Reputation Management for Lawyers
Countless law firms are living in the Dark Ages of law firm marketing when word-of-mouth advertising was all that was needed to get more clients. Now, though, 90 percent of consumers peruse online reviews before choosing a local business. Positive reviews make them more likely to reach out, while negative reviews will scare them away. That means online reviews and reputation management for lawyers is a critical aspect of any great law firm marketing strategy.
It’s not just about the client either. Search engines use reviews when determining a site’s ranking. Let’s look at how reviews impact search rankings and what you need out of an online review management system.
Online Reviews and Local Search Ranking
Google and other search engines use a variety of factors when determining local search rankings. There are dozens of ranking factors in all, and law firms need to focus on the most important. Review signals are among the most important ranking factors, so extra care needs to be put into reputation management for lawyers.
Simply having positive reviews isn’t enough, though. The keywords in the reviews can also help you move up in the rankings. Firms that receive reviews on specific topics tend to move up higher in the rankings than firms that only have general reviews.
The Best System for Online Reputation Management for Lawyers
Knowing the importance of online reviews is step one. Implementing a system for success is the next step. You need a system in place that will solicit reviews and help you respond to them in a timely manner.
Let’s unpack this so that you can understand how such a system works.
Step 1 – Choose Review Sites
There are countless review sites out there, and you want to gather reviews in the spots your clients are. That might mean you need lots of reviews on Avvo or you might need to gather Facebook reviews. You might even need to get first-party reviews directly on your website.
Determine the best course of action, and keep in mind that you can use several review sites. Just pick the best ones for your law firm. This will take a bit of research, but it will be well worth it when you start generating lots of reviews. If you need help determining where you need reviews the most, contact us for a free assessment.
Step 2 – Request a Review
Many lawyers mess up on this step. They believe if they provide the best service possible, people will leave a review without prompting. While it is true that some people will leave reviews without being asked, most require a little nudging.
Our reputation management for lawyers solution includes soliciting reviews from satisfied clients. Successful firms use emails and text messages to encourage reviews. The process can be as simple as asking for a number from 1 to 10, and as complex as asking for reviews on specific services. Keep in mind that asking for reviews for specific services will help you get the keyword-rich reviews you need to improve in the search rankings.
Step 3 – Analyze the Reviews
When you have a system in place to gather reviews, you can access your reviews in a single portal. That means it is easy to analyze them.
Take the time to look at what your clients have to say about your firm. Are there ways that you can improve your practice? Do you stand out in certain ways?
When you read the reviews, you can use positive information as part of your marketing strategy and you can use negative information to make changes to your firm. This is an excellent way to become a better practice and reach more people.
Step 4 – Respond When Necessary
Regardless of how good your law firm is, you will encounter negative reviews from time to time. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to respond to negative reviews, regardless of the industry. However, law firms have some considerations to keep in mind when responding to these reviews.
First, you need to be careful about what you disclose during your response. You cannot disclose any information that the client hasn’t already disclosed in the review. Otherwise, you will breach confidentiality.
You also cannot injure the former client with your response. That includes personal injury, as well as injury related to the work you performed for the client.
Finally, it’s important that your response is professional and restrained.
While your hands might be cuffed a bit, you can respond in a way that will show people that you care about your clients and do what you can to fix a situation. Begin by restating the issue. This is an active listening skill that will let the previous client and others know that you understand the issue.
Then, give a brief explanation of why you weren’t able to deliver what the client wanted. When you do this, only include information that’s already in the review.
If the client is satisfied with your response, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask him or her to delete the negative review. Many people leave reviews when they are heated, and after they have the time to cool off, they realize they overreacted and are happy to delete them.
Don’t worry if the client doesn’t delete the review, though. Few law firms only have positive reviews. Reasonable people understand that negative reviews pop up from time to time, and if you handle these reviews with class, they won’t hold you back.
Should You respond to Positive Reviews?
If you see a negative review, it’s normal to want to respond, but what about positive reviews? While some lawyers fail to respond, it’s a good practice to thank previous clients when they leave a positive review. A simple “Thank you for letting us handle your case,” goes a long way. It shows people that you appreciate your clients, and it also makes the reviewer more likely to use your services in the future.
Step 5 – Promote Your Reviews
Finally, you need to promote your reviews. Include your reviews on your website and social media channels. Email great reviews to clients, and include them in your marketing materials such as eBooks. Your reviews can help you get lots of clients, but you have to get them out in front of the right people, so promote them as often as possible.
Get Help With Online Reviews and Reputation Management for Lawyers
You might have tried your hand at reputation management for lawyers in the past without much success. This is a very involved process, and you have to understand the best practices to get the optimal results.
If you’ve been burned in the past, we are here to help. Online review management is provided for free for all our full-service SEO clients, and our system includes everything you need for a positive online presence. We request new reviews from clients and direct clients to the places where you most need the reviews. Also, we integrate the reviews into your website’s schema markup so the “5-star rating” will display directly on the search engine results page. This will help your law firm stand out ahead of the rest.
If you’re ready to take the next step in online review management, contact us today. Then, your positive reviews can lift your firm into the online stratosphere where you will find countless new clients.