Online reviews for attorneys play a major role in maintaining and growing your law practice. Let's look at how to manage them and how lawyers can get more online reviews from satisfied clients.
In the not-so-distant past, anyone looking for a good lawyer would ask a friend or family member for a recommendation.
Today, many people turn to online reviews to make decisions about who to call for legal help.
But while getting online reviews is important, it can be a sticky proposition for lawyers dealing with complicated cases.
The best way to build your reputation in a totally ethical manner? Be proactive, be sensitive and systemize your approach.
Why Reviews Matter For Lawyers
Lawyers do important and serious work, and it might be tempting to write off online reviews as the territory of cafes and gift shops. But attorneys have to be concerned about reviews for two simple reasons:
- People are going to write reviews about you, whether you want them to or not.
- People are going to read reviews about you, whether you want them to or not. And what they read in those reviews will affect whether those people hire you.
But that's not all. Reviews can help or hurt your reputation in other ways:
- Reviews are an important part of a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Earning a steady stream of reviews will help you rank highly in local search engine results, allowing more new clients to find you.
- People like to share the reviews that they write with friends online, and many people have their social media profiles set up to automatically share any reviews they write. If one person writes a rave review about you and shares it with a few hundred Facebook friends, it's very likely to drive new business your way.
You might as well embrace these facts, and take steps to shape your own narrative.
Hold up, though: you're not quite ready to start receiving those all-important reviews just yet...
Review Sites For Lawyers to Target
Before you start working on getting more reviews, you have to decide what sites you want your clients to post reviews on.
Facebook, Yelp and Google are the "big three" review sites. They're incredibly popular with users, and consumers trust the reviews they find on these sites.
A few other niche sites are also important for attorneys, including Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, SuperLawyers.com and Martindale.com.
It's crucial that you diversify the sites you target. For one thing, a lot of consumers have a favorite review site, like Yelp or Facebook, and will go directly to that site to find reviews.
The big three sites are also great because a lot of people already have accounts with them, so they can easily type up a review without having to go through the hassle of creating an account with a new site.
On the other hand, niche review sites for lawyers tend to have a lot of credibility. When potential clients look for someone to handle complicated and expensive cases, they might be more inclined to visit a site that doesn't also host reviews for dog groomers and hot dog carts.
The bottom line: it's ideal to receive reviews on multiple legitimate sites. You might need to set up a profile and verify that it belongs to you in order to be able to post information about yourself and respond to feedback you receive.
Every site is different, but Google, Facebook and Yelp all allow you to verify or claim your profile.
Niche Review Sites For Lawyers
In addition to more broad and general review platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google, you should focus on the niche review sites for lawyers. While review sites like Yelp are popular and attract tons of visitors, niche sites are where your exact target audience is – these are the clients you're looking for.
Since Avvo was exclusively designed for lawyers, you shouldn’t miss out on this popular US-based lawyer review site. Almost 97% of all the lawyers in the US use it.
Once you create a profile, you can share your experience, fees, and specialization. Additionally, you can keep an eye on the reviews that your clients leave you from the same interface.
The best part about registering on Avvo is the exposure and visibility it provides to local lawyers. It's not just a regular review site. By taking part in the Q&A sections on the website, you can increase your reach and prove your proficiency in the field.
It also acts as a search engine for finding local lawyers. Clients can search for attorneys to handle their cases based on location, fees, or experience, making it super convenient for both parties.
Martindale-Hubbell started way back in 1868 as a means to provide a simple list of one reliable law firm in each state of the US. Today, it has turned into one of the most trusted lawyer review sites.
It allows you to display both client reviews and peer reviews so that your potential clients can get a clear picture of your proficiency and area of expertise.
Currently, you can choose up to two reviews to be displayed right at the top of both the peer review and client review section. It also gives you the freedom to choose the reviews that you want to display so that you can prevent any unfortunate negative remarks from scaring off potential clients.
Lawyers is a helpful website both for lawyers and people in need of legal advice. On one hand, they have more than a million attorney profiles on their site, and on the other, they have several guides on an array of legal topics that can help out small businesses and individuals who cannot afford full-time attorneys for legal advice.
It's a completely free service, and the website even allows potential clients to reach out to you directly from their site through a contact form.
NOLO includes a popular lawyer directory that’s worth checking out. This directory has around 1 million consultation requests each month, which makes it a marketing tool worth considering.
NOLO offers two types of memberships. The basic membership allows you to publish articles and reach out to more clients to expand your business. The premium membership further helps you gain higher exposure with targeted marketing ads.
Potential clients have the freedom to directly view their preferred lawyer's profile and contact them directly from the website.
How can you affect what people write about you online without edging into unethical or even illegal territory? It's simple:
- At the end of your business dealings with a client, ask the person for some feedback. Ask questions like, "Are you satisfied with how I handled this case?" and "Would you recommend me to others?"
- If the client is happy with your work, say something like, "I'm so happy to hear it. It would be a huge help to me it if you would write a review about your experience on [site] or [site]."
- Send the client out on a high note. Make sure your staff knows to be especially warm and attentive as the client leaves so he or she leaves feeling good about your practice.
However, all your clients won't leave happy. That's just the nature of practicing law. So if the answers to your initial questions are anything but positive, don't ask them to post an online review.
Obviously, you shouldn't risk tainting a relationship or a client's case in an effort to get online reviews, so be very mindful about how and when you raise the subject:
- Wait until the case is settled to bring it up. Don't ask for reviews while you're actively working on a case.
- If the client has come to you concerning something very private or emotionally devastating, like leaving an abusive ex or the loss of a child, don't ask them for reviews. You risk seeming callous.
A Systemized & Automated Approach
You're busy, and so are your clients. Sometimes (if not most the time) they'll forget to write a review, and sometimes you'll forget to ask. That's why using an automated system like ReputationStacker can simplify your life.
All you have to do is enter an email address or phone number for your clients, and ReputationStacker will contact them with a single-question survey. The system directs happy clients to the review site of your choice, and unhappy clients are directed back to you.
It's incredibly easy to use, completely private, and it integrates with niche lawyer review sites in addition to all the major online review sites.
In today's world, receiving a steady stream of positive online reviews is part of running a successful law practice.
Asking your satisfied clients to post to sites like Google, Facebook and Avvo can help you build a positive reputation and attract new clients.
Using an automated system like ReputationStacker will take the heavy lifting out of getting online reviews so you can focus on your practice and your clients.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.