Online reviews of your law firm are HUGE. Google Local (the local search engine that lists 3 law firms above the organic search results, also known as the “3-pack”), determines rankings based almost entirely on the number and quality of online reviews. Your website can almost instantly skyrocket to the top ranking on Google Local based solely by increasing the number of online reviews of your website on your law firm’s Google My Business profile.
Okay, fine, but you’re busy and you can’t remember to ask for an online review of your clients when a case is over. No problem, my friend. You need to automate the process. Whenever a case settles/resolves, you need an automated campaign to request online reviews, send your clients to the right websites to leave the review, and follow up with those who don’t. Once created, the automated system ensures that you don’t have to do a damn thing.
The Most Powerful Form of Free Advertising
Step #1: Pooling Your Resources
Begin by creating an Excel spreadsheet of your former clients with their name, email address and cell #. If you use a Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) software, i.e., Infusionsoft, or a case management software, such as Trialworks, you can create the Excel spreadsheet of your former clients, friends and family in seconds.
BirdEye (www.BirdEye.com) provides a service for generating and monitoring online reviews. With BirdEye, you can upload the Excel spreadsheets to a customized personal website made for you and they will send the requests for online reviews to all of your former clients, family and friends. If you have cell numbers, they will send the requests by email and text–requests for reviews that are sent via text have a higher conversion rate than email.
The requests for online reviews are sent via email and text and for those who do not respond, there is an automated process for follow up reminders. You might set 2-3 follow up reminders via email and text following the initial request. BirdEye integrates with all major CRM and hence, as you add new clients, requests for reviews will be sent by BirdEye.
BirdEye’s mobile app allows you to send review requests on your smart phone. And you can get video reviews via BirdEye’s mobile app.
In New York, it is not ethical to request reviews from current clients. Hence, in New York you can only request reviews from former clients, i.e., clients who do not have an active case with your law firm.
Step #2: Targeting Review Sites
First, decide where you want online reviews. For most law firms and businesses, you should start by building reviews on your Google My Business profile. You should request reviews in the following order:
- Google My Business,
- Avvo.com, and
If your clients do not have a Google profile, you can create one for them. Since Google is a behemoth among search engines, focus on getting 100 reviews for your law firm’s Google My Business page. This alone will bring you to the top of the local rankings on Google Local and improve your website’s domain authority.
Step #3: Your Email & Text Campaign
You should ask for a review at your client’s peak of happiness, i.e., when she receives the settlement check. This almost guarantees a positive review. The initial request for an online review should be short and to the point.
Could I ask you a favor?
Would you mind taking a couple of minutes to write a review because when you do, it gives other people who are looking for a lawyer, the opportunity to learn about the services that we provide.
Thank you. I am looking forward to reading your comments.
BirdEye automatically detects which review apps are on your clients’ smart phone and directs them to review sites of your choice, i.e., if your client doesn’t have a Google profile, she will be asked to leave a review on Facebook. You will receive real-time notifications of reviews. Don’t forget to thank everyone who leaves a review—this can be done directly from your BirdEye dashboard.
You can customize a follow up email campaign for those who do not respect to the first email and the second and third emails/texts will remind your client to leave a review. Do not attempt incentivize the review with gifts; BTW, Amazon’s “Review Guidelines” prohibit incentivizing reviews.
No-Cost Guerilla Marketing for Reviews
Want to do this yourself without help? Here are a few thoughts that won’t cost a dime:
- Ask for reviews on Facebook from your friends,
- Send emails to former clients requesting reviews, and
- Call your former clients to ask for a review (most effective!).
Ask your client for her review and if she agrees, send an email with a link to the review website. This will have your highest conversion rate.
Send reviews for the lawyers and law firms that you respect. Your peers will appreciate your support and just might return the favor. If a lawyer friend gets a great verdict or settlement, send a review on their Google My Business or Avvo profile (or both) and let them know you respect their work.
Embed a widget on your website that prompts visitors to leave a review while browsing your website. And when a case settles, make sure you get a video review when your client gets her check—the video review can be taken from the BirdEye mobile app. You might even leave a written reminder at the bottom of the settlement statement reminding your client to leave a review.
Managing Your Review Profile in One Place
BirdEye automatically posts new reviews on our social media accounts, i.e., Facebook and Twitter, and posts the best reviews on your website. BirdEye also provides a micro-website that has a dashboard of all the online reviews for our law firm.
Publish videos and photos across 50+ websites directly from your dashboard just by updating the information on your dashboard. Manage all of your listings in one place (the “partner dashboard”). To get a sense of how you’re doing, get reports of your competitors’ reviews. If your competitor has more reviews than you, prospective clients will hire them.
Reviews don’t have to be limited to your law firm–you can also use BirdEye to generate reviews of your book or speaking event. I use BirdEye to generate and monitor reviews of my book, The Power of a System, and workshops and speaking events, i.e., the Mastermind Experience.
Set Goals for Your Reviews
Set specific goals for the # of your law firm’s online reviews. By way of example, our firm has the following # of reviews as of February 1, 2017:
Avvo: 28 (non-lawyers) & 18 (lawyer endorsements)
Google My Business: 16
Within the next 12 months, our goal is to have the following # of online reviews:
Google My Business: 100
A Big, Ugly Warning
It’s just too easy to put this to the side, but if you want to be a real internet marketer, you can’t. Online reviews are the most powerful form of free advertising on the internet. Get started by automating the process with BirdEye.
And oh, by the way, if you liked this article, I will appreciate a review on my firm’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/johnhfisherpc).
photo credit: Sean MacEntee social media via photopin (license)