In the legal profession, client reviews are simply a must-have for your marketing strategy. Before making the decision to hire a law firm, potential clients will spend time researching you and your competitors, and they’ll look for client testimonials to help guide their decision.
Furthermore, Google reviews are an important element for your law firm’s local SEO strategy, as they influence ranking within Google’s local pack.
As important as online reviews are, we see a lot of attorneys get this wrong. Even if your law firm provides exceptional service, you likely won’t receive many reviews unless you ask for them. It requires an active strategy for acquiring and highlighting client testimonials on Google, your law firm website, Facebook, and legal websites like Avvo.
While simply asking for clients to post a review is often effective, it’s probably the last thing on your mind when you’re working with a client. Here are some more creative ways you can implement a sustainable strategy to increase your firm’s reviews:
One of the challenges of asking for Google reviews in person is that it requires more work for the client; they have to search for your firm’s Google listing and navigate to the “Write a Review” section. Including a link in your email signature makes it easy for someone to click and leave a review.
It also serves as a subtle reminder. Let’s say you’ve asked a client to write a review and they agree, but they forget to follow through and complete the review. Seeing the link in your email signature later may jog their memory.
If you’re the owner or managing partner of a law firm, make it a point to communicate the importance of Google reviews to the attorney at your firm. If lawyers who receive positive reviews are recognized, they’ll have more of a reason to ask for them.
Whether it’s simply by recognition or a more formal incentive program to encourage attorneys to ask for reviews, make sure you place guardrails around it to avoid potential negative impacts. For example, an influx of 5-star Google reviews where the reviewer doesn’t leave any comments could be viewed as spammy and potentially lead to your law firm being removed from local results.
On Google, client reviews should be honest and complete with an explanation. While you cannot offer an incentive for clients to leave reviews, there is nothing wrong with providing incentive to the attorneys at your law firm if they can successfully obtain positive, genuine reviews from their clients.
While Google reviews are incredibly important, don’t forget that potential clients will also look at your law firm website, so you should aim to highlight reviews in a compelling way. While this requires more time, effort and budget – creating testimonial videos are a great way to highlight your firm’s success in a more engaging way.
If your law firm sends out an e-newsletter to clients, this is a good place to ask for reviews. You can do this more creatively than simply adding a button at the bottom of your email. For example, you could highlight a recent testimonial (with the client’s permission, of course) and include a link where clients can leave a review of your firm. You can also incorporate a similar strategy into your social media content.
Keep in mind that it’s a violation of Google’s guidelines to incentivize clients to leave reviews. While you can use email and social media marketing to ask for them, you cannot offer anything in exchange.
We live in a digital world, but our success in attorney direct mail has taught us never to overlook tried-and-true print marketing tactics. If you send mail to clients, consider adding information about how to leave a review.
If your business is eligible, you can also request marketing materials from Google, such as a “Review us on Google” window sticker for your office.
Remember that you have to make it easy for clients to leave reviews. Ask your website developer to create a custom URL that you can provide clients so they can easily navigate to Google, Facebook or your law firm website to leave a review.
If you can ensure your law firm has a steady flow of positive reviews and client testimonials, it will have noticeable effects on your business development efforts. As with any form of marketing, it has to be genuine and well-executed without being pushy. When asking for reviews, this can sometimes be a tough balance to strike, so it’s important to find what works for your firm.
Want to discuss how your law firm can solicit and highlight client testimonials? We’re always available to talk.
Not sure where to begin?
Get started with a marketing audit.