In recent years, consumer-facing law practices have recognized the value of Google Reviews, and worked to accumulate as many as possible, often into the hundreds. However, many corporate law firms believe they are “above” getting Google Reviews, or that they won’t help at all from a customer acquisition or reputational perspective. This disconnect is clear when you take a look at the Google map 3-packs when searching for the term “corporate lawyer in Boston”, which features firms with 93, 72, and 66 reviews, as compared to 203, 111, and 260 reviews when searching the term “lawyer in Boston."
In this blog, we discuss why Google Reviews are so critical for corporate plaintiff firms, and why your firm should be focused on getting them.
Changes In Internet Use
Corporate plaintiff firms have failed to realize the critical role that the internet now plays in the discovery and client acquisition process. Many still believe that word-of-mouth and referrals are the most important, if not only client acquisition channels to focus on. While this can be true for some firms, what many firms fail to realize is that the first thing someone does after hearing about a firm is search for it online to evaluate its credibility.
When someone searches for a firm on Google, the first thing they see is the bright yellow star rating on the right of the page that immediately commands attention. If your firm has poor reviews, or very few reviews, that’s a massive red flag, even to someone who may have heard of your practice from a source they trust. Business firms underestimate that all of us are consumers, even if we work within a company, and we should be treated and marketed to as such.
Showing In The 3-Pack
When it comes to your organic search strategy, few things are more important than Google's local 3-pack. It’s particularly important in the legal space, since location can play a major role in your client’s decision to work with you. When someone searches for a location-specific keyword like “injury lawyer in Boston”, a section will pop up at the top of the search results page featuring three businesses accompanied by a map.
The firms that show in this 3-pack are enjoying a very coveted position that all law firms should strive to be in, as they receive considerably more organic traffic as a product of their location at the top of search results. Getting into the 3-pack can be accomplished via diligent search engine optimization, but it also requires a solid number of reviews, not only because Google considers reviews when determining search engine rankings, but because showing up against two competitors sporting tons of reviews when you have none is a bad look.
Improving Your Reputation
No one wants to work with an unqualified firm, and whether you like it or not, your firm looks unqualified if it lacks Google Reviews. Even if your firm does tons of great work for its clients, this means very little to prospective clients if this work is not reflected in your Google search results. If prospects can’t find reviews or read reviews that aren’t very good, that’s going to be a massive hurdle for your business to overcome in terms of winning that business. If your reviews are good, but there are only a few of them, that also brings up questions. You’ll want to ensure you have a high volume of positive reviews (over 50 is excellent).
Your digital presence has only become more important for your firm’s reputation and ability to attract new clients since the pandemic. People and businesses are now more open to working with firms virtually, and therefore have way more options to choose from. A strong base of reviews can help you cut through the noise, and serve as a key differentiating factor for your firm.
The Importance Of Written Reviews
Written reviews are very helpful for demonstrating your expertise and providing tangible ways that your firm has helped its clients. It’s a lot easier to hit a star button than write out a detailed review, and everyone knows it. A firm that has 20 five-star ratings, but none that provide any detail into how the firm helped them can come off as a bit sketchy. Although written reviews do not show up in the all-important 3-pack alongside the star ratings, they are only one click away. Taking the time to ask a valued client to write a few sentences on how your firm was of assistance is a very valuable way to lend your firm more credence in the eyes of potential clients.
How To Get More Reviews
Although it may feel strange to ask for reviews, you shouldn’t be shying away from contacting your best clients to ask for their feedback. Email past and present clients that have had strong experiences with your firm and send them a link to the Google business listing, where they can easily leave a star-rating or written-out review. Your happiest clients should do so happily and quickly, but you can always provide incentives as well to increase the number of reviews rapidly. A free hour of billable time for an elaborate, positive review may be worth it for your business.
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