Online Review Management Guide 2019

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Online Review Management Platforms

:: In 2019, few things can help your digital marketing efforts as much as building a volume of high-quality customer reviews and ratings. Learn how you can get more reviews, better reviews, and build a brand reputation that people can’t resist.

How Does Review Management Help Your Business?

Review management serves to develop a brand that consumers trust. Consumer trust leads to more sales and customer loyalty. Bad reviews, whether or not they are accurate, create consumer skepticism which will hurt your business. Utilizing a reviews management process puts you in control of consumers perceptions about your business, products, and services.

The Effect of Online Reviews on Consumer Purchase Behavior

Per a 2017 survey by Podium, "online reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers"1. Which would you trust more, a company’s self-proclaimed greatness or the comments and feedback of customers? The answer is not only obvious but it also validates the need for strategic management of online reviews. We’ve taken the time to research review management services, software, and platforms. The following is expert advice and tips for leveraging the power of reviews, ratings, and testimonials to boost your business.

Review Management Can Repair Bad Ratings

Repairing a bad online reputation and star ratings is possible. Removing bad reviews is almost impossible. The best practice is to actively solicit new reviews and improve your aggregate rating. Additionally, new reviews will push older reviews further down the list. Older negative reviews are most visible on sites with sorting filters. Again, even here you want to make negative reviews become a minor percentage of your reviews profile. Using a review management platform is the best way to accomplish this challenging task.

Where to Start Your Reviews Management

Create a Strategy and Apply the Best Methods

First, eliminate the common problem. Most companies are guilty of the critical mistake of not having a method to manage their online reputation. The two common behaviors regarding reviews are; occasionally asking a customer to write a review, and panicking when that customer leaves a blistering review. This passive approach places your company’s online reputation in the unchecked whims of the public. Although you have probably have numerous happy customers it’s the dissatisfied customers that seem to be the most motivated to post reviews. This leads to the problem of a biased negative overall rating. You can take control of the situation to lower the risks and increase the benefits.

Creating and shaping the customer experience is critical. A 2017 Inc.com article stated, "Discovering, nurturing, and mobilizing your customers as brand-advocates creates an unbridled potential for generating revenue.".2 There are several ways to do this, and your business model will determine which are optimal for your business. With this said, let’s now discuss what you need to know to move forward.

Five Tips for Building a Review Profile That Will Boost Your Business.

Below are five general points that form the foundation for effective customer review management.

  • 1. Proactively engage every customer for their feedback. Use a platform that enables you to contact customers, and asks the critical questions that shape an ideal review. Engaging customers early also gives you a chance to identify and resolve negative issues before they cause a negative review.
  • 2. Respond to all customer reviews. Some, but not all, review websites allow you to respond to reviews. You should respond to every review, good and bad. Whether it’s saying "thank you for your kind words" or "please call us to discuss your experience" you need to touch the customer.
  • 3. Respond to negative reviews in a neutral manner. The keys to a good response are; acknowledge the customer’s perspective with sincere compassion, communicate cordially and (for negative reviews) invite them to contact you for help.
  • 4. Encourage longer and specific reviews. Ideally, a customer review will include comments on why they chose your business, what they bought, what they like about your business and confirmation they recommend your business. Basically, a good review speaks to what would influence a prospective customer to choose your business.
  • 5. Put your reviews to work. Create a reviews page on your website, tastefully distribute reviews on search engines, social media platforms, and video platforms. There are best practices for this, and a good management platform enables you to do much of this with ease.

Do You Want Online Review Help Now?

If you want to get started with professional online review management services we can help you. We offer review management services and optimization expertise to boost ratings and visibility. Contact us!

How a Review Management Platform Can Empower You

The best review management platforms were developed based on proven methods to nurture customer relationships. Platforms sculpted around consumer behavior psychology and search engine preferences give you a huge opportunity to win more customers. In fact, Google has increasingly applied psychology into its search ranking algorithms. A 2016 article by technology writer Jess Carson reported, "In 2005, Google launched its "personalized search" algorithm update. This was the first time they created an update that was specifically tailored for consumer satisfaction rather than business needs.".3

Get Star Ratings in Google Search Results

Prospective customers notice the stars and are influenced by the rating system. Knowing how to get star ratings in Google search results is very important. Online marketing expert Neil Patel wrote an article that introduces Schema markup and explains its power. Per Neil Patel, "Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. If you’ve ever used rich snippets, you’ll understand exactly what schema markup is all about."4

Firstly, your digital marketing company should know how to boost website SEO by using Schema markup. There is a particular (and proper) way to integrate Schema markup into your site to affect getting star ratings for your website in search results. Where you can multiply your competitive advantage is getting star ratings in your Google Ads (seller ratings), product listings, and more. More stars in more places means more business.

Comparing Review Management Platforms

What are the best review management platforms? That depends on what you need, but we’ve saved you countless hours of investigating. We’ve reviewed, worked with and compared many online review management platforms. We considered information on vendor websites, third-party evaluation sites and applied our own user experiences. Among those we’ve worked with or researched are: Avochato, Birdeye, Brand24, Jump, LocalClarity, Podium, ReviewInc, ShopperApproved, SproutSocial, Synup, TrustPilot, Yext, and Yotpo. There are numerous others that we gave only a cursory glance and did not consider in our research.

Our study focused on platform features, pricing, and overall value. An important characteristic to note is that comparing these platforms reveals an apples-and-oranges mix of providers. There are significant differences (limitations) among these platforms. We found these types of companies within the overall mix:

  • Me-Too Platforms that have developed a service to sell but the system does not seem to be well structured, feature-rich or user-friendly. Some of these are names you’ve probably heard that created an add-on service to sell.
  • Social Oriented Platforms which play off of the social aspect of customer engagement. These platforms appear very weak in terms of optimization potential that improves ranking, visibility and get the all-important stars ratings.
  • Up-and-Coming Platforms which have decent features, need further development, but have positive user reviews. While these platforms indicate they have good potential, it does not make sense to use them and limit your ability to get top-notch results.
  • Top Tier Established Platforms These are the people who have been in the game for a number of years and are specialists at review and reputation management. These vendors have feature-rich, user-friendly platforms, good customer support, and solid track records of success. The biggest differentiators here are price and the knowledge required to integrate and manage the platform.

Choosing the right platform is extremely important! You do not want to find yourself a year into working with a vendor, become dissatisfied and try to migrate your reviews out of their system. This can cause a LOT of problems with visibility, broken links, loss of optimization and more. Make certain you engage the services of a vendor that can meet your present and future needs.

A snapshot assessment of our company review of the review companies is summed up in the following graphic.

A Side-By-Side Comparison of 3 Popular Review Management Platforms.

Online Review Management Platforms and Software Services

Our Recommendation

We’re advocates for ShopperApproved. In fact, this is the review management company we have chosen as our vendor of choice. We are a ShopperApproved Certified Partner, and can help you with set-up, training and extended integration into your website. We provide the services to manage the details and boost your online review profile. Contact us to get started!


Ready to get more and better reviews? Need to correct review and rating problems? Call us at 770-429-5300 or contact us online to learn more.


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS

  • 1 Laurie Fullerton, "Online reviews impact purchasing decisions for over 93% of consumers, report suggests", March 27, 2017, Available from The Drum
  • 2 Sujan Patel, "Customer Engagement Is the New Marketing", July 6, 2017, Available from Inc.com
  • 3 Jess Carson, "SEO and Psychology: The Behavior of the Online Consumer", February 4, 2016, Available from The MakeGood
  • 4 Neil Patel, "How to Boost Your SEO by Using Schema Markup", May 6, 2014, Available from NeilPatel.com

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