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.
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.