What happens when your law firm gets a referral? Most likely, that referral is going to look you up online. What they find, or don’t find, is going to factor into their ultimate decision to hire you.
A lot of law firms get business from referrals. If you’re one of them, that’s great! You have probably invested years of time, effort and attention to cultivate great relationships with other attorneys and members of your community. Now you’re realizing the ROI of building strong personal connections.
Though the majority of legal consumers will ultimately trust a referral that they receive from a friend or family member, their buying behaviors are changing. More now than ever, legal consumers are turning to the web to research legal services before ultimately making a call.
Think about the last time you received a recommendation for a restaurant. What was your first step toward making a reservation. If your like me, you probably searched for the restaurant by name in Google, read the reviews, checked out the menu, visited the website and maybe even glanced at their Facebook or Instagram page.
People do this every day, and that is just for one meal!
Why, then, do lawyers expect legal consumers to call their firm without performing their own due diligence?
The power of a referral has remained strong, but your online presence is becoming increasingly important when it comes to converting those referrals into clients.
When someone receives a referral to your law firm, the first thing they do is search your name on Google. They may be looking for a website. They may be looking for reviews. They may just be looking for your address. How frustrating it would be if they were unable to find your business online and get the information they are looking for!
I am always surprised by the number of lawyers I meet who don’t even rank for their own name in Google. In some larger markets, for example, you may have the same name as another attorney. Your law firm names may even be similar. Creating a complete Google My Business account is just one step you can take to ensure sure that you show up when referrals look for you.
But finding your firm is only the first step along the customer journey. Your referrals want to get to know you better before giving you a call. That is why having a great looking website is so important - even for referral-based businesses. Your website is likely the first impression a referral will have of your firm. Standing out from the crowd, looking professional and delivering value in the form of educational content are simple ways to make your referrals feel welcome and validated in their decision to contact you.
Aside from your website, referrals will also look for reviews and testimonials. Preferably, your reviews would be listed on GMB. Current reviews on GMB will not only help referrals make a more informed decision about hiring your law firm, but those reviews will also help you rank in local searches for legal services. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations - meaning that if your competitors have strong reviews and your law firm doesn’t, you may be losing out on business.
Lastly, your law firm should have at least one active social media profile. Using these platforms to share information about your firm, connect with your clients and deliver value to your community is just one simple way to encourage referrals to give you a call.
Referrals are great, but the modern legal consumer is going to do their research. To capitalize on your referrals, your law firm needs a stellar website, fresh branding, a completed Google My Business account, active social media profiles and relevant reviews.