In the age of the Internet and Social Media, it’s so important to establish a strong online presence. For businesses such as law firms, they do not merely rely on online presence, but they must also establish a strong reputation. For these businesses, reputation is at the core of their business success because they are selling a service where the personal and financial stakes of customers are extremely high.
Why Online Ratings and Reviews are Important?
The growing importance of online law firm ratings and reviews is evident by the fact that almost 90% of potential clients consult online reviews before contacting a service provider. According to the 2015 study of reviewtrackers.com, almost 83% of clients read online reviews before contacting the lawyer. If this is true, lawyers and law firms are putting themselves at the mercy of online reviews.
A similar study found that a single negative review can cost a law firm, 30 potential clients. Those who are aware of the high stakes will agree that law firms must be extremely careful in maintaining their online reputation because it is so easy for the customer to leave a bad review. Under these circumstances, it is important to use a three-step strategy.
The following three-step strategy will help you create, maintain, and preserve your online presence:
First, you should create business profiles on popular websites. Once created, you should maintain your profile by interacting with the reviewers. The last step is to preserve your brand identity by keeping a watchful eye on online reviews and any mentions of your company.
Create a Business Profile on Popular Websites
If you haven’t done it already, you owe it to yourself to create a business profile on AVVO, Google, and Yelp. For law firms, lawyers, and attorneys, these three websites offer the majority of opportunities to get positive reviews and turn these positives into more clients.
While everyone is aware of Google, AVVO is the top website when it comes to reviewing law firms and lawyers. If you improve your AVVO rating, it can generate a lot of publicity for your business. AVVO ratings can have a tremendous impact on the overall revenue of any business as lawyers with good ratings are exposed to hundreds of additional clients without spending a dime.
As a first step, you should create a business profile on AVVO because the website attracts a focused clientele who are looking for lawyers. Since it shows similar listings and law firms in the area, it is likely that the client will also see your firm if they seek a law firm of any of your competitors.
Similarly, Yelp is another popular review website that is specifically created to help consumers rate and review businesses. Along with AVVO and Google, it gets a lot of exposure and traffic from potential clients. You may also create profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook, but it’s better to concentrate your efforts on a few well-known websites because you also need to maintain the profile.
Instead of focusing on a variety of websites, start small by creating a profile on AVVO, which is a dedicated website for ratings. A useful tip is to ask your present customers to give you some positive reviews so you may start building your positive image on the Internet. Don’t feel shy in reaching out to clients because almost every customer will oblige if you have helped them. Once they review your business, make sure to thank them just as you would thank a new customer.
Later, you can also set up similar business profiles on Google and Yelp. Don’t ignore the potential of generating income from these listings because these are extremely cost-effective sources to generate tons of business. If you can keep a strong profile with good ratings, you may not need to spend anything on marketing as these websites have the potential to generate a lot of business by word-of-mouth.
Maintain a Business Profile by Interacting with Online Reviewers
One of the best methods to maintain your positive reviews is to answer your clients. Seeing that you answer every review will make people rethink about giving a negative review. At least, they will know that you are aware of the proceedings on the Internet.
In case you get a negative review, don’t complain. Instead, you should acknowledge the issue and apologize before continuing the conversation. In your review, provide explanation and invite the reviewer to discuss things offline. A lot of websites give the business a chance to contact the reviewer asking them to remove the review. If possible, you should always request the removal, if appropriate.
Similarly, you should not ignore positive reviews by just thanking the customer. In fact, take it as an opportunity to tell others why the reviewer has left good words for you. Answering a positive review is also a chance to advertise your business to others. Likewise, you can also share the review with others, letting everyone know about your solid reputation. Also, don’t forget to ask the client to come back in the future.
Keep on Track by Setting Google Alerts
Since online reviews are so important for the survival of your business, every law firm should set up Google Alerts. It’s a free service by Google that helps to keep track of any mention of your business on the web.
Whenever someone mentions your business, you are likely to get a notification. Based on the alert, you can track why someone has mentioned your company or your name. You can also use specific notification apps such as Buzzbundle.com and Mention.com to find such mentions. These are very powerful apps that can help lawyers maintain a strong identity, online.
Remember, it’s difficult to build a reputation, but it’s easy to lose it. This statement is much real in the online web-sphere where anyone can easily tarnish your reputation by writing a negative review. Since 70 percent of individuals are willing to move to another law firm located at some distance from them, you should vary of any negative publicity.
No one should ignore the importance of online reviews and ratings because online reviews can propel even a smaller firm to great heights. Since honesty and professionalism are intrinsic to a law firm, building online reputation is perhaps more important than traditional benchmarks lawyers are generally accustomed to.