Reviews are the trust signals and word of mouth for online businesses. They decide whether visitors choose that 2 star or 4 star restaurant, how good a product or service is, and give new customers a sense of how your business fares compared to competitors. 

Research shows that on average a business needs to have at least 40 reviews before someone will believe its star rating is accurate. 

There’s more to helping your business succeed than just collecting lots of reviews, though. You also need to have a plan in place for how you’re going to analyze, monitor, and respond to those reviews. 

This is where review management software can come in very handy. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this type of software and find out how you can choose the right one for your business.

Benefits of Online Review Management Software

There are many reasons to use online review management software to help you stay on top of your business’s internet presence. Here are some of the greatest advantages the right software can provide:

●    Address customer questions and complaints faster and more easily
●    Grow your business’s online presence faster
●    Keep track of reviews from different channels more easily
●    Save money and time by keeping all important information in one place
●    Access online feedback anytime and anywhere

When you use certain review management software tools, you can also gather reviews directly through your website with a customer reviews extension. This makes it even easier for you to collect feedback and bolster your business’s reputation.

What to Look for in Review Management Software

Review management software can provide a lot of benefits for you and your company. To experience these and other benefits, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right platform for your business’s needs. 

The following are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re weighing the pros and cons of different platforms and deciding which one is a good fit for you and your team:

Business Size

One of the first things to take into account is the size of your business. All kinds of businesses, from real estate brokerages to healthcare clinics, receive online reviews these days. The review management needs of these businesses vary, though, depending on their size. 

For example, if you have just one location or run a small online business, you likely can get by just fine with a relatively simple review management system. As long as you can keep track of the basics like reviews and customer mentions, you’ll be in good shape.  

If your business has two or three locations, a more complex system might be beneficial. You’ll want to make sure you’ve invested in software that allows you to monitor for reviews for multiple locations all in one place.

For larger business franchises that have more than three locations, you’ll likely need something more robust. When you have different managers and employees working at various locations, there’s a lot of room for differing reviews for your business, and you’ll want to be able to keep reviews straight and figure out what kind of reception each location is getting from its respective community.

Software Features

There are many different review management software tools for you to choose from, and they all boast different features. 

It’s easy to get bogged down in a list of features and assume that more is always better. However, that’s not always the case. Pay less attention to the length of the features list and focus more on whether or not the software you’re considering offers features that will be most beneficial to your business.

The following are some of the features that you may find most helpful when it comes to managing reviews and your online presence:

  • Automatic review monitoring
  • Automatic review generation (emails sent automatically to encourage customers to leave reviews)
  • Social media management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • In-app review response (rather than having to exit the app and go to the review site directly)
  • Multi-location monitoring and reporting (a must if you have more than one location for your business)

Some tools also offer features that help you leverage positive reviews. For example, they might provide options for you to convert positive reviews into website content and social media posts that are SEO-friendly and further boost your brand.

Website Compatibility

Make sure that any software you’re thinking about using is compatible with popular directories and review websites. If it doesn’t work with the platforms that your customers use most often, it’s not going to be much good to you and your business.

Here are some specific websites and tools with which your review management software ought to be compatible:

  • Facebook Brand pages
  • Facebook Local Pages
  • Google My Business
  • Facebook Messenger 
  • TripAdvisor

It’s also important that you pick a review management software that works well with your website. Whether you have a Drupal website, a WordPress website, a Magento website, or any other type of site, make sure your software is compatible with it and keeps everything running smoothly while also helping you gather reviews and other important pieces of information. 

You may want to check out Magento customer reviews or Drupal customer reviews for different review management platforms, specifically. That way, you can ensure they work with your existing website and save yourself from a lot of potential headaches later on. 

Integrations

Another thing to consider is the online customer reviews integration capabilities. The right review management software will integrate with other online tools and help you streamline workflows and be on top of everything related to managing your company’s reputation. 

For example, many advanced review management tools can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software. This, in turn, allows you to contact customers more easily and encourage them to leave positive reviews. 

Your review management tool might integrate with your marketing software, too. This will help you combine review management efforts with other marketing efforts, such as lead generation and email blasts.

Pricing

Pricing varies quite a bit for review management software, as it does for any kind of online tool. 

If you have several locations for your business and are looking for a tool that offers a more robust suite of features, for example, you’re going to pay more than someone who only has one location and just needs help with the basics. Cloud-based solutions will often be more affordable than their on-premise counterparts, too.

There are ways to reduce the cost of your reputation management software, though. In some cases, you might be able to secure a discount if you choose a longer contract and/or pay annually rather than month-to-month. You might also be able to work with the provider directly and negotiate a lower price.

It’s a good idea to compare prices before settling on a review management software. Keep in mind that you generally will get what you pay for when shopping for these kinds of tools. If you want to see great results and experience the benefits of online review management, it might be worth it for you to invest more in a platform that provides the features you need to learn from your customers and help your business grow.

The Best Review Management Software Options

Every business requires something different from its review management software. Luckily, there are different options on the market from which you can choose. Here are five of the top online review management tools that we at August Ash trust, love, and recommend to our clients:

1. GatherUp

GatherUp is a great option for online businesses looking for a tool that integrates well with other platforms they might already be using. 

It allows you to request reviews on over 100 different sites and makes it easy for you to send branded email requests and automated reminders. It also provides robust reporting tools so you can analyze your business’s reviews and online presence to make the best decisions for the future.  

Pricing for GatherUp starts at $75 per month per location.

2. Podium Reviews

If you run an eCommerce business, Podium Reviews is a good online review management tool to consider

Podium allows you to set up automated review invites and gather reviews with ease to increase your online presence and grow your audience. It provides in-depth reporting, too, so you can assess your performance and make adjustments as needed to keep your business moving in the right direction. This platform comes with an easy-to-use mobile app and offers in-app response as well.

Podium offers custom pricing based on your business’s specific needs. Contact them directly to ask for a quote. 

3. BrightLocal

For businesses that have a strong local presence, you can’t go wrong with BrightLocal. 

BrightLocal is a robust local marketing platform that helps you stay on top of search engine rankings, business listings, online reputation, and more. Thousands of businesses worldwide use this tool, and they’re impressed with its reputation management features. You can use BrightLocal to generate reviews, monitor top review sites, respond to reviews, and manage negative feedback with ease.

Pricing for BrightLocal starts at $29 per month for a single business with up to three locations. Billing begins after a free two-week trial.

4. Yotpo

Yotpo is a great system for large businesses that want to handle everything related to building and managing their brand from one place. 

Yotpo’s reviews and ratings suite allows you to collect reviews with ease. It also gives you the tools you need to leverage those reviews and turn them into customer content and unique sales opportunities. 

This platform allows you to send automated requests for reviews and publish community Q&As to address frequently asked questions about your business’s products or services. It features an on-site customer review extension and lets people leave reviews directly from your business’s website.

Yotpo comes with a free version that is great for businesses looking to try the system before they buy. If you decide you like this platform you can reach out to learn about their flexible pricing plans.

5. Trustpilot 

Trustpilot is the perfect fit for businesses in need of a review management tool with easy integration. It’s one of the world’s most trusted review platforms and is known for providing access to a variety of tools along with unparalleled customer service.

This software offers a series of features to help you gather, manage, showcase, and analyze online reviews. It also provides additional tools so you can transform your positive reviews into better sales, improved search engine rankings, and greater business growth. 

Pricing for Trust Pilot starts at $199 per month. 

Need More Help Choosing and Integrating a Review Management Platform?

Gathering and showcasing online customer reviews plays an essential role in helping you to build credibility and demonstrate your business’s value. The right review management software can make it easier for you to manage your online reviews and utilize them in a way that truly helps to grow your business. 

If you need help choosing the right platform for your company’s unique needs, be sure to keep the tips listed above in mind. Don’t hesitate to reach out to August Ash and ask for help as well. 

In addition to assisting with digital marketing and website development, we also have over 21 years of experience strategizing and integrating review management platforms into Drupal, Magento, Wordpress, and Shopify sites. We’re happy to work with you to address any of your review management questions or concerns.