Marketing For Criminal Defence Lawyers – Your Step By Step Guide

So you’re an ambitious criminal defense attorney, determined to bring your services to the public, and you’ve stumbled across criminal lawyer marketing, huh?

Well, you must have more sense than most. After all, last we checked, 13% of law firms didn’t even have a website.


But you have to do better than the minimum. Clients aren’t as loyal as they once were, and the bell at the office doesn’t ring as often.

Table of Contents

    A criminal defense law firm needs to market their services these days, and their potential clients really need criminal lawyers to do so. After all, if they get accused of a crime, what are they supposed to do? Walk around town, eyes peeled for brass plaques?

    Of course not. They might accidentally end up at your competitor’s office, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

    So stick around if you want to learn how you can help ensure your potential clients never make that mistake again.

    How To Market Your Law Firm

    There are several ways to market your criminal defense law firm. Below are some of the most effective methods:

    Be Prepared

    Good job, starting with the obvious!


    Don’t be so quick to judge.

    Before you jump into criminal lawyer marketing and visit a marketing services provider, you should take some time to establish where your company stands in terms of its marketing and what it needs moving forward. You need a marketing strategy.

    You have to:

    • Know what you need,
    • Evaluate your budget, and then
    • Choose the right criminal lawyer marketing agency.

    Short and sweet, but if you want a closer look at each of those steps, then, by all means, keep reading.

    Know What You Need

    To do this correctly, you need to focus on your current marketing portfolio.

    1. Does your website need a refresh?
    2. What does your social media presence look like?
    3. How successful have your campaigns been?

    There’s nothing in the world that’s going to turn prospective clients away from your company quicker than a bad website.


    If your law firm website looks something like this, it’s time for an update.

    The combination of the gavel, the scale, and the books is the epitome of the stock photo cliche that doesn’t inspire confidence in anybody.

    If you’re unsure if your website is horrible or not, you can rest assured your prospects will not share your uncertainty. It takes 10 seconds for a website to make an impression. After that, your chance to make a good impression is gone, and so is the potential client.

    Especially if the website contains some stupid mistakes as well.

    So if you’re not sure, your website probably needs a refresh.

    A good way to answer that question is to examine how many of your company’s inquiries come through the website and how many through other channels.

    Next up, examine your social media. Do you have a presence?

    You should.

    81% of your competitors have it.

    Though it’s important to examine if social media is a viable channel for your company. Some find that it is not the best tool for finding clients, but it might be a good channel for building overall brand awareness and positioning your company as a thought leader.

    Think of it like this: a person in search of a criminal defense attorney most likely won’t conduct that search through social media. After all, 96% of people use a search engine to look for high-quality legal services.

    However, if your social media presence acquaints people with your company, they’re far more likely to think of you if they find themselves in need of a lawyer. So when they need legal advice, they’ll look for your legal advice when they open Google.

    Then start thinking of your ad campaigns. PPC campaigns (pay-per-click), SEO (search engine optimization), and the like – have they been successful? How large was your budget and what were the returns on the investment?

    Not only will the answers to these questions help you understand where you need assistance, but they will also help you drill to the core of what you’re hoping to achieve.

    Do you want to receive more inquiries through your website?

    Or do you want to outrank your competitors who are dominating the SERPs (search engine results page) for your keywords?

    That would be ideal, right? An unending stream of clients funneled through your picture-perfect website by excellent keyword positioning.

    Sorry, got carried away there for a second.

    Anyway, get to the core focus of your marketing strategy, and you’ll know what to look for when it’s time to talk to a criminal lawyer marketing agency.

    Evaluate Your Budget

    So now that you know what you need, it’s time to determine how much you’re willing to invest to get it.

    Better yet, you can go out there and discover how much other companies have paid to achieve the same goals you’re looking for, and then compare those numbers to the offers legal marketing agencies put forward.

    But what are the numbers we are talking about?

    Well, a study by Hinge Marketing discovered that high-growth law firms spent 26.9% of their revenue on legal marketing, compared to 18.2% spent by companies that did not grow.


    So if you’re looking to fall in the former category, remember that legal marketing is an investment, not an expense, and determine your budget accordingly.

    Choose the Right Criminal Law Marketing Agency

    Since we’ve just told you that you might have to spend a quarter of your revenue on marketing efforts, it’d be wise to pick a criminal defense lawyer marketing agency that’ll spend your money wisely, wouldn’t it?

    But how do you pick the right one?

    First of all, put yourself out there, take a good long look at your options, then go through an evaluation process. Focus on factors like:

    • Case studies: Nothing will ease your worries and fears better than a criminal defense law firm marketing agency that can prove its methods work. Seeing the results they achieved helping other law firms will help you understand how your money will be spent.
    • Expertise: Your law firm marketing agency should have expertise in your specific industry. Experience in criminal lawyer marketing means they will understand your pain points better and have experience in how to resolve them.
    • Personality: Take a meeting, shake the hands of the decision-makers, get to know them. Legal marketing will be a crucial part of your future growth so it’s essential the people at the criminal lawyer marketing agency are individuals you can work with.
    • Work style: How does the company operate? Are they open to constant communication and eager to shed light on various parts of the process or are they unavailable and busy? Make sure the marketing agency’s work style matches your needs and expectations.

    Build a Strategy

    I’ve found a criminal defense lawyer marketing agency, so what’s next?

    Well, this is where you get down to business.

    You get to sit down with your criminal lawyer marketing agency and chart out a path to the promised land.

    Here’s how you can go about doing that.

    Set Clear Marketing & Revenue Goals

    This part is crucial. You need to set specific goals if you want to be able to measure your success later on and potentially make adjustments.

    That begins with the marketing. Calling yourself a criminal defense attorney is not enough. You need to be more specific because clients are most often looking for something more specific. You need to zero in on your practice area.

    So let’s say you specialize in DUI cases.

    You sit down with your criminal defense practice marketing agency and create a marketing campaign designed to attract new clients facing a DUI.

    You’ll need to:

    1. Invest in a new website
    2. Establish your social media presence
    3. Add a pay-per-click campaign to draw in DUI clients to your website

    The entire marketing strategy has to be like a three-pronged attack, each part of it working toward that same goal.

    And once you’ve got your marketing goals, you move on to the revenue goals.

    This is how you’ll measure success. Let’s say you earn between $2,000 and $4,000 for every DUI client you take on. And let’s say you’ve chosen to invest $10,000 into your marketing campaign.

    Do the math. How many clients do you need for the campaign to be deemed a success?

    About 3 to 5 to break even and 10 to reach a 50%-300% ROI.

    Understand Your Target Audience

    Since you’ve chosen to market yourself toward specific cases in your practice area, you need to understand the people you are most likely to represent. And then your marketing content has to be geared towards those people.

    If we continue with the previous example of specializing in DUIs, let’s create the profile of your average client:

    Category Information
    Age ●     Drivers aged 21-24 account for 27% of all fatal alcohol-impaired crashes.

    ●     In second place, drivers aged between 25-34 account for 25%.

    Gender ●     Men account for 80% of fatal drunk-driving accidents.
    Socioeconomic status ●     Driving under the influence is not more common in any socioeconomic group.

    And there we have it, a rough outline. The client you’re most likely to represent is a man between the ages of 21 and 34 of any socioeconomics status.

    Of course, you can make the profile more accurate based on the information that’s relevant to your specific geographic area.

    But with this beginning of a client profile, you can make more informed decisions about what kind of language to use in your ad material, and more importantly, where to place those ads.

    You’re looking to target mainly men, so you might want to do so through a platform where the majority of users are men. That’s why you might look into a platform like YouTube, which is used by 82% of males. You might also consider LinkedIn (57.2% male), Facebook (56.6% male), Twitter (56.4% male), and Instagram (50.7% male).

    Refine your service offering

    By working with a criminal defense lawyer marketing agency, you might come across opportunities to narrow down your focus in your search for new clients.

    Let us give you an example.

    A law firm marketing consultant helped a lawyer working on the whole range of issues stemming from DUI charges narrow down their focus by specifically targeting commercial vehicle license holders whose livelihood was put at risk by their loss of license.

    By targeting that specific niche and crafting their law firm website’s messaging to reflect that focus, the lawyer was able to increase the number of leads coming to his company.

    Another example is Grillo Law, a law firm focusing on personal injuries.

    Working with a law marketing agency (full disclosure: us), they crafted a website highlighting their area of practice. Anyone in need of legal assistance regarding vehicle / car / motorcycle accidents immediately knows they’re in the right place. And to top that off, the firm also has 602 pages ranking on Google driving a 150% increase in client flow through its website.

    Execute – Inbound Marketing

    First, let’s examine two marketing methods.

    Type Function
    Inbound marketing ●     Creating and distributing content that draws prospective customers to your company.
    Outbound Marketing ●     Reaching out to customers to get them interested in your products or services.

    For example, to write a blog about your industry is to engage in inbound marketing. To pay for ads on social media is to engage in outbound marketing.

    Inbound marketing yields three times more leads per dollar than traditional marketing. And that’s on top of the hard-to-quantify successes such as brand awareness and so on.

    It’s harder to measure the ROI of outbound marketing since you can’t measure anything other than the number of people reached.

    But outbound marketing generally is more expensive than inbound marketing so it should be used in conjunction with inbound marketing, not as an equal partner.

    Let’s first examine inbound marketing and how you can execute it.

    Web Design & Website Copy

    A well-designed website with smooth copy is one of the first impressions your customers can get about your company. Ensuring that impression is a good one should be every company’s priority.

    Here are some facts to keep in mind:

    1. 94% of first impressions are design-related.
    2. A great UX design can increase website conversion rates by 400%.
    3. 47% of users expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds.

    There’s no time to joke around when it comes to websites. You need to ensure your company has a quality website because websites are a tool that is too powerful to be ignored.

    So how do you go about implementing the right website design and copy?

    First of all, your company should consider getting a professional criminal lawyer marketing agency to execute the website design.

    I mean, you’re lawyers – if you can’t appreciate the necessity of expert help, who can?

    But all the same, these are some of the tips you should keep in mind when designing your website.

    What to do? Why?
    Make it mobile responsive ●     54% of website searches are done over mobile. Your website needs to reflect that.
    Focus on your web design ●     94% of shoppers don’t trust a website that’s poorly designed.
    Easy to navigate ●     94% of customers want a website that’s easy to navigate.

    ●     38% of visitors will stop engaging with a website if they do not like the layout or the navigation.

    Include a call to action ●     A CTA that looks like a button can increase click-through-rates by up to 45%.
    Make it personal ●     Once on a company’s homepage, 52% of visitors want to see the About Us page.

    Now that we’ve got the theory out of the way, let’s take a look at an example of a website to understand what we’re going for, shall we?


    Look at this opening page.

    It’s nice, isn’t it?

    That’s because it’s uncomplicated.

    Everything about it becomes absolutely clear. It doesn’t take people more than five seconds to find what they’re looking for – whether that’s information about the company or a way to contact them.

    And the website never takes more than two seconds to load – trust us, we’ve tested it.

    Here’s another law firm website, which is an ideal example of mobile responsiveness.

    First take a look at the desktop version:


    Now compare it with the mobile version:


    A smooth transition, right?

    Which means whatever device clients may be using, the website is always displayed perfectly.


    The problem with being a lawyer – a criminal defense attorney in particular – is that it’s hard to explain complex legal issues your clients face every day with a simple meme or 280-character post.

    But you can’t write a long legal treatise either. It’s liable to put people to sleep.

    So what to do?

    Video marketing is certainly a viable option. Take that ideal candidate profile and write a script for a video with them in mind. That way you can ensure you come across as professional but also relatable.

    Keep that candidate in mind with the examples and the language you use, as well as the jokes you make. Videos have enormous potential as viewers retain 95% of a message when they view it in a video compared to 10% in a text.

    Then comes the production of the video itself. In that regard, we only have one tip: make sure it looks and sounds professional.

    People don’t have to be professional movie directors to recognize a shabby production. They don’t have to know the rules of lighting to know when someone isn’t using lighting correctly. And it’s hard to take someone seriously if the sound is all scratchy and unclear.

    And once the video is made, distribute it across your channels. Whether that’s social media, your website, YouTube, or all of the above.

    Check out a video here of a lawyer doing video marketing correctly.



    Say a prospective client has found themselves in trouble. They go online, desperate for any kind of information that might help shed light on their situation and assure them that there might still be a way out of their predicament.

    They type their problem into Google and a thousand results jump out.

    If your blog discussing that issue shows up first, what would happen?

    The prospective client clicks on the blog, reads it, and finally gains a level of understanding about their issue that eluded them before.

    How might they feel about the company that provided them with the information? And when the time comes to pick a lawyer, who might they trust? Who has already proven their authority on the subject?

    This is the power of blogging when it comes to criminal lawyer marketing.

    And the best part is, you don’t have to write the blogs yourselves.

    No need to spend your evenings behind the computer, discovering how writer’s block might cause you endless migraines.

    Not when you’ve got specialized marketing agencies available that have a pool of content writers who can produce these legal blogs. You merely have to pay them and enjoy the benefits.

    If you want to know how that might look, you can check out an example here.


    Organic Social Media

    Organic social media marketing is made up of non-paid posts. It can include anything from sharing testimonials, blogs, quick tips, or news about the law firm.

    When employed correctly, it’s a great tool to help build trust with an audience and position your company as an authority in the industry.

    But millions of posts are being made every day. It’s tough to stand out in a crowd. There are no shortcuts, but it can be done through content users find useful and informative.

    Some might say social media has limited potential for lawyers, but that’s not necessarily the case. All the way in Ireland, a lawyer by the name of Richard Grogan has become a sensation as he breaks down Irish employment law in his TikTok videos.

    The channel has brought him nearly 230,000 followers and serves as a perfect example of the power of social media in digital marketing.


    Execute – Outbound Marketing

    The second part of your marketing strategy might be the more expensive one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Outbound marketing has the potential to reach a far wider audience of people who may or may not be familiar with your legal services.

    You have to remember, 32% of marketers say outbound marketing generates more leads, which is equal to the number of marketers who feel that way about inbound marketing.

    And considering 57% of people look for a lawyer on their own, mostly online, you can see how outbound digital marketing might be especially important in criminal lawyer marketing.

    So the matter is not as clear-cut as some might wish.

    In an effort to cut the suspense, we’d like to go ahead and tell you that legal outbound marketing focuses mainly on:

    1. Pay-per-click
    2. Paid social media ads

    But if you want to take a closer look, here it comes.


    Pay-per-click advertising is a form of digital marketing which includes marketers paying a fee each time someone clicks on their ad.

    Search engine marketing is one of the most popular forms of PPC marketing because it allows advertisers to place sponsored links in the search results every time someone searches a specific keyword.

    So, for example, if you write ‘criminal defense lawyer’, you get this:


    Every time this ad is clicked, the company has to pay a fee, which can range from $5 to $300. The huge range is because AdWords is an auction-based system, so the price is largely determined by the competition.

    That’s why in one city, the cost for the same keyword might be much lower than in another.

    Another factor in determining the price is the quality of the content. At the end of the day, Google tries to provide its users with what they’re looking for. They assign website scores based on that quality, which has a lot of influence on how much a company pays per click.

    That’s why every company should optimize its website to ensure its content is up to par. The landing page should include the necessary information and an immediate call to action, along with access to all the information a potential client might want to know about, including:

    • Contact information
    • Testimonials
    • About Us page
    • Your expertise


    Paid Social Media Ads

    As mentioned earlier, your ideal client profile will inform you where the bulk of your potential clients are hanging out online. That can help you choose the correct social media platform to advertise your services.

    Once you’ve chosen the platform, you can get to work creating ads.

    When creating sponsored posts, it’s important to strike the right balance between content that focuses on your company and content that focuses on the viewer.

    That means that you should share news about big wins, awards received, and honors won. But you should also post content people might find useful.


    This type of content attracts people because it is useful. A lot of people wish they had some insight into various legal situations, and they’ll be only too happy to follow someone who provides it.

    Social media can also be a great place to establish your authority on the subject, in the form of opinion pieces, videos, or podcasts. Another option is to interact with your followers by doing a Q&A every week, and that’s merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunities found on social media.

    It’s one of the biggest reasons why the American Bar Association found that 35% of lawyers who use social media professionally have been able to get new clients as a result.

    Connect With the Community

    This is an area of criminal lawyer marketing that is sometimes under-appreciated but remains an important aspect of every law firm’s endeavor to establish its presence and create a brand.

    Regardless of how people might feel about lawyers, they remain servants of the community, playing a vital role in society by promoting justice through fair procedures.

    Which is why it might be useful to remind people of that every once in a while.

    Now, this can be accomplished through a number of channels. For example, Forbes claims 87% of customers will have a more positive view of a company if it supports social and environmental issues, challenges lawyers are uniquely positioned to tackle.

    It might even help your own company as a Deloitte study finds volunteering can help improve the workplace environment for your employees.

    But there are other ways to position yourself correctly in your community. Here’s an overview of our favorites:

    Type Function
    PR Campaign ●     Positioning yourself as the go-to expert on a specific issue like DUIs

    ●     Establishing your brand

    Offer thought leadership ●     Demonstrating your authority

    ●     Offering valuable insight

    Business directories & local SEO ●     Most law firms serve clients in a specific area

    ●     Directories serve as a citation distribution source for your business data

    Want more details?

    Yeah, we thought you might.

    PR campaign

    Public relations campaigns are about one thing and one thing only – ensuring people think of you exactly as you’d like to be thought of.

    That might sound like a tall order, but that’s not necessarily the truth.

    The aim of a PR campaign is to establish the perception of your company within your community. It’s not enough that people think of you as a lawyer.

    They need to think of you in terms of what you do and how well you do it.

    So if we take the example we used previously, instead of thinking of you as a lawyer, or even that DUI lawyer, you want people to think of you as the person who protects people’s ability to make a living by securing their driver’s licenses.

    But how do you reach that level?

    Well, the idea is that you should take your niche and you should stake your turf, as it were.

    That means:

    • Sharing news about your big wins
    • Sharing news about awards
    • Writing articles
    • Speaking engagements
    • White papers
    • Media relations and publicity

    All this can help ensure that when the subject of your niche comes up, your law firm is mentioned with it.

    Offer Thought Leadership

    Thought leadership content is a form of criminal lawyer marketing that allows attorneys to demonstrate their expertise, connect with potential clients and create a brand for themselves.

    Usually, when people speak of thought leadership in criminal lawyer marketing, they mean articles and blogs, but it can also take the form of videos, podcasts, and social media posts.

    But thought leadership goes beyond simply sharing your ideas and insights about the law practice. It demands that a law firm find a way to attract notice to those ideas, and that requires the company to put a strategy in place.

    That means the company has to focus on its niche and create content with its ideal candidates in mind. They have to create content that is engaging and, perhaps even more importantly, they have to produce that content on a regular basis.

    Such strategies are bound to pay off. For example, a study found that 55% of decision-makers say they use thought leadership as a way to vet the business. And 53% of decision-makers say they spend one hour per week consuming thought leadership content.

    So if you ensure it’s your articles they’re reading and your videos they’re watching, you’re golden.

    Here is an example of a law firm leveraging its blog to engage in thought leadership and draw in prospective clients:


    And by the way, notice how prominently their blog is featured in the top navigation bar — great practice for tempting your visitors to check it out and grow your credibility.

    Business Directories & Local SEO

    Business directories or law directories like Avvo are a type of online platform that catalog business websites. In this case, they focus on law firm listings.

    They make it easier for potential clients to find your firm and are designed to offer your firm extra credibility, offering opportunities for improved lead generation and SEO. Potential clients visit these directories and get trustworthy, first-hand information about your company.

    If a company lists its firm in the local attorney directories, that can help it rank higher in the search results for the area.

    And that’s how we come to local SEO.

    Most law firms find their clients within a specific geographical area. If someone types ‘DUI lawyer’ into Google in Boston, for example, you want your company to be the top result.

    But how do you achieve that?

    You might want to do it yourself, but a criminal lawyer marketing agency might do a far better job of putting together all the pieces when it comes to local SEO.

    It takes a combination of factors that require experience, such as:

    1. Website optimization
    2. Mobile optimization
    3. Content creation
    4. Google My Business
    5. Link building & citations
    6. Fast performance

    And if you put all of those pieces together, you get this:


    Our Success Stories

    dNOVO Group has worked with many law firms to help them strengthen their marketing efforts. We have helped our clients generate more leads, boost website traffic, and improve online visibility. Here are a few examples of our success stories:

    Posner Craig Stein LLP

    One of our clients, Posner Craig Stein LLP (, is a criminal defense law firm based in Toronto. When they came to us, they were struggling to get their website to rank high in search engine results. We launched a targeted digital marketing campaign that helped them boost their website’s ranking and generate more leads.

    Criminal Defense Lawyer Digital Marketing Toronto

    Through deep content analysis and rework, dNOVO Group was able to help them improve their site visibility by over 19% in just under three months. We also did a full content audit and worked with them to identify gaps in their content strategy. This included replacing short, missing, and duplicated content with high-quality, keyword-rich content.

    In addition, we also worked on improving their backlink profile with the support of high-quality backlinks on high-domain authority websites with good organic traffic. As a result of our efforts, Posner Craig Stein LLP saw a significant increase in its website’s traffic and leads.

    Costa Law Firm

    Costa Law Firm ( is another one of our clients, and we helped improve their marketing efforts. The criminal defense law firm in Toronto was looking for ways to prominently figure on the map in the city of Newmarket. 

    We conducted a comprehensive SEO analysis and found that their NAP (name, address, phone number) citations were inconsistent. We also found that they had very few reviews and did not use their social media accounts effectively.

    Criminal Defense Lawyer Newmarket Costa Law

    dNOVO Group helped Costa Law Firm clean up their NAP citations and get more reviews. We also helped them create and manage their social media accounts. After six months of in-depth work on improving their citations, Costa Law Firm’s position on Google maps in Newmarket improved, leading to increased website traffic.

    Alberta Legal

    Alberta Legal ( is a criminal defense law firm based in Calgary. They were looking for ways to improve their online presence and increase their website’s traffic. We conducted a comprehensive SEO analysis and found that their website was not optimized for search engines.

    Criminal Defense Lawyer Digital Marketing Calgary

    We helped Alberta Legal optimize its website for search engines and create high-quality content. We also helped them build backlinks on high-quality websites. As a result of our efforts, Alberta Legal’s website traffic increased significantly. Their average position also improved by over 53 points in less than a year. Given that criminal defense is a highly competitive industry, such an improvement in SEO ranking is nothing short of remarkable.

    Criminal Lawyer Marketing Is Not To Be Taken Lightly

    If you’ve scrolled through the article and are merely looking for the key takeaways, no worries.

    We’ve got you covered.

    Here’s what you need to know: criminal lawyer marketing is a juggling act that requires expert assistance.

    It includes:

    • Website design and optimization
    • SEO optimization
    • Blogs
    • Social media
    • Pay-per-click campaigns

    If you choose to work with professionals, then criminal lawyer marketing might turn out to be one of your wisest investments. If you choose to do it yourself, it will most likely turn into another expense.

    So contact dNOVO Group today to discover how to take your company to the next level and take full advantage of the opportunities provided by criminal lawyer marketing. dNOVO Group is a full-service marketing agency in the business of helping law firms reach their target audiences. Our team can help you create content, design marketing materials, and launch targeted digital marketing campaigns that deliver results. We will also provide you with monthly reports so you can track your progress and plan your next steps.