Is reputation management important?
Research from Uberall shows if you increase your online review star ratings by 0.1, you can boost your online conversions by 25 percent. A review reply rate of 30 percent also raises conversion rates by 80 percent. With reputation management, businesses can increase their revenue consistently over time.
Most businesses need help, though.
Reputation management has changed; the industry has grown into a large and sophisticated service. It’s too much for the average company to handle. Poor habits like bad review blackmail and hate trolling and the large volume of reviews make it difficult for businesses to keep up.
With the right reputation management agency, you can build a strong reputation and a stable review portfolio.
Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes
Review management requires a consistent amount of work. Many people think that it’s simply about requesting lots of online reviews from customers. There’s more to it than that. If you’re going to make reputation management work for your business, you’ll need to understand your goals and objectives clearly.
These goals don’t have to be complicated.
They’re tied to the benefits that reputation management provides. Those benefits are focused on a specific set of outcomes. You can use these as your example goals and objectives; here’s an example to show you what I mean.
- Strong reviews boost conversion rates
- Makes your advertising cheaper
- Makes your advertising more effective
- Increases search engine visibility
If you’re aware of the results you can achieve with reputation management, you can use those results to create a specific list of goals for your agency.
- A 17 percent conversion lift
- Reduce advertising costs by 20 percent
- Boost online reviews profiles in Google search results by 30 percent
- Use review portfolios to increase traffic by 16 percent
Here’s what you’ll need to help your agency set goals and objectives.
- Benchmarking current performance (e.g., number of reviews, traffic from review profiles)
- Set goals and objectives
- Create a list of metrics and KPIs
- Identify, claim, and optimize review profiles
Getting this information upfront provides your agency with the data they need to set your campaign up.
4 Characteristics that Make a Great Reputation Management Agency
Is it easy to find an agency?
Here’s a breakdown of the characteristics that make a great reputation management agency. When you’re vetting an agency, you’ll want to look for agencies that display the attributes listed below. It isn’t a guarantee of success, but it does help ensure that you can get consistent results.
1. Their service is both proactive and reactive
In the 90s, reputation management was mostly focused on removing negative content online. Things have changed since then; today, reputation management campaigns are both proactive and reactive.
Requesting online reviews from customers, building strong review profiles, and responding to customers is a proactive way to improve your reputation. Burying toxic, inaccurate, or misleading content is a reactive strategy that’s still necessary but doesn’t provide a complete picture of online reputation management campaigns.
You’ll want an agency that both proactive and reactive. They’re able to bury the content that needs to be buried, but they’re also able to help build your reputation consistently over time. This sounds obvious, but it isn’t a common occurrence.
Some reputation management agencies are still mostly reactive.
They focus their attention on burying content; they’re more proactive in the sense that they help to build content, inappropriate content. If your agency isn’t proactive, you’ll be stuck reacting to negative content and events as it appears instead of getting out in front of it.
2. Campaigns are focused on customers
Old-school reputation management campaigns are focused on critics, enemies, or opponents. New school agencies focus on building positive relationships with customers. Happy customers are usually willing to write four and five-star reviews. The right reputation management agency will focus on:
- Helping you take care of your customers
- Requesting reviews from customers
- Building reviews up on the right platforms
- Generating publicity and increasing visibility
- Responding to unfair attacks
The right agency will boost your company’s reputation, protect you from unfair attacks, and help you scale your review management campaigns. They’ll focus their attention on taking care of your customers and inviting them to leave genuine feedback.
3. Reputation management is ongoing
Reputation decays over time.
Consumers think reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant or as important as fresh reviews. This means reputation management needs to be ongoing to be successful.
Your agency should provide you with that ongoing service; they should provide you with the people, processes, and tools needed to manage your reputation appropriately. They should have a team in place to manage outreach with customers, publications, and press.
Reputation management needs to be consistent if it’s going to be successful.
4. They have experience with local search
Local searches are growing 50 percent faster than mobile search. This is important because online reviews are part of the local ranking factors determining your performance in Google local search and Google Maps. Your reputation management agency should have experience in running and managing local search campaigns.
The easier it is to integrate local search, the better your reputation management campaigns will perform.
Your agency should be able to manage your local search campaigns from beginning to end. They should also be able to integrate your reputation management and local search campaigns. This isn’t all that complicated but it’s still something to look for when vetting a reputation management agency.
How to Find the Right Reputation Management Agency For You
The easiest and most efficient way to find a good reputation management firm is to search for them in Google. You’re looking for a reputation management firm that has positive reviews, press, and mentions online. Firms with good reviews show that they practice what they preach.
This isn’t always an automatic win.
Agencies typically don’t spend a whole lot of time on their website and marketing. They’re usually focused on the work they’re doing for their clients. So it’s not an automatic deal breaker if clients don’t have positive reviews, press, or mentions online.
You can also use review platforms to find the right reputation management agency. Here are a few review platforms you can use to vet your agencies:
Each of these review platforms can provide you with a list of agencies that have good reviews.
How to Work With a Reputation Management Agency
Here’s a list of the specific steps you’ll need to take to be successful with your agency.
- Give your agency access. You’ll want to set things up so your agency has access to your review profiles. You can use tools like LastPass to share your credentials with clients.
- Share tools and resources. If you’re using third-party review management software, you’ll want to provide your clients with the credentials they need to work with your agency.
- Work with your agency to create a crisis management plan. This should determine what happens if you have a major crisis or reputational problem. This plan should cover review bomb, review blackmail, and other crises.
- Clarify legal requirements. If you have specific instructions, rules, or requirements that discuss legalities, you’ll want to make sure your agency is aware of these requirements ahead of time.
- Specify how you’ll monitor your reputation. Your agency should tell you how they plan to monitor your online reputation, and what they’ll do to attract more reviews. They should clarify the questions people receive from customers.
These tactics are important because they show you how to work with your reputation management agency.
The Top 5 Reputation Management Agencies
You can use review aggregators like Clutch.co, HubSpot Agency Directory, Sortlist, or TopSEOs to find the agency that’s right for you. We’ve created a helpful shortlist of some of the best reputation management agencies in the industry.
1. NP Digital – Best for Local SEO and Reputation Management
NP Digital is my agency. If you’re familiar with my work, you know that I have a strong background with search engine optimization and marketing. I built an agency called Pronet Advertising more than 17 years ago, while I was still in high school.
I’ve been involved in search engine optimization and marketing for almost two decades! That’s given me a lot of time to learn about how reputation management works and how it connects with search. I’ve taken all of the lessons I’ve learned from Pronet, to Quicksprout, to NeilPatel.com (now) and I’ve used that to build my agency.
2. ReputationX – Best for Reputation Recovery
While ReputationX offers both proactive and reactive services, they’re definitely more on the reactionary side of things. They offer services like SERP removal, search result suppression, DMCA removals, reputation protection, international reputation management.
They do offer review management, but it’s not their primary focus.
3. Thrive – Best for Small Business Review Management
Thrive is a full service agency that offers reputation management and reputation repair services. Their services are proactive and reactive, and they’re experienced with both the service and software side of reputation management.
As a full service agency, they’re focused on a large number of other services; if you’re looking for a full service agency Thrive may be a fit.
4. Reputation Rhino – Best for Individuals
Reputation Rhino specializes in online reputation management; they serve small- and midsize businesses and individuals. Since then they’ve expanded to create a range of brand management and internet marketing services that they use with their main service — reputation management.
5. Reputation Defense Network – Best for Reputation Management Specialist
The Reputation Defense Network specializes in reactive reputation management. They focus their attention on deleting negative content, protecting client brand reputation, and identifying anonymous hackers, defamers, and attackers.
They use their 27-point removal audit to show you how to bury negative content.
Increase star ratings by 0.1 percent and you boost conversions dramatically. Reply to customer reviews consistently, and you grow revenue by an additional 80 percent.
Review management requires a lot of work. Many people think it’s simply about requesting lots of online reviews from customers or responding to negative feedback. There’s more to it than that; with the right reputation management agency, you can build a strong reputation and a stable review portfolio.