Research has long shown nothing is more powerful than a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source, but a new study shows failing to fully back it up by properly managing your online reputation will quickly subvert the hard work you invested to get someone to pass your name along.
In other words, due to the near-universal reach and acceptance of the Internet, online recommendations are now approaching equality in importance with offline advice.
So says Cone in its 2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker report: “Our latest research reveals four-out-of-five consumers have changed their minds about purchasing a recommended product or service based solely on negative information they found online.”
That’s up from 67 percent of consumers in 2010, according to Cone, one of the country’s oldest and most respected advertising, public relations and strategic branding agencies. And, it’s consistent with what we see in our own law firm marketing surveys and hear when interviewing law firm clients, both business executives and in-house counsel, about how they vet lawyers.
“Online information, a trustworthy source for 89 percent of consumers, has the power to make or break a recommendation,” Cone reported.
That backs up what recent surveys, one of more than 500 in-house lawyers, have revealed about how lawyers can best market their practices. Failing to have listings and having no or a weaker rating in databases such as Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, AVVO, or having no presence on, say, LinkedIn, all serve to make retention unlikely, said house counsel in recent landmark surveys conducted by BTI Consulting and American Lawyer Media.
“Personal recommendations are just not enough,” said the Cone report. “The explosion of online word-of-mouth channels and the adoption of online verification have forever changed the marketing landscape.”