If your law firm is not concentrating on getting positive online reviews on Google+, Facebook and Yelp, your website and business will suffer. Whether you like it or not, most people looking for an attorney online will read reviews before choosing what law firm to call. A number of studies show that consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and most consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product.
Further, in addition to the consumers themselves, Google uses online reviews when its algorithms are calculating which law firm websites will be in the top spots for business listings and organic listings. This means that a lack of reviews will hurt your search engine optimization, your organic placement and ultimately, your bottom line.
How Do Law Firms Get Clients to Write Positive Reviews?
It’s hard to ask a client to write a review—we get it. However, when you have a client who is happy with customer service or the outcome of a case, most are willing to give back with some positive feedback to help others. We generally recommend asking the client to write a review when they come to your office to pick up the check at the conclusion of the case. Have a legal assistant ask the client to write a review from their smartphone while the client is waiting to speak to the attorney. Hand them written instructions explaining how to write the review, or email them with links to the review sites.
However, keep in mind that not all reviews need to be about the outcome of the case, but can be about good customer service. Even people who have only come in for a consultation, who are only in the middle of a case or who solely dealt with the intake staff can be a great source of a positive review.
Google and other websites will block reviews if they think they are spam. If the reviews all come from the same IP address, this will be the biggest tip off. This means that you cannot have clients write reviews from an office computer or when they are on the office wifi. A client must write the review from their own smartphone with the wifi turned off. This will ensure the reviews are not all coming from the same IP address and get blocked. If the client cannot write the review on their smartphone while in the office, email them instructions with the easy access links to the review sites on a periodic basis. Also note that if the client wishes to write multiple reviews on different platforms, the reviews must not be duplicative.
At Attorneys Online™, Inc., we offer our clients instruction sheets to hand to their clients, as well as an email with the links their clients need to review. We also put review buttons on our clients’ websites for ease of access.
Worried About Negative Reviews?
Just like any other business, a law firm will eventually get negative reviews. Many lawyers would love to just take these negative reviews down to get rid of them. Unfortunately, unless you can prove to Google+, Facebook or Yelp that the review is fraudulent (such as if the person was never a client or what was written was completely false), the hosting company is not likely to agree to take it down. They do this to have authenticity in their reviews. However, this does not mean you have to ignore a negative review. Here are the two main ways of dealing with negative reviews:
- Respond to the negative review by explaining your side of the story or publicly offering to speak in person to address the issue. At a minimum, this will show others that you acknowledge the person’s concerns and are offering a possible solution to rectify the situation.
- Bury the negatives by having positive reviews outnumber them. Ask friends and family (if you have different last names) that you may done legal work in the past to write authentic positive reviews, even if the work was done years ago.
Questions About Online Reviews for Law Firms?
At Attorneys Online™, Inc., we’ve been helping law firms across the country with their online marketing strategies since 1998. This article is but a quick overview of the review strategies we help our clients with every day. Contact our legal marketing specialists on our website or by calling (800) 221-8424 for more information about online reviews and other marketing questions.