Criminal lawyer ads have a lot of potential, but running them can be tricky. Unlike other practice areas, criminal law deals with accusations of wrongdoing and the potential loss of personal freedom. Thus, a lot of care must go into creating these ads to avoid misunderstanding or misrepresentation.
Let Local Business Marketing Solutions help your advertising plan take off. We’re here to give you information about the challenges, rules, and regulations you must consider and how digital marketing professionals can help you navigate them.
But first, let’s answer a nagging question all law firms ask.
Are Law Firms Allowed to Post Criminal Lawyer Ads Online?
Yes, criminal defense law firms are allowed to do online advertising, provided that they follow the rules of the legal system when doing so. We will give you a breakdown of the important rules later.
Failure to follow the rules could result in heavy consequences. A criminal defense lawyer or a law firm can suffer a bad reputation when clients find out they’re violating rules. As for getting caught by regulatory or professional institutions, the consequences can be in the form of suspension of practice for several months or even disbarment.
When advertising criminal defense services online, professional lawyers must practice utmost diligence to ensure they’re following the rules. At the end of the day, advertising is a helpful way to bring clients in, but it’s not worth the consequences of breaking the rules.
Challenges of Criminal Law Advertising
For criminal defense law firms, advertising their services out there through Google Ads, social media, or display ads is beneficial because it creates awareness. But if they’re serious about this marketing strategy, they must navigate these challenges with the utmost delicacy.
Overcoming a Reluctance to Criminal Defense Attorneys
No one wants to need a criminal defense attorney because it signifies a possible violation of the law. Add to this the steep legal fees that criminal defense lawyers charge clients. Some people, even though they need representation, simply can’t afford it.
These are only some major reasons potential clients are reluctant to get legal services. The best thing a criminal defense firm can do to overcome this challenge is to be as truthful in their advertising as possible and provide facts to their potential clients to persuade them to at least schedule an appointment.
Balancing Negative Messaging
A lot of legal advertising for criminal attorneys and law firms leans toward negative messaging. In the effort to provide straight and factual answers to a given scenario, they end up sending a negative message which dissuades potential clients. This can have a negative impact, especially if you’re trying to build social media presence on platforms meant to be entertaining, such as Instagram or TikTok.
The goal that negative messaging tries to accomplish is to create a sense of urgency by using fear as the primary emotional trigger. But it’s also crucial to balance this out with a positive message. Emphasizing the positive message of defending and helping someone can help balance the fear. It’s good to let prospective clients know that someone is there to defend them amid uncertainty.
Competition From Other Attorneys
Potential clients in the world of criminal defense are hiding in plain sight. But the competition is still fierce, more so in a local area. Every other criminal defense law firm is competing for the business of a few people. Advertising is fair game for every law firm in town, and they follow the same set of rules as you do, so the best way to overcome this challenge is to broaden the range of serviceable areas or target a very niche audience.
Advertising Rules and Regulations for Criminal Defense Law Firms
More than overcoming challenges and your competition, it’s crucial that you follow advertising rules and regulations. Doing so will let you stay in the online criminal defense advertising game and allow you to compete with others.
Here are the rules you should strictly follow.
Before setting up a Google Ads account or running ads on social media platforms, double-check the content of your ads and landing pages. You have to make sure that the messaging is dignified and represents your firm and the legal system in good light. The idea is to avoid content that can potentially ruin your target audience’s and the public’s trust in the legal system.
Misleading Ad Messaging and Communication
Always state the facts about your services. Only include the services you offer and avoid using superlative words such as “best,” “most,” or “top” when describing your firm or its ability to render a service because it is misleading. Similarly, for fees, you must never say it is the lowest clients can get their hands on.
In the same vein, if search engine optimization is part of your online marketing efforts, avoid embellishing it with unnecessary keywords that distort the messaging. Be diligent in finding relevant keywords that reinforce the accuracy of your content.
Lawyers must never aggressively advertise criminal defense services to potential clients. In the context of online advertising, they have to make sure the ads don’t lead to a page where they can collect personal information, such as contact details, as this can be used for cold calling later.
So make sure your advertising strategies don’t contain any feature that solicits the information of the vulnerable. Always stick to delivering the facts, and persuade your audience with the right balance of urgency and positivity.
Use of Trade Names
The use of trade names may not be allowed in some states. So if you’re offering criminal defense services, check your state laws about using trade names when advertising online. Failing to adhere to your state’s advertising rules may result in your ads getting taken down.
Paying for Client Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews are powerful content to have on your law firm’s website. They provide social proof and can easily earn you a potential client’s confidence. That’s why it can be tempting to resort to deceptive means when the pool of positive feedback is dry.
Paying for testimonials and reviews is prohibited for law firms because it deceives potential clients. The best course of action is to improve your services and get as many clients as possible. You may ask them to leave a review, but never pay them to do it.
Work with Seasoned Digital Marketers for Professional Online Criminal Defense Advertising
Working out the complexities of online criminal defense advertising takes skill. That’s why lawyers are encouraged to hire marketing professionals that can help them navigate the challenges online ads impose. These experts ensure you observe advertising rules, keep up with competitors, and gain clients in a responsible manner.
If you’re ready to take your criminal defense services to new audiences through online advertising, Local Business Marketing Solutions can be your trusted partner. We will work closely with you to design ad campaigns that resonate with potential clients while adhering to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
Contact us for a 15-minute discovery consultation. Together, let us propel your criminal defense practice to new heights.