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Testify! The Power of Client Testimonials

Several hands making a thumbs-up in front of a blue sky.You’ve dedicated years of your life to honing your skills as an attorney and developing a thriving, successful law firm. You have a long line of satisfied clients who are more than willing to sing your praises to their friends and families. Word-of-mouth referrals to your firm are fairly common, but perhaps not steady enough for your liking. You want to grow your firm, and in order to do that, you need to reach more new potential clients.

By strategically embedding client testimonials into your website and other promotional materials, you can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing and direct it toward a larger audience. Especially in the age of social media, compelling client testimonials can expand your base of prospective clients exponentially. If executed properly, an Internet law marketing strategy can be centered on the words of your clients, providing you with a low-cost, highly effective method of spreading your reputation.

Of course, executing any strategy properly requires planning and forethought. Most law websites now include some type of client testimonials, but not all testimonials are equally effective as marketing tools. By keeping the following tips in mind as you solicit testimonials and integrate them into your online marketing, you can attract a strong, steady flow of new clients.

Seek out detailed, honest testimonials that will inspire trust.

According to a 2014 study conducted by BrightLocal, approximately 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. However, not all online reviews are inherently trustworthy. When you ask your clients for testimonials, ask them:

  • To be honest and specific: Exaggerated praise and vague descriptions of the client experience will only undermine the trust that these testimonials are intended to inspire.
  • To balance their positive opinions with any constructive comments they have to offer about your firm: Testimonials that offer constructive feedback in addition to praise are often viewed as more trustworthy than over-the-top, glowing reviews.
  • If you can, edit their testimonials for length, clarity, spelling, and grammar if necessary: Testimonials that are overlong, rambling, confusing, or otherwise poorly written, can cause potential clients to doubt the professionalism of the firm posting them. If a testimonial is badly written, then it is better not to use it, even if it is extremely positive.

Display testimonials that present clear benefits to clients.

Although you may be tempted to display as many positive testimonials as you can gather on your website, you will want to be careful not to dilute the power of your best, most engaging testimonials with those of lesser value. The testimonials with the greatest value to your firm will not simply proclaim how great you are. They will give prospective clients a clear idea of the benefits they can expect by turning to your firm, while maintaining an honest, balanced perspective.

Consider the following hypothetical examples:

Ben Morrison is a wonderful attorney! I love him and his staff. He and his team helped me receive a settlement to help with my medical costs!
I was made to feel comfortable from the moment I walked into Ben Morrison's office to discuss my case. He took the time to answer my questions thoroughly and learn about my unique case. Mr. Morrison saw me at my appointed time and asked questions to learn more about my situation. He told me more about what steps we were going to take as we pursued my case. Before we went to trial, Mr. Morrison was able to settle out of court. He kept in touch with me throughout every step of the way.

Of these two testimonials, both are positive. However, the second is by far the more compelling of the two. The first example, while certainly glowing in its praise, doesn’t communicate anything of substance to your visitors. On the other hand, the second example provides plenty of detail without wearing out its welcome. It’s simple and readable, and it is benefit-oriented without seeming inauthentic or “sales-y.”

Never stop soliciting testimonials.

Complacency is the enemy of effective marketing. You should continually be adding to your collection of client testimonials. This will communicate to prospective clients that:

  • You have more than just a few satisfied clients who are willing to attest to your skills.
  • You are continually building on your reputation rather than relying on your past accomplishments.
  • You offer a diverse range of benefits to a diverse range of clients.

Remember that some of your prospective clients may visit your website several times over the course of months or even years, unsure of whether to contact your firm. If they encounter fresh testimonials during this time, it could help to influence them to schedule that first consultation.

Take advantage of the power of video.

Simply stated, there is no online marketing tool more powerful than video. In fact, a 2012 Forrester Research study concluded that one minute of video is worth approximately 1.8 million words of written text in terms of its effects on consumers. In practical terms, this translates to:

  • Increased trust: If 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, then video testimonials reinforce this trust by allowing prospective clients to see real people speaking about your firm rather than simply reading words attributed to a name.
  • Reduced skepticism: Your satisfied clients can be your most effective salespeople. Having a library of video testimonials at your disposal is like having a full-time sales force on call, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However, because your clients are objective third parties who are sincere in their admiration of your work, prospective clients will view them with less skepticism than they would actual paid representatives of your firm.
  • Higher conversion rates: A study conducted by Social Media Today found that more than 90 percent of consumers agreed that video factored into their decision to purchase a product. Combined with educational and firm profile videos, video testimonials can help to keep users engaged with your website and ultimately convince them to contact your firm.

As with any element of your marketing strategy, however, execution is everything when it comes to getting the most out of your video testimonials. While you want your clients to come across as sincere and authentic, as opposed to stiff and rehearsed, you also want to make sure that your videos are well produced and professional. In the end, you will want to work with experts that have experience in video marketing to ensure that your video testimonials achieve the right balance between genuine and polished.

Use multiple media types to present your testimonials.

The more media types you use to present your testimonials, the more likely they are to reach the largest possible audience. Some people intuitively trust online reviews more when they can see and hear the reviewer speaking in a video. Others are drawn to a powerful quotation that is set apart from the rest of the text, whether as a pull quote or a quote accompanying a set of before-and-after photos.

While the focus of this blog post has been on integrating client testimonials into your website, don’t be content to stop there. Use your testimonials wherever and however you can: 

  • Publish them to your social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use them as part of case studies that you publish to your blog.
  • Include them in your newsletters and direct-mail campaigns.
  • Display them prominently in your firm brochures and print advertisements.
  • Include a particularly compelling quotation on your business card.

Ultimately, client testimonials combine the best elements of word-of-mouth marketing with the unique power of the Internet to spread messages quickly and to an ever expanding audience. Put some thought and effort into collecting and presenting your testimonials, and your satisfied clients will effectively be promoting your firm 24 hours a day, seven days a week across a variety of platforms.