The Importance of Online Reviews For Law Firms


97% of clients read online reviews. Here’s how to make sure that your law firm is the top 1%.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES, August 21, 2019 / -- When was the last time that you went to a new restaurant without a personal recommendation via word-of-mouth? For most consumers, it has probably been a while.

The majority of consumers are naturally inclined to seek the opinion of others before trying a new restaurant, product, or service. On your own, you don’t know if that new Italian restaurant down the street is any good, but your coworker said he had a positive experience when he went over the weekend.

In your decision making process, that recommendation carries weight as a consumer. A staggering 97% of customers read product reviews before they make a purchase decision. And almost half of those customers interviewed said they would only trust a 4-star rating or better.

So you should pay attention to the quality of your law firm’s reviews. The issue for most local businesses is that getting five-star reviews takes time. To make matters worse, many law firms see social proof as being largely out of their control. Clients “feel the way they feel” about your law firm, even if you do everything right.

There are methods that allow you to receive more positive reviews, faster, and with better results. You just have to know where to look. Where do you start? By knowing how customer reviews work and how much they do impact your bottom line.

Here’s Why You Should Care About Online Reviews:
I’ve worked with many local business owners that did not care about their online reviews. Why put in so much money, sweat, and work into something just to “not care” that someone says you can do better?

If you’re one of those that “don’t care,” there are data-driven conclusions that undeniably prove why online customer reviews are important.

Negative reviews are hurting your business and affecting your online performance. That decline in earnings you’ve seen over the last few years might be a direct result of your poor reviews.

And what about your existing customers? Do they read reviews? The answer is yes!

Positive rankings drive 18% higher loyalty and 21% higher purchase satisfaction from customers.

And when you’re spending 5 – 25 times more to win a new customer as opposed to retaining one, that 18% loyalty rate looks pretty good.

Plus higher satisfaction improves your odds of getting more positive online reviews. Now, let's dive into how to make sure that your law firm is in the top 1%.

Know Which Online Review Sites to Utilize:
Today, there are plenty of review sites on the web, but not all of them are created equal. For example, Yellow Pages was the giant of directory listings in the last century. But most people don’t look to them now as a trusted source when they’re researching an unfamiliar business.

Focusing all of your efforts on an untrustworthy source is a waste of time. You need to focus your efforts on obtaining reviews on online review sites that are going to convert. The sites that you should be targeting should be well-known and easy for customers to leave reviews.

So where do the most influential reviews occur? In most cases, the Big 3 are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. They’re vital to potential clients when choosing legal representation, which makes them one of the digital lifelines to law firms.

And while the statistics will always vary from business to business, a combined 83% of patrons of service-related industries relied on Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

If you’re not getting reviews on one of these sites, it’s most likely for one of two reasons. You’re either:
Not on the site.
Or you are difficult to find on the site and your customers are unable to leave reviews.

The good news is that both of those issues are very easy to fix. Let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook Reviews:
Facebook is an increasingly popular social media site, with over 2.2 billion users. Being well-liked on this platform isn’t optional for most businesses.

No consumer is going to leave a review if you make it hard to find. Just like friction in a sales funnel, the momentum will die if your customer has to go on a long search for your reviews. So don’t make it too difficult for your visitor to progress to the next step. Otherwise, by the time they get there, their enthusiasm is gone.

If they can click once, write a review, and then submit, the experience is relatively frictionless. But if they have to hunt through a page to find where to go, the misdirection will curb momentum.

Yelp Reviews:
Failing to be on Yelp means you won’t be successful, especially if you’re a locally-based law firm. Yelp does require a little more of a hands-on approach than Facebook, though.

That’s because it weighs some reviews above others. Yelp is unique as it tries always to display the reviews that it deems “most helpful.” While you may not agree that a one or two-star review could be helpful, Yelp has a fair process in place.

They weigh the overall history of the reviewer, the feedback left on each review (e.g., a like on a review) as well as the quality of the reviews you already have to determine how to incorporate each new review.

How does this work for you?

The simple answer is that you need to get as many high-quality reviews as possible. Doing so will bring all of those well-reviewed benefits we discussed earlier.

While you can’t directly ask for reviews on Yelp, as that breaks their terms of service agreement, you can ask people to “check you out on Yelp.” Any format that works just so long as you don’t ask for a review.

So your best bet for positioning on Yelp is just personal pushing.

Set up your Yelp profile, claim your business, and display the sticker they send you in a prominent location. Then when you’re interacting with clients and receive positive feedback, direct them toward Yelp.

You can even include the Yelp badge on your website or email signature. It will encourage potential clients to check out your reviews and possibly even remind them to review you themselves.

It’s one of the ways Yelp stands out as a useful review and recommendation source against their competition. Advertising doesn’t give you any extra benefits. So instead, incentivize frequent reviewers to visit your business and leave favorable reviews.

Google Reviews:
Google offers a free business listing for all businesses known as Google My Business.

It complements your existing web presence by giving your business a home on Google while also allowing clients to find you, read reviews, or leave them once they’ve visited.

Now that you’re everywhere, you need to be to get reviews. Let’s look at a few techniques that you can start implementing to win high-quality social proof quickly:

Tip #1: Ask for a review
Many think it’s awkward to ask, but it’s really not. Think about it like you’re asking a friend if you can borrow their toolbox for a project.

You wouldn’t just beat around the bush and hope that your friend understands subtle hints that you need to borrow their stuff. You’d just come right out and say it!

The same thing works for business reviews. Any one-on-one format is an opportunity to find a way to ask for feedback.

I see customers approach a business owner to let them know how good their product or service is all the time. Take those opportunities to ask if they’d be willing to leave feedback!

Tip #2: Stay calm when you receive a bad review. Use it to your advantage!
One of the worst things you could ever do as a business owner is attack a bad review. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of a negative review. But don’t let them run your response.

If you respond negatively – or not at all, future clients and potential customers will see your response and make a decision about your business off of it. So always make sure to create a positive spin on a less-than-stellar review.

Simply keeping your cool and responding with professional courtesy can raise a bad review to a not so bad one. Plus, you can always use the opportunity to explain your company policies and attention to customer service further.

Tip #3: Integrate testimonials and optimize social proof
You may have noticed that many sites these days are putting testimonials right on their homepage. There’s a good reason for that.

Social proof has long been used as a way to ease the minds of new clients. And that’s why it’s starting to pop up on more than just review sites.

These short statements on your site‘ from satisfied current clients are a proven method to help your conversion rates.

I highly recommend finding a way to take some of your reviews and incorporating online testimonials throughout your website to help improve your conversion results and prompt further reviews.

The Importance of Online Reviews:
Online reviews are vital to a digital marketing strategy in order to gain new business and new clients, especially in the legal industry. Because reviews can been seen by everyone, they healvily impact both a law firm's online and offline success.

Failing to prioritize online reviews is more costly than many realize, and can directly affect your bottom line. Because consumers rely heavily on reviews and look to reviews before making a decision, it is good business for law firms to add online reputation management to their marketing strategy.

Successful reviews do not just happen overnight. Like any other aspect of business, it takes hard work to be in the top 1%.

Advisory Concept Evolvers Can Help With Reputation Management:
A positive online reputation is a very valuable business asset in today’s digital world. The ACE digital marketing team of reputation managers can build a positive online presence for your law firm and help with online reputation management. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Advisory Concept Evolvers:
Advisory Concept Evolvers, located at 2040 Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia, offers innovative legal marketing services to build your client book. We have the experience and proven results to make your law firm more profitable, efficient and relevant. To learn more about how our digital marketing experts can help with your law firm marketing, contact us today for a free consultation at 215-510-2167. We can put your law office back on track to achieve your business development goals!

About ACE:
Advisory Concept Evolvers, aka ACE, is a state of the art and cutting edge boutique law firm marketing agency pin-pointed in two locations nationwide -- one in Philadelphia, PA, at the nexus of legal marketing in Center City, and one in Big Sky, MT, the fast-growing hub of western U.S. legal marketing opportunities. ACE is an expert digital marketing agency that specializes in law firms and providing incisive guidance to make a law firm stand out through marketing efforts, website content, and law firm SEO.

This release was drafted by Results Driven Marketing, LLC: a full-service digital marketing, public relations, advertising and content marketing firm located in Wynnewood, PA.

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Mary Ann Fasanella, CEO
Advisory Concept Evolvers
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