Hate it or love it, the internet allows anyone and everyone to voice their opinion. Yelp is one place where these opinionated folks spend a lot of time reviewing businesses and services. As one of the largest review sites online, Yelp is a powerful marketing channel, much like the others we have covered previously: Avvo, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. As suggested in our online marketing guide, you should establish a presence on as many of these networks as possible. This post will help you come up with a strategy for how to market your law firm on Yelp.
How to Market Your Law Firm on Yelp
Yelp is driven by user generated content, so even if you’ve never used Yelp, there’s a good chance your law firm already has a page that was created by the Yelp community. If so, you should claim the page as the business owner and take control over it. If not, just go ahead and create a new one.
Once you’ve got control over your page, here are a few tips about how to market your law firm on Yelp.
Complete Your Yelp Business Profile
First things first. The most important part of a Yelp marketing strategy for lawyers is having a completed profile with all the relevant information about your law firm.
Yelp isn’t only about reviews. People use it to find phone numbers, addresses, website URLs, photos, and much more. You never know why someone is browsing your Yelp page, but you should plan to give them as much information as possible.
A completed Yelp profile with recent reviews also creates a sense of “life” about your page. People want to know that you are a legitimate law firm that helps real clients just like them every day, and having an active page makes you appear more trustworthy and credible in this way.
Add Quality Photos
Apps and websites are increasingly being driven by rich media content like photos and videos. Having high quality imagery makes your page look good and appeals to the eyes of your visitors.
Upload at least 4-5 quality images to your Yelp page. They could include photos of the attorneys and staff in your firm, photos of your office building from the street, and pictures from inside your office.
Use the photo section to give people a look inside your firm. This helps them feel comfortable and establishes trust.
Link to Your Website
As you may know by now from reading our other posts, backlinks to your website are really valuable in search engine rankings. You especially want incoming links from large reputable sites, and Yelp is certainly one of them.
Not only is this link good for SEO, but it also gives people an easy way of finding your website. Many people like to view a local business’s website before hiring. And if you’ve followed our law firm website tips, your website will be optimized and good at converting visitors into prospects.
Target Specific Keywords
Yelp is a massive network with millions of pages indexed by Google, which means it ranks really well in search results. So you should always think about the keywords on your Yelp page and make sure they’re search friendly.
Be sure to include keywords about your practice areas and specific services you offer throughout the content on your page. These are likely to be things that people are searching for, e.g. “bankruptcy lawyer” or “contract review.” You should also make sure to tag your page with all the relevant business categories.
An ideal Yelp page has a significant number of relevant keywords spread throughout the content. This includes the words in the about section and categories, as well as in the client reviews (more on that below).
Ask for Reviews from Clients
Reviews are the core of the Yelp platform. You should seek to build up as many as you can and get your average review score as close to 5 stars as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for a Yelp review. Just explain to them that your business is based on providing exceptional service and getting word of mouth referrals. If they enjoyed your service, they’ll be happy to spread the word.
A good Yelp review score is a strong indication of customer satisfaction, which is a major factor in people’s minds when they are in the process of hiring a lawyer. Building up positive reviews demonstrates your value to clients and is sure to bring you more business.
Respond to Negative Reviews
From time to time, you’re bound to receive a negative Yelp review. It’s inevitable that someone will have a bad experience working with your firm for one reason or another. And unfortunately, they will be even more likely to want to tell the world about it.
Don’t stress too much about receiving a bad review. Instead, use it as an opportunity. You should respond thoughtfully to all your negative reviews to show people how much you care. This will go a long way to appease both the negative reviewer, and also reassure any future visitors to your Yelp page who read the review.
Be careful not to react with anger or challenge the reviewer’s points. Just address their concerns, apologize that they weren’t completely satisfied, and maybe even offer to make it up to them if you can.
Going out of your way to satisfy each and every client, no matter what it costs you in terms of time or money, is the key to building up a powerful referral machine.
Learn and Improve
Finally, use Yelp as an opportunity to learn from client feedback and find ways to improve. In order to grow a law firm in today’s competitive environment, you need to stay agile and constantly adapt your practices to better meet the needs of your clients.
Perhaps you never knew that your secretary can be rude on the phone, or that your clients hate filling out forms and documents by hand. These are exactly the kinds of insights you can gather from reading your Yelp reviews, or even reviews for your competitors.
Don’t get stuck and become one of those typical lawyers who are bad at business. There is a wealth of information to be gathered from Yelp, and you should leverage it for your benefit.