How To Be A Top-Rated Law Firm That Attracts More Clients
A top-rated online reputation is a significant competitive advantage for law firms. Today, more people than ever before are reading online reviews for lawyers and taking the time to write their own reviews of lawyers they love (or not so much). A recent study by Martindale-Avvo found that approximately 83% of people check lawyer reviews as the first step to finding an attorney. To capitalize on this opportunity for competitive advantage, you need to actively build positive online reviews for your firm.
Unless prospective clients are being referred by a trusted friend or colleague, online reviews are often the only way consumers can tell your law firm apart from a competitor. Consumers are now using local search results, review sites, and social media to make informed decisions on where they will bring their business.
Today’s consumers judge your professional expertise and performance on the evidence they can find online. The average prospective client is not an expert of the law and will evaluate your firm based on the opinions of those who have previously or are currently working with your firm. Reviews act as a trustworthy, easy to sort through metric for vetting potential attorneys and law firms.
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Why Are Online Reviews So Important To Law Firms?
Brad Severson, Product Manager at FindLaw, explains:
“Obviously, word-of-mouth referrals are still influential, but only for a limited number of people who already know past clients very well. That’s why they’re no longer enough to maintain a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace.
Online reviews help expand the scope of your reputation by allowing more people access to the opinions of former clients, distinguishing you from the law firm down the road.”
Easily Attract More Clients
Martindale-Avvo has found that 95% of prospective clients use online reviews to determine which attorney or law firm they decide to hire. The Pew Research Center found that across diverse industries, 82% of adults read reviews before making a purchase decision.
A recent Forbes article explains that when people search and use online review sites like Google and Facebook, they have already expressed an intent to buy and are now in the decision-making stage. Traditional advertising like radio acts as a megaphone to shout and get an idea of who’s listening to your message. In contrast, online reviews help pull consumers toward your business at the exact moment they have an intent to purchase.
Reviews aren’t simply an afterthought for prospective clients. Online reviews are one of they key ways people evaluate and judge the quality of your practice. Law firm reviews are also a great way to highlight your specialties and create differentiation in the marketplace. Clients leaving reviews for your firm will often highlight what about your service and practice is unique and worthy of consideration.
For example, here’s a review we generated on Google for one of our law firm clients. The names have been redacted for privacy.
[Law Firm] has done a phenomenal job in supporting and guiding us as new business owners as we purchase an existing business and position to transform it into a restaurant. They have been insightful, responsive and creative. [Name] has also provided recommendations and collaborated with our bank, CPA, and business advisor. We could not be positioned for success, especially in midst of COVID, without their services. I highly recommend [Name] and his team to any business owners.
Do you see how this can help a prospective client evaluate the quality of their practice? This review highlights the key characteristics that make their law firm special. The reviewer adds specific details like the firm has “provided recommendations and collaborated with our bank, CPA, and business advisor” which helps paint a picture of what it’s like to work with these attorneys. Positive reviews for your law firm like the example above increase your chances of popping up online when someone searches for the services you provide, while additinonally improving the likelihood that they choose your firm over the competition.
Improve Client Retention & Referrals
Generating online reviews from your current clients is an easy way to keep clients engaged with your firm, even if you aren’t presently working on their case. Asking for feedback will make your clients feel like you value their opinion, which hopefully you do, and increase the likelihood of referrals and repeat business.
Think about it. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they never ask how you’re feeling about the relationship, how likely are you to believe they really care about what you think? Building relationships, in business and life, requires effort, action and purpose. By asking for feedback from your clients, you can send signals that you respect their opinion, value what they have to say, appreciate the business relationship you have with them, and thoughtfully acknowledge that they are a meaningful contributor to your success.
The Main Issues Plaguing Law Firm Reviews
No online reviews, a lot of negative reviews, few positive reviews, and a poor distribution of reviews.
Most law firms today have at least some online reviews. However, what most attorneys and law firms today don’t have, and where you can set your firm apart from the crowd, is a strong, well-rounded online reputation. Most law firms succumb to the following reputation shortcomings.
1. No online reviews: Do a quick Google search of your firm and see what we see. Sometimes, even as online reviews continually grow in influence, law firms fail to adequately capture the sentiments of their satisfied clients. Take a look over your Google My Business and Facebook profiles, as well as lawyer-specific sites like FindLaw, Avvo and Lawyers.com.
2. A lot of negative reviews: Without a system in place to prevent bad reviews, like what we offer at ReviewThread, you are in danger of receiving bad reviews from client review solicitation. A poor online rating, whether on Google or another site, will impede your law firm’s ability to rank for high quality search traffic that’s looking for an attorney.
3. Few positive reviews: How much is your 5-star online rating worth to prospective clients if it’s based on 3 reviews from 2 years ago? It’s unlikely to do much to persuade today’s consumers and without a greater quantity of recent reviews, it will be difficuly for any law firm to compete for search traffic.
4. Poor distribution of reviews: If a law firm has a lot of great reviews on Avvo, but no reviews on Google or Facebook, their distribution of reviews is holding them back from reaching more prospective clients. It’s okay to have more reviews on some sites than others, of course. However, making sure each of your major listings builds trust and credibility is an important aspect of building a solid online reputation.
Scan Your Online Reviews Instantly
Take a quick dive into your online reputation with this free, automated Review Scan. Instantly receive a detailed report of your online reviews and reputation with actionable insights to improve, including your online review score. Uncover issues in your online listings, explore an overview of your reputation, and get easy tips to improve your online reputation today.
How Do Prospective Clients Search For Law Firms?
People interested in utilizing the services of attorneys and law firms will search for firms through a variety of methods. For example, as previously stated, 83% of people check lawyer reviews as the first step to finding an attorney. An introductory Google search may turn up results like these:
As you can see in a search for “best business lawyer cedar park” above, prospective clients are presented with options for law firms in Cedar Park, Texas from Google. The volume and content of your online reviews will give your brand a boost, improve your local visibility online and position you as a trusted expert in your area. All of which will contribute to getting prospective clients to choose your firm over the competition.
Here are some example results from FindLaw for the top business and commercial lawyers in Cedar Park:
It’s also helpful to understand the most commonly used keywords in searches for attorneys and law firms. For example, prospective clients may search for the “best business lawyers in Houston” or “lawyers near me” to begin shopping around for a trustworthy, qualified attorney. These types of keywords, where people are beginning their search and evaluating their options are called navigational keywords. Some examples of common types of search queries include:
- Best divorce lawyer Houston
- Best personal injury lawyer Texas
- Best real estate attorney FindLaw
- Commercial lawyer Los Angeles
- Immigration lawyer near me
- Intellectual property attorney Avvo
Online reviews from clients, as well as responses to reviews, create content that helps you rank for these keyword queries. Building optimized listings packed with helpful information and reviews will increase a law firm’s chances of being found when people use navigational keywords on search engines like Google.
Google understands that prospective clients want content that will meet the demand that’s evident in their specific search. Becoming a top-rated law firm or attorney means your information is present when prospective clients search for a professional with your skills. Online reviews are pieces of client-curated content marketing that boost lead generation using your own reputation.
Using Your Reputation As Competitive Advantage
Paul Bascobert, President of Local at Yodle:
“Lawyers can be reluctant to ask clients for online reviews. It’s awkward, and they don’t want to risk giving up control of their marketing messaging. In today’s world of oversharing, though, you need to move past these concerns. People, particularly those who grew up in the digital age, will be suspicious and disengaged if they can’t find any third-party testimonials online about your practice.“
Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney in the Dallas area. A Dallas resident searches “best personal injury lawyer near me.” A group of Google My Business listings pops up on their phone and they see your law firm with more recent reviews and a better rating than your competitors. Maybe they decide to give you a call, or maybe they decide to scroll down and take a look at other sites. They see a FindLaw result titled “Best Personal Injury Lawyers In Dallas, TX.” On that page, you’re the top-rated firm just like on Google Maps. You’re dominating your competition with a top-rated, trustworthy reputation. Your competitors have half as many reviews, more bad reviews and worse ratings.
Do you think turning your reputation into competitive advantage isn’t possible for you? It was possible for Joshua Massingill, Attorney at Law, PLLC. Take a look back at the images above for proof. With the right system to build, market and manage a top-rated online reputation, you too can turn your online reputation into a competitive advantage.
How Do You Grow Your Law Firm & Retain Clients?
To easily become a top-rated law firm or attorney and win more clients using your online reputation, you need to start by accomplishing the following reputation marketing task list:
✓ Utilize a “review funnel” system to automatically and easily generate reviews from clients on the sites that matter most. Lawyers are often reluctant to solicit reviews from clients either because it’s awkward or they are not confident that the client is satisfied and will provide a positive review. By using a review funnel system like ReviewThread offers for law firms, you can make getting more reviews a simple, automated task and prevent bad reviews from reaching the public. When done correctly (most law firms do not do this correctly), you can get a 2nd chance with unsatisfied clients and improve client retention.
✓ Create a follow-up system that automatically reminds customers via email and SMS to give you a review. Otherwise, you will not be able to maximize the amount of online reviews you receive.
✓ Test review request campaign templates to improve conversion rates when asking for reviews. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
✓ Stream your best online reviews to your website using a widget like ReviewThread’s to improve the trust and credibility you build with site visitors. Easily build social proof and gain a competitive edge on other law firms.
✓ Share your best online reviews across your social media profiles to showcase your great work and allow your most satisfied clients to do your marketing for you. Sharing your online reviews extends the power and mileage of each review.
✓ Optimize your Google My Business listing quality with ongoing, helpful content to improve rankings in search results and attract more prospective clients. Make sure all aspects of your Google My Business are conditioned to pull people towards your firm rather than competitors. Google My Business has become one of the defining factors in local marketing success.
✓ Make sure all of your citations on online listings and directories are listed properly to send good signals to Google and improve your local search engine optimization. If your firm’s name, address, or phone number (NAP) is listed incorrectly, it needs to be fixed.
✓ Utilize a review response strategy that boosts your local rankings, creates attractive branding, improves client retention, and maintains brand control. Responding to online reviews shows clients that you value them and their feedback. Responding to online reviews is one of the easiest ways to improve the effectiveness of your review generation process and it’s mostly overlooked by law firms.
Need Help Tackling The List Above?
At ReviewThread, we help law firms build, market and manage a great online reputation.
“ReviewThread automated our review solicitation process and made it super easy for us. We’ve greatly enhanced our online reputation thanks to these guys. I highly recommend them.”
Joshua Massingill, Attorney at Law, PLLC
With Law Firm Reputation Marketing, It’s Easy To Be A Top-Rated Legal Professional That Consistently Attracts More Clients
If you’re an attorney or law firm that does great work, the world should know. However, it’s often difficult for people to tell you apart from your competitors. For prospective clients who aren’t experts of the law, they rely on the opinions of others like them to make purchasing decisions. Today’s consumers judge your professional expertise and performance on the evidence they can find online. With a smart strategy and commitment to taking action, law firms can easily win more clients using their online reputation.
Now, go get the reputation you deserve!
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