Great reviews make people feel more comfortable choosing you as their attorney, especially if they’re new to town or unfamiliar with your law firm. But it’s tough for attorneys to get great reviews because it’s often just not on their clients’ radar. For example, people that will happily review a restaurant or shop may not even think to leave a review for their lawyer.
So, if you want lots of great reviews, you have to come up with a strategy to proactively ask for them. That sounds easy enough, right?
The only problem is that there are definitely some right ways—and some wrong ways—to ask for online reviews. If you ignore the rules, or if you just don’t understand them, you can land yourself in some serious hot water.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Let’s get deep into the details below.
The Wrong Ways to Ask for Reviews
As a lawyer, it is especially important that you carefully follow all the rules, standards, and best practices for asking clients to review your law firm. Your potential clients are being asked to put their sensitive legal issues in your hands, and they will only choose you as their attorney if they think you are worthy of their trust. If you’re banned from all the review sites for cheating, or if all your reviews sound fake and spammy, you won’t help your business. You’ll just drive clients away!
So, let’s start off with the big things you should NEVER do when asking for client reviews:
- Don't offer an incentive or gift in exchange for a review. This is such a huge mistake. Review sites will penalize you for incentivizing reviews, even if you try to hide it. In fact, it’s actually illegal to buy Google reviews, and any “undisclosed paid endorsements” could leave you paying fines to FTC, as well. Just don’t do it.
- Don't ask friends, relatives, or employees to leave reviews. Google sees this as a conflict of interest and considers it a violation of its terms of service. Only clients, referral sources, and other people that have had direct experience with your services should be leaving reviews.
- Don't railroad people into reviewing your law firm. This rule is a little tricky in practice because things like asking for reviews in a video, in your newsletter, after a meeting, or as an automated email follow up are all fine—but handing every client a tablet opened to a review site is absolutely not okay. Similarly, you can’t pressure or threaten clients to only leave you positive reviews.
Always remember that Google and other review sites want honest, unscripted reviews from real clients that have visited your office. If you try to game the system in any way, you risk getting into serious trouble with review sites and tarnishing your overall reputation.
The Right Ways to Ask for Reviews
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what you SHOULD be doing instead:
- Do set up a business profile on the most-used review sites. When people search for a lawyer, they will often see your Google or Yelp profile before they see your actual website. You want to make sure that your information is up to date and you’re in control of what they see there.
- Do ask for personal feedback before asking for a review. While you can’t stop people from leaving negative reviews, you CAN catch the “customer service moment” before it turns into a bad review. We recommend asking each client how their visit was or sending out an automated email asking for feedback. If it’s negative, you have the opportunity to address the issue. If it’s positive, that’s a great time to ask for a review!
- Do politely ask for reviews in person, in emails, and in your newsletters. Include review links at the bottom of your emails. Gently ask for reviews somewhere in your newsletter and direct mailings. If someone gives you positive feedback in person, ask them if they’d mind reviewing you on the site of their choice. The biggest reason law firms don’t get enough reviews is that they miss all these kinds of little opportunities to ask!
- Do remind clients that they don’t have to reveal any sensitive information. Lots of people skip reviewing their attorneys because they’re worried about revealing their private legal issues and personal details. You can reassure them by letting them know that they only need to talk about their experience with you, your staff, and the quality of your service.
- Do encourage potential reviewers to use the review format they like the best. Any time you ask for a review, be sure to let the client choose how and where they review you. You should never try to shuttle them to just one review site that’s especially convenient for you. Instead, you might suggest they pick their favorite or give them a short list of links to the most popular review sites in your area.
Ultimately, all the above recommendations are about being respectful of your client and available in the right places. And, for most practices, that’s all it takes to start growing an awesome review strategy that will bring in long-lasting results.
Are You Protecting Your Good Reputation Online? If Not, Foster Web Marketing Can Help!
Are you doing everything you can to build on your already stellar reputation? Do you need to get more positive reviews and testimonials for your law firm or business, but it seems too "hit and miss" for your liking? No worries. Foster Web Marketing can help with our Reputation Management service. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.866.0939 to schedule your free consultation with our experienced marketing team. We have been helping clients throughout the United States and internationally since 1998 and are confident we can help you not only reach, but exceed your goals.