by Jackie Eldridge
When a potential new client needs your law firm’s services, you can bet they will use online reviews as part of their vetting process. This is why online reviews for your law firm mean everything to your credibility and lead conversion.
When it comes to choosing professional services like your law firm, potential clients want to learn about your law firm’s online reputation to make the best decision for their counsel. They Google your firm, search Yelp, visit Facebook, comb your website, check the BBB and more. Great online reviews build trust and fuel your firm’s growth.
Reviews are money
A popular online reputation management company shared a few interesting statistics regarding reviews in a recent blog post that are worth mentioning. Out of the 50 facts they shared, five illuminate why online reviews are critical to your law firm’s marketing efforts.
1. 92% of consumers read online reviews
2. The yellow star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business and Google claims that these reviews help SEO, as they are considered “fresh” content (which is why you should never stop asking clients for them)
3. 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
4. 80% trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations
5. 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores (so don’t sweat it when a less than stellar review arrives)
Paralegals: Your secret weapon
Creating an easy to implement process to garner online reviews from your satisfied clients is easier than you think. With the right motivation, your paralegal team could be the catalyst for a never-ending influx of great online reviews for your law firm. Who knew paralegals could be a part of your law firm’s growth?
Typically, paralegals have the most customer contact with signed clients, right? Their commitment to the customer experience can be a major source of great reviews. At the wrap of a case, a paralegal will have the sense if the client is a candidate for writing a good review. Banter about how much each person enjoyed working with the other person takes place, and at this point, it’s a good time for the paralegal to say, “I’m glad you enjoyed the experience with our law practice. Would you mind writing a quick online review for us?” When paralegal is handing a check to the clients is the perfect scenario to garner reviews.
While you can’t incentivize clients to write online reviews, you can incentivize your paralegals to get client reviews! Here’s an example of how a paralegal incentive program could work for your law firm to enjoy an abundance of quality online reviews:
• Select the review sites you’d like to develop, such as the above mentioned.
• Offer $25 Visa gift cards to the paralegal for each positive review.
• Distribute Visa gift cards as the reviews are published. With the volume of cases handled by each paralegal, they will welcome the opportunity to earn rewards while the firm enjoys more new clients stemming from reading credible, positive online reviews.
• If some clients are unsure of how to write a review, the paralegals can email an example to them, including a quick “how-to paragraph” that makes suggestions on how to write a review.
Steer your clients to these top four review platforms
1. Google My Business: See below to learn how to provide a link that goes directly to a Google Review box that has 5 stars already highlighted. They need a Google email account to login.
2. Yelp: Your firm needs a profile on Yelp. Ask them if they have a Yelp account. If so, they know what to do. Otherwise give them the link to register for Yelp and be sure to tell them it will take two minutes. (Manage expectations.)
3. Facebook: Have them log into their account and visit your business page to write a review (provide link). If you don’t have Facebook reviews yet, have your social media person add the functionality to your business page. Your reviews will look similar to this:
4. BBB: If you’re a member, provide the link for reviews.
How to send clients to your Google Review site with the 5 Star Rating already selected
As promised, here are the instructions to create your 5 Star Google My Business review link with the 5 star rating already selected. It’s a little technical; have a computer savvy staffer do this for you if that scares you. After all, you’re a lawyer not a marketer!
1. Go to the Google Places API. It will look like this:
2. Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map. You must have a free Google My Business listing for this to work.
3. Click your business name in the list that appears.
4. Your Place ID will appear on the map, beneath your business name. We have The Rainmaker Institute’s highlighted in blue.
5. Copy your Place ID and paste it into the following URL (after the equal sign) to create your link:
For frame of reference, here’s what ours looks like:
6. Paste your new link into your browser it will take you to this Google search page:
Wouldn’t it be better if the 5 stars were already selected like this?
Better, right? The very best way to get online reviews!
How do you get the five yellow stars automatically populated in the review box? It easy if you follow these four steps:
1. When you paste your “Place Id” URL in the browser, notice that Google changed the URL to something incredibly long. Here’s what ours became: https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Rainmaker+Institute,+LLC,+1090+S+Gilbert+Rd+%23211,+Gilbert,+AZ+85296&ludocid=4325580673451554265#lrd=0x872ba9614f79e625:0x3c078cb4605ff5d9,3
2. Step two is to take this long URL and at the very end, add a ,5 like this: https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Rainmaker+Institute,+LLC,+1090+S+Gilbert+Rd+%23211,+Gilbert,+AZ+85296&ludocid=4325580673451554265#lrd=0x872ba9614f79e625:0x3c078cb4605ff5d9,3,5
3. Copy this URL and paste it into your browser. A review window that has the five yellow stars already populated will open will open
4. Save this URL and use it for the link to email to happy clients to get more Google online reviews
5. You can shorten the URL with Bitly or Google shortner
Following up on your law firm’s client reviews
Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
Following up on published reviews is critical for your law firm marketing. If they leave a positive review, thank them. If they leave a negative review, embrace it. Less-than-perfect reviews are effective because they are authentic. Respond and try to rectify the situation. Find out exactly what they’re unhappy about, put on your diplomat hat and do your very best make it right. Make sure the customer knows you’ve heard them. Who knows, that bad review may have identify a problem you didn’t know existed.
Even if you can’t satisfy that client, potential new clients will see that you’ve taken the time to address the issue and will formulate their own opinion based upon how you handled it. One or two bad reviews won’t ruin your reputation, if fact it will indicate that your reviews are real. You can’t please everyone and there are some people who just can’t be satisfied.
What can you do with good online reviews besides smile?
Good reviews or testimonials, can be posted on your website, in newsletters, on social media, etc. Pull a line or a “snippet” from a review and put it on your email signature, social media, etc.
Online reviews help you grow your best asset, your online reputation. Don’t leave it to chance by failing to manage it.
If you are not getting reviews from clients, you should. This is an opportunity to learn what they’re saying, plug the holes and improve your ratings, if needed. More importantly, it’s the way to build trust and win more new clients!