Love it or hate it, Avvo, along with other third party lawyer review sites, is an inescapable part of the Internet landscape. Clients (past, present, and possibly imaginary) can leave reviews about your service that can either mar or bolster your law practice, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Or is there?
Like the old adage says, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. In this post, let’s discuss how you can use Avvo to attract more clients, build your brand authority, and win at life.
What is Avvo?
Avvo is a service that provides legal resources. In addition to its function as an online legal directory, Avvo makes it possible for users to review and rate attorneys.
Lawyers can easily interact with the Avvo community at large, either through Avvo’s premium-level Advisor service or through the free Q&A forum.
Avvo is one of the most popular and well respected services of its kind.
Why should I be on Avvo?
If you’re a lawyer, you’re probably on Avvo anyway. It’s suggested that 95% of all US-based attorneys are listed on Avvo– whether they want to be there or not. This is because Avvo populates its site using public information obtained from the State Bar Association.
That said, you don’t really want to leave it with just that basic information, do you? Especially since it’s free to claim your Avvo listing, why not optimize it with the type of information that will win you leads?
If that’s not enough to convince you, here are a few other compelling reasons to claim your Avvo listing now:
+Avvo is great for SEO
If you’d like to get found via search engine (and who wouldn’t?), don’t overlook Avvo. Avvo frequently ranks on page one of search engine results for both individual and generic results, as you can see here:
That said, I wouldn’t recommend putting all of your eggs in the Avvo basket. You should also have a solidly built website that serves as your online hub. (We can help with that. Click here for more information.) This website should be search engine optimized and the definitive resource for your legal practice online.
However, actively maintaining a profile listing on Avvo will only help your search engine rankings, and may even drive more traffic to your website.
+Clients use the Internet for researching attorneys
While word of mouth is important, clients also turn to good ‘ole Google to find out more about an attorney before even the initial consultation. Clients don’t just look for your phone number and hours of operation online, they look for reviews, areas of expertise, and a winning smile.
This is why full representation on Avvo is a must. You need to be everywhere that your prospective clients are looking for you.
+Control the conversation
While you can’t exactly change what the reviews say about you, you can make it a two-sided conversation.
A lot of attorneys make the mistake of pretending like a bad review doesn’t exist and never responding. Ignoring an unfavorable review doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it reflects badly on you, making it look like you don’t care.
When you get actively involved on Avvo (and other review sites), you can add your response to a review, whether that review is good or bad.
When you respond, keep in mind the prospective client who will read what you’ve written. Choose words that are professional but warm, with a hint of appreciation and insight. Those are the responses that will win the argument every time compared to a “this client was horrible” type of response.
Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Using Avvo
In order to reap the benefits of being on Avvo, you must actively participate. In fact, the more you participate, the more you can positively impact your Avvo rating. Here’s a rundown of how to use Avvo effectively:
Claim your listing right now for free, and then optimize it.
After claiming your listing, it’s time to optimize it. Be sure to subscribe to receive a list of our top tips for creating a winning Avvo profile.
Participate in Avvo’s legal Q&A section.
If you’d like to build authority and raise your profile with site visitors who are looking for answers, get involved with the legal Q&A section on Avvo.
Consider upgrading to Avvo Pro.
Use Avvo Pro to track important analytics, such as how many people are contacting you based on your Avvo listing. You’ll also receive a “Pro” sign next to your name, which indicates that you are invested in the Avvo community (quite literally).
Another benefit of Avvo Pro is the ability to remove your competitors’ ads from appearing on your listing.
Advertise with Avvo.
Speaking of showing up on a competitor’s profile, you can opt in to Avvo Advertising. This service allows you to create an advertisement for your service that pops up on another attorney’s free listing.
One of the benefits of going with Avvo advertising, aside from greater exposure, is the fact that you can also target your ads to a specific demographic.
Get as many reviews and ratings as possible.
Avvo offers two types of reviews: client and colleague. Urge your clients to leave feedback for you on Avvo after successfully rendering a service. Similarly, court peer endorsements by asking for them the same way you would on LinkedIn.
To clarify, your Avvo rating is not the same as a client review or peer endorsement. Avvo ratings are determined by how active you are within the Avvo community, along with professional achievements and other information. For a more detailed look at the differences between ratings and review, check out this post: What is the difference between the Avvo Rating, Client Reviews, and Peer Endorsements?
Join Avvo Legal Services.
Another feature that Avvo offers its customers is a fixed-fee advice session. You provide the service and Avvo works as a marketer. It’s offered only to those local to your geographic area, and it’s not available in all states.
Why should you care?
Participating in Legal Services gives you more opportunities to increase your ratings. And higher ratings means that you look better in the eyes of prospective clients.
For information about Avvo Legal Services, check out this page: Avvo Advisor.
If you’re an attorney, Avvo is an essential part of your online branding efforts. Your name’s on there whether you like it or not, so claim it and control how prospective clients are introduced to your brand.