Every legal practice area holds its fair share of marketing challenges, but criminal defense attorneys find it uniquely difficult to attract and retain clients. From building brand awareness to producing conversions, every element of criminal defense attorney marketing sees complications above and beyond those associated with other niches.
Despite all this, it’s possible to connect with prospects and compel them to take action. All that’s needed is a basic understanding of—and willingness to address—the concerns that hold clients back, a few of which we’ve outlined below.
Financial concerns may explain why, every year, millions of Americans attempt to represent themselves in court. Others opt for public defenders—who, despite serving an essential function in today’s society, are often unable to provide the attention clients deserve due to massive caseloads.
So the plea deal has gained prominence. According to a report from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, pleas resolve 97 percent of today’s criminal cases.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to convince defendants that the cost of personalized representation will pay off over time. Many fail to realize the extent to which even minor marks on their record can impact employment prospects or loan applications. Criminal defense lawyers who can override the impulse for affordable short-term service may find it easier to land committed clients. Showcasing your expertise on your website and social media profiles is a great way to get prospective clients to see the value of your work.
You can address some of these concerns through content. If you have a blog, showcase expertise within your areas of practice, or write about some of the pitfalls of representing yourself. You can also use social media to educate consumers on relevant topics, your practice, and how the pricing structure at your firm works.
When legal consumers start their research, attorneys that are transparent and provide useful advice might be their first call.
Competition from Other Attorneys
Supply and demand rests at the heart of many criminal defense marketing struggles. As explained above, financial constraints heavily limit demand. Meanwhile, prospects of greater means enjoy access to a variety of practices and attorneys, each more desperate for clients than the last.
Standing out can prove difficult in such a crowded and fiercely competitive market. Focusing on niche areas helps, but even then, many attorneys struggle to make an impression. This is especially true when these prospects encounter dozens of valid options while searching for relevant keywords.
Try a more personal touch in your marketing efforts. You can write interesting bios for the attorneys listed on your website and include interests outside of work. You can be professional and approachable.
The most difficult marketing problem for criminal defense attorneys to overcome is also the trickiest to define.
Simply put, criminal defense isn’t exciting. It’s necessary, of course, but it’s still tough to produce a sense of urgency among potential clients. While some civil clients may feel hopeful about their prospects, alleged offenders suffer a lack of enthusiasm at minimum—and more often, an overwhelming sense of dread.
Defendants must conduct a complicated, often depressing cost-benefit analysis to determine whether they’re willing to pay legal fees that may be out of reach—or risk consequences such as jail time.
Resolving this quandary can be particularly difficult when dealing with the emotional implications of navigating the criminal justice system. Defendants can’t realistically assess their best interests when they’re suffering shame, anger, and fear—all common responses when faced with criminal charges.
You’ll want to find ways to ease their anxiety through your marketing efforts. A series of videos on the criminal court system and demystifying some of the processes might help your audience. Videos are a great way to showcase your personality while talking about a relevant topic.
Keep Up the Commitment
Despite the challenges outlined above, criminal defense lawyers continue to provide an essential service. This may be a complicated and frustrating practice area, but it also holds the greatest potential for making a difference. Criminal law marketing is far from hopeless—it simply takes a continued commitment to justice and compassion, as well as a strategic message that resonates with prospects.
If you’re ready to level up your criminal defense advertising, look to the experts at Martindale-Avvo for assistance. We can offer targeted advice in the interest of easing the burden of marketing for criminal defense lawyers. Check out our online resources or reach out to learn more.