It shouldn’t be a secret that the number of people going to the internet to make decisions about everything they do, including choosing a lawyer, continues to rise. Law firms need to be aware of reviews and how they can be used for you and against you – and just how important reviews are to potential clients. People look at reviews more than ever before, on more platforms than ever before, which is why they are an essential part of lawyer marketing online.
There is even more proof that people aren’t just checking reviews when they want to find anyone – a lawyer, a doctor, a hairdresser, etc. – they are checking up on the people recommended to them by friends, associates, and family as well. In truth, it isn’t a question of whether or not online reviews matter for law firms – they do; it is a question about what parts of online reviews matter and where they are located.
Seeing one or two reviews about a business isn’t going to make much of a difference for the average consumer. Since Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other platforms show the number of people reviewing a listing, getting that number up is important. If not, the default thought is that you just had a few of your buddies upvote you instead of getting actual reviews. Having a higher number of reviews also means that when you do get bad reviews, your overall score won’t be impacted as much as it would have if you only had a few. People will still be able to see the review, but it won’t be reflected in your score as much.
Even more importantly when it comes to lawyer marketing online, Google keeps track of the number of reviews that you have, and if you have similar scores to someone else, they might get the top spot if they have more reviews.
Of course, reviews aren’t going to benefit you if your law firm doesn’t get 4 or 5 stars. While getting all 5-star reviews is the ideal, it can also look fake. This is why you shouldn’t lament a few 4-star reviews or even a 3-star review or two. These help to prove the authenticity of your reviews. Not every lawyer works out for every person, so it makes sense that there will be a few lower reviews.
However, you want to keep your score range between 4-stars and 5-stars. Any lower, and people will quickly look over your listing on Google. The more reviews you can get from clients that have been successful will help to balance out your ratings.
So, what are the websites that people check before they actually hire a lawyer? This is an interesting question and one that doesn’t have a universal answer for every law firm. It depends on so many different things: location, industry, niche, time of the year, which way the wind is blowing, and whether or not you combed your hair that day. Overall, there are some trends that you can follow to determine what the best review set is for you. Social media reviews matter, Google reviews matter, Yelp is critical, and some review sites that you might hear about all the time don’t matter outside of your industry. For example, there are certain legal review sites that the normal person doesn’t go to, but many people have been told to work on their reputation on there – wasting time and resources.
Before working on gathering reviews, it is best to figure out which review sites matter for your law firm – and which ones do not.
If you do not have a way to get reviews yet, you need to start thinking about how to get them. You should know that certain sites have a rule that says you cannot solicit reviews (and you should never, ever buy fake reviews). You can, however, put systems in place so that you can get reviews from your existing and former clients. To make it easier, you need to have directions and easy to fill out forms that will take only a few minutes.
At ION Results Marketing, we conduct regular reviews of your online presence to cultivate good reviews and dull the impact of negative ones. We can also help you to come up with a process to get the best reviews you possibly can. Throughout 2019 and beyond, reviews are going to continue to be an essential part of the consumer decision-making process, and therefore part of lawyer marketing online. Reviews are views as more credible than your blogs, website content, and social media postings. They are more widely seen than press releases and videos.
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