Many law firms deal with unique obstacles as they grow and promote their practices, but there is one issue that nearly almost all of them have in common – getting reviews.  It seems like no matter how good the resolution or settlement is, most former clientele won’t typically take the time to review a lawyer on Google, Avvo, Yelp, or anything else without perhaps a small “push” in that direction.  I’ve discussed this dilemma with dozens of lawyers at this point and have talked to many marketers in the legal industry about their take on garnering strong reviews.  I am presenting to you some of the best available approaches you can take, which I will preface may not comply especially with every state bar, but I will say which ones require your discretion and which may need further attention.  But first, we should talk about where you should even ask clients to leave reviews on, as you’ll face a situation where if you’re lucky enough to get their attention to do it, they’ll invest the time to do it possibly for just one website.

What Site Should I Ask Reviews For?

It is in my opinion that the sites that matter most for reviews are simply Google My Business (Google Local), Avvo, and Yelp (in that order).  I’d venture to say Facebook as well because of the ease of leaving a review.  Now keep in mind, for Google, they must either have a Gmail account or a personal account registered through Google.  For Yelp, they must have a Yelp account and one that they use periodically.  For Avvo, there is no prerequisite.  Nearly everyone has a Facebook so getting a review there is simple.

Google is arguably the most important because of the fact your local business is linked with search results in the form of maps.  There is nothing more valuable than your local business page coming up in search results with a high review rating (probably 4.2 or greater) and after five reviews, achieving the “golden stars” associated with your location.  There is also a correlation associated with ranking on maps and having quality reviews (albeit technically the more proven correlations come from setting up the page correctly and the authority of the landing page, but that’s another blog).

As much as I don’t want to admit it, there are some people that do seek the services of lawyers through Yelp.  Yelp doesn’t come up naturally for the keywords associated with lawyers (such as your (geo)(service) type of inquiries Ex: “St. Louis Bankruptcy Lawyer”, “Las Vegas Debt Relief Attorney”) but since so much is rooted in Yelp being ‘the place to search for local services’ to an extent, it does help to have at least a few Yelp reviews for your firm.  Believe me, if you even can get 2 or 3, you’ll have infinitely more than most of your competition.

This is where it is important to get client reviews from Avvo.  Avvo DOES come up in local results for keywords, so if you have a more impressive cache of good reviews (think more like 20+), you could beat out many of the lawyers dropping hundreds a month to have featured profiles.  Avvo also has an easy way to request reviews through your profile dashboard. Sending out many requests at once is simply a matter of entering a list of emails.

It is a reality that even if you provided the best service possible for a client, they would prefer to simply move on with their lives and decide not to dedicate 5 minutes to writing their experience and benefit your firm.  That’s why it is important to understand the hierarchy of site importance for getting reviews.

Typically, it is almost like a flowchart:

“Do you have a Gmail” YES -> Leave a Google Review NO-> “Do you have Yelp? -> YES Leave a Yelp Review -> NO -> Can you leave a review on Avvo?

It is important to consider inquiring about whether a client should create profiles for these websites to leave these reviews.  It is, in my experience, easier to simply move onto seeing if they can do it for other websites because of the following reasons:

  • People don’t want to take time creating profiles.
  • It increases the margin of error for them not doing something correctly and frustrating them.
  • New accounts for websites, especially Yelp, have a much lower chance of “sticking” if they are created simply for leaving a review.
  • New accounts that are inactive for a prolonged amount of time tend to stagnate and the reviews they left eventually disappear, defeating the purpose of getting it in the first place.

I’m not trying to say your clientele isn’t computer-savvy – this is just a very common theme when it comes to reviews.  So now that we know which ones are important to us, in the next blog we’ll talk about the approaches you can take to acquire them. For more advice on deciding what sites to seek reviews for, give us a call.