This month, we’re offering a series of blog posts and a free webcast all focusing on simple, actionable strategies firms can put in place to kick start their digital marketing plan. Be sure to check out our previous posts on creating a law firm website, gaining exposure on search engines, engaging in thought leadership on social media, and download our webcast, “Attract and Keep Clients: Everything You Need to Know About Digital Marketing for Your Law Firm,” here.
A wonderful thing about writing content for your legal website and social media posts is that you can choose exactly how to present your law firm to the world. You can highlight your strengths, talk about the types of cases you’re passionate about, and otherwise curate your image.
But when it comes to generating new business from your online presence, you’re probably not the only attorney putting their best foot forward on the internet. So how do you differentiate yourself from all the other “best personal injury lawyers” around?
That’s where third-party reviews come in. Many prospective clients type in common phrases such as:
- Best lawyers
- Cheapest lawyers
- Most popular lawyers
- Lawyers who win the most
And while those searches don’t necessarily always yield accurate results, they will often point people to recommendation sites.
Just as you may search for recommendations before purchasing new legal software, your future clients are very likely searching for recommendations for their future attorney. Today we’ll talk about three popular sources of online reviews – Avvo, Yelp, and Google – and what you can do to make sure your law firm stands out.
Avvo is an online attorney directory that allows visitors to filter attorneys by location and area of law. Avvo uses publicly available data such as state bar associations and court records to add basic attorney information to its database, and claims to have 97% of attorneys in the US listed in its directory – so even if you’ve never visited the site yourself, it’s highly likely that your name is listed.
You can easily “claim” your existing profile or create a new profile if you’re not listed yet. From there you can add a description of your firm, photos, awards, and more. Visitors will be able to see your profile and any reviews that have been left, as well as add their own reviews.
Yelp’s scope is much broader than just restaurant reviews these days. Everything from clothing stores to dentist‘s offices have review pages on Yelp; and as Lawyerist noted in a recent blog post, Yelp pages tends to appear toward the top of the results when a business is searched for.
Like Avvo, your business may be on Yelp whether you added it yourself or not, as Yelp gives users the option to add businesses they wish to review. You can either claim an existing business or add your firm if it’s not listed already. From there, you can build out your profile by adding photos, linking to your website, responding to reviews, and more.
Google My Business
If you have a Google account, you can set up a Business listing. This is the column that shows up in the right-hand side of a Google search and contains basic information and reviews. You can add photos, contact information, and respond to reviews. Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and adding a Business profile is an easy way to make your law firm look more authoritative.
Get more reviews
The more positive reviews you have, the better. Having more reviews strengthens the impression you leave on visitors, as well as helping to balance out any negative reviews that may come your way.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to current or former clients you have a good relationship with. You may be surprised by how many are willing to write a review for you once asked! Most review sites will also have badges or links that you can display on your website or email signature, making it easy for clients to leave a comment.
Manage your reviews
It’s best practice to respond to all reviews, and especially negative ones. A simple “thank you” will suffice as a response to positive reviews. If a review is less-than-favorable, resist the urge to fight fire with fire. Acknowledge the comment, offer an apology (whether you feel you’re in the wrong or not!) and keep things succinct – a long winded apology can come off as unnecessarily defensive. Keep in mind that people viewing the negative review will also be viewing and judging your response, so it’s best to keep it as professional as possible.
Small things like paying attention to your online reviews can have a big impact as you develop your law firm’s digital marketing strategy. An untended review profile might cause visitors to look elsewhere – and just like a few unrecorded billable hours a week, those lost opportunities can snowball over the course of a year. Just as you continue to update your billing software and case management system to keep up with an increasingly digital world, make sure your online presence does the same.