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Why are Google Reviews So Important to Law Firms?
Law firms traditionally thrive on creating a memorable personal experience for their clients. This ensures that they can maintain their optimal image of a professional, results-driven and capable partner, driving positive referrals.
But in today’s modern environment, third party platforms are becoming increasingly important for a great image. Online resources like Google, Avvo, Who’s Who Legal, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, Martindale-Hubbell and a host of others are now crucial to shaping potential clients’ perception of a law firm.
For context, 75% of clients confessed to using online resources to find their preferred lawyer and approximately 65% indicated that their decision was influenced by online reviews.
If you have plans of increasing your law firm’s digital presence and pulling in more clients, you must pay attention to your online reviews. In this article, we’ll explain why online reviews are super important for your law firm, why Google reviews are even more important and how to go about them.
The Power of Google Reviews
No matter how you feel about reviews, there’s no doubt that online reviews are the new word of mouth. In 2017, 97% of people read online reviews as part of their buying process. 85% of that number trusted those reviews even above word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family.
And as far as online reviews go, there are none more valuable for your firm than Google reviews. Why? That’s simple. Google possesses, by a very wide margin, the largest user base of people looking for services like yours.
Approximately 3.5 billion searches are conducted on Google every day, and Google alone captures 74.54% of all queries on the internet. With 46% of all those searches coming from people that are searching for local businesses and 74% looking to make a buying decision that same day, Google is the holy grail of review sites.
Apart from this, Google reviews connect to other platforms. For instance, when you get reviews on Facebook or Thumbtack, it populates into the Google reviews Knowledge Panel as reviews from the web. So you can actually see more reviews on Google.
When you add in the fact that Google reviews are great for perfecting your local SEO and position in the search engine results pages, it’s clear that these will be vital for your firm.
What kind of reviews convert clients?
Now that we’ve established how vital reviews are for your law firm, is there a marker for what kind of reviews you should be looking for? According to research from iLawyerMarketing, definitely.
In a study that involved more than 300 participants from all over the US, consumers of legal services were asked questions about their process of hiring an attorney.
Although the study involved several interesting findings, here are the most important findings regarding reviews:
- 83.5% of consumers maintained that a law firm must have a minimum rating of 4 or 5 stars before they would consider hiring the firm. Although you could have guessed this for yourself, the survey is hard data that shows positive ratings really do matter. But it doesn’t end there.
- Customers indicated that quantity of reviews is just as important as quality of reviews. Even if your law firm has nothing but 5 star ratings but from only five reviews, customers don’t feel that is enough validation. In fact, they won’t even click on results that don’t have a sufficient quantity of positive reviews to provide validation.
- And when asked what review sites matter to them, 87% of those surveyed picked Google as the most important. With 48% and 24%, Yelp and Facebook were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Only 3% of consumers picked Avvo reviews as being relevant to them.
It is even more vital now than before to provide services that naturally draw highly positive reviews. Invest in your relationship with your clients and they will sing praises about your law firm without being prompted.
Importantly, where you get your reviews from is just as important as getting them at all. While reviews from Avvo, Who’s Who Legal and Top 30 under 30 are authoritative in the legal industry, only people familiar with the legal industry know them. Although this doesn’t mean you should ignore Avvo and others like it, you should keep in mind that the bulk of your clients will find their reviews elsewhere.
How do you go about getting positive reviews?
If asking for reviews has not been part of your process so far, it’s time to change that. Under this section, we’ll discuss actionable tips that you can implement to start off collecting reviews the right way.
First thing you should keep in mind is that positive reviews are like a force of nature. They come when all the circumstances are right and you do your part towards ensuring that by providing quality, commendable service. Your primary goal should be to leave your customer in no doubt that they have been served by the best.
To get started with collecting positive reviews, make sure you have an active Google My Business listing. You will be sent a verification code but it might take a while to arrive so be patient.
Google My Business provides a resource that lets you create a review link for your clients. Create the link and put it in a nicely-worded email then shoot it off to the client.
Keep these tips in mind when asking for a review:
- Ask right after the service is done: Since this is also when your customer will be most satisfied, it’s the best time to ask.
- Don’t wait too long: If you have to introduce yourself before asking for a review, you know you’ve waited too long. Ideally, send the email immediately after you perform the last task in the service. Thank the client for trusting you and ask them to provide a review.
- Make it easy and stress free: Nobody like to undergo undue stress just because they’re writing a review. Keep in mind that every positive review is a favor done to your business so make it easy and pleasant for the client to comply.
- Provide a link for feedback: Some clients might feel uncomfortable with providing a review perhaps because they were not satisfied with a thing or two. By providing a link for feedback in the same mail, you allow them an opportunity to bring up the issue and for you to iron it out immediately.
That said, there are other things you absolutely should not be caught doing when collecting reviews for your law firm. For instance:
- On no account should you buy fake reviews. You’ll get caught.
- Do not fill reviews for your own business or ask your employees to do so.
- Don’t incentivize your clients to provide reviews or specifically ask for a positive review. If you served them well, they’ll write great stuff about you.
- Although you should try to make things easy for your client, don’t ask them to give reviews from your office computers or even your Wi-Fi. Google can see where reviews come from and if they all come from the same address, they’ll get suspicious.
- Encourage your clients to provide reviews using their own names/profiles. Google does not like anonymous reviews.
Final thoughts on Google Reviews
Google reviews will always be vital for your law firm because they give prospects an insight into what it might feel like to work with you. Your job is to ensure that all the right feelings come through in those reviews.
What happens if you get a negative review? Thank the client for their time, acknowledge the issue, apologize and offer to discuss a resolution either in person or over the phone. This way, you communicate that you care about your customers and you can turn a negative review into a PR opportunity.
Wondering how to get started on turning your Google reviews into a powerful resource for your law firm? Get in touch with us today. We can help.
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