If you're an attorney and you're not already using Yelp, you need to be. The website now receives over 600 million visits per year, making it the internet's biggest source of user created reviews for services. If you're a new Yelp attorney, you may need some quick tips to help you get the most out of your Yelp marketing efforts. This guide will give you the tips that you need to succeed, all while keeping your web presence professional and without resorting to any kind of unethical behavior.
Yelp Marketing Tip #1: Double Check EVERYTHING
One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a Yelp attorney is to find out that a piece of contact information is incorrect or out of date. You don't want the next newspaper story about your law firm to involve clients accidentally calling a strip club.
Keep in mind that when you're using Yelp marketing, the goal is for at least some of your potential clients to see your Yelp profile before anything else about you. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and if the first impression a client gets about your Yelp attorney profile is that it is sloppy or incomplete, they will be unlikely to even think about clicking on your website link, much less giving you a call and trusting you with their legal issue.
Yelp Marketing Tip #2: Watch Your Reviews Frequently
The biggest advantage to creating a Yelp attorney profile is that you will now be notified when you receive new reviews. If you receive a notification about a review, you should check what the review says right away.
In some situations, you may find that a review of your law firm is not a legitimate review from an actual client. Instead, it's possible that a rival law firm has decided to get their hands dirty by giving you a negative Yelp attorney review in the hopes of attracting more business to their firm. This technique is underhanded and unethical, but it's definitely not unheard of. If you suspect a review has been created by a competitor instead of a client, you can notify Yelp, which will look into the situation and delete the review if it appears to have been fraudulent.
Yelp Marketing Tip #3: Respond Thoughtfully to Negative Reviews
Not all negative Yelp attorney reviews come from rival firms. Even if you're the world's best lawyer, it's likely that some clients have come away from your office unsatisfied. People are more likely to write a review when they're very dissatisfied than when they're highly satisfied, which means that sooner or later, you're going to get a bad review.
This is where many attorneys see their Yelp marketing plans fall apart. Here's how it happens: they see a negative Yelp attorney review, they respond in a defensive or aggressive way, and then more negativity starts coming in.
Remember, a disgruntled client who posts a negative Yelp attorney review has said their piece and is likely to just leave the site alone if you don't respond in an antagonistic way. Instead of getting defensive, talk genuinely about the problems experienced and how you hope to do better in the future. Potential clients reading Yelp attorney reviews understand that not every review will be positive—don't make a bad situation worse by showing yourself in a bad light.
Yelp Marketing Tip #4: Actively Solicit Positive Reviews from Clients
If a negative review is one of your first reviews, you may now have a very low star rating—which could drive off potential clients before they even get a good look at your Yelp attorney profile or reviews. In order to get your star rating back where you want it, consider talking to your current or past clients about adding reviews on Yelp. Clients are often quite willing to help with Yelp attorney marketing efforts if they've had a good experience with your firm. You can even use social networks to get the word out to clients if you don't want to make use of email or mailing lists.
Yelp Marketing Tip #5: Stay Off the Astroturf
Don't get people to write positive reviews on your Yelp attorney profile who've never actually set foot in your law office. This is called astroturfing, a form of Yelp marketing that is used far too often by people in many professions today, but in the legal world, it could actually get you in big trouble with the state bar.
Yelp Marketing Tip #6: Have a Conversion Ready Website
Even the best Yelp attorney reviews will sound unconvincing if people go to your website and it looks like it should be on Geocities, circa 1997, or if it has 3 Flash introductions and a CSS sheet that looks like a programmer's nightmare. Get professional web design that keeps your website simple and user friendly, so that clients who visit your website can get to the information they need quickly.
Yelp Marketing Tip #7: Keep Your Branding Going
You should make sure that any niche marketing or branding efforts you're working on are also extended to your Yelp attorney profile. Your Yelp marketing will be much more effective if it's synergistic with the messages you're already sending about your brand through other online media channels, like social networks, blogs, and your home page. Don't make your Yelp profile so dry and boring that your law firm loses the brand personality you've tried to cultivate elsewhere.
Yelp Marketing Tip #8: Use Critical Feedback
When you get a negative review and say you'll change in the future, make those changes. In many ways, your Yelp attorney profile can be one of the most useful snapshots you'll ever get of how your clients think about you. Instead of tuning them out, really make use of their feedback so that you can have better client service (and better Yelp reviews) in the future. Even in a generally positive review, if you notice a place that your firm could have done better, be responsive to that concern.