Like other smart lawyers, Griff O'Hanlon devotes considerable firm resources on internet marketing. And it works. New clients say that they found his firm, Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, "on the internet."
"But what about the internet was helpful? What did they link about our online presence? Over and over we heard clients say it was 'the reviews, the reviews, the reviews,'” O'Hanlon said. "We heard for 6 straight months that clients were finding us by reviews, not the fancy lawyer bios, just what other clients were saying about us. So we put a system into place to capture client reviews."
O'Hanlon is a partner at the 7-lawyer firm, which has 16 staff and offices across Virginia. The firm has an outstanding 4.9 out of 5 rating on Facebook, based on the opinion of 52 people, 30 positive reviews on their website and a 5.0 rating on Google Reviews based on 55 reviews.
"We've found that Google reviews are most important," he said during a July 25 webinar, "The Systems that Every Law Firm Should Have."
Step 1: The firm waits for "a point of happiness for the clients before the representation has concluded." This is the meeting at the firm where the client comes in to sign the settlement statement and release.
Step 2: "When the client comes in I go through all the legal stuff that we have to, and then I say, "Would you mind giving us a review? It's as easy as that and it takes just a few minutes," O'Hanlon says. "The client knows at that point they're not getting their check for another 5 days, so I believe they feel a sense of obligation at that point to provide a positive review."
Step 3: At this point, the attorney steps out of the room."We have found that clients sometimes can still be intimidated by the attorney.
Step 4: Chief Marketing Officers Cassidy Lewis enters the room and helps the client post a review on their personal cell phone (not an office computer). "We bring her in and with her bubbly personality, every client is pleased to give a review. In all frankness and our marketing director is much better at having a pleasing personality."
The system has gotten the firm dozens of reviews. O'Hanlon adds several useful tips:
- Incentivize your staff to get reviews. "We have situations where the system is in place but the staff will not ask for the review. To combat that, we've set up quarterly review contests for our staff. Say you close 100 cases, what percentage of those cases were you able to capture a client review? We compare the number to the other litigation groups we have, and the group with the highest percentage either gets a monetary reward, a 2-hour lunch on the firm, an afternoon off on Friday.
- Clients should use their cell phone to post a review. Do not have a client use a computer in the office or connect to the firm wi-fi. "The reason is that if Google sees a number of reviews coming from the same IP address, they may flag them as suspicious. So we ask clients if they have a Gmail account, and ask them to pull it up on their phone," O'Hanlon says.
- Suggest keywords for clients to use in their review. "A Google bot will crawl the review just as it would content on your website. Ask them to write, “I called attorney John O'Hanlon after I was injured and was in a hospital in Virginia Beach.” This way you have keywords that are helpful to the Google bots that can increase your SEO (search engine optimization)."
- Assign one person to be responsible for getting reviews. "If you get too many people involved with reviews, everyone will expect someone else to handle it."
- Ask for reviews from other sources. Leaders of civic organizations and community groups that the firm supports can be asked for a review. "Ask those people to give reviews after you've spent time on their cause. They'll be glad to do it. It shows a wide range of reviews not only from clients but members of the community."
"The more reviews and the stronger reviews you get, the more intake you'll find," he says.