Many businesses – law firms included – treat reviews as an afterthought… until they get a negative one. It becomes a scramble to drown out the negative reviews with positive ones so as not to lose out on potential clients.
The success of your firm depends on you having a shining online reputation, so it’s worth it to get ahead of the curve and generate positive reviews from the beginning. Especially in the legal field, this can be easier said than done.
In this chapter, we’re covering the five essential steps to generating positive reviews for your law firm so you can stay ahead of the competition and attract new clients in droves.
Most business owners know that earning reviews is an important task, but how important is it exactly?
Well, consider that the vast majority (84%) of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations when it comes to choosing a business to work with. Reviews play a powerful role in helping prospective clients or customers decide what products to buy, what brands to work with, and more.
Further, 70% of prospective clients said they are willing to go to a law firm in a less convenient location if they have better reviews than a closer attorney’s office. This means having positive reviews could put your law firm ahead of your competition and directly draw in new clients.
But earning positive reviews from clients can be a tedious task, especially if you’re relying on clients to take initiative and post reviews themselves. That’s why you’ll need to actively work to generate reviews for your law firm using the five steps below.
The first and perhaps most obvious step is to provide top-quality service to your clients so they feel inclined to post a review in the first place. It will be next to impossible to generate 5-star reviews if you aren’t providing 5-star services.
As a lawyer, it can often be difficult to keep clients happy because they are often dealing with loads of stress, and their case is ultimately left up to the courts to decide their fate. But, you can do your best to provide a positive, supportive experience.
Help your clients navigate the legal process with ease and relieve their anxieties as much as possible. Have patience when answering their questions and get them connected with the resources they need when they need them.
Even if the decision doesn’t turn out in their favor, your clients can still rest easy knowing you did your best and were with them every step of the way. It’s your job to offer a review-worthy experience.
To generate reviews for your law firm, you will need to be visible on popular review sites where clients can go to leave a review or testimonial. Not only do these sites host your reviews, but they can play a role in helping you drive traffic to your site.
See, search engines like Google look to positive reviews when considering which businesses to rank in the search results. Therefore, review generation should be an essential part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. These review sites can help you improve your SEO over time.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform (by Google) that allows businesses to post their business information, generate reviews, publish content, and more. This is the #1 platform prospective go to when looking for law firm reviews.
Setting up a GMB profile is simple. Simply sign up with a Gmail email address, input your business information, verify your account, and hit publish. Then you can share this profile with clients to start earning that 5-star rating and some positive reviews.
Like GMB, Bing Places is a free platform where law firms and other businesses can generate reviews.
Positive reviews can help businesses rank higher in Bing’s organic search results.
By earning more positive reviews on both GMB and Bing Places, you can outrank your competitors and drive more traffic to your law firm website. Plus, the positive reviews will encourage prospective clients to work with you.
Avvo is a review website specific to the legal industry. This is another site that prospective clients go to to find reputable law firms in their area.
Publish a profile on Avvo to generate reviews, drive traffic, and attract more customers. Your goal is to have more shining reviews than the other law firms in your niche. This is one of the best ways to improve your online reputation in your industry.
Yelp is one of the most popular review sites but is not without its issues. Many businesses get frustrated by Yelp’s often pushy sales tactics. Know that having a free profile on Yelp should be enough to generate reviews for your business; you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
Yellowpages, BBB, and similar review sites are on par with Yelp when it comes to helping you boost your law firm’s authority online. Try to aim for the top-tier review sites and avoid paying for placement on any sketchy sites.
While Facebook is technically a social media platform, you can still generate reviews on your Facebook business page. This page also has the chance to rank in the organic search results.
While most law firms generate business from local search in Google and Bing, they can still attract clients on Facebook. And since most clients are on Facebook already, this is an easy place to generate reviews.
Simply create a business page for your law firm, input your business information, and add high-quality images. Then, you can share the link to your Facebook page every time you want to ask a client for a Facebook review.
Many attorneys think to ask clients for reviews weeks or even months after working with them, but this is often at the point where a client’s excitement has toned down. That’s why it’s best to ask clients for reviews when they are at their happiest – typically right after you have earned them a win.
Is your client already raving about how amazing it’s been to work with you? Ask them for a review on your GMB or Facebook page. You can do this in person or my sending them an email when you know they are in a great mood.
When a client is thrilled about your services, they will be more motivated to leave a review for your firm. Don’t wait until way after the fact to ask these clients to review your law firm.
It’s recommended that you send an email sequence to each client after doing business with them. This is done as a courtesy to thank them for their business and it gives you a chance to ask them for reviews.
If you have text messaging capabilities (and client consent), you can also send text message reminders for them to review you on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Make it easy for them to send reviews by providing a direct link to your profile.
Here’s an example of an email or text script you can send to your clients:
It’s usually recommended that you ask for a review 3-5 days after doing business with them. This ensures that their experience is still fresh in their minds, so they’re more likely to leave you a shining review.
Note: Make it super easy for clients to leave a review by always including a link to the review page and by using a clear call-to-action (like “Leave a review here”). Also, you can optimize the review process by split testing your emails, seeing which scripts result in the best response rate and highest number of reviews.
Offering incentives in exchange for reviews can be a testy art, which often goes against many third-party platforms’ guidelines. Many review sites are strict about how businesses can ask clients for reviews.
You can certainly encourage clients to leave a review for your law firm but try to avoid offering a one-to-one exchange, like a review, in exchange for a discount.
One way around this is to offer a discount that leads to increased sales of your services. In this case, the incentive is increased sales, not reviews. With more sales (or closed client deals, in this case), more people will see the email and then be direct to leave a review.
Since more people see the email, there’s a good chance that you will generate more client reviews, naturally.
Another common method is to encourage clients to Like your Facebook page when they first visit your office. You’re not asking for a review, but you are directing them to your Facebook page. Here, they may be naturally inclined to review your services.
As a law firm, you should be constantly monitoring all of your review platforms for both positive and negative reviews. That way, you can respond to positive reviews and address negative reviews as quickly as possible.
Studies show that, on average, one negative review can cost you as many as 30 new clients. While negative reviews do occur – whether they are warranted or not – you can often dissipate the negative effects by responding promptly and professionally.
Note that there are often ways to report spam or negative reviews to get them removed from Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. The quicker you are to address these reviews, the better you’ll be able to prevent any negative consequences on your business.
The success of your law firm depends on you providing top-quality service to your clients. Why not highlight these wins by generating positive reviews for your law firm?
Reach out to clients when they will be most inclined to leave a review, increase your presence across top review sites, and follow up with clients promptly. With the methods above, you can improve your law firm’s reputation and boost your SEO to drive more clients to your firm.