Relationships are essential to small law firms and lawyers. Investing in client testimonials is an excellent way to promote yourself and build upon old relationships by creating new ones.
An easy way for small law firms to stand out in a crowded marketplace is through client testimonials. Not only do testimonials build credibility and trust, but they also offer “social proof” of your service capabilities and past case results.
Before collecting and publishing testimonials, it is imperative to consider the ethical issues, etiquette, placement, and ease-of-process. Doing so will help you make the process as streamlined as possible for both you and your clients.
Ethics of Client Testimonials for Attorneys
There are ethical considerations that lawyers must make when using client testimonials as a marketing advantage. These considerations include prohibited statements, testimonial solicitation, and confidentiality. Be sure to review your state’s rules before starting this type of marketing campaign. As some states have state-specific rules regarding client testimonials, you can stay aligned with new ethics concerns of testimonials by checking with your state’s bar association.
How Attorneys Can Ask for Client Testimonials
The most practical way to obtain testimonials is by asking for them. Start by asking your repeat and highly satisfied clients first. This strategy will allow you to start with a solid foundation upon which you can build.
Please do not be shy about asking attorney colleagues for reviews, as long as they are factual and speak to your relationship’s nature. For example, peers should not provide reviews while posing as clients. But peer attorneys can provide insight into how easy you are to work with or the results they have seen you secure.
When soliciting clients for testimonials, it is best to offer them a framework by which they can respond. Doing so will help happy clients avoid the situation of not knowing what to write or say for various reasons.
You can ask critical questions to help them form their testimonial, including:
- What made you most satisfied with the resolution achieved?
- What do you value the most when working with my law firm?
- If you have worked with other firms in the past, what makes us different?
- Can you describe a time where we exceeded your expectations?
- How would you describe our law firm if you referred us to a friend, family member, or colleague?
- Would you refer us to someone as a great resource for legal services?
It is acceptable to email your request for a client testimonial. However, you can also automate your client testimonial solicitations through an autoresponder or customer relationship management (CRM) system. Before publishing client testimonials, some law firms ask clients to sign a testimonial release to protect them from potential disputes.
Where to Place Client Testimonials
Not every client is willing to give a testimonial. Let them know that you encourage and appreciate client testimonials to attract more clients like them. Also, it is a good idea to support a client’s request to provide a testimonial under anonymity.
After collecting testimonials, you can then place them on or in:
- Your law firm website
- Social media images
- Social media posts
- PPC and paid social ads
- Client testimonials webpage
- Video marketing campaigns
Before posting the testimonial, please take a few minutes to look through them and decide which reviews support your law firm’s marketing goals. Good testimonial candidates include those that highlight your results, responsiveness, or dedication to service. It is also good practice to lightly edit and clarify the text before presenting the final statement for review to the client.
Why Testimonials Matter
Before online reviews, client testimonials generally came in the form of word-of-mouth or occasional use in print advertising. In today’s world, everyone has a voice that virtually everyone can see. Client testimonials help customers, like the ones you currently serve, decide that they should call your office. In a recent 2020 survey conducted by BrightLocal, the numbers drive home the importance of client testimonials even further:
- 87 percent of consumers check online reviews in their attorney vetting process
- Positive reviews influence 94 percent of the viewers to select your services
- The top three influencing factors include star rating, legitimacy, and recency
- 73 percent of clients pay attention to reviews written in the last thirty days
As you can see, online reviews are an important component. Not only does a law firm need to obtain several reviews, but they must also nurture an ongoing pipeline of them.
You can make the process easy on your clients when collecting testimonials. Give them every opportunity to submit their testimonial in a format with which they are comfortable if you can. Upon receiving their testimonial and release, be sure to follow up with a thank you note and a reminder that they can contact you if they need legal help in the future or referrals to other lawyers in different practice areas.
How Attorneys Can Handle Negative Online Review
Reviews matter to both clients and law firms. When receiving a negative review, it can be an upsetting experience. However, your response to a negative review can remove its “sting.” When dealing with negative online reviews, consider the following:
- Never ignore negative online reviews
- Respond after you have cooled down
- Avoid belittling the reviewer
- Stay away from typing in all caps when responding
- Try contacting the client privately
Today’s clients are savvier than those in the past. They can easily discern the difference between a meaningful conversation and one you are trying to check off your list. Negative reviews may be inevitable, but it is how you react that will make the difference.
Attorney Testimonials Are Powerful and Effective
Testimonials are powerful marketing tools for attorneys when used correctly. They provide substance and social proof that discern potential clients’ wants and needs. With highly-competitive practice areas, your client testimonials will help you stand out among prospective clients while making past clients feel even better about working with you.