According to research compiled by National Law Review, 90% of consumers consider reviews when making their buying decisions after conducting a Google search. So how important are reviews for law firms? Incredibly so. It’s clear that if you plan to use internet marketing in your client acquisition strategy, you need to earn great reviews.
But it isn’t just getting good reviews that’s important — it’s also important to understand why reviews matter for your law firm, know how to respond to reviews, and learn how you can earn reviews from your happiest clients.
Why Reviews Matter for Your Law Firm
Consumers treat hiring a lawyer like they do many other services. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that most people conduct thorough research online and rely on recommendations from people they trust. When family and friends aren’t available to provide their own advice, people often turn to online reviews.
Are Reviews Always Important for Law Firms?
Many attorneys wonder, how important are reviews for law firms, really? They may not be sure whether they should even care about reviews, especially if they’re a well-established firm that receives plenty of referral business. Other law firms may focus on offline methods of client acquisition.
Despite this, all law firms should care about reviews. After all, you never know when you’ll need to make a change to your strategy. If you rely on word-of-mouth referrals, you must remember that people often do their own online research, even after receiving a trusted recommendation. Even though reviews may not take top priority, they should always be part of your law firm’s marketing strategy.
Here are just a few of the ways in which reviews can impact your law firm:
- Improved click-through rates
- Increased visibility and higher ranking
- Boosted brand reach and mentions
- More client conversions
- Access to insights on client perceptions and experiences
- Increased consumer confidence
- Positive social proof.
Additionally, positive reviews on Google can help you earn top-of-page rankings in search results. They can also help you earn the green checkmark that’s associated with Google Screened, for which you need to have obtained an average of three out of five stars.
Tips to Get Reviews for Your Law Firm
Reviews are important for your law firm, but how do you earn enough to make a meaningful impact? Take a look at these tips to get reviews and earn more clients.
Create a Google Business Profile and Other Listings
You don’t need to create or claim your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) for customers to leave you reviews. The same is true for Yelp, Avvo, Martindale-Hubbard, etc. However, you will definitely benefit more from reviews if you have created an active presence on these sites.
It’s helpful to earn reviews on various websites, but Google is by far where you want to prioritize your time. If you do nothing else, take a moment to create your law firm’s Google Business Profile. This will allow you to share accurate information about your law firm, hours, contact information, and area of practice. You can also use your profile to share photos and business updates.
However, you’ll now also be able to respond to the reviews that people leave for your firm. This is very important! After all, people don’t just care about the reviews you receive; they also pay attention to your responses.
After you create your Google Business Profile, it’s worth looking into what it takes to become a Screened business. After that, you can turn your attention to other review sites and lawyer directories.
Build Review Requests into Your Existing Processes
Reviews might not be the first thing on your customers’ minds, unless they had a particularly negative (or extremely positive) experience. Therefore, you shouldn’t simply provide good service and hope your customers take the initiative to leave a review. As it turns out, many of them would be happy to oblige if you simply asked, and so review requests should be embedded in your existing interactions and processes.
Try a few of these steps:
- Add a link to your Google profile in your email signature with a request for reviews
- Include links to review sites on your website
- Retarget previous clients with a review form when they visit your website.
Your goal here is twofold: You want to provide every client with the opportunity to leave a review, and you want to make leaving that review as easy as possible.
Provide High-Quality and Responsive Services
Besides asking directly, the best way to earn reviews is to achieve great outcomes for your clients. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, even for the best lawyers. However, you can give every customer friendly, attentive service.
Law firm clients are particularly receptive when you:
- Return phone calls and emails promptly
- Provide information in a way that the average person can understand it
- Show up to appointments promptly
- Hire friendly and helpful office staff
- Deliver documents and other items in a timely manner
- Offer honest and realistic insights and advice.
Simply put, you should offer the kind of personalized and caring service that makes your clients want to take ten minutes to leave you a glowing review.
Respond to Reviews Constructively
People read reviews for two reasons: They want to know what others think of your services, but they also want to see how you respond. This also impacts whether your clients will bother to leave reviews for your law firm. If they see you don’t read or respond, they may simply assume their feedback is going to be ignored. So it’s important to take the time to respond to every review you receive.
Responding to Positive Reviews
Responding to positive reviews is easy, but you want to write something more meaningful than “Thank you!” Instead, say something that’s a bit more personalized, without giving away sensitive information. For example, “Thank you so much for your kind words, Jane D! You were a pleasure to work with, and we’re so glad that we were able to help with your case.”
Responding to Negative Reviews
This can be a bit trickier. Here, you want to be polite, respectful, and constructive. Always thank the reviewer for their feedback. Then, deliver a measured apology such as, “We’re very sorry we were unable to meet your expectations.” If there was a genuine error misstep on your part, you could also mention that you have taken steps to correct things. Then, encourage the reviewer to contact you through your regular customer service channels for further resolution.
What if you suspect a fake or baiting review? Never mention that in your response. Instead, simply leave a standard response. Then, use any reporting mechanism available to you, and allow the review site admins to handle the issue.
Consider offering clients a small incentive for leaving a review for your law firm. However, it’s crucial that you follow all applicable rules. To do so, check with the review site and your state bar association. In many cases, you are allowed to offer a small incentive as long as you apply it to any review, not just the positive ones.
Display Your Reviews
Ultimately, a customer review is user-generated content. Often, people share content online because they want others to see what they have to say and to have their experiences acknowledged. You can give reviewers a larger audience by sharing their feedback on your website. There are widgets available that allow you to connect your website to your Google reviews and display them as a carousel or feed.
Ask When the Time is Right
Timing is everything. The best time to request a review is shortly after achieving a resolution for your client. At this point, the client is still engaged, and the details of your services are fresh in their mind. If their experience was positive, they’re probably still in a good mood. If you wait too long, they might leave a vague, half-hearted review — if they leave one at all.
How to Avoid Negative Reviews
It’s nearly impossible to avoid negative reviews, but there are things you can do to minimize them. Of course, the first step is to provide excellent customer service.
However, there’s also something else you can do to keep negative feedback off of your Google profile and lawyer directory entries, and that’s simply to give your clients other options for giving feedback. Add a feedback form to your website, and offer multiple ways to contact you with questions or concerns. This way, they come to you with issues or concerns instead of going to a review site to express their frustrations.
How Lawyers Marketing Associates Can Help with Law Firm Growth
Positive reviews are an excellent tool for customer acquisition. However, they are most effective as part of a larger, growth-focused marketing strategy. As an agency that specializes in marketing for attorneys, we can help you with that.
Our experts will work with you to create a customized development plan for your law firm. This begins with a thorough analysis that we use to fully understand your current state as well as what you want to accomplish. Then, we create a strategy that allows you to grow your firm at an accelerated pace.
Contact Lawyers Marketing Associates
At Lawyers Marketing Associates, we are invested in your success. Let’s work together. Contact us at (919) 637-9144 to schedule a consultation.