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  • Article: Client Reviews Are Critical in Getting New Business. By Larry Bodine

    Client Reviews Are Critical in Getting New Business



    I had an epiphany about the most important element in law firm marketing. When I had to find an out-of-state lawyer, client reviews made all the difference.

    It started when a friend of my in Tucson, AZ, asked me to help find a lawyer. His daughter in rural Iowa was getting a divorce and needed a new lawyer. Was there any way I could help?

    Certainly, I said, adding that I had access to many online databases of lawyers. 

    A test

    For years I have advised lawyers how to get clients online, and this would be a test of which lawyers did the best job. I did what most consumers do when they don't have someone to call for a reference: I searched online. Among the rosters of lawyers I found, the primary distinguishing feature was online reviews.

    I Googled for a lawyer, using "divorce" and the city name, and found many lawyer directories on the first page of results. My first stop was Avvo, whose "Find a lawyer" function produced no lawyers with a client review in this sparsely-populated area. However there was a "Pro" advertisement for a local lawyer with a 6.1 out of 10 rating, which did not inspire confidence. I kept looking.

    Next I tried Martindale.com, which found the same lawyer (who listed 185 practice areas), and a second lawyer -- neither with any client reviews. 

    When I tried Lawyers.com (where I used to be the Editor) I got some great results. There were several firms with client ratings, including two with client ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5 in nearby Iowa City. One was a four-lawyer firm that practiced only family law. Their website offered 12 "handouts on family law," which I found very helpful. They went on my list of recommendations.


    Another Iowa City lawyer came up, and a Google review gave him 5 stars, saying "excellent attorney with integrity!" I double-checked on Findlaw and found another client review that said, "David helped me out greatly. He answered all of my questions and always got back to me right away. I would recommend David to anyone. He was upfront with me about everything and did a lot of work to get me what I wanted." He had an interesting bio with personal information and he also offered a free consultation. I recommended him. 


    The marketing lesson

    As I continued, I was struck at the importance of the voice of the client. According to Nielsen, 68 percent of individuals surveyed in 2013 said they trusted consumer opinions posted online -- and I am among them. I always check reviews when I am buying anything from a computer to remodeling contractor. I pointed the importance of online reviews in 3 Digital Trends Impacting Law Firm Marketing

    The marketing lesson is that law firms should ask their clients to write a short review about them and post it online.

    Epilogue: My friend said that his daughter scheduled an appointment with one of the Iowa City lawyers and that he and his family appreciated the assistance. It's a bewildering task for consumers to find a lawyer and I was glad I could help.

    This post originally appeared on http://www.larrybodine.com. Copyright 2016 Larry Bodine Marketing. Reprinted with permission

    About The Author

    Larry Bodine Larry Bodine is a marketer, journalist and attorney who knows how to turn website visitors into clients for trial law firms. His team has drafted law firm blog posts for many websites including The National Trial Lawyers, PersonalInjury.com, Martindale-Hubbell, Lawyers.com and LexisNexis

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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