Today, we’re tackling the world of client reviews. Whether you’re placing reviews on your website, asking clients to leave you reviews on a third-party site, or setting up a camera and asking them say a few words about what it was like to work with you, you can never go wrong with getting feedback from clients. Not only will it potentially help your marketing efforts, but it also comes in handy if you’re constantly trying to improve the quality of service your law firm is delivering. That said, our question for today is…
Q: Should I ask clients to leave me a written review, or is it better to get them on video talking about my firm?
A: The short answer is that it depends on what you’re trying to do with the review. If you’re trying to increase the number of reviews you have on Google My Business, you’re going to want your client to leave a review directly on your GMB listing. Google reviews are becoming increasingly prominent in search results, and the more you have, the better off you’ll be – particularly in Google maps and the local pack. On the other hand, if you’re looking to add content to your YouTube channel or social media profiles, video reviews are a great way to engage your audience. People like watching videos, so if finding out more about your firm is something a person genuinely wants, a short video will likely benefit the conversion process.
If you’re seeking out additional reviews to keep pace with your competition, written reviews on Google My Business are your best bet. Not only will they help level the playing field, or give you a leg up, but they’ll also improve your overall local search placement. Remember, while there are a variety of ranking factors that play a role in determining how well a law firm ranks – with number of reviews certainly coming into play – regular activity on your GMB listing is an important one, especially if it means consistently obtaining new reviews.
Important Types of Client Reviews
While client feedback is always a good thing and can be instrumental in improving your customer service approach, it’s important to remember that the various ways you acquire reviews all have a unique impact on the way you market your firm. Let’s break down some popular types of reviews and what they mean to the people who visit your website:
Nothing is more personal than a handwritten note from a satisfied client. From a conversion standpoint, they’re helpful not only because they speak positively of your law firm, but also because they add a personalized touch that some people may relate to. Sharing images of handwritten reviews can lead to additional engagement on social media profiles as well. From a digital marketing perspective, however, this approach does little for your search rankings. To make the most of these notes, we recommend that you scan them and add them to your website as images. You can then add descriptive alt tags (and maybe transcribe them if the writing isn’t very legible).
Electronic Reviews (Solicited for Your Own Website)
This is one of the more commonly used methods for obtaining new client reviews. Getting reviews via email or an online submission form is a plus because you don’t have to worry about illegible penmanship. After receiving these reviews, you can upload them to your website as text that will be crawled by search engines. If the review mentions a specific practice area, you’re provided with the added benefit of being able to add the review to a specific practice area page on your website, further solidifying the notion that your law firm is well-versed in its respective practice area. Just be careful not to copy over reviews that already exist on Google My Business.
Electronic Reviews (Solicited for Third Party Websites)
Requests for reviews on Google and Facebook (notice we didn’t mention Yelp because you’re not supposed to ask for reviews there) are the most commonly solicited and the most helpful. While Facebook reviews/recommendations won’t impact your search placement, they are the simplest to obtain because a majority of the population already has a Facebook profile. For Google reviews, the user is required to have a Gmail account, which could be a deterrent for the few people who do not yet have one. Regardless, these types of reviews (specifically Google reviews) have a direct impact on search placement and should be prioritized above all other methods. We also recommend getting reviews on other sites that are likely to show up in your firm’s knowledge graph, such as Lawyers.com.
As the most engaging of the bunch, video reviews are great because of their authenticity. Unlike handwritten or electronic reviews that have been requested for eventual upload to your website or other web properties, video reviews often require a little more effort on the law firm’s part and can’t be as easily fabricated. While getting a satisfied client to appear on camera can be challenging, the payoff is visual content that will play well with your social media audience, help build out your presence on YouTube, and provide you with an engaging feature that can be added to your website. While video reviews won’t necessarily help your search rankings, the engagement they create can indirectly support SEO.
Closing Thoughts and Helpful Tips
- When it comes to reviews, don’t expect people to leave a review without being asked to do so. People don’t often think of leaving reviews when they’re satisfied. Dissatisfied clients, on the other hand…
- Get into the habit of sending out review requests immediately following the closure of a case, when the client is (hopefully) in the most positive frame of mind.
- After you ask, accept the fact that you’re likely going to have to ask at least a second (and maybe third) time. Reminder emails are okay, but don’t be a pest about it!
- Don’t send out a generic email to all former clients, or even just happy former clients. Try to make each request as personalized as possible and spread them out over time (see the bullet point #2).
- If a client doesn’t want to leave you a review, don’t take it personally. Remember, even though it’s a lot easier to write about a positive experience, people are more motivated to write about negative experiences. They’ll make time to be critical but won’t find the time to praise.
At SLS Consulting, Inc., we’re all about helping lawyers maximize their marketing efforts to improve their overall ROI. If you have questions about your online review strategy, give us a call at (323) 254-1510.
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