Online reviews are free, user-generated marketing for your law practice. When prospective clients search for a lawyer, their main goal is to find a representative that they can trust. They may be experiencing a very stressful time in their life—a divorce, an on-the-job injury, or even a criminal charge. They need to know that you have a proven track record and have dealt with cases like theirs before.
Most people don’t need a lawyer very often in life, so they will likely ask their friends and family for recommendations—or search Google. When potential clients find your law office online, will they find positive reviews that convince them to hire you?
In the competitive legal field, your online reputation is everything. These are the top 5 reasons why your firm needs lawyer and attorney reviews:
1. Reach More Clients Organically
Client reviews are more impactful when they appear not just on your website, where many consumers may think they are fake or cherry-picked. By earning reviews across social media, search engines, and lawyer-specific reviews platforms, you can reach a broader audience organically—and more authentically.
Google Search is one of the most popular places to gather reviews, but many consumers also consult Yelp. In the past, the platform was used mainly for finding nearby restaurants, but Yelp now offers insight on all types of local businesses, including your legal practice. Facebook reviews are also a powerhouse of information, and some younger clients may prefer to search social media when looking for representation.
Additionally, you can ask clients for reviews on Avvo, Lawyer.com, and other industry-specific reviews sites. Make sure to spread reviews across all of these possible sources to target different audiences and maintain a unified online presence.
2. Improve Search Rankings
Building online reviews is an easy and effective way to boost your website’s local search engine rankings. You’ll notice when you type in the name of your firm in Google Search, the first result is often your Google Business listing. Within your listing are Google Reviews. When clients are searching for a local lawyer, the legal office with the most positive reviews will often appear first in organic search results.
This is because Google’s algorithm tends to favor its own internal reviews platform when ranking search results. The reviews you earn on Google may carry slightly more weight in Google Search than those you earn on other platforms, like Yelp.
If you focus on building the number of reviews you have online, you’ll have a leg up against the competition in organic results, allowing more clients to find your services. You’ll also ensure that people who find your firm are seeing testimonials of your success with clients in the past. This sends a powerful message that you are the best in your legal specialty in your geographic area.
3. Reviews are as Important as Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Lawyers and attorneys often depend on word-of-mouth referrals. But online reviews can also play a powerful role in bringing new clients to your firm. In fact, more than 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends. Also, 90% of consumers say that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions—including who they hire to represent them in court.
If your law firm is well-regarded in the community, focus on moving some of those in-person referrals online. Loyal clients will gladly leave a Google review if you ask. Especially if you make it easy for them.
Make sure to ask clients for reviews promptly, right when you conclude your work for them and the experience is fresh in their mind. Consider automating the reviews process so it takes less of your staff’s time to request reviews and makes it easy for clients to leave them. You can do this through automated emails or even templated text messages. The more details you can get, the better. Suggest that clients mention specific things they liked about your services, not just a simple 5-star rating.
4. Reviews Lead to More Reviews
When you have earned reviews that clients can browse, you’re more likely to gain even more reviews. This is because your existing reviews may spark a positive memory or inspire emotion as clients read them. This encourages past clients to get involved in the conversation and voice their own opinion. You may be surprised how willing the public is to get involved and recommend a service provider that they feel has truly helped them.
Earning reviews also gives you the possibility to respond to your client’s questions, concerns, and feedback. If a client sees that you value reviews and take the time to read them and engage, they will be more likely to leave a review of their own.
Not all of your reviews will be positive, and that’s okay. Even if you feel a review of your services is unfair, leave a thoughtful response and offer to remedy the situation in any way you can. The negative reviewer may even change their mind and edit their review. By showing that you care, you can instill trust and possibly earn a repeat client.
5. Reviews Help You Improve Your Business
No one likes to receive a negative review. It can damage your online reputation, your ego, and your status within your industry. But online reviews give you the unique opportunity to gain insight into how your legal practice can better serve clients. You may receive a negative review about how quickly your office returns phone calls, how much education you offer your clients about their legal options or the rude manner of your receptionist.
While no one bad review should inform major changes in your practice, if you get multiple negative reviews about the same issue, it may be time to make a change. Paying close attention to negative reviews can reveal inefficiencies in your business that you may otherwise never have known about.
Still not convinced that your law firm needs to earn more online reviews? The most important benefit of online reviews is that they can help your business grow. Through online reviews, you’ll attract new clients, earn new referrals, and broadcast your firm’s credibility and success to competitors and prospective clients alike. You’ll also gain essential feedback on how you can improve your services. Online reviews are one of the best marketing investments you can make to inspire genuine trust in your legal business.