The next time a new client finds you, it will likely be via a Google search on a cell phone, including the phrase "reviews of..."
Almost everyone -- 92% of consumers -- now read online reviews to judge local businesses, according to BrightLocal. Regardless of your real-world reputation -- friends, colleagues, the bench or opposing counsel -- your online reputation can literally make or break your law practice.
The power of the stars
- 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews.
- Only 13% of consumers consider using a business that has a 1 or 2-star rating.
- The star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business.
Smart law firms are capitalizing on these facts to take control of their marketing, by harnessing their best reviews to present the best possible impression.
"If you're not tending to your online reputation and your competitors are, your online reputation will soon be a reason why your business is faltering," says attorney Dan Jaffe, CEO of LawLytics Legal Marketing Suite. But if you take what your happy clients are saying into your web presence, there is little doubt that you will feel a positive effect on your business."
It comes as a shock to some attorneys that what is said about them on Avvo, Facebook or Google reviews can determine who gets a client in the competitive legal marketplace.
“Many lawyers who say they get all their business from referrals are likely to lose clients to their competitors, because of their online reputation or the lack of one,” Jaffe says “A good client who had a good case will decide to hire a different lawyer than the one he was referred to, because he had a better rating on Yelp or Avvo.”
As a result, a top priority for 2017 will be review marketing, namely:
- Monitoring the review sites and taking note when a new review is posted about you.
- Distributing positive reviews across the internet and social media so that your best reviews get noticed.
- Acquiring new reviews by making it simple for happy clients to write them.
Attorneys are using Birdeye review marketing software that automates all three steps. LawLytics makes Birdeye available at discount prices for LawLytics members and non-member law firms. Visit https://www.lawlytics.com/reputation-management/ to learn more and schedule a call.
Online reviews figure powerfully in attorney marketing. More people use online search than watch TV or participate on social media, according to Edelman. The online voices of friends and family count more than academic experts, journalists or well-known online personalities.
Marketing good reviews
Once Birdeye is set up, attorneys will get a notice whenever a new review is posted about the firm. You'll get an opportunity to respond to the review, if necessary.
Assuming the new review is positive, the next step is to put the review on your website and send the link out to the firm's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. Birdeye does this with one click.
The Shouse Law Firm in California celebrates online reviews with gusto. They assemble positive reviews online at https://goo.gl/HMI6FC including links to Google, Yelp, Facebook, Avvo, the Better Business Bureau and a Birdeye mini site. Their Facebook page is similarly brimming with positive reviews at https://goo.gl/bt7DnB and a cheery request to “Leave Us Feedback.”
A clever feature of Birdeye is that it automatically creates the mini-site where only positive reviews are displayed. The Shouse law firm's mini-site at https://goo.gl/TVMip4 scrolls on with screen after screen of 5-star reviews. The mini-site tends to rank high in Google searches too. For example, see the constellation of 5-star reviews on the mini-site of Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee in Garden City, NY, at https://goo.gl/Pi8s1a
Getting new positive reviews
Birdeye makes it easy to generate positive reviews. It enables attorneys to send a text or email to a client asking “did you think your service was above average? (or a similar question).
- For those who choose “Yes,” icons are displayed for Google, Yelp, Facebook or whichever site the firm wants a review. The firm doesn't have to explain the setup to post a review, because the software guides them through the process.
- For those who choose “No,” a message appears saying, “We apologize your experience was not great. How can we improve? Please tell us about your experience.” This information is not posted online, but instead is sent to the CMO, providing an opportunity to make the client feel better.
“You must reinforce your website on third party websites that you don't control. When your clients experiences are consistent across your website and review sites it reinforces a positive narrative in their mind and they become more likely to hire you,” says CEO Jaffe.
Click here to watch the on-demand webinar:
Reputation Management For Law Firms