Marketing is mostly about what we say about ourselves. But how can your prospects know if it’s true? This is where reviews come into play. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your credibility, and credibility is essential for lawyers.
In fact, recent researches show that the majority of people are more likely to hire a lawyer who has online reviews, especially millennials — 81% of them will make the decision based on your online reputation.
Google likes it when you have reviews, whether on Google or on other platforms that point back to your website. The more reviews you get, the higher the chances of achieving top Google rankings.
Sometimes clients go through a long research process before they contact a lawyer. Other times, they just look for someone in their area, and when they see listings with numerous positive reviews, they just contact the attorney with the most positive reviews.
You may think getting online reviews is out of your control, but that is not the case. There are things you can do to get more reviews, and there are also marketing tools that an agency can use to help.
The most important thing that you shouldn’t forget is you should continuously work on getting as many reviews as possible. You won’t be able to make each of your clients leave you one, but if you manage to get one review out of every four clients you’ve worked with, you will be doing very well.
It simple: ask. Make it a policy to ask every happy client to leave you a review and the sooner, the better. In fact, you can mention it as soon as you sign your client: say you’re extremely motivated to deliver excellent service, and not only because he/she is an important client for you, but also because you would love him/her to leave you a review online.
Then remind your client about that review any time you see he’s impressed with your service, and mention it again once you’ve won the case or have settled the issue.
Finally, have your digital marketing agency set up an automated tool that will request reviews from your clients who have not done so (ask us or the agency you trust).
It’s similar to how lawyers used to ask for recommendations, only reviews are much more powerful: they will help you get clients for years to come and reach many more people.
It’s also a good idea to explain to people how and where to leave you reviews.
Google. Google reviews are extremely powerful, but it’s not that easy to leave them. For whatever reason, Google has made the process difficult, so you may need to work extra hard on getting great Google comments. (google how to do it, and send the instructions to your clients via email or text message)
Yelp. Many lawyers underestimate the importance of Yelp listings, but what most of your prospects know is that Yelp reviews can’t be “rigged”. They have created a strong algorithm that filters out many reviews, so when you have high credibility on Yelp, that’s extra validation for your services.
Avvo, or another online law directory. Avvo is currently the biggest online directory for attorneys and often comes on top of search results. Avvo reviews are usually very specific, which may play an important role in converting a prospect into a paying client.
Facebook. You may think it’s not the place to focus on if you’re a lawyer, but it is the easiest place for people to check you out, so don’t ignore it.
If you’re not even sure how to leave a Google review, you’ll find it difficult to explain that to clients. But that’s not all.
A marketing agency can’t directly ask your clients to leave you reviews, but what we can do is remind them to do it. We’re talking about a very gentle, respectful approach, of course, but you’d be surprised how effective it is: the moment you solve someone’s problem, they forget about you, so reminders work wonders.
Another thing an online marketing agency can do is claim your listings in various directories and get instant notifications anytime someone leaves a review: positive or negative. This monitoring is extremely important, because you don’t want to leave negative reviews unaddressed.
We can also design simple how-tos that help clients leave you reviews on various platforms, and offer them a variety of places where they can go and post: Google, Yelp, Avvo, Facebook and others.
No matter how hard you try, you will get negative reviews sooner or later. In fact, that’s why some lawyers are wary of claiming listings and dealing with online reputation — they know that people are much more likely to complain about something than they are to praise it.
But negative reviews are nothing to worry about. Here’s what to do about them:
Comrade is a Chicago based digital marketing company that specializes in website design and marketing for attorneys. Read more about our reputation management service for law firms
Natalie: Hi everyone, my name is Natalie.
Sasha: Hey, and I’m Sasha Berson.
Natalie: We keep talking about marketing for law firms, lead generation, but we, I think, didn’t touch yet on a subject that is also very important, that a lot of legal firms forget about, and that’s reputation. So, what happens after people see you, see your website? What happens next? And this area also needs to be taken care of, in order for your firm to get these leads.
Sasha: Yeah. Absolutely. So, let’s expand on that, right? So, you may have a great, great, great marketing team that does outrageously good work of bringing attention to you, right? Everyone needs attention. And you’re getting that attention. People come to you from Google, from referrals, from directories like Avvo, Yelp, whatever, right?
Sasha: They come to your website, they see the website, and the website is magnificent, and on that magnificent, high-performance website, they want to see your case studies, right? Things that you have done, the things that you have accomplished for your clients, that were in a similar situation, as these prospective clients are.
Sasha: Now, what’s the next thing that they’re going to look for? Validation of what you said on the website and that validation is through reputation. That reputation is your reviews by your former clients. Now, those reviews can be left, and I’m sure you have some, at least I hope that you have some and I really hope that many more of them are positive rather than negative.
Sasha: You may have those reviews on Google. You may have those reviews on Avvo, and other directories. You may have those reviews on Yelp. You may have those reviews on Facebook. Everyone will go to Facebook to check you out. I know it’s stupid, they’re not really looking for you there, but it is the easiest platform where people would see reviews, aside from Google, right? People go to Google, people go to Facebook, people will go to Avvo and wherever else you may have your website, your practice listed, to look for reviews. Why? Because they need to validate everything that you said on the website.
Natalie: And because all of those listings pop up, right?
Sasha: They do.
Natalie: Number two, number three.
Sasha: For sure.
Natalie: Facebook is probably number three, or number four, always for your firm.
Sasha: For sure, but also a lot of firms actually have a little Facebook icon on their website, so when they click on it, they click on it not because they want to see pictures, or want to see how many people friended or liked your page, whatever. They’re actually looking for those reviews, because reviews are really, really, really telling, especially, and this is my attorneys actually have listings on Yelp, and actually, focus on getting reviews on Yelp.
Sasha: But one thing many consumers do know about Yelp is that those reviews, they can’t be rigged. Google reviews can be rigged, Avvo reviews can be rigged, Facebook reviews can be rigged. And when I say rigged, someone can actually pay money to have those reviews, it’s highly unethical but people do that, right? But Yelp reviews, they’re very difficult to rig, because they have a really cool algorithm and it can actually work against you or for you, but they have a really, I think the coolest part of them but it’s a harsh algorithm, right?
Sasha: It will filter out a lot of reviews. So, having reviews across all of those platforms would be super, super useful to your business. Now, how do you get those reviews? The concern usually is that like for most people are going to leave negative reviews rather than positive reviews, right? We all like to bitch and complain about things that went wrong and do not give enough praise for when things go right.
Sasha: It is your job or it is your marketing company’s job to make sure that you get many, many, many, many positive reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Avvo, wherever, right? How do you do that? Simply by asking, right? When your client is in that ecstatic mode because you just helped them win the case or settle their case, or whatever, got them off something, right? You helped them have a better life, the life they had before something happened, and now you fixed it, ask them right there and then to leave you a review.
Sasha: It’s just what really helps. Google, surprisingly enough, Google makes everything easy except for posting reviews. It would be super helpful for you to have a four-step instruction, like really four steps, how to post a review on Google, and most people can post it like this if they know how. Most people don’t know how so many more people will not leave a review because they don’t know how. Everyone knows how to leave reviews on Facebook, everyone knows how to leave reviews on what I was saying before?
Sasha: Yelp and other platforms. Google actually makes it complicated, but Google reviews count for a lot. Facebook reviews count for a lot. Yelp reviews count for a lot. Other platforms like Avvo, yes you do want to have them, but not quite as impactful. Number one step is to ask, number two-step is to give instructions for Google, and for other platforms, just simply send them the links that will direct them to your website listing, or to your listing across those platforms, so they can pick and choose where they want to leave that review.
Sasha: One review from each client, assuming that you do dozens and dozens and dozens of cases would be awesome, but we know that that’s not how it’s going to work, so if you get like one out of four people to post a review, it will do magic for you and here’s why I say it will do magic. Because number one, it’s validation. New prospective clients that visit your website, read your case studies, after that, they go to look at your reviews, and they will see that you actually have validated what you said on the website, that’s number one.
Sasha: And number two, surprise, surprise, Google actually likes it when you have reviews. So, think about it this way. Prospective clients, when they do search in Google, are more likely to see your website if you have a whole bunch of Google reviews than if you didn’t have them. Number three point that’s really important, if someone is searching for an attorney in your immediate area, like your offices here, and they’re within two miles, when they search for an attorney that specializes or practices law in whatever area you practice law in, you will see those map listings.
Sasha: Like, you’ll see the map and there will be little dots, red dots that will show where the different offices are, and underneath it, there will be three to four listings of different attorneys. If you were a prospective client, would you call an attorney that has 59 four and a half star reviews, or one that has none, or has four? The one that has 54 reviews gets an instant credibility boost versus the others because they have so many more people that vouch for them and say, “Yes, this guy or this gal really knows what they’re doing, and they’re an awesome attorney.” [inaudible 00:07:06] answer that?
Natalie: How can a marketing agency help law firms get more reviews?
Sasha: Yeah, it’s a good question. A marketing agency cannot be there when you wrap up the case for your client. They cannot ask directly and say, “Hey” to your client, “Would you please do this?” However, a marketing firm can help you number one, measure or not, but monitor the responses … Not responses, the reviews that people leave online on various platforms.
Sasha: We actually have really cool tools which give us a ping anytime that someone leaves a review, whether it’s negative or positive, and number two, we can actually create email sequence that will send emails to your clients asking them to leave reviews if they haven’t done so already. Those reminders are very, very important, because many times people will say, “Absolutely John, I will definitely leave you a review” and once they leave your office, if they didn’t leave the review right there and then, the chance of them leaving the review is diminishing by like maybe not by minute, but by hour, definitely by day.
Sasha: The more time passes since they felt ecstatic about you settling their case, the less the probability that they will actually leave that review. Reminders, gentle reminders, not pushy reminders, just reminders. “Dear Ken, would you please leave me that review that you promised to leave me?” Those nice, non-pushy reviews will actually do the trick more often than not.
Natalie: And I guess you don’t need to wait until you settle the case. You can ask for a review even before that, right? If the client is happy with how everything is progressing, if the client is complimenting you on how fast your response is, or how your receptionist, I don’t know, does something. I think just ask for that review before that.
Sasha: I think that’s a really good point. I don’t know if I was a client if I would leave a review before my case settled, however, it puts me into the mindset that when it does settle, or when my legal problem does go away, I’m already prepared to leave that review.
Sasha: I think there’s one more point that should be addressed, imagine that you’re signing a retainer for a new client, signs a retainer with you. Tell them, “Look, my goal is to make sure that I deliver results to you that will make you feel ecstatic about working with me, and I do this because first of all, obviously this is my job, and second of all, I would really appreciate a review when we’re done.”
Sasha: This is something that people have done for decades and decades and decades. They used to be different reviews, they used to be just referrals, like, “I will work for you and I will do an outrageously great job as long as you refer me.” Here, it’s a different concept. We’re not asking for referrals so much anymore. We’re asking for reviews, and those reviews, believe it or not, are actually more powerful than the referrals.
Sasha: The reason for that is the more reviews that you have once again, the more people who will actually see your website, see your listing on Google, Yelp, Facebook, Avvo, whatever, will actually say like, “Yeah, I want to work with this guy. I want this guy to work for me because they really know what they’re doing.”
Natalie: And those reviews will work for you continuously for years and years.
Sasha: But if you do get 54 reviews, don’t stop asking people to do it, because there will be competitors that will continue, and one day they’ll have 55 reviews, and one day they’ll have 55 reviews. It’s an ongoing process, right? Just like refining skills is an ongoing process, also gathering reviews is also an ongoing process.
Natalie: In order for you also to start getting notifications whenever someone leaves a review on some directories, you need to claim those listings. Make sure that-
Sasha: It’s a good point.
Natalie: … you do that. And then what happens when you get a bad review?
Sasha: That’s a really good point.
Sasha: So, as I said earlier, people are much more likely to leave a negative review than a positive review, so if you’ve been in business longer than a day, chances are someone will be pissed about something, right? Like, you’ve been in business for 5, 10, 15, 20 years, you’ve probably had an overwhelming majority of happy clients, and an underwhelming minority of unhappy clients. Every business has that, and that’s all right, and people will leave those negative reviews from time to time, and when they do, you once again need to know that it happened, and you need to address it.
Sasha: What I mean when I say address it is responding to that negative review. Like right there and then. You can respond it on Google, you can respond on Facebook, Yelp, just about any platform allows the owner of the listing to respond to reviews. If it’s a negative review, and it’s not bogus, you can apologize, explain what happened, and tell them how you will fix this if it is fixable, and/or offer them to reach out to you and restart the conversation so you can fix it somehow, depending on the situation obviously.
Sasha: But it is really important to not just let them go. And sometimes you will have a bogus review, right? Like someone gets pissed over nothing. It happens. People are emotional, irrational beings, right? When that happens, you’ve got to make sure that you jump on the opportunity to respond and explain how this is not true. However, if you have like 10 negative reviews and 60 positive reviews, and every negative review that you have, you just say, “Well, this is bullshit, this didn’t happen,” people naturally tend to look for negative reviews more than they do for positive reviews because they want to find more reasons to say no than to say yes.
Sasha: If you consistently say that every negative review is BS, chances are people who are reading that their BS meter will start doing this, and they will say, “Something’s wrong here, I do not want to hire this attorney.” Does that make sense? When I go to even like Amazon to look for products, before we buy products we’ll look at reviews, and aren’t we all drawn to negative reviews?
Natalie: I always filter by one star first.
Sasha: Right? Because you want to know what’s wrong with it first before knowing what’s right with it. It’s just the way that we’re wired. It’s very sometimes irrational, sometimes rational. For me, it’s like learning what the bad, before I learn the good is more important than learning the good and just brushing off the bad, because you want to know what’s the worst that can happen, right? Address them, address them courteously, professionally, and correctly.
Natalie: And that’s why you want to keep collecting those positive reviews, just to guard your listing against those negative reviews that can come-
Sasha: For sure.
Natalie: … and someday, because they will.
Sasha: They will.
Natalie: Just make sure that it’s not like you have three reviews and all of them are two or three stars, but you have at least 15 to 20 positive reviews, and then when you get one negative review, it’s not going to look that bad and it’s not going to-
Sasha: For sure.
Natalie: … decrease your rating that much.
Sasha: For sure. Yeah, you’ve got to do that.
Natalie: All right.
Sasha: All right. That’s a wrap. Thanks for watching.
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