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December 31, 2018 practice point

Get the Most Out of Your Firm’s Google My Business Page

By Kelsey Heino

We’ve all done it: Googled a business and gone down a rabbit hole of reviews and rankings. Generally, it’s when we’re looking for a restaurant in a foreign city or trying to find a reputable salon when your trusted favorite can’t squeeze you in. But what about when a potential client is searching for the best divorce lawyer in town? Or if a new business needs someone to guide it through corporate formalities? A law firm’s online review presence is often overlooked, but it can be an invaluable marketing tool. Here’s three ways to get your firm name out there and make sure potential clients get the best possible first impression.

  1. Stake your claim. If you haven’t done it already, let the first thing you should do in 2019 is claiming your business with Google. The search platform provides a one-stop shop for a business’s contact information, hours, website, and reviews—the information that pops up on the right-hand side of the search results page when you Google a business. Here’s a video tutorial on how to claim this valuable marketing space (it’s free!). Taking this one simple step can help potential clients find your brick and mortar and, at the same time, convince them of your prowess through glowing reviews.
  2. Respond. Just respond. Once you have your business set up on Google, it’s important to keep an eye out for reviews. You should be getting notifications from Google when a new review is left, but it’s a good idea to have a set time each week to check in on your page. A missed review is a missed opportunity to connect with a satisfied customer or—more importantly—to salvage a bad experience. One negative review can cost you 22 percent of your potential customers. Get three negative reviews, and you’ll lose 59 percent of those who read them. However, if the business responds to a bad review, and future potential customers see that the negative situation was handled quickly and appropriately, much of the sting is taken away. This is an easy way to interact with your clients, so be sure to stay on top of review responses—a few seconds can go a long way. Maybe even consider having someone assigned to the task, like a marketing or HR employee.
  3. Gather your cheerleaders. It’s wonderful if your mother wants to express her beaming pride at her child’s wildly successful legal practice, but that’s probably not going to go a long way toward convincing someone on the hunt for an attorney that you’re the one to call. So, when you help a client get a great outcome, be prepared to ask for a testimonial. There are of course ethics rules to consider when dealing with client reviews, so be sure to brush up on the legal marketing guidance for your jurisdiction. But, if you follow the rules, a review from a satisfied customer is a great way to boost your business, especially if they will give five stars (see the statistic below for why your business should shoot for the stars). 

Still on the fence about whether claiming your Google My Business page is a good idea? Here’s some statistics to help pull the trigger:

  • Consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more on products/services from businesses that have excellent reviews
  • 85 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • For every star that a business gets, chances are that a business’ revenue will increase by anywhere between 5–9 percent.

Marketing can be a costly endeavor for solo and small firm practices, especially on a percentage-of-budget basis. Taking full advantage of all that your Google My Business page can do for your firm will help start 2019 off with a bang.

Kelsey Heino is a civil litigation attorney with Goosmann Law Firm in Sioux City, Iowa.

Copyright © 2018, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).