How to Get the Online Reviews You Need to Take Your Law Firm to the Next Level
Everyone knows to some degree that online reviews are important. However, there’s a lot of confusion out there about them. There are even those who have concerns and criticism around the topic of online reviews. This makes it an incredibly interesting topic.
Regardless, online reviews are a crucial part of your marketing strategy. This is why we wanted to take the time to discuss them today.
Why do law firms need online reviews?
As previously mentioned, online reviews are crucial. They provide countless benefits for your law firm.
Firstly, they help prospective new clients gain the comfort they need to believe that you’re the right law firm to help them with their important issues. Even if you’ve grown your business on the back of referrals, the majority of people referred to you still go to Google and check out your online profile before thinking about calling you. Online reviews are a way to protect your referrals.
Additionally, social proof is one of the key principles of influence for consumer behavior. Studies have shown that those with less experience with a product, person, or service rely more on outside informational opinions than they do on the data about the product or service.
Finally, we need online reviews because of Google’s algorithms. Online reviews have a decent amount of weight in determining what shows up in the search engine and getting your firm ranked higher. They are a great way to show Google that your firm has a lot of expertise, authority, and trust (EAT) in your area.
How many reviews should I aim for?
To figure this out, look at your online competitors (not who you think your competitors are but who shows up when you do an online search). Figure out how many reviews they have. Then aim to get double the amount of reviews that the highest firm in your region or practice area has.
Most of the time, the best of your competitors will only have 20-30 online reviews. In this case, you should shoot to get 60.
This isn’t a do it tomorrow goal though. Instead, focus on being consistent. Don’t go too fast because that will send the wrong signals to Google.
Think about how many clients your firm covers in a year and how many reviews you’d have if you got 25% of those clients to leave you an online review.
It’s important that you do build a process for getting online reviews. Getting reviews every month is more important than getting 20 in one month and then forgetting about it.
It is harder to get reviews for a law firm than for a restaurant. However, it’s doable. We go through the following process with our clients so we know it works.
1. Identify a champion in the firm who will own the process and be responsible for making sure the process is followed. The champion is responsible for the process; the entire team is responsible for the results.
2. Identify the best opportunities to ask for reviews in your process. There are different ethics laws in different states so check yours. However, our general recommendation is to ask for a review before the case is completed. Look for the natural, high points of client satisfaction (places where the client comes across your unique value proposition).
After you identify those places, put “ask for a review” into your workflow. This works well because when you ask for reviews at high points in the middle of cases, you have more time to follow up.
3. Make it easy for your clients to review you. Provide them with links to the platform they prefer (when in doubt, ask for a review in Google My Business). Communicate with them in the method of their choice.
You could even hand them a tablet that’s queued up to your review page when they come into the office (pro tip: keep it off your WiFi network so Google doesn’t think it’s spam since it’s all coming from the same IP address).
4. Remind your clients of the benefit of reviews. Tell them why it’s important to leave a review and how it helps you. People want to be nice and do good things. They’re happy you’re helping them and most likely want to return the favor.
5. Help clients leave a great review and tell them what not to say. When in doubt, tell them to write what it was like to work with your firm and ask them to stay away from writing about the intricate details of their case.
6. Work extra to earn the review. Reviews aren’t just a given when you provide a service. Do those little extra things to ensure you’ll get reviews from your clients. Little things like how you communicate and the ease of interacting with your office make the biggest difference and show up in your reviews.
7. Follow up and keep following up (even if it takes upwards of 5 times). Once a client has said they’re willing to write a review, they probably want to but just forget. So follow up.
8. Have a process for someone to respond to every review. This could be as simple as saying thanks and leaving a nice comment.
You will get some negative reviews as well. When you do, write a response for the next thousand people who will be reading that review and not for the one person who wrote it. Additionally, take a day or two to craft your response and don’t defend or argue the actual reviewer’s points. Instead, talk about certain value propositions you strive for.
9. Think beyond the traditional client. Anyone who works with your firm even loosely could be a potential reviewer. You could ask for reviews during consultations or after speaking for someone. You could ask referral partners to leave you a review.
Basically, once you provide value with your service or knowledge, you can ask for a review.
If you want to learn more about online reviews, check out Episode 016: Online Reviews.