How do you decide which brand of shoes to buy or where to eat for dinner? For most of us, a big part of the process is checking out online reviews.
For all the work you put into controlling how your brand is perceived online, reviews are a powerful part of the picture you can’t control. But while what’s said in a review is entirely up to your customers, there are steps you can take to manage your reviews.
Why Review Management is Important
Review management has three main components:
- Encouraging customers to leave reviews
- Responding to reviews that customers have left, especially (but not exclusively) negative ones
- Taking time to read and learn from your reviews
In the age of the empowered customer, all of these steps are more important than ever before. If review management isn’t a current priority for your business, there are a few good reasons to consider making it one.
Reviews Directly Influence Purchasing Decisions
In BrightLocal’s consumer survey, 84% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses—over a quarter of them saying they always read reviews before buying.
68% of consumers in that same survey said they’re more likely to go with a business that has good reviews. But just as importantly, Review Trackers found that 94% of customers have chosen not to buy a product because of a single bad review.
In both surveys, the importance of reviews was clear across industries. Whether you sell clothes, cars, or health care services—people are using reviews to decide whether to choose you.
If you want to convert, you have to do the work of earning good reviews and managing bad ones to minimize how effective they are and show that you really care.
Reviews Influence SEO, Especially for Local Businesses
Reviews are widely regarded by search engine optimization (SEO) professionals to be one of the most important ranking factors in local search.
Moz’s analysis of local ranking factors estimates that reviews make up about 15% of how Google measures a website’s value when determining what should go in the local pack—the results that show up in a cluster next to the map in local results—and about 6% of how they determine rankings for organic local results.
However, an analysis by Yotpo also found that reviews influence SEO in general—not just for local search. They looked at 30,000 businesses that added reviews to their website and found that it had a significant impact on their SEO results.
If your business cares about SEO, increasing the number of positive reviews you receive can improve your rankings and help bring more potential customers to your website in the process.
Reviews Tell You How to Improve Your Business and Products
Businesses rely on customer feedback to make sure their products, messaging, and overall business strategy align with what their audiences actually want. Getting that feedback often requires work on the company’s part, but reviews are basically free input your customers provide willingly.
Alan Santillan, Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd, says this is one of the biggest benefits their customers get from actively doing review management. “Software companies using the review tech provided by G2 Crowd have the information necessary to improve their product and provide a better overall customer experience,” he explains.
When you make managing reviews an active part of your process, you gain consistent insights into what your customers are thinking and feeling, and are alerted to opportunities to do better.
Reviews Can become a Marketing Tool
Good reviews can be added to your website or incorporated into your marketing materials to help with conversions. Even bad reviews provide an opportunity to visibly show you care about making things right in the way you respond. Customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews and, notably, 44% of consumers say they’re more likely to go with a business that does so.
In marketing, your own words are never quite as powerful as those of someone with nothing to gain by praising your business. That makes genuine reviews from actual customers a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit.
10 Review Management Products to Consider
Review management is clearly important, but it’s only gotten harder to do in recent years as more review sites have come onto the scene. Between Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook—just to name the biggest players—you have a lot of sites to follow, and a lot of places to encourage reviews.
Review management software has become an important part of staying on top of it all. These are some of the most well-known products on the market to consider.
ReviewTrackers is a powerful review management product that allows you track reviews across 100 websites in one place. You’ll see new reviews right after they’re posted and can proactively respond to them in the same platform. The product also turns the feedback from your reviews into data that makes it easier to track trends in what your customers are saying.
Birdeye’s review management software provides a number of useful features. It helps you increase the number of reviews you get by making it easy to send review requests through a number of different channels. It helps you monitor reviews across over 150 websites and respond quickly with a streamlined process that includes automation options. And it makes it easy for you to share and display your best reviews for marketing purposes.
Podium is a review management platform for local businesses. It allows you to text review requests to customers right after an interaction, using templates that speed up the process, and it lets you track and respond to reviews across a number of sites in one place. One of the product’s big selling points is that it’s easy to use on mobile for both you and your customers.
Yotpo’s review management software provides a number of ways to encourage reviews from your customers across platforms, including with review request emails and on-site review widgets. It also lets you customize the review form, so you can ask customers to weigh in on specific aspects of the product, like fit or ease of use. The product also helps you get more traction from your reviews by displaying them throughout your website and on third-party sites like Google and Facebook.
Broadly automates review collection for local businesses by sending emails or texts that request one-click reviews from customers. When you get reviews on third-party sites, the product makes it easy to add them to your website to help you convert new visitors.
With Grade.us, you can set up campaigns to proactively collect feedback from your customers so you can do damage control with unhappy customers before they get to the point of leaving public reviews, and encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. You can request reviews through a number of different channels, and track your reviews across the third-party sites you want to follow. The platform also makes it easy to share your best reviews on your website and social media.
7. Yext Reviews
Like the other solutions, Yext helps you automate the process of sending review requests in order to encourage more feedback. The product also makes it easy to track the reviews you receive so you can respond quickly when needed. You can use their widgets to easily add the top reviews to your own website and to your local page in the SERP.
ReviewBox is a review management product for ecommerce brands that sell products through marketplaces such as Amazon, WalMart, and Target. It helps you track the reviews and product questions that come up on all of the sites as they come in, so you can react quickly. And it makes it easy to analyze all your past reviews to gain insights into the feedback people provide.
Shopper Approved helps you actively solicit reviews from customers, then syndicates them to multiple locations around the web, like Google and Yahoo. It also makes it easy to display your reviews next to the products on your own website, and alert you to bad reviews before they’re published so you have a chance to fix the problem.
This is the review management software solution used by Jeff Moriarty, marketing manager at Mothers Family Rings who likes it because, “this system auto-sends review requests two weeks post-purchase. Unlike other systems out there, it requests reviews on all the different review sites, including Google My Business, BBB, Reseller Ratings, and others.”
TrustPilot automates the process of inviting customers to provide a review by making it into a one-click process. It also makes it easy to share your reviews and average ratings on your website and other sites around the web to help increase trust and conversions, and provide notifications whenever a new review comes in.
Your reviews are a significant part of the way consumers view your brand. While the messaging included in the reviews is up to your customers, you can help shape the vision they provide for your business by creating a review management strategy that helps you take back some control.
Do you have brand management and customer relationship tips you’d like to share? Email us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org!