Online reviews are important to any business, whether that business has an online presence or not. As a personal injury attorney, with or without a website, you really can’t afford to overlook the importance of these reviews and the effect they can have on your business.
In BrightLocal’s 2017 consumer survey, they found that almost every consumer searched for a local business online at least once during the year and that the majority of people who read a positive review were more likely to call or email the business, even before checking out its website. They also said that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which is remarkable given that the reviews are written by total strangers.
The good, the bad, and the non-existent
Positive reviews are reputation builders because it means that people trust your business. It may seem passive, but it is a great marketing tool for bringing in clients.
The Good Onsite Reviews: If you have a website, you can enable customer reviews by providing an area asking for reviews. Doing this can have a positive effect on our company’s organic search rankings in search engines. Reviews tell Google that you are being seen as having higher authority and more relevance, which can rank your site higher in SERPs (Search Engine Response Pages).
The Good Offsite Reviews: Offsite positive reviews can have a greater impact on your SERPs than those from your own site. The reason for this is that Google’s local search algorithm uses data from a number of third-party review sites, such as Yelp.
According to Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers, “These sites tend to review entire businesses, rather than specific products, but this is what’s responsible for the higher impact. Rather than an aggregate review influencing a buyer’s decision regarding a single product [or service], your business’s aggregate reviews could affect whether or not a consumer considers pursuing your brand in general. The more reviews you have on these sites and the more positive they are, the higher chance you’ll stay competitive in local search.”
Bad Reviews: Strange as it may seem, even bad reviews can be a helpful marketing tool. A combination of good and bad reviews shows that you are being transparent, honest and sincere. In addition, bad reviews amongst many good reviews, is a sign that the reviews are authentic.
No Reviews: Not having any reviews can have a negative impact on your business potential. When someone Google’s a business and they can’t find any reviews for it, this tells him that either the company is new (and he doesn’t want a company without experience) or that the company is so irrelevant, no one has bothered to write a review about it.
What to do if you receive a negative review
If you receive a negative review, never ignore it. Respond to it immediately. Research shows that when businesses responded to bad reviews, a third of the negative reviewers either deleted their original review or replaced it with a positive one.
Here are some examples of what you can do if you receive a negative review.
- Respond Promptly
- Be honest and admit mistakes
- Correct inaccuracies
- Highlight your strengths
- Write like a person, not a business machine
- Remove any offensive post from your site
- Ask past clients to share their experiences
Survey stats tell an important story about reviews
Compiled from several different sources, the follow statistics tell a compelling story about reviews.
- 68% of millennials trust online reviews, as opposed to the 34% who trust TV ads.
- Reviews produce an average 18% increase in business.
- Customers who view user-generated content show a 133% higher conversion rate.
- Negative reviews can create a buzz about your brand that can actually increase the number of your website visitors.
- Fifty or more reviews can mean an increase in conversion rates of 4.6%.
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion of a business.
- People who read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to commit than those who read reviews on desktops (GO MOBILE!).
- 55% of people use Facebook as a place to learn about brands.
- For every star a business gets, there will be approximately a 5-9% increase in business revenue.
Online reviews are extremely important to your business growth, consumer trust and public reputation. Encourage reviews however and wherever you can. Ask your personal injury clients to write one and be sure to give them the sites where you want it posted. If you don’t already have one, get a review function on your site and a presence on as many local review sites as possible.
You’ll find that using both negative and positive reviews will work to support all of your other online marketing campaigns.
If you need help setting up online reviews, give us a call. We can set up your onsite review function, as well as set you up with reputable external review sites to get the word out about your personal injury law practice.
– by Sharon Bowles