Have you ever wanted to check out a local restaurant or business but found that it had bad online reviews? Perhaps these reviews deterred you from visiting at all.
Did you know that attorney reviews have the same effect on individuals searching for legal services? Your law firm’s online reputation has tremendous influence over whether a prospective client decides to hire you.
Digital reviews are a major component of your online presence and can actually increase your profitability. A study by Harvard Business Review found that a business enjoys a five to nine percent increase in revenue for every one-star increase they received on Yelp.
Online reviews serve as the new word-of-mouth advertising; they enable prospective clients to see the impact your legal services have had on former clients to determine if they should hire you, too. Incidentally, over three-fourths of consumers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member—even though they have often never met the reviewers!
If you’re not pursuing online reviews from former clients, you’re missing out on client leads. Plain and simple.
So, where do you get reviews? And how do you solicit them?
Where Can I Get Client Reviews?
You can (and should) collect reviews from any website that utilizes them—from Google to Facebook.
Reviews across diverse online platforms give you broader digital exposure to consumers in search of an attorney. Ratings on multiple websites mean you’ll connect with more clients, regardless of where they’re seeking information.
That said, Google and Facebook tend to be the platforms where most consumers seek out reviews.
Google is the most dominant entity in online advertising. Eighty-seven percent of all online searches occur on Google. That means prospective consumers will likely encounter your firm through Google and inevitably see your Google My Business results during their local searches.
For example, say you enter a search for “Boston Personal Injury Lawyer.” You’ll see a local three-pack come up.
Each law firm in the local pack has info from a Google My Business listing – including client ratings and reviews.
If you click on the business, Google will show its rating, the total number of reviews, and actual reviews from former clients.
The search engine even gives a quick snapshot overview of the reviews – including a breakdown by the number of stars and a snippet of the most relevant feedback.
To be sure, there are dozens of personal injury law firms throughout Boston. Presumably, there are dozens of personal injury lawyers in your area, too. Positive reviews will make you stand out—to clients and search engines.
If Google is deciding whether to prioritize your firm or another on its SERPS, quality reviews may make the difference. Google puts a lot of stock into positive ratings. The more feedback you have, the easier it is for prospective clients to find you in their local searches.
Facebook is second only to Google in its influence on consumers in search of local products or services. Facebook’s unique review system relies on recommendations rather than star ratings.
People look to the social media giant for information about a law firm after finding them through Google or other means. Many prospects find a law firm’s Facebook page by performing a “branded search,” e.g., searching for you or your law firm by name in Google or another search engine.
Facebook offers prospects additional validation, a “second opinion,” as they contemplate whether to contact you. On search engines, users can leave anonymous reviews. On Facebook, reviews have a name and a face. This makes them personal, and prospective clients take notice.
There is a caveat, however. BrightLocal research suggests that Facebook is among the least trusted review sites (out of major platforms) for consumers seeking information on a business. This study may suggest that consumers are slowly turning away from Facebook for local business reviews.
If someone performs a branded search for you or your firm, they may encounter your profile on Avvo. If a consumer is using legal directories like Avvo or FindLaw, they are likely well into their search for legal services.
If Facebook serves as a second opinion, the Avvo platform serves as a third, semi-technical opinion for those prospects that are closest to making a decision about hiring you.
The site allows consumers to see your contact info, achievements, peer endorsements, and more. However, your profile is not complete without client reviews.
What Kind of Reviews Does a Lawyer Need (and How Many) Before a Prospect Will Hire Them?
Studies suggest that as many as 97% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. The higher your client reviews, the better. Preferably, you are receiving four- and five-star reviews from your former clients.
Why? Eight-two percent of consumers specifically seek out negative reviews when searching for a business or service. Moreover, less than half of consumers would consider using a business with less than four stars. So again, the higher your rating, the better.
The next question is, “how many reviews do you need?” The more reviews, the better. The average prospect reads around ten reviews before finding a business trustworthy. Indeed, research shows that a consumer’s likelihood of purchasing a product increases by 270% when it has five reviews.
Thus, you should strive to secure at least ten visible reviews on each targeted review site. You should also curate reviews that conform with the kind of experience you want to portray.
To go the extra mile, you should also respond to your client reviews. This habit can impress potential leads and enhance your online presence.
How Do I Get Reviews For My Law Firm?
It’s simple: ask. You can—and should—ask clients to review your legal services. BrightLocal data indicates that 73% of consumers have been asked to review a local business. Seventy-two percent of those asked went on to write a review.
Clients are generally responsive to requests for reviews; it makes them feel valued. If a client is happy with your services, ask them to write a review about their experience with your firm. If they agree, you can follow up via email with links to your accounts with Google My Business, Facebook, and Avvo. Make sure to individualize the email, omitting sensitive or confidential information.
Here are few other ways to generate reviews:
- Give clients instructions on where and how to write reviews
- Have a dedicated “Review” landing page on your firm website
- Sign up for a review service such as Get Five Stars or Grade.us
- Hire an SEO company for lawyers to manage your digital marketing strategy, including online reviews.
Businesses utilize plenty of other ways to request reviews from former customers, including on receipts, through social media, over the phone, in a text, on a business card, or on signage at the business location. However, you should never offer incentives for reviews or author fake reviews. These methods may violate Google’s terms of service, prospective clients’ trust, and your attorney ethics rules.
Prospective clients give great weight to your client reviews; they may be less likely to hire you if you few or negative reviews.
LawRank Can Help You Generate Client Reviews and Grow Your Business with Law Firm SEO
Client reviews are critical to your firm’s online reputation and overall success. However, they are just one component of a great digital marketing strategy. If you want to increase online leads, you need to think bigger. You need SEO for lawyers.
At LawRank, we assist attorneys and law firms in increasing their online visibility and achieving top rankings on SERPS. Our attorney SEO experts handle all aspects of digital marketing, including managing your firm’s online reviews.
LawRank will review your SEO project and explain what challenges might lie ahead – and detail our concrete strategies for overcoming them to get your law firm to rank.
Contact us for a free quote regarding our law firm SEO services and learn about our history of ranking law firms like yours on the first page of Google for competitive keywords in competitive markets.