vanity metrics, which look good on paper but don’t translate into cash flow. For instance, 1,000 people liking your Facebook post doesn’t equate to 1,000 new clients. In most cases, it won’t mean much at all.

You have to set your digital marketing campaign goals related to income and profit.

Smart goals for attorneys

The acronym represents five criteria for all goals:

  • Specific: Target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable: Suggest or quantify an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable: Specify who is responsible for the task.
  • Realistic: Be clear about what is realistically achievable given available resources.
  • Time-related: Have a clear deadline for when the result should be achieved.

So, if you were to set SMART goals for your own law practice or firm, you might decide to build brand awareness, develop trust and credibility, gain new leads, and ultimately more clients.

A SMART goal for a criminal defense law firm might be: Increase leads by 30% in the next six months by getting 1,000 prospects to subscribe to our new email newsletter.

Utilizing the SMART goal framework is the best way to ensure your marketing efforts remain on track as it quickly reveals if and when your priorities and resources are misaligned.

Ready to achieve your law firm’s goals online? Discover key objectives for law firm websites and get started on the path to success.

2. Build a Criminal Defense Website That Attracts New Clients

Creating a high-performance criminal defense website involves a strategic approach to cater to the diverse needs of individuals searching for legal representation within your practice area. To achieve this, it’s crucial to understand the two primary groups of users conducting online searches: those utilizing directories and those relying on YouTube content. Tailoring your website to effectively engage both these groups requires optimization for the distinct types of searches they typically perform.

Now, let’s delve into the key differences between these two user groups.

  1. Directory Users

Directory users are individuals who prefer using legal directories to find an attorney. These directories often categorize lawyers based on their practice areas, making it essential for your website to be easily discoverable within these platforms. To optimize for directory searches:

  • Listing Accuracy: Ensure your law firm’s information is accurate and up-to-date on popular legal directories.
  • Keyword Optimization: Use relevant keywords in your directory listings to enhance visibility and increase the likelihood of being found by users searching for specific legal services.
  1. YouTube Users

The second group comprises those who turn to YouTube for information and guidance. Video content can be a powerful tool for engaging potential clients. To cater to YouTube users:

  • Create Informative Videos: Develop high-quality videos that explain legal concepts, share success stories, or provide valuable insights related to criminal defense. This not only establishes your expertise but also builds a connection with viewers.
  • Optimize Video Titles and Descriptions: Use relevant keywords in video titles and descriptions to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and attract users searching for legal advice on YouTube.

Before delving further, let’s clarify what constitutes a high-performance website. In the legal industry, a high-performance website goes beyond the average conversion rates. While the average website might convert 2 out of 100 visitors, many attorney websites fall below this benchmark, converting only 1 out of 100 visitors. It’s crucial to aim for a higher conversion rate, as this directly impacts your ability to turn website visitors into potential clients.

How to optimize criminal defense website performance?

  1. User-Friendly Design: Ensure your website is easy to navigate, with clear calls-to-action and contact information prominently displayed.
  2. Mobile Responsiveness: With an increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, it’s imperative that your website is optimized for a seamless mobile experience.
  3. Compelling Content: Provide informative and engaging content that addresses common legal concerns, showcases your expertise, and establishes trust with potential clients.
  4. SEO Strategies: Implement effective search engine optimization strategies, including keyword optimization, backlink building, and local SEO, to enhance your website’s visibility on search engines.

By combining these strategies and understanding the distinct needs of directory and YouTube users, you can build a high-performance criminal defense website that effectively attracts, engages, and converts potential clients.

Don’t miss out on potential clients! Explore essential tips for creating a lawyer website that converts visitors into clients.

3. Optimize for Local SEO to Generate Criminal Defense Leads

Being on Google’s local map pack helps lawyers gain visibility and attract clients

Local Map Pack listings

Being on Google’s local map pack helps lawyers gain visibility and attract clients

Below the paid ads, the next thing in Google search results is the local map pack listings. Why does an attorney need to be on Google Maps to get more potential criminal defense clients anyway? The user sees a map of the immediate area speckled with red dots to click for listing details, plus a shortlist of Google’s “best results” with direct links to those websites.

If someone’s looking for local criminal defense attorneys, you need to show up on that map. Your city might have dozens or hundreds of other criminal defense firms and lawyers. An easy first step to optimize your local SEO starts with your Google My Business page where you can specify your address, areas you serve, and more.

Want to attract more clients in your area? Discover the power of local SEO for lawyers and unlock your firm’s potential.

4. Get to The Top of Search Engines Where People Look For Criminal Defense Clients

There are over 50,000 searches per month by people looking for a criminal defense law firm. Of that 50,000, let’s say your metro area accounts for 4,000. How many of those clicks are you getting?

There are many ways to appear in Google Search Results, but if you want to get maximum attention from users, you need to use SEO. SEO is a key marketing channel for many criminal defense firms and lawyers.

Every time a potential client types a real question in Google related to your law firm’s website, you want your services and expertise to appear. This is the power of SEO.

How SEO Helps Criminal Defense Lawyers Get Clients?

First, if your law firm is not found on page one of Google, the chances of getting a steady flow of new clients are next to none. Why are we so sure that it will help you get more clients? We know consumers are using Google for 3.5 Billion searches a day, but generally (75% of the time) they go just as far as page one

Organic search results optimization

How Criminal Defense Firm Can Optimize for SEO?

Achieving a prominent position in organic search results is paramount for a criminal defense lawyer website, as nearly 80% of clicks originate from these unpaid listings on search engine results pages. These organic results appear below paid advertisements and the map pack, making them a crucial focus for effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

Now, let’s delve into the key steps to optimize your criminal lawyer website for SEO and enhance its visibility in organic search results:

  1. Understanding the Significance of Organic Results: Emphasize the importance of organic search results, highlighting that they attract the majority of clicks and serve as a valuable source of potential clients.
  2. Balancing On-Site and Off-Site SEO: While delving into the intricacies of on-site and off-site SEO for lawyers could make this post overly detailed, it’s essential to briefly acknowledge the significance of both. On-site SEO involves optimizing your website’s content, structure, and HTML elements, while off-site SEO focuses on building external signals like backlinks.
  3. Actionable First Step: Creating Expert Content: The most crucial and actionable first step in optimizing your criminal lawyer website for SEO is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This involves creating high-quality, informative, and relevant content that addresses the legal concerns and inquiries potential clients may have.
  4. Targeting Specific Channels: Identify and focus on key channels to showcase your expertise. This can include your website’s blog, legal publications, and social media platforms. Consistently publishing insightful content on these channels not only establishes credibility but also helps Google recognize your authority in the legal domain.
  5. Keyword Research and Implementation: Conduct thorough keyword research to understand the terms potential clients are using in their searches. Integrate these keywords naturally into your content, including blog posts, practice area pages, and meta tags, to enhance your website’s relevance to search queries.
  6. Optimizing Meta Tags and Descriptions: Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions for each page on your website. These snippets should not only include relevant keywords but also entice users to click through to your site by providing a clear and concise overview of the content.
  7. User Experience and Technical SEO: Ensure your website offers a seamless user experience by optimizing page speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall site structure. Technical SEO elements, such as clean URL structures and proper use of header tags, contribute to Google’s understanding of your website’s content.
  8. Regular Content Updates: Maintain an active online presence by consistently updating your website with fresh, relevant content. Google favors websites that regularly provide valuable information, and this practice reinforces your position as an authoritative source.

By following these key steps and focusing on creating expert content through specific channels, you can lay the foundation for a well-optimized criminal lawyer website that not only ranks higher in organic search results but also effectively attracts and converts potential clients.

Check out this article to learn how to get more clients by optimizing content for law firm website.

5. Set Up a Google Ads Campaign for Criminal Defense Attorneys

How to use Google Ads to get more criminal defense leads:

In Google Ads, you can pay your way to the top. If you want quick page-one placement while you work the rest of your marketing strategy, Google Adwords is where you bid for the key search terms you want your sponsored ads to show up for. Before setting up your first ads campaign, you need to understand how your clients are searching for legal services.

Work with your internet marketing for lawyers agency to identify the keywords you should use to attract the right clients.

<span style=Attract more leads to your law firm“>
Attract more leads to your law firm

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6. Register in Online Directories for Criminal Defense Lawyers

You know about Google, but you might not have ever considered it to be a directory. Well, it is. Yelp is another popular directory that has reported 164 million unique visitors across desktop, mobile, and mobile apps in just a single quarter of 2018. Since then, the searches have only grown! That’s a lot of searches being done for everything from restaurants to salons and photographers…to lawyers. To generate more criminal defense clients you must be where customers are looking for your services.

Yelp for lawyers

In that same Yelp fact sheet, we learn that 80% of Yelp searches are done via a mobile device. We can assume those numbers are similar for Google reviews,, SuperLawyers, and other attorney-specific review sites. Many prospective clients are searching for your services on their phones.

And if prospective clients are searching these directories on their mobiles, what do you think the likelihood is that they’re going to click to page two, three, or four?

That’s right, they won’t.

Looking to expand your legal practice’s reach? Check out our article on the 10 best lawyer directories and harness the power of online visibility.

Do You Need Directories as a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Directories are popular because consumers can access a high volume of service options with ratings to back them up. Just like people still rely on (and often prefer) family and friends’ recommendations, seeing a list of reviews on a reputable directory is like getting recommendations at high speed.

But users will be browsing these reviews via mobile devices, and they will be quick and decisive about where to click. Your window of visibility is small.

How Directories Help Criminal Defense Lawyers Get More Clients?

So, how do you get clicks on these directories? Like with Google Ads, you can pay your way to the top, and we recommend it most of the time. Paying for a sponsored spot on page one of a directory for key terms brings a big ROI for two reasons:

First, if you or your firm’s name starts with anything after the letter “C” or “D,” or if you haven’t built your review history yet to show up as the highest-rated, without sponsored placement you will be buried and your directory listings will not get seen at all.

Second, these directories show up in organic search results on Google, too. Say someone searches for the “best criminal defense lawyer in Chicago.” They’ll see the Google Ads and the map pack, followed by the organic results. In those organic results, at least one or two of those links will be lists of the “best criminal defense law firms in Chicago” according to Yelp, Avvo, or another one of the other top directories. So you want to be on the first page of that list.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of optimizing your directories listings, read what ThriveHive has to say on the subject.

7. Create a Law Firm Email Marketing Campaign

Direct mail marketing is the process of sending marketing content via mail directly to your target audience’s postboxes. Today’s equivalent is direct email marketing. This digital marketing strategy not only advertises your services, but also improves relationships with leads and existing clients.

Direct mail marketing for law firms has one of the highest ROIs. For example: Did you know 98% of people open an email on the same day it’s delivered?

When consistently and correctly applied, a direct email marketing strategy can provide your firm with a steady flow of trackable leads.

8. Engage in YouTube Marketing for Criminal Defense Lawyers

Produce legal YouTube legal content that aligns with customers’ needs

Youtube marketing for law firms

YouTube is a crucial piece of your marketing puzzle. There are plenty of reputational reasons why you should be posting videos on social media, but we’ll give you something more quantifiable: YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world.

The question is, how do people search on YouTube? And how does that affect law firm internet marketing?

Here’s your key concept to leverage: consumers use YouTube to ask questions.

Billions of people turn to YouTube every month to get answers to their questions. So, for your prospective clients who aren’t ready to talk to an attorney yet but who are nervous about their problem and looking for information, you need to have answers ready for them to find on YouTube.

You can outgrow your competitors with YouTube!

YouTube marketing might seem mysterious, and concerns about appearance, equipment, and content may deter lawyers from utilizing this essential tool. However, with three simple steps, you can seamlessly integrate YouTube into your marketing strategy.

Firstly, document every client query over the next 30 days, identifying common and insightful questions. This builds a foundation for content creation. Invest in a $20 tripod and a $50 microphone, set up your phone, and record answers to each question. Finally, post these videos on YouTube, optimizing them with law firm SEO services for higher rankings.

By addressing potential clients’ questions directly, you establish credibility, making YouTube a potent element in your digital marketing strategy for criminal defense. Video ads, showcasing your expertise, become a powerful tool in reaching and retaining prospective clients.

Does Digital Marketing for Criminal Defense Attorneys Actually Work?

We talk to a lot of criminal defense lawyers and ask them all how they get their business.

The conversation usually goes like this:

“…Well, it’s been mostly referrals…”

These people have been in business 10, 15, 20 years. Referrals do come in, but business is anywhere from OK to slow.

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If you are a criminal defense attorney that’s relied on word-of-mouth referrals for clients, ask yourself:

  • Can I manage this client flow?
  • Does this guarantee I’ll have more clients next month/year?
  • Are there enough referrals for me to select the best clients? Or am I forced to work with whoever needs my services?

We bet the answer to most of these questions is no. So, how do you intend to build a great criminal defense law firm? The good news is investing in digital marketing provides the solutions to manage all these pain points while increasing profits.

Real Results Achieved with Criminal Defense Marketing

Marketing criminal defense services is among the most competitive arenas for law firm SEO. In Arizona, competing to secure a top spot amid over 79 million Google search results isn’t for the faint-hearted!

Your website must rank high in the organic search results; otherwise, potential clients will not contact you for assistance. Thus, you require help to achieve your objective: helping individuals and expanding your legal practice.

The good news is that Comrade can help.

We have a specialized focus on SEO packages designed exclusively for criminal defense lawyers and attorneys in competitive markets, helping them achieve high rankings for the most sought-after keywords.

client results

Area: Criminal Defense
GEO: Arizona
Current Result: #1 for phoenix medicaid attorney

How to Convert Traffic Into Criminal Defense Clients

Converting website traffic into criminal defense clients requires a nuanced approach, distinguishing between two primary types of visitors: those who are ready to contact you immediately and those who need more information and time.

The first group is prepared to take immediate action, necessitating strategically placed contact information and compelling calls-to-action to streamline the conversion process. Conversely, the latter group seeks further insight, demanding informative content such as blog posts, FAQs, or case studies. To delve deeper, let’s explore tailored strategies for each.

For the “ready to call” prospects, optimize your website for easy contact, emphasizing your expertise and testimonials. For those seeking more information, develop comprehensive content addressing their queries, establishing your authority and building trust for eventual conversion.

Understanding and catering to these distinct needs ensure a more effective client conversion process.

Wondering how many website visitors your law firm needs for optimal online presence? Get expert advice and insights in our latest blog post.

Prospective Clients Ready to Call

This group of prospects is googling things like, “best criminal defense attorney in Chicago.” They’re the prospective clients ready to talk to a lawyer, but they still have to choose which.

Let’s say you’ve already executed all the steps above, and now you’re highly visible where these prospects are looking (on Google and directories). Once you get those prospects’ clicks to your website, your site has to meet their needs and convince them that you’re the lawyer they should call.

Here are the key things to consider:

  • Make it clear you solve the problem they have. If someone is googling criminal defense attorneys, then they’re facing a legal problem and need help. The first thing they need to know is whether you solve whatever type of case they have. Instead of the standard “practice area” tab on top of your website, try listing out “problems we solve.” You can list assault, drug possession, bribery—whatever types of criminal cases you work the most. When a prospective client arrives at your site and sees their issues clearly spelled out, you’ll keep them on the site long enough for step two.
  • Next, offer a case study or reviews to show how effective you are: this is proof that you not only take certain kinds of cases but win them. Some Bar associations may not allow the use of case studies or reviews in law firm internet marketing, but there is an ethical workaround. If this is the case in your state, talk to your digital marketing company about getting directory “widgets” installed on your website. These are small icons that update in real-time for Google, Avvo, or any other directory where you have active ratings. Consumers know they can click on these icons to see your reviews and ratings. These are two essential steps to meet those ready-to-call prospects’ needs, but like everything in marketing, there are layers of other tactics and steps.

Prospective Clients Who Need More Information—and More Time

It’s straightforward to think about optimizing your website for those prospects above who are ready to call.

But those prospective clients actually make up the minority of prospects visiting your website.

This second, bigger audience are those people in need of criminal defense counsel who are NOT ready to call. They’re looking first for answers to their questions because they want to feel more confident about their options before they pick up the phone.

The steps to reach this target audience are simple:

  • Optimizing a high-performance website for this group shares some steps in common with your YouTube content strategy. If these people are asking questions, your first step is to give them answers. Remember that list of questions you crafted and used for your YouTube content? For each of those questions, post an answer on your website blog. And make it a good answer—if prospects aren’t satisfied with the information, they’ll leave your site in a matter of seconds.
  • Answering questions thoroughly satisfies these prospects’ needs and also showcases your expertise. Prospects quickly realize that you know what you’re talking about and that you can help them.An example of an FAQ section on a criminal defense attorney’s law firm website

Chicago's criminal defense attorney FAQs

  • Once you have your blog filled with valuable answers to all the right questions, you then give this audience even more information—but in exchange for something else. These prospects are trying to collect their thoughts and get organized, and they’re under the pressure of a very real problem that they need someone to help them with soon. You can be that someone and give these prospects something before they ever pick up the phone. How? Design a downloadable resource like a checklist or a white paper that speaks directly to the problem they face. Think, “how to choose the right criminal defense attorney” or “the steps in a criminal defense case,” or something similar. Next, have your web design agency install that resource behind a form on your blog that asks users for their names and email addresses. You already know what problems these prospects need information on, so you can imagine what kinds of resources they’ll find useful and will be willing to leave their names and emails for.

Relevant answers and right questions

  • Finally, you need to know what to do with those email addresses. Your marketing company should set up an autoresponder on your website that sends additional information to the prospects who downloaded your resource. As we said, you already know what problem they face. You even have library-related questions and answers loaded onto YouTube and your website, so following up is a matter of sharing more related information with them from your growing library of answers.

By sending these prospective clients more resources and information over time, without any sales pitch, you can win their confidence. You’ll demonstrate your expertise as well as your ethics. And when they are ready to talk to an attorney, the natural choice will be you.

Does your law firm have a plan for growth in 2024?
Does your law firm have a plan for growth in 2024?

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Your Client-Attraction Plan in Action

The reality for prospects looking for criminal defense counsel is that none of them were ever dreaming of the day when they would need your legal services. You’re meeting clients at a vulnerable and challenging time, and the need for high-value information before they talk to you is essential.

This step-by-step guide is your engine to meet prospective clients where they are and give them what they need in a way no one else is doing.

Maybe you already knew half of these tactics or have even explored or tried some of them. But, as Samuel Johnson so aptly said, “most people don’t need instructions, they need reminders.”

Consider this ultimate step-by-step guide to get more criminal defense clients your reminder. There are so many smart marketing strategies that most lawyers are ignoring. Start by reading more of our how-to articles or by giving us a call today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of advertising for lawyers?

Online marketing is the most effective type of advertising for small and medium law firms. The benefits of digital advertising are that it is targeted, cost-effective, and easily measurable. Furthermore, digital approaches offer flexibility across channels, invite mobile engagement, and are quicker to market than traditional methods.

In what cities do you operate?

Comrade originates in Chicago, but we worked all around the United States. We can help your business grow and increase revenue whenever you are. We have offices across most major cities in the US. For example, we can offer digital marketing services in Portland or Kansas City. You can even find our internet marketing experts in Chicago! If you want to know more about our San Antonio digital marketing agency or find out how exactly we can help you, contact us via the phone or email.

About the Author
Ivan Vislavskiy is Comrade Digital Marketing’s co-founder and fearless leader, spearheading the agency’s production department.
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Ivan Vislavskiy

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