When was the last time you bought something without first reading the reviews? When did you last entrust a professional with your time and money without looking for testimonials? How many times in the last week alone were you targeted by fancy online ads that feature your websites you’ve visited or brands you’ve previously bought from?
Whether you’re purchasing a new washer from a department store or perusing Yelp to find a scuba diving instructor, it’s difficult these days to take a leap of faith on any product or service without knowing its track record with consumers just like you. Why? Because we’re all at the mercy of social proof.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that makes people follow in the actions of the majority as a means to be liked, validated, or accepted by others. While this definition alone seems manipulative and might even bring out the contrarian in you, social proof seeps into almost everything that we do and guides the way in which consumers wield their purchasing power.
In other words, social proof dictates that, if enough people find a product or service valuable, it’s likely going to bring value to you too.
Common forms of social proof on digital platforms include:
- Case studies: Empirical, data-driven analyses that quantify a firm or product’s strengths.
- Testimonials: Short, personalized recommendations from past or current clients.
- Reviews: An objective critique of a client’s experience with a firm or product.
- Social media: Online platforms that allow brands to communicate and engage directly with their consumer base, who can “share” a brand’s product or message with the rest of their communities.
- Endorsements from trusted figures and companies: Promotions by celebrities, industry giants, and other influential entities that can be both powerful and meaningful, especially if the endorsement comes unpaid.
- Media exposure: News clippings, feature articles, cover pieces, and other media mentions that highlight your firm’s successes.
- Data and statistics: Numerical evidence of your claims, such as how many five-star reviews you have or what percentage of past clients expressed satisfaction with your work.
- Certifications: Proof that a certifying and accrediting organization evaluated your operations and product specs and gave its seal of approval. Many of these organizations have logos that can be freely displayed on your site.
Even something as simple as a good company logo that’s eye-catching and memorable can move the tides of social proof in your direction! If applied robustly and crafted to adequately fill gaps in consumer knowledge and uncertainty, social proof strategies can increase conversion from leads to deals by 20 to upwards of 400 percent.
How Does Social Proof Work for My Law Firm?
Chances are that your law firm is already applying a strong dose of social proof to earn new clients and realizing the benefits. When you get referrals from past clients or someone recognizes you as the attorney who handled that landmark case, you see the effects of social proof at work.
But is your law firm’s website design optimized to earn prospective clients’ trust and business? Is your reputation management robust enough to generate a domino effect of new clients who are eager to work with you?
If you answered no, here’s what digital social proof strategies can do for your law firm.
Boosts Your Credibility with Prospects
The reality is that most clients will approach your firm’s website with a certain degree of skepticism and distrust: A 2016 Hubspot survey found that only 12 percent of people consider attorneys to be trustworthy, right alongside accountants and just slightly under dentists. It’s hard out there for anyone to be immediately seen as professional and credible!
This is where the power of a third-party opinion in the form of reviews and testimonials becomes a gamechanger. Keep in mind that a whopping 93 percent of consumers aged between 35 and 54 “always” read online reviews, 89 percent of which trust what they read as much as personal recommendations from family and friends.
If you can receive objective testimonials from clients who were also once skeptical prospects to vouch for the value and reliability of your services, you can win over, at the very least, the attention of other skeptical prospects. To also legitimize your testimonial, be sure to ask willing clients if you can present grounding details (insofar as it does not breach attorney-client privilege and reasonable anonymity), such as their first name, the company they work for, their position or occupation, etc. Give them credibility before they give you credibility.
Informs Prospects on What They Care About (And Didn’t Know They Cared About)
People peruse your website to find out a variety of information: Some want to know how aggressively your team fought for their interests in court while others may care about your availability, communication skills, and punctuality. Still others may seek information about your fees, your location, and your resume.
Whatever the case, testimonials and particularly reviews allow your clients the space to honestly share their experience working with you, thus delivering unbiased opinions of what prospects want to know as well as what they didn’t know they cared about until they read the testimonial!
For instance, one client might praise your ability to speak languages other than English and how working with you in their native tongue made them feel more at ease. Another might detail a legal problem that’s identical to the one that your prospect is in and, by lauding the case’s positive outcome, earn you a new client. The more detailed and specific your testimonials are, the more they’ll educate prospects about what you’re capable of.
Get Started Off on the Right Foot
The promise of social proof is not only in bringing in new folks who you can serve but also in helping you start your relationships off right on a foundation of trust, mutual understanding, and cooperation. By earning your prospects’ trust and transparently giving them the information they seek, you can, through the use of social proof, mold your clients’ mindset towards optimism and hope—things anyone seeking legal counsel can use.
If you’re ready to take full advantage of the power of digital social proof, Fletcher Digital is prepared to help. Our experienced professional web designers specialize in handcrafting web pages for law firms and independent practitioners alike. Whether you’re rebuilding your website or developing a new one from scratch, our strategies will burst open doors for prospects and drive new business in your direction.