Get More Reviews Now or You Will Get Left Behind!
Whether you like them or not. Whether you have just two, twenty, or two hundred, reviews aren’t going away. There was a time where word of mouth was enough, but things changed rapidly over the last ten years. Consumers are more empowered (for better or worse) to voice their opinion about products or services than ever before. Here are just a few reasons why reviews need to matter you so darn much:
1. Reviews affect your Google page ranking by factoring into SEO.
Google considers reviews to be an integral component the ever confusing and impossible to nail down an algorithm that determines who wins and how loses in ranking for search terms. Common sense often prevails in that Google wants to serve up to the searcher what they were looking to find. Good reviews operate akin to how word of mouth did for businesses decades ago. Google sees lots of people saying lots of nice things about a business and decides that more people are looking to be connected with that business.
That means that quantity and quality both matter when Google examines your reviews. Oh, and quality encompasses the star rating as well as what is actually said in the reviews so consider longer more thorough reviews from frequent reviewers more valuable than the quick generic one-sentence ones that litter certain sites. Google weights Google reviews’ more heavily but it also cares about what is said on Avvo, Facebook, Yelp, and many other consumer review sites.
2. Consumers care about reviews more than ever. Examine your own buying decisions. Did you read a bunch of reviews on about the last item you bought on Amazon? Maybe you even sorted results via their reviews. There is a mountain of evidence that indicates 90%+ of consumers are reading reviews before making a buying decision. And reading not just one review for that matter! Small law firms are certainly no exception to this consumer behavior.
3. The average person knows little to nothing of, or about, the legal industry. They don’t know what to look for, what makes a good attorney, when to hire an attorney, and what an attorney actually does. This lack of knowledge on the consumer’s behalf is why word of mouth in the legal world is so important. Because when most people don’t know what to look for they rely on the recommendations of friends or family. With the growth of review sites, legal consumers increasingly look to the reviews of a law firm during their research and decision phases of the buying process.
4. Your business could see a serious upturn in new business or a massive downturn at the whims of consumer reviews. If you have a bunch of positive reviews, your ability to charge higher rates will steadily grow. Building a great public reputation via outstanding reviews will help ensure you aren’t objection handling concerning a couple of bad reviews as well.
It all begs the case for becoming good at getting more content rich 5-star reviews than ever. Savvy small businesses can catch a wave that will propel them past their competitors with relatively little extra work. Don’t get caught in the void of having 0-5 reviews or even 5-10 reviews as the average number of reviews each attorney and law firm has is rising month by month. The law firms getting in front of this problem right now are the ones who will win big and the ones that don’t will be left behind.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Joe Mann
Joe Mann is a former insurance claims adjuster turned Partner Manager at Great Legal Marketing.