The Ultimate Q&A and Guides for Review Generation and Review Systems
If you know a bit about us, we’re somewhat fanatical about reviews … possibly obsessed. But that’s only because it factors in heavy with consumer behavior, buying decisions, online visibility, and heavy components of local SEO. There’s plenty to consider when having reviews as a part of your overall marketing strategy, no matter how extensive or specific. Over the past couple months, Market My Market’s Account Manager and fledgling Reviews Expert and myself have conducted numerous webinars on review generation, and during that time, we’ve been asked many interesting questions in the Q&A sessions we’ve had the pleasure of answering. We felt that it was time to strip that audio from the webinars, get it transcribed, and provide some interesting outside-of-the-box insight from these webinars. We’ve compiled that right here for you, along with numerous helpful resources concerning Review Generation, Setting Up and Utilizing Review Systems, and some additional information about GMB (Google My Business) and how the two interact.
We hope you enjoy! Keep in mind the content is somewhat conversational – it is a webinar transcription after all (and possibly grammatical inconsistency here and there, hopefully not, but this is roughly 10k+ words to edit!). As always, if your pressing question about reviews, GMB, and digital marketing isn’t answered here, always reach out to us.
- Can I Still Send Review Requests to Former Clients From a While Ago?
- What are the Most Important Review Websites to Focus on First?
- What is Required to Implement a Review Generation System?
- Should I Start Asking for Reviews on Google or Avvo First?
- Is it Possible to Send Review Requests to Other Lawyers as Well as Clients?
- Is it a Good Idea to Incentive Former Clients With Gifts?
- How to Review Systems Deter Negative Reviews?
- Does a Review System Work With Large Email Lists?
- At What Point Do You Ask for a Client Review?
- How Much Effort Does a Lawyer Have to Provide for a Review System to Work?
- What Happens if my Former Clients Have Irregular Access to Internet and Email?
- How Does Review Generation Work for International Clients?
- Should I Be Responding to Both Positive and Negative Reviews?
- Should I Delete Reviews if I am Able to?
- Where Should I Be Getting Reviews?
- What Are Some Things a Review System Does Besides Generate Positive Reviews?
- How Will Positive Reviews Factor into Voice Search?
Additional Articles on the Subject From Market My Market!
Additional Articles on the Subject of GMB From Other Smart Agencies!
A Link to Our Webinar
Can I Still Send Review Requests to Former Clients From a While Ago?
Joanna: All right, sure. The first question is from Allison. My list contains many clients who worked with the firm years ago. Does it matter if their last interaction with the firm was from long ago? No, it doesn’t matter. We actually suggest that when you send a list of email addresses for us to send review requests to, that you send us as many emails as you can. We have the opportunity to customize the messaging.
Joanna: So if it’s someone who you haven’t served in a very long time, we can update the messaging and be like, “Hey, I know it’s been a long time, we just wanted to check back in and see how your experience was with us and so on and so forth.” So whether it’s someone who you haven’t spoken to in a long while, or it’s someone that you just closed a case, both situations work. Okay. We have another question. Ryan, you want to take this one?
Ryan: Sure. I’m looking at a couple but I’ll go with anonymous first.
Ryan: I’m a disability attorney. Will this work for low income clients, some without regular email or internet access. All my clients are trying to get disability benefits from BA and the Social Security Administration. So following up with people, we’ve been in situations where there are two kinds of people that may not have access to the internet, and you’re describing one demographic, and also older people. We’ve been in situations where it’s still effective, but maybe not as effective. People don’t have access to the internet, they certainly almost don’t ever have an email. So it just might be one of those few situations where it could possibly still work. But it might be limited to your clientele. But I still think the answer would be yes.
Joanna: Yeah, we can still make it work. There’s just one thing that we want to keep in mind, that for some of these review platforms — and it doesn’t apply to all — but for Google specifically, you need to have a Google account in order to leave a review. So if someone doesn’t really have email or internet access, I would assume they probably don’t really have a Google account. And so you just need to make sure that they have that before they can submit a review. But there are other platforms like Apple where you don’t need an account, you can just submit a review without that. So we encourage and it is ideal for someone to have internet access regularly. But we still can make things work. We can do it by SMS as well. So we can do it with emails and with text messages.
Ryan: Yeah, thanks for that response. I’ll piggyback off that. Sometimes we also present the template in kind of a hierarchy of importance. So if we know that our clients or the law firm’s clientele is a little bit more savvy, they’re more likely to be able to use the computer and log into places and create accounts. We’re able to start with Google. And then if we know that’s not the case, maybe it’ll be Facebook. If that’s not the case, maybe it’s Avvo. So we’re always planning on, Okay we’re going to be sending it to these certain people, do we know with certainty that the likelihood that they’ll have access makes sense for asking for those kinds of reviews, or kind of guiding them along to those kinds of websites.
What are the Most Important Review Websites to Focus on First?
Joanna: Yeah. And so we have a follow up to that question, which is, Should you focus on Avvo or should you focus on Google first? There’s benefits to both, but I would lean toward Google, because Google has extra benefits that can be gained from having more reviews. It plays into SEO, Search Engine Optimization. So I would. And Google Maps get a ton of visibility. So you definitely want to have Google as a priority. But Avvo of course, is a great platform because it’s specifically related to lawyers. So that’s why it’s good to be able to have both options like Ryan mentioned. We can have a link for Google, we can have a link for Avvo, we can do it for Facebook, whatever makes sense for the clientele.
Ryan: Yeah. I mean, we mentioned Google a whole bunch and that’s not just because we do SEO, we’re not indebted to Google for anything. But if there’s just a correlation with visibility, that’s just so much stronger with Google. And even though someone’s going to be required to use an email to log in and actually leave in and hopefully it sticks. That is the trade off. Avvo is still important, of course, because people will verify lawyers afterwards. So if they go to a website and their decision is to retain the lawyers a little bit longer, they will look you up on Avvo and they will look you up on some other platforms, wherever there are reviews, unfortunately, sometimes it might be Yelp because we’re not big fans of Yelp.
Ryan: And it’s important for you to stay consistently with positive reviews everywhere. You don’t want to be in a 4.8 in Google and then have only a couple of reviews that are two on Avvo and then all of a sudden someone’s like, “Oh wow, they’re great. I found them over on Google, I’m going to verify them on Avvo.” And then you only have two stars — that can really hurt you. So you want to make sure that maybe you kind of guide people along where you need it initially. And then figure it out later.
Joanna: Thanks Ryan. We have another question. Have you run into any ethical challenges with the type of system that you use? The answer to that is no. We use a system that adheres to the review guidelines of the platforms that we request reviews on. The system that we use we went into briefly on a few slides back. But it’s meant to filter out negative reviews from ending up on your review platforms through a system that we use. And that system, very briefly, is we ask clients to rate their experience first on a scale of one to 10. If it was a positive rating, then we’ll say. “Hey, thanks for this positive rating, may you please share some feedback on our Google profile.”
Joanna: And if it’s a negative rating, we’ll send them to a landing page that says, “Hey, we’re really sorry to hear that, can you please share your feedback with us so we can learn more about your experience and address it.” What we also do is share at the bottom of that landing page your review profile still and that’s what keeps us in adherence with Google’s guidelines and these review guidelines is we’re still providing them an opportunity to share that experience on your review profile. But the way that we formatted it is that we’re encouraging them to share that experience directly with you, so you can address it right away. So the answer is yes, we are adhering to guidelines. And no, I haven’t run into any ethical challenges with the system that we use.
Ryan: Yeah, there isn’t anything about it that seems to conflict whatsoever with any respective State Bar Association. The only thing that we have to stay kind of in line with is just the actual platform we’re actually asking reviews for. So for example, Yelp has a absolutely zero tolerance solicitation kind of policy. So we can’t do Yelp because they’ll know. They can check if it’s what’s called the referral path. They know how people get to their website.
Ryan: And if they know it comes from probably a link that was on an email or something that seems kind of suspicious and not organic, they’ll know immediately that someone was kind of pushing them that way. And that’s the only type of ethical situation you might find yourself in. Nothing that you can get in trouble for, it’s just something that we just don’t even engage in in the first place, I guess you could say.
What is Required to Implement a Review Generation System?
Joanna: All right, I have another question here. What’s required on my part to implement a system like this? Okay, so what’s required on your part is just to send a list of email addresses of past customers that you’ve worked with. So when you’re working with experts like us, that’s all that would be required. How often would you do it? We kind of touched base on this with one of the first questions. But ideally, you want to send me an email right after you’ve closed the case, because the positive sentiment is still fresh in that customer’s mind.
Joanna: We want to catch them while they’re hot. But if that’s not the case, I have some clients who will send me emails on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis. All of that still works and we can customize the messaging as needed. But that’s basically all it takes. It’s very simple on your part and we have great results. We have a tracking system also that allows us to see where we’re at.
Joanna: So if you sent me an email from someone that you are really thinking you are going to get a review from, and you haven’t gotten it yet, you could email me and be like, “Hey Joanna, we sent this review out, what’s going on?” And I can look in the system and be like, “Hey yeah, they opened the email. But they haven’t clicked through to the review requests yet. But we have another follow up that’s scheduled to go out in two days, I’ll check back in with you then and let you know what’s up.” So it’s a really great system in that respect.
Ryan: All right, can you talk about the client experience part of it? You get excited about that? But one thing I also want to mention about emails and that being kind of the core of this working, we have situations where a client comes to us and they want to work with us to get this campaign going. And then they have 5,000 emails, right? And the system works pretty well so we’re expecting to get hundreds upon hundreds of reviews. So in that situation, we’ll do what’s called a drip for the reviews. Meaning that instead of sending a request for it — we don’t want to call it a question — or just an email template up to about 5,000 people at once, we’ll probably do it maybe 100 a week, and then join a few different numbers, you can let me know.
Ryan: But you want to kind of do it slowly. The main reason is it looks kind of awkward if you’re getting tons and tons of reviews in one place over a short period of time. And that typically, no matter if they were legit clients, all legit five star reviews, genuine people real emails, I just think that the likelihood of them all sticking is pretty low across a lot of platforms. So you know if you had it on Google, you had 12 reviews across 12 months, and then you get 80 reviews in one month, I don’t think you’re going to have 80 stick.
Ryan: So we’re always making sure on our part that we do a drip if we have a lot of emails and then on your part, if you decide to venture out and give this a go on your own, just make sure if you do have a lot of emails that you kind of stagger it over a period of time. Great. And I have a question about Yelp. Does this work with Yelp? And I think yeah, sorry, I already covered that one. Yelp is not one that we work with soliciting. I know that most lawyers, probably four to five lawyers I’ve talked to can’t stand Yelp because their positive reviews are suppressed, and then their negative reviews are shown.
Ryan: I think that’s just a complete business model flaw on their part. And they just have a zero tolerance for solicitation policy. So we cannot send that as a link. And we wouldn’t recommend it either. It’s something that is just one of those things and I hate it and everyone I work with hates it, and I wish there was a solution.
Should I Start Asking for Reviews on Google or Avvo First?
Joanna: Okay. We have another question asking about Avvo or Google. Just to reemphasize that we think Google definitely is a priority that you should focus on, but with your review templates, you can tackle more than one and just set a priority of how you list them. Put Google first and Avvo second, that’s our recommendation.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. I think that we used to do three, but it’s very seldom that people will spend the time doing three. I mean, unless you’re a fantastic learner, which I’m sure a lot of you are. So immediately, we just don’t really want to overwhelm them with too many places. So I would really focus on two, like Joanna said. We love Google, too.
Is it Possible to Send Review Requests to Other Lawyers as Well as Clients?
Joanna: Okay, we have another question that came in. Do you ever send review requests to other attorneys as well as clients? Like other professionals I’ve worked with? I mean, your business listing can accept reviews from clients or people you’ve partnered with. I don’t see any problem with that. If you would like us to send a request to whatever email that you have either served in a capacity as them being a client or a partner, I have no objection to that and I think that’s great, because they’re going to be sharing feedback on their experience with you, in that respect from that angle.
Ryan: Sure. Yeah, we’ve done it almost entirely for B2C. But this kind of template, I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t be B2B. It’s pretty general … there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to.
Joanna: Yeah, it’s kind of like sending an email newsletter. I have some lawyers who ask me, “Hey, I have this email mail newsletter, and I have my MailChimp list and I have clients on it. But I also have people who have referred me and other partners, should I send them this newsletter?” And it’s like, “Hey, if it’s something that would benefit them or they would enjoy reading, why not?” It can’t hurt. It can only strengthen the relationship that you have with them.
Is it a Good Idea to Incentivize Former Clients With Gifts?
Ryan: I’ll read the next question because I think it is a good one. And I believe I’ve answered this a few times: Is it against any policy to offer a small discount or a small token, gift card exchange for an honest review? We don’t advise it. At that point that would be kind of your call. We believe that doing this kind of arrangement or this kind of system generates reviews on its own without having to offer anything. So what I would do is go through in the system we provided. I mean, we’re going to mail everyone the slides just so they can kind of follow it and guide you if you decide to do it on your own. And do that process because I don’t think that it’s necessary, I think that you can have a lot of traction with getting positive reviews without having to offer anything.
Joanna: Yeah, and we do encourage against that because our understanding and impression is that at least Google for sure, does not intend for you to offer perks for people to write reviews. We want reviews to come in naturally in our process is allowing reviews to come in naturally without having to offer something in exchange for that. And like Ryan said, we’ve seen great results with the way that it is. Because it’s as you said, as we talked about the email template is drafted in a way that you’re truly following up on the client experience and that’s appreciated enough, it’s enough for them to write the review.
Ryan: Sure. But on the other hand, if there’s anything you can do with a small token gift, we do work with some law firms that do have their own things set up internally that encourages their own team to follow up. So you might be able to set up some sort of system internally where you might have a few legal assistants or paralegals that are doing follow ups using a system, and then whoever generates the most you can do something nice for them. So we do see it internally. I just really don’t see it externally. We’ll take questions for another five minutes and we have reviews to generate. I hope everyone’s enjoyed this as well. Feel free to also give us any feedback. Oh, that’d be great.
Joanna: Yeah, and as we mentioned, we will be sending the slide deck to everyone at the conclusion of the webinar, so you can take a chance to take a closer look at all of the great information we shared. And if any new questions arise from that, feel free to contact us directly.
Ryan: Okay. Well, it’s been a pleasure speaking with everyone today and everyone taking the time out of their extremely busy schedules to join us and hopefully learn quite a bit about the world of review generation as it stands today. Hopefully, you are able to put something in place that really gets you going in the right direction for making that happen. Because like I said at the beginning, I’ve been doing this for a very long time.
How to Review Systems Deter Negative Reviews?
Joanna: All right, I have another question here from Mary. You guys touched base on the fact that this review system potentially deters negative reviews. Can you elaborate more on that? Okay, so the answer to this question, and we can elaborate, is that we use a system where the email is set up so that it encourages positive reviews only because you guys saw in one of the previous templates where it’s very clear, the green review buttons that were big and bold will send you to a review request. We have a system in place where we can pre-check customer sentiment by sending out an initial email that asks for a rating before we ask someone to leave a review on a profile.
Joanna: So it says can you rate us on a scale of 1 to 10? And if someone chooses an eight or above, we’ll send them to a positive landing page that says, “Hey, thanks for this positive rating, can you go ahead and leave some feedback on our online review profiles.” And they go ahead and they do that. But if someone had chosen a three or a four on that first initial email, they’ll get sent to a negative landing page that says, “Hey, we’re very sorry to hear about your experience, can you share some more feedback directly with us.”
Joanna: And now that feedback is going directly to you and it’s not going on your online profiles. So that’s how we make sure that we’re really encouraging these positive reviews and filtering out negative reviews, letting people vent to you and not allowing that to end up on your online review profiles in front of a public audience.
Ryan: One thing I want to elaborate and Joanna you can back me up on this too, is that if you use a third party tool and then you click, then maybe it wasn’t ideally the outcome for their legal situation. If you use a system like a third party, you click that negativity and then they’ll kind of create the landing page for you. And then they’ll fill out the box, and then that box goes to your inbox. If you’re going to do it yourself, I would probably recommend having whoever is managing your website create a page on your own website where you can receive that information. So it’d be like Lawyer.com, forward/client experience. So you have some sort of landing page, you can send them as a link, because you have to send them somewhere.
Does a Review System Work With Large Email Lists?
Joanna: Right, we have another question here from Albert: Can you guys work with the list of over 1,000 emails? Yes, we can. What we do is we try to drip the email. So what this means is we don’t want to set off any red flags or alarms with the system all of a sudden, your online profiles are getting a bunch of reviews, it can do just that — set off a red flag. So what we do is we’ll try to send maybe 10 to 20 email requests out per week, that way they’re coming in on a steady basis. And we can also monitor for what kind of sentiment we’re getting. So on that first initial email, if we see a rating that is two or three, we might want to say, “Hey, let’s dial back these requests a little bit.” And maybe change up the messaging or just look at other variables once we get that sort of initial data.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s a great point. And I’d like to touch on a couple more things. I definitely know with Google, let’s say you have 10 reviews right now. And you’ve gotten your 10 reviews once every two to three months. If you sent out a few hundred at once, and then you get 50 reviews out of nowhere and you get 50 on Google, there’s no way they would stick, it would just look suspicious, it doesn’t matter if they’re all from their own computers. They’re all legitimate former clients, they’re all genuine reviews; it’s just Google is going to supply the algorithm, they’re just going to think that you solicited, which is not exactly the case, but it just doesn’t look natural.
Ryan: And another reason that you’d want to drip and just do 10 or 20 like Joanna said, is because let’s say we’re getting a 50% conversion, for example. So for every two people, you’re saying one is leaving a review. You may not even want all those reviews in one place, you might want to reconfigure your template or your email. So if you’re like wow, a lot of people are responding, they’ve already got 100 reviews on Google, you might want to push them on to Avvo and then after that, you want to push them to Facebook or elsewhere. So it’s just prudent. But it’s also logical to make sure that all these campaigns are kind of done in a drip method.
At What Point Do You Ask for a Client Review?
Joanna: Absolutely. I’ll take the next question. This one’s from Gerald: we request reviews based on our conversations with clients and positive feedback we receive or the wow moment we have with our clients. Can you structure a campaign based upon these moments? Or is it best to send out a general email to select client or former clients? So that’s a good question and it kind of ties into the frequency with which we should be sending out review requests. And it’s ideal, as I mentioned, to send these out when the sentiment is fresh. So that’s kind of like these wow moments, we can definitely send out one off request whenever we have a positive moment or things are really good.
Joanna: And it’s like, hey, Joanna, things are going really good with this client, we just made some real progress or hit a milestone, let’s send them a review request. And we can do that, absolutely. Or if someone feels like you know what, let’s send off a list of cases that I’ve closed over the past week to Joanna, let’s do it like that. And we can send them off and I’ll shoot them off in an email and everyone will get those requests that week. So it really just depends on what’s convenient for you, and also what’s ideal and makes sense for the best results.
Ryan: Yeah, there are different arrangements you can do with frequency. Like I said, we’re talking about all that matters is you’re not sending hundreds at once. We work with some law firms, and our frequency is every Friday, some are one off exactly like Joanna is saying, just whenever they feel it’s an appropriate time to reach out. Some people are monthly. And then some people are one off the entire project. So there’s different frequency just depending on their email list, but also maybe their practice area.
Ryan: And then I even have some clients where it’s personal injury and a lot of people don’t want to wait 18, 24 months to get a review. But they feel like their client experience so far has been phenomenal. So there are some situations where we’re sending that request when the case isn’t even finished yet, because they feel that their interactions so far have given them kind of the acknowledgement that they should send an email at that point. So there’s different scenarios.
How Much Effort Does a Lawyer Have to Provide for a Review System to Work?
Joanna: We have a question from Mary Jane: What is required on my part? So what’s required on your part is very little, all you would have to do is send me a list of emails. If you were working with experts like us, you’d be sending me a list of emails depending on the frequency we would have discussed. And I would go off and create an account for you on our platform, design a nice customized email template with the right messaging and shoot off those emails and that’s it. So it’s very simple, as I mentioned. You guys are busy, you don’t have a lot of time, we make it very simple on your part to get great results with customer reviews.
Ryan: Yeah, we like interaction with lawyers among the campaigns that we do, because we’re a full service comprehensive legal marketing company. Think of SEO and web design. But we do these kinds of projects because we believe so strongly in generating positive reviews. The interaction and the time that’s required for the lawyer is among the lowest out of anything that we do so.
Joanna: All right, we have another question here. Is it important to respond to your reviews? Yes, it is important, Sandra. What’s important part of that is you are showing another part of your client experience like wow, this lawyer is so busy, this firm is so busy, but they’ve still decided to respond and acknowledge my review on Google, even after the case has already been closed and they’ve already been paid. So it’s just really a good reflection and other people are going to see that when they go and they look at your online review profiles. They’re going to see how you’ve treated other clients. So it’s really great to respond to reviews. And it’s a feature that we can utilize with our platform in responding to reviews, whether they’re positive or negative on your behalf.
Ryan: That’s a great point. I’m glad that you asked that question. There’s one example that I can give about the negative part. The client that we showed that had a couple of one stars, we 100% replied to it. So what happens when you reply to it? You’re putting in the effort to try and resolve why they had a negative experience.
Ryan: When other people seek your services and they’re seeing why you got a one-star review, and they see that one-star review and they see that you responded to it, but the person that left the review didn’t respond to it, they may entirely disregard that negative review because they saw you put in the effort to try and resolve it, but the person that left it was unresponsive. They may even disregard that all together as being negative. But they may disregard it and say, “Maybe it was spam. Maybe it was someone disgruntled, maybe it was a competitor.” They’re not going to hold it to a higher standard if they know that you’re being proactive with it.
What Happens if my Former Clients Have Irregular Access to Internet and Email?
Joanna: Okay, we have another question here from Remina: Does this type of system require someone to have regular internet access or email access? It kind of does in order to leave reviews on core and important profiles like Google, for example, you need to have a Google account to leave that review. So it is encouraged that we retrieve a list of people that do have regular access to internet or email, we do have the option also to send requests by SMS so a phone number will work. But what will happen with that text message is they’ll receive a link to the review on their phone. So they’ll need Internet access or data, at least on their phone to use that. So definitely we want to have internet access with this.
Ryan: Cool, we can answer two more questions. So we see plenty of you still in the room with us. So if you have any questions all related to reviews, anything that you need some clarification on, we’re here to answer. We’ll be here for about five more minutes.
Joanna: Any burning questions? We’ve been doing this for a good while, we’ve generated over 3,000 reviews for our clients with an average 4.6 rating. What questions can we answer for you? Ryan, I’ll let you take this question from anonymous.
Ryan: Understood. It also syncs with SEO? Yep. Our core competency for our entire agency is SEO. That’s what I’ve been doing full time for about a decade with a lot of success. And the reason that we’re really promoting reviews is not only is it very important for our consumers to make buying decisions in the long run, but also there’s a huge correlation between positive reviews and us having success with SEO as far as visibility. So yeah, everything that we’re discussing in these slides in this whole webinar ultimately ties into a lot of SEO that we do. That was the long answer. But yes, and if you want any more information on that, feel free to give us a call or follow up with an email. I’d be more than happy to have that discussion.
Joanna: As we mentioned, we will be sending the slide deck out to everyone. So our contact info is on the current slide, but you will receive it by email as well as the recording of the webinar today. We have time for one more question. We’ve still got a good amount of people in the room, we’ve got time for one more question.
How Does Review Generation Work for International Clients?
Ryan: You want me to do it? Okay. Okay, so anonymous, this will be the last question today. Again, thanks everyone for coming. We’ll share the slides. Here’s all our information. But last question: For lawyers based with active international practices, what is your process? I don’t think that we have really worked with too many that were international, because we mostly do this with business to consumers, not the business to business.
Ryan: But as far as this process, it can be replicated for basically any type of law firm. I just don’t think that there’s any part of this as far as how the template looks. I mean, you may change the wording if you’re talking to a business owner versus a former client. But as far as the process and the emails and kind of how this operates, I don’t think that there’s any difference in the process, nor would we have to really change anything, unless they were extending the circumstances that were very, very specific that we knew ahead of time. But yeah, what we’re talking about here carries over to pretty much any firm structure. And that’s based off of having this conversation with all sorts of firms up to this point.
Joanna: Exactly. Anyone can go and write a review on your Google My Business listing, your Apple listing, with or without this process. All we’re doing is we are augmenting the process by which you currently request your reviews if you already even do that. And we’re making sure that any reviews that you do get on your listings are most likely going to be positive ones, and negative ones aren’t going to find their way on.
Ryan: Yeah, the biggest thing I want to take away before we wrap this up is the biggest difference between doing it yourself, which we completely encourage. We’re giving you all the tools you need to do it yourself, no problem. But the only difference with typically using a third party, or a vendor that is specifically set up to assist, is typically the follow ups and automation are the biggest thing.
Ryan: Because it’s not always the easiest to set up your own automation. It’s also the fact that it does come from a third party. So it seems like a neutral party asking for feedback. It’s those two and then the third would typically be maybe the ease of creating the perfect template. Those are really the three biggest things that change or expedite the process. So I believe that’s a wrap then.
Should I Be Responding to Both Positive and Negative Reviews?
Joanna: All right, we have another question: Should I be responding to reviews that come in? The answer is we think it’s ideal. First of all, for negative reviews absolutely, we want to respond to negative reviews. A lot of times you can minimize the negative effect of a negative review by responding to it. When someone goes into your listing and they see that there’s a negative review, but you’ve responded to it, that can really overcome any negative effect, because they’re like, “Okay, this person didn’t intend to do wrong, they’ve taken steps to fix whatever was wrong and address the situation.”
Joanna: And so now this negative review doesn’t mean anything bad to that person, they’re still going to want to click through to your website or give you a call because they know that you wanted to make things right, and there was probably some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding there. As far as positive reviews, ideally, responding to positive reviews is great. It’s all part of you showing what kind of client experience you can deliver. You’re not only allocating time to people while they are under a retainer or while they’re working with you, you’ve taken the time to show appreciation for them after the fact as well. And that means a lot.
Joanna: So we do recommend responding to reviews, both positive and negative. But if you can’t get to the positive, which takes time if you’re doing it on your own, if you’re working with an expert those are things that we can do for you. But we definitely want to address negative reviews anytime they come in. And we want to address reviews as soon as possible. You don’t want a negative review to come in today and you haven’t addressed it until five days later. It’s important to address reviews right away so that’s just another reason why you want to make sure that you have a pulse on what’s going on and have a team that is monitoring your reputation online.
Ryan: Wait to pull it in. I agree. Two last things I want to say about that, consumers I’m sure you know. And you’ve probably done it yourself where you’re checking out a local service, they have 100 reviews and most are amazing, they sound great, but there’s two one-star reviews, you always gravitate to those two one-star reviews. You’re just like, I want to see where they screwed up and why they got this one star. So people, it doesn’t matter how positive, you know people just jump right into that one star. The thing is, if you respond to a one star review and then that person doesn’t follow up, they don’t really seem like it’s legit because a lot of one star reviews, unfortunately, for lawyers are bogus.
Ryan: They might be competition, everyone’s been there. So if you respond and it’s bogus, and you’re saying “I don’t remember …,” you might not remember, but that would sound bad. But we didn’t represent you, our firm didn’t work with you and then they don’t respond, I guarantee the average consumer would say, that’s probably spam, and they would disregard the one star. The second thing I want to say real quick — and Joanna, you probably don’t know this, this is the first I’m saying this.
Joanna: That’s right. Thanks for believing in my expertise.
Ryan: No, absolutely. No I mean, you know everything about this obviously, to present on it. But this is very specifically SEO, and I don’t think we’ve discussed this. But when it comes to reviews and responses to reviews within Google Local-
Joanna: Let me guess, let me guess.
Joanna: You go local. I was going to say that, Ryan. Oh man.
Ryan: But what I was going to say is no, I’m not sure I don’t remember us talking about this. But if you respond to something positive and you say like, “I’m glad that I could help you and it’s criminal defense. I’m glad I can help you on your DUI matter, or I can help you with your like suspended license,” those keywords get indexed within the local listing and then that listing is more likely to come up for multiple other keywords.
Joanna: Yeah, I mean, that’s old news. I knew that already but thanks for sharing that with our lovely attendees.
Ryan: So that has been yeah, anecdotal.
Should I Delete Reviews if I am Able to?
Joanna: We have a follow up question from Christina, she wants to know as a policy, do you believe deleting negative reviews is better or leaving them up? I don’t think you can delete negative reviews. That’s why you have to be really careful about trying to get reviews in the first place, because you don’t want negative reviews to end up on your Google My Business listing, and you can’t take them down, the only thing you can do is respond. And hopefully that person will edit their review and change their review. Or they will take it down themselves. But you can’t take down someone else’s review. And that’s why it’s very important to have a well thought out strategy in place when you’re going to be soliciting reviews, so to speak.
Ryan: Yeah, if you want to pop up and cite a specific place where that’s possible, let us know. But I can’t really think of any off the top my head. And like Joanna was saying, if it’s on Yelp, Yelp’s all about pushing down your positive and keeping up your negative, so we’re not going to even go there because that’s a nightmare. But yeah, it’s about responding and following up. And if you feel that the review is sincerely spam, or it’s not someone you ever worked with, Google’s not that bad about you letting you flag it as spam and then kind of typing in a reason. And you’re saying, “I never worked with this person. It’s probably bogus.” And I’ve seen them more times than I haven’t typically go down if they sincerely are bogus.
Where Should I Be Getting Reviews?
Joanna: Okay, we have another question from Walter. He wants to know how he should prioritize getting his reviews. What’s more important, Google My Business or Avvo? So we prioritize Google My Business for many reasons, one of which Ryan just explained, keywords can get picked up. The fact that you have positive reviews can play into things like voice search, how you’re going to show up if someone says, “Find me the best lawyer in my area.” You having more positive reviews, that’s where the industry is, that’s where things are trending right now.
Joanna: Google My Business first, then Avvo. Of course, it’s illegal, so you want to get reviews on Avvo. But what’s really great about the email template in the platform that we use is that we can include links to whatever online profiles we deem important. So on ours, we like to include the link to Google My Business first, then the link to Avvo so we give every person an opportunity to leave a review on both if they want to, or at least on one or the other. And what you can also do is say, “Hey, it’s really important for me to work on my Google My Business listing right now. I have a lot of great reviews on Avvo. I’m not worried about that, I need more reviews on Google My Business.”
Joanna: So we’ll just focus on that. And once we get a good amount of reviews on Google My Business, then we might shift gears back to Avvo and build that up even more. And then what we also do is many of you lawyers have multiple locations. And with our platform, we can target more than one location, we don’t have to work on just one location at a time and move like turtles, we can multitask. And I can set up multiple businesses or locations, whereby we can send out review requests and build up your reviews on each one of your locations’ Google My Business listings. So we’re really spreading out the visibility across your locations.
Ryan: Joanna, yeah, that’s great. I mean, it’s funny because I was going to follow up on a few things, but you actually just said it before I did. So yeah, you’ve really become passionate about talking about this. It’s really great. And I completely agree with that, as Joanna was saying, multiple locations. So if you have five offices, one location goes from zero to 50. You might not technically need any more users and you shift to another location, that’s five and then move up to 50 and move on. So excellent point there, for sure.
Joanna: Yeah, it’s a great question Walter. Thank you. I don’t want to take all the credit.
Ryan: No, that was pretty good. I had one more thing that I was going to say. But then I started congratulating you on the passion for reviews and all this stuff. And then it slipped my mind.
Joanna: We’ll leave the floor open for a couple more minutes for any last questions that you’d like us to address. Otherwise, as we mentioned, our contact information is on the current slide, you have Ryan’s information on the left hand side, you have my information on the right hand side. We are ready and available to answer any questions that you have regarding online reputation, or possibly any of our other full service marketing opportunities.
Ryan: Yeah, we’ve been doing this webinar for some people for a long time. We’re glad that we could do it for the Lawyers of Distinction exclusively. They reach out to us because of the success and the content we put out regarding this topic, and we’re glad we can bring it specifically to you. And we’ve been doing this for a long time: reviews and digital marketing. So if you have something that’s somewhat related, we’re game. I know I’ve already got my curve ball, so Joanna still needs her curve ball. So feel free to give her a stumper and see how she does. It’s overdue. I’m not going to do it.
Joanna: I got my curve ball when you very kindly pointed out the fact that I had notes at the bottom of my webinar presentation.
Ryan: I guess technically, I think you’re doing a little bit more talking than I am. So I think that’s cool. I don’t think that’s a big deal. Plus, I’m the one that’s always here and there flubbing up so maybe I should have notes.
Joanna: Yeah, I mean one of us has to stay consistent with good presentation skills here.
Ryan: There you go.
Ryan: Well said.
What Are Some Things a Review System Does Besides Generate Positive Reviews?
Joanna: Exactly. Very good. You have Ryan Klein, one of our managing partners of Market My Market on the line. The other is Chase Williams, he is not with us today, but with us in spirit and very enthusiastic about this platform as well. We’ve all been using it for a long time, seeing great results. And really, as Ryan mentioned, honed in on these recent years on the strategy that we’re using, what messaging works the best, what kind of template works the best. And we’re really confident with what we’re doing right now. We haven’t really seen any negative reviews come in.
Ryan: It’s probably happened. Like two, maybe, I don’t know. I exaggerated, just like trying to talk this up. But the system just works very well. Probably two out of 3,000 is probably about correct, it’s probably pretty accurate.
Joanna: Yeah, because any of the ones that do, of course we do get people who get lower ratings. But with our system, we pre-check customer sentiment with that first initial email where we ask people to leave a rating on a scale of one to 10. And if they choose a rating, we like to set the threshold at eight, if they choose a rating at eight or above, then we send them to the positive landing page that says “Oh, great, thanks for that positive rating, we’d love to hear some more of your feedback, please leave it on our online profile.”
Joanna: And then they may go ahead and do that. But if they had chosen a rating of seven or below on that initial email, we send them to a negative landing page that says, “We’re so sorry, please share some more feedback with us.” And it goes directly to you and not on your online profile. So it’s a really great system that only funnels through positive reviews. And any negative ratings that do come in get stopped at that first step. So those negative ratings only come to you and they don’t end up on your Google My Business listing or your Avvo profile. So they’re really neat in that respect.
Ryan: That’s probably something we should talk about more in the slides. The reason why we have the template the way it is right now is because Google is flip flopping on pre-check sentiment. So we could update that probably because we work with third parties and Google reps were like, “No, you can’t do pre-check because that’s not like an authentic way of asking for reviews.” But then a month later they said, “No, it’s okay.” So it’s kind of up in the air, but pre-check is good right now. We’re always following the protocol of every review website along with what bar regulations would look like. So not soliciting, plus following the guidelines presented by Google and other websites, because they’ll just flag the review.
Ryan: So one example is, you can’t do Yelp for reviews because they check what’s called the referral path. So what they can see is if you set
up a template and they click through with it, Yelp can see that this person just came from this website, and this website is known for soliciting reviews. So they’re just going to flag it. So you just have to be careful about that kind of stuff.
Joanna: So yeah, but like Ryan said, they’ve been flip flopping. But the strategy that we’re using is working and it adheres to Google’s guidelines. The platform itself, the way that it’s set up, it defaults to making sure that it includes everything that adheres to Google’s guidelines. So there isn’t anything unethical about it. There’s multiple modes and that’s another one of the cool things about the system. What we’d like to do is we’d like to start people off in this review mode, where you have that pre-check of customer sentiment.
Joanna: And that’s for people who don’t really know or have a pulse on what’s going to come in. It feels like their experiences have been good. But I’m not quite sure that every review that comes in is going to be positive. So let’s just start off in this review mode, where we pre-check and see how things go. You run the risk then that okay, some people might get to that first step and leave a nine rating and feel like okay, I’ve done enough already, I don’t need to leave any comments or anything on their Google My Business listing.
Joanna: And many people still go ahead and do that. But some people fall off at that point. And that’s when there’s another mode that we can go t
o, which is called the direct mode. And that’s where there’s just one email and it looks just like the email that we showed in our slide today, where they choose a button at the top to write a positive review, or they click that big red button at the bottom that says, “Hey, click here for any negative feedback.”
Joanna: And so that way you’re still funneling only positive reviews, but it’s just a tad bit more risky. And we have clients that lean toward that mode when they’re positive that things are good. Or maybe we’ve been in the review mode for a month and things are looking really good. We’re not seeing any negative ratings coming through. Let’s switch over to direct now, because all these positive ratings that I’m getting that didn’t actually turn into reviews, could have actually been reviews if it was just one step. So this was another really great thing about the platform that we use.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s great. I mean, Joanna definitely has authority by far with that, because you’re the one that works pretty closely on these campaigns. And so even when Google was flip-flopping and it’s do we do pre-check or do we not, even when it was approved, we still test either way. Because you don’t really even necessarily need the pre-check because with the template that we just presented, the negative reviews don’t really come in that way.
Ryan: So the pre check essentially just creates another step. I think it’s better for people, and I’m sure everyone here is a great lawyer, but it’s for people that are concerned about what people are going to say. I mean, that’s really what it is. It’s for people that have businesses where if you ask them, “How are all your client experiences?,” they’re just like, “Some are good, some are bad.” And pre-check is probably pretty good for you. But if you know “Oh, you’re confident, I know everyone has something good to say,” there’s no reason to do pre-check.
Joanna: Yeah, that’s pretty much just a safety net for exactly as Ryan explained.
Ryan: Great. Well, if you’ll still have questions we’re still here. Obviously, we really enjoy talking about this and we’ve been talking for a bit. If you still want us to chat, you’re still on this for long haul, maybe drop a line in chat to say, “Yeah, good. Just keep talking about reviews. I’m taking notes. This is very interesting I’m learning a lot.” Just let us know, we’ll keep on talking for another 10 minutes about some other information. Otherwise, I’m just going to get out of here. If everyone’s just going to leaven this up and they’re going back to draft emotions, I’m just going to get back to work now. So we’ll hang out to see if any more questions come in.
How Will Positive Reviews Factor into Voice Search?
Ryan: Yeah, one thing I want to talk about real quick– and if there are no more questions by the time I’m done talking about this, we’re going to wrap it up — but there’s one interesting thing that you actually mentioned. The thing I definitely want to elaborate on is when you mentioned Voice Search. Because that’s something that we’re anticipating but it isn’t proven yet. And this is something that I’m hypothesizing is going to be the future of voice search and how it works.
Ryan: And it probably will roll out by the end of 2019, probably early next year. So voice search, people using their phones and Google Home and Alexa, whatnot, Alexa’s are popping up in the kitchen. But yeah, it’s like, what do you want? So voice search people are going to be searching Lawyer Near Me, how to find a lawyer, and then people do this and this is already documented via search volume and AdWords and all that. People search Find Me the Best Lawyer, Find Me The Top Lawyer.
Ryan: And so what Google’s going to do and again, this isn’t proven, but this is a hypothesis and this is something I’m very confident is going to happen, they are going to find the best lawyer, not by necessarily keywords on a website, but they’re going to equate them with reviews, and the quality of the reviews that you have, to being the best. There’s Alexa. So it’s going to say “Well, this person is the top and they have 300 reviews, and it’s an average rating of 4.9. Technically, they are the best.” And technically if you say, find me the best lawyer in their respective area, they’re going to read off the information for the person that has the best reviews. And I feel really good about that being a possibility.
Ryan: And to couple that with the fact that we did a survey and we’ve been doing the survey for years. And what do we ask is, we ask 250 to 500 people, what is the likelihood that you’re going to use voice search this year? And in previous years, in 2017 it was 10%. In the last year, it was 20%. So we weren’t really too hung up on that during the campaign, like we have to do voice search. There’s other things we were worried about, like local and other campaigns. But this year, it was 80% of people.
Ryan: So that fact of 80% of people coupled with the fact that we think that Google Voice searches are moving inthat direction yeah, reviews are important. I don’t know how many other times we can stress that.
Joanna: Definitely important. And we would also love any feedback that you all might have regarding the webinar itself. If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave any comments in the webinar chat or send us an email and let us know if you feel like we informed you sufficiently or anything along those lines. We are always looking to improve and deliver the best presentations and experience that we can.
Ryan: Yep. And then yeah, if you have any follow up questions, they don’t always have to be around reviews. Like we said, we’re a very, very competent SEO team. Digital marketing we’ve been doing for a long time. So anything related to your new website or SEO or paid, we got you covered. And we’d love to have that conversation because we very much enjoy talking about this stuff as you can see us going 15 minutes over.
Joanna: Yeah, Ryan is an SEO wizard, who has a lot of experience in that arena. So definitely reach out to us if you’re interested in improving your online visibility for organic traffic.
Ryan: Cool. So that being said, we really appreciate you taking the time to have a little conversation about review generation with us and we really enjoyed it.
Joanna: Yeah, we did. And we will see you next time. We’ll go ahead and send out the recording as well as the slides of the webinar. Talk to you next time.
Securing the Reviews You Want
If you’re not getting the kind of reviews that you expect or feel like you deserve, the team at Market My Market can implement review generation strategies to help you reach out to past clients. Our digital marketing experts can help you start seeing the reviews that you’ve been waiting for. We strive to help you develop and cement your online credibility, and a review generation strategy is just one of the many ways we can accomplish this together. Contact us for a free consultation.