3 Steps Make Your Criminal Law Practice More Successful Without Advertising
Lawyer Marketing Tips To More DRUG, DWI & DUI Clients!
The most valuable tips for your law practice anyone will ever give you!
by Philip L. Franckel, Esq., President 1-800-HURT-911, Inc.
Looking for Drug Lawyers?
Looking for DUI Lawyers?
If you already have a successful criminal law practice, I will tell you how you can get even more paying clients for free! If you're not there yet, I will tell you how to build a successful criminal law practice, with paying clients, without spending money on advertising. It's always easy to get court appointed clients, but you will learn here how to get criminal clients who are able to pay fees for drug, DWI and DUI arrests. You will also learn how to successfully compete with established criminal lawyers. Other marketing consultants may try to sell you their advice. But, I am the only consultant who is not only one of the leading experts on lawyer advertising and marketing, but also a lawyer who built up a large successful law practice using my own advice. Best of all, you can read my advice here for free and learn how to get paying criminal clients without spending money on advertising. You can also read more of my articles at the Lawyer Advertising Blog.
Start with several FREE listings on the www.1888DRUGCRIMES.com criminal lawyer directory. Get yours here.
My advice is surprisingly simple, easy to follow and just as easy to afford. Since competition is everywhere, you always need to compete. To compete, you just need to stand out by differentiating yourself from the competition and then tell everyone. Fortunately, it’s much easier than it sounds. I will show you how to inexpensively differentiate yourself from the competition in two ways, by what you offer and how you design your business card. I will also show you how to tell everyone without spending a fortune on TV.
Find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition
Step number 1. Differentiate yourself with service, not price.
You may be able to think of other ways to differentiate yourself, but the best way is to offer "personal service", one of the most important issues to a potential client. It doesn't sound very new or different, but clients rarely receive it. The more well known a lawyer becomes, the more they forget about customer service. Some of the most important components of personal service is client access to their lawyer (not your paralegal), the attitude and patience of the lawyer, and the ability to provide clear explanations in layman's language. The only areas in which lawyers can compete are service, ability of the lawyer, and price. Unless you have a factory producing a high-volume product, no one wants to compete on price. Therefore, compete with personal service.
Make sure that you actually give personal service and not just offer it. That means promptly returning clients' telephone calls within the same day that you receive a message and taking the time to speak to your clients without rushing them off the phone are constantly interrupting their telephone call. Do not shunt calls off to a paralegal or secretary. Clients want to talk to their lawyer, not your paralegal. Forget that you're a lawyer and pretend that you run a business. Every business owner knows that the customer is king. Just because you are a professional, doesn't mean that your client is not a customer. Your primary job is customer relations and you run a business providing legal services. You need to take all steps necessary to make your clients' life easy. Maybe you could offer to represent clients arrested for drug crimes, DWI/DUI and white-collar crimes at arraignments for free when they retain you or you could offer the ability to pay later, when there is no time for the defendant's family to bring your fee to the arraignment. Getting involved early on at the time of arraignment will stop most people from shopping around.
Find an inexpensive media to tell everyone about your exceptional services
Step number 2. Design your business card to stand out.
Your business card should NOT look like everyone else's. Professional cards are to give to other lawyers. Business cards are to give to potential customers or potential clients. That's why it's called a business card, to get business. Create a Wallet BillboardTM, not a business card. When I started my law practice, I realized that I would have to compete with big law firms, some of them well-known. I decided to make a business card that looked different than every other lawyer's business card. Everyone else's business card has the lawyer's name, address and telephone number, without anything else. There is no way to distinguish one lawyer from another. A few days after receiving a lawyer's business card, the recipient won't remember where they got the card, who the lawyer is, or more importantly what the lawyer does. The typical lawyer's card will go in the garbage, while a business card designed to stand out will be kept or entered into someone's computer for future reference. I've had people keep my card, below, for as long as 12 years!
I needed to stand out so people would want to call me, remember who I was and what I do. Since I did personal injury, my business card told potential clients I was looking for accident cases by stating "HURT IN AN ACCIDENT?" at the top of the card. This served to limit calls to people who were hurt in an accident, so I wasn't bothered by people calling for landlord-tenant problems or anything else and helped brand my vanity phone number. There were also several lines of information of interest to clients and my card brandished an impressive toll-free vanity phone number. My original card in 1992 was like a little billboard, rather than a business card. That's why I call it a Wallet BillboardTM.
My original business card in 1992
Potential clients need to know what you do. Your cards should list the areas of criminal law for which clients can pay legal fees, such as drug crimes, white-collar crimes and DWI/DUI.
Tell potential clients who you are and why they should call you. The card below tells potential clients who the lawyer is. The card shows a photo of the lawyer and says that the lawyer is a former prosecutor with a good personality and business attitude because the lawyer takes pride in personalized service and is always available for the client. The card tells potential clients when and why they should call. When: Before they say anything. Why: Because they can get a free consultation, case evaluation and because the lawyer gives personal service and is always available. With traditional business cards, potential clients will not remember who you are, what you do, or why they should call you.
Display an impressive toll-free vanity phone number. A simple numeric toll-free number denotes professionalism and success. Area codes give the impression of a small struggling business. All large corporations use toll-free numbers and whenever they can find one, they use a toll-free vanity phone number. A toll-free vanity phone number creates instant brand recognition differentiating you from your competition. Because it's memorable, potential clients will remember how to call you. Everyone wants to do business with a successful company or professional. Never is that desire stronger when someone has been arrested. A toll-free vanity phone number creates an image of success increasing the likelihood that a potential client will call you and will substantially increase the number of referrals you receive (a lawyer advertising with 1-800-HURT-911 wrote "I believe that the HURT-911 advertising was a significant factor in the dramatic increase in referrals, up over 500%. Old clients, friends, etc. became more aware of what I do indirectly through the HURT-911 advertising.").
If possible, try to find a memorable toll-free vanity phone number that is specific to the types of clients you are seeking, such as 1-800-HURT-911® for personal injury lawyers. For criminal lawyers, I recommend using 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES™ which will create instant credibility in the specific fields of criminal law to attract the clients who have money to pay for a criminal lawyer, defendants arrested for drug crimes and DWI/DUI arrests. A 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES license for most exclusive territories is less than $25 per month, with many starting at only $4.95 per month. One client who pays only $2,500 can pay for over 21 years of using 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES!
Display Your Website. If you have a web site, include your web site domain name on your business cards, letterhead and everywhere else! Websites are crucial as your online brochure. Potential clients will look at your website. Additionally, since DWI / DUI lawyers do not usually advertise on TV, DWI / DUI clients and drug clients will go to the Internet to look for a lawyer. Advertise a vanity phone number on your web site. Read more about creating criminal law web sites below.
Printing your cards. In 1992, my first cards for my new personal injury practice were printed on plain white card stock, rather than plastic, and they worked great. For even better results, you can print your cards like the one, below, or if you want to spend more money, you can print your Wallet BillboardTM on plastic or telephone cards which allow the user to make an emergency call. The card can be limited to one short call or to entice the user to keep the card, you can allow the user to make one 3, 4 or 5 minute telephone call every month.
The business cards below come branded with 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES. Using the brand enhances your responses because the brand impresses potential clients making them more likely to retain you. You can easily customize any of the text. Just be sure to incorporate my marketing principles to get potential clients to want your services. Just call 1-888-505-5464 to make sure your territory is available. You will get the design for free!
Below are some examples of the front and back of business cards incorporating my principles for successfully attracting defendants arrested for drug crimes, DWI/DUI and White Collar crimes:
Business card using the 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES® logo to brand your law practice
To advertise 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES on your card,
send me an
For more information, see www.CriminalLawyerAdvertising.com
A note about your photo on your card. It's much easier to make a business card without a photo (I don't have a photo on my card) and they certainly work well, if designed according to my instructions. If your photo looks good, photos give potential clients a face to your name allowing them to remember you better, a non-threatening way to establish trust and will help a new client find you in court. If you plan to include your picture, don't look to save money. Be sure to use a professional photographer and wear your best suit with a white shirt and bright blue or red tie. Notice the lawyer in the card above. This photo was taken by a professional photographer and his bright blue tie looks very elegant and really stands out. The quality of the photograph is crucial. Unfortunately, your race, gender, hair style, and clothes may determine whether someone calls you.
Should you have "professional" style cards? You may want to have a regular "professional" style business card to give to other lawyers, as I did. I always carried two styles of cards, one to give to potential clients. The other, which I give to lawyers, is very expensive, elegant, conservatively styled with a blind embossed logo and engraved on expensive paper. Even this card indicated my field of practice. This card might stand out to a lawyer, but to a potential client will only look like a nicer than usual lawyer's card and will soon be forgotten.
Should you print brochures? With my business cards, you do not need brochures. Brochures are expensive to produce and print because the design is far more involved than a business card, it may require photography and other graphics work, and should be printed on expensive 100lb stock to convey a substantial impression. Give your brochure to a potential client and it will probably end up in the garbage within a few minutes. Rather than a brochure, you should use my business cards and have a web site.
Advertising your business card media to the public
Step number 3. Now that you have your cards, how do you get clients? The answer again is surprisingly simple.
1) Give your cards to everyone you see. During the period of time that you're awake, you meet lots of people. For instance, in the morning you may buy a cup of coffee or breakfast. The waitress/waiter, bus boy and cashier should each get one of your cards. Think about everyone you meet during the day, for instance, taxi drivers, the salesperson at every store you go to, the cashier at every store you go to from supermarkets to clothing stores, bank employees, etc.
You should give your cards to absolutely everyone. You never know where a good client can come from. Even the salespeople at Tiffany's know that someone wearing jeans with a hole may spend $350,000 on a ring. However, you should pay particular attention to certain groups which provide the most potential for criminal defendants who have money to pay a criminal lawyer when arrested for such crimes as drug crimes, DWI/DUI, and white-collar crimes. For instance, licensed professionals such as doctors, dentists, chiropractors, stockbrokers and securities traders are all people with substantial income who frequently use illegal drugs and are arrested for DWI/DUI. These groups also have a higher probability of providing criminal defendants for white-collar crimes.
How do you give cards to people you don't know? That's easy. There are two great ways which will keep you so busy you won't have time to sleep, and you should use both of them.
It was a little difficult for me at first, however I finally got the courage to give my Wallet BillboardTM to a perfect stranger. I gave it to a cashier at a computer store. It was my turn to check out. As I was paying the cashier, I handed her my card and blurted it out. I said, "Hi, I'm a personal injury lawyer and I thought I would give you my card in case you might need it one day". She said "thanks" and put it on the cash register. I thought she would probably throw it out after I left, but after that, I found it wasn't so difficult and I gave out lots of cards to lots of people, everywhere, everyday. Some people threw them out right in front of me, some people said thank you and put it on the cash register or in their wallet, and a few people said "My brother or my mother just had an accident". I signed up every one of those people and I even received phone calls over the years from people who had kept my cards, including a few calls as long as 12 years after I gave out my card. This one form of inexpensive lawyer advertising built up a very busy law practice with over 130 clients in a very short time. In fact, I got so busy so quickly and my referrals had increased so substantially that I stopped giving my cards out because I could not handle the increased caseload.
Make at least 2,000 cards to keep the price down and so that you have enough to give out. Keep a stack of cards everywhere you go, at home, at the office, in your car, motorcycle, boat, everywhere.
2) Direct mail to criminal defendants arrested for DUI & DWI using lists from police departments. This is a very effective way of getting new criminal clients who have to pay for their legal defense. The problem is that defendants may receive as many as 10-30 letters from criminal lawyers. It takes 2-3 days for a letter to be delivered. If you could get your letter delivered overnight, a day or two before your competition, your results would substantially improve. But how can you do that without spending a fortune for overnight mail?
your direct mail marketing to DUI & DWI defendants with
next day delivery
for the cost of 1st class postage.
When you deliver your mail a day or two before your competition, you could earn over $10,000 or more Every Single Month!
Get a 12 month 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES® license for your office and I will send you a two page .PDF document with simple instructions telling you what I do to send my letters, And How You Can Do The Exact Same Thing!
P.S. You will also get my tips telling you what you need to have in your direct marketing letters.
3) Mail Postcard Business Cards, but ONLY to targeted groups! Another successful, inexpensive, and easy way to get your cards out is to mail "postcard business cards" (postcards with detachable business cards ) to two different groups of people. You should send "postcard business cards" to current and former clients and people who call your office, but do not retain you. You should also send "postcard business cards" to targeted demographic groups who have money to pay your fees and are likely to be arrested for for crimes such as drugs and DWI / DUI. Certain demographic groups, such as stockbrokers, salespeople, doctors, dentists and others earn enough money so that they are not entitled to a free lawyer and are frequently arrested for drug crimes and DWI / DUI offenses. I would start with stockbrokers, because this group has a high amount of drug use and drinking with incomes at $60,000 on the low end. Mailing cards to the general population will result in a total loss of your money. You can purchase demographic mailing lists targeted by profession from www.InfoUSA.com tel.: 1-866-805-1691. Promo Printing Group can print and mail your postcard business cards for you, so all you have to do is answer the phone. Promo Printing Group will even let you use their bulk mailing license, so you pay very little for postage without having to pay the $600 post office permit fees. License 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES for as little as $4.95 per month and in addition to your FREE business cards, I will pay the $150 design fee for your postcards from Promo Printing Group (call me first, at 1-888-505-5464 ). You can order postcard business cards from Promo Printing Group 1-866-831-9902.
A Few Extra Pointers
Your web site - Have a professional looking web site.
You should have a professional looking web site, because web sites have replaced brochures. Web sites have become much more important than brochures, because rarely would anyone keep a brochure while a web site is always available and web sites are very easy to update. Make sure that your web site address is on your business card. People are curious and when you give your card out to potential clients, they may look at your web site. Again, you need to create an image of success. To exude success and maintain continuity of branding, your toll-free vanity phone number should be displayed on your web site, as well as your business cards. I suggest putting some good content on your criminal law website to both impress potential clients and to give search engines what they want so your website shows up on the first page of search results for your keywords. Sign up for a 12 month 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES® license for your office with a free top listing on the directory and I will provide you with the name of a criminal law website company which can create a search engine optimized DUI web site complete with loads of DUI information/content or just provide you with the content for your existing criminal law web site.
Blogs - Publish a blog.
In addition to your web site, or as an alternative, publish a blog. Blogs are the best way to show the public that you are an expert. Web sites advertise that you're an expert but blogs, by way of your articles, show that you are an expert. Be sure to maintain continuity of branding by displaying your toll-free vanity phone number on your blog. Make sure that you include the domain name of your blog or web site on any mailings and business cards. You might also consider doing to mailing just to advertise your blog as advised by Larry Bodine's Professional Services Marketing Blog in his article Using Offline Marketing to Promote Online Medium. You can have the law practice blog expert lexBlog create a blog for your criminal law practice.
Dress for Success - You have differentiated yourself, now look different.
First impressions are crucial. What is the first impression that you would like to leave? Do you think potential criminal clients would like to hire a poor struggling lawyer or do you think they would like to hire a successful lawyer? How can a potential criminal client tell if you're successful? Dress for success. I recommend investing in a couple of custom-made suits $1,000-$2,000, custom-made shirts $75-$150 with your initials embroidered on the cuff and a few expensive bright red and blue ties ($60-$150). On occasion, when I go to traffic court for a friend, wearing my custom-made suit, I am always approached by people asking me to represent them. One person begged me to represent him and when I said that I was in a rush and could not represent him, he kept offering me more money. After substantially increasing his offer, I gave in and represented him. He later referred a personal injury client to me. When I asked him why he wanted me to represent him, he said that I was better dressed and look like a better lawyer. The other lawyers wear inexpensive suits and I clearly stand out as a more successful lawyer. In fact, you should go to traffic court occasionally, just to give out your cards. Be sure to sit in one of the rows with the defendants. Don't sit with the lawyers, because people won't get a chance to talk to you. You don't want to talk to lawyers, you want to talk to potential clients. One last note. Fancy cars are better for your ego than for your business. Unless you have a storefront office where you can park it in front of your office, very few people will see it.
Yellow Page Ads - Don't Use Your Name in the Headline!
Print Yellow Pages will still work for criminal lawyers, because criminal lawyers do not advertise on TV (TV gets consumers before they go to the yellow pages). If your yellow page advertising isn't working, you probably used the sales rep to design your ad. Is your name the headline or really big? That's a BIG mistake. No one knows who you are and they really don't care. Does your ad pop out from all the others? Does your ad target several areas of law or even several areas of criminal law? Your ad needs to target a small segment of the criminal law market. ONLY drug crimes, DWI & DUI. NOTHING ELSE. If you really need to advertise for other areas of law, use another yellow page ad. If you advertise in the yellow pages, it is imperative that your advertising immediately pops and stands apart from the rest. A vanity telephone number such as 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES becomes your brand, will make your advertising pop, and will increase your results.
John Gibson, Esq., a personal injury lawyer advertising in a yellow page book in Texas, immediately noticed an increase in results when he advertised 1-800-HURT-911. John Gibson wrote, "We had a firm meeting last week where we discussed TV advertising. We plan on beginning TV advertising in the coming months. However, right now we are just so snowed under with work (some of it the result of our yellow page ad with 1-800-HURT-911) that we don't have time to get the TV advertising together. There are two phone books in town. We dropped our ad in one and went with the back cover on the other [advertising 1-800-HURT-911] and we have had a noticeable increase in the number of calls."
Dick Larkin, nationally known for Yellow Page ad design, says don't use your business name as your Yellow Page headline! Dick says, "Develop a Powerful Headline & Target a Very Specific Audience." Read Yellow Page Ad Design Blunders - The 8 Deadly Sins You MUST Avoid!. 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES does all that!
Whether you use a a full-page ad, half page ad, or a smaller ad, your ad should display 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES really big. Underneath, it should say DUI • DWI • Drug Crimes. Your yellow page advertisement should have some text underneath that saying how and why you give personal service and anything else you can do to solve the reader's problems. At the bottom of any yellow page ad, should be from two to eight local telephone numbers with the name of a local town above each telephone number. You can get additional local phone numbers inexpensively.
Should you advertise on the back cover of a yellow page book? Absolutely! If it's available and you can't afford it, just call me and I will tell you how you can get it at no cost! The back cover will produce a much higher call volume than an inside page, but will result in many unwanted calls for all kinds of financially uninteresting legal issues, if you do not use a practice specific vanity phone number. When using a practice specific vanity phone number, callers will only call if the vanity phone number matches their problem.
Get a custom designed 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES yellow page ad to advertise your criminal law practice at half the regular price. Just sign up for a 12 month 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES® license for your office with a free top listing on the directory.
Online yellow page advertising is already taking business away from the Yellow Page books and will probably replace the print version in 20 years. With online yellow page advertising, you get a headline and usually two lines of text with a link to your website. You only pay when someone clicks on your link. I've only seen one lawyer with a headline in red! Make sure your headline is red. Did you know that online yellow page advertisers allow you to use a vanity telephone number in your headline? They will even tell you that you can get FREE calls when someone calls your vanity telephone number instead of clicking on your ad! Use a headline that will catch attention. Don't say "DWI/DUI & Traffic Defense". Everyone says that and you will not stand out. Use a headline that stands out like 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES. It stands out, gets the message across and will get you FREE calls! In the text, write "DWI - DUI - Drug crimes. Call 24/7 for a FREE Consultation with Joe Lawyer, Esq."
Dick Larkin, creator of SmallBusinessCommandos.com, who runs Worldpages.com (bought by YellowBook™) and is a leading expert on yellow page advertising, says "The biggest sin in local advertising is using your company name as the headline for your ad." In fact, MOST print and online advertising uses a headline like "Joe Lawyer" or "Law Office of Joe Lawyer". 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES will stand out from the rest and get you calls for FREE! Branding a name is great for a lawyer's ego or selling a product in stores, but not if you want people to call you. If you want people to call you, they need to remember how to call you.
Law Office Signs
If you have an office or a building where you can put up a large sign, then you have the advantage of a free billboard which could cost you thousands of dollars per month if you were to rent one. I would put up a sign as large as permitted. If you have a vanity telephone number, such as 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES that says what you do, I would have that very large with your name smaller and below.
Whether or not you decide to use 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES, follow my advice and your criminal law practice will see a substantial number of new criminal clients who are able to pay fees for drug, DWI and DUI arrests. To inquire about using 1-888-DRUG-CRIMES to grow your criminal law practice even faster, send an e-mail to Phil Franckel or call 1-888-505-5464
Fire Your Landlord & Build Equity!
A Free Billboard Will Pay For Your Building!
May 27, 2006
About The Author: Philip L. Franckel, Esq., is President of 1-800-HURT-911, Inc., a company which provides an advertising program and does consulting for lawyers. Mr. Franckel personally built www.HURT911.org, which together with its matching 1-800 vanity number has become a valuable brand. The website, also addressable from 1800HURT911.com and many other domain names, is the largest personal injury research web site on the internet with almost 20,000 unique visitors, 500,000 hits per month. Mr. Franckel is an expert on vanity telephone numbers, web site construction, search engine optimization and internet key word bidding. Mr. Franckel has been a personal injury lawyer since 1989, was a Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and has extensive business experience in many other diverse businesses including amusement games, cars, firearms, diamond manufacturing (cutting), jewelry manufacturing, insurance, and the advertising industry, having worked in television production on TV commercials such as Diet Coke, American Airlines, Bayer Aspirin and Fuji Films with Illustra Films Worldwide, and with ABC on Monday Night Baseball and Wide World of Sports.