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The Best Review Software For Businesses
As everyone knows, getting online reviews has become more and more important for any successful business. Whether you have a locally owned brick-and-mortar shop or an online eCommerce store, reviews are massively important in today’s economy and marketplace.
In fact, a recent study showed that over 85% of people trust online reviews, as much as they trust friends and family telling them about that same thing. Online reviews have become so powerful that they’re now essentially word-of-mouth advertising online.
Think about this, the average person – if they really like something, will tell three people about it. But if they write a review online in the correct space, that review can be seen by hundreds or thousands of people every single month. Online reviews have become the quintessential way to build your trust, build your reputation, and speed up your sales cycle.
And it does not stop there. Did you know reviews can help you with search engine optimization (SEO) as well? That’s right! Sites like Google and Amazon are all looking at reviews (How frequently are reviews left? How good are the reviews? How quickly do owners respond to reviews?). All these aspects factor into your SEO score and how highly you will rank when somebody searches for the products or services you’re offering.
With this in mind, it’s very clear that getting reviews is crucial for your business. But oftentimes, getting reviews is easier said than done. I can’t tell you how many business owners I’ve talked to when we’re signing them on as a client about the need to get them more reviews online in the right places. And they are always confident they can rack up a ton of reviews from their clients in no time. But when we check back a month later, they’re stuck with the same number of reviews they had, and it’s not from the lack of trying.
Because of this, we’ve created multiple review systems, both manual review systems, as well as utilizing review software to really help clients capture those positive reviews. If the average person leaves a review 10% of the time, with our systems in place, they are likely to leave a review 30 to 50% of the time. That’s a huge increase in the number of reviews and that increases your bottom line significantly.
So with that being said, I’m going to review some of the best review software and some of the worst review software that is out there today.
Many people have not heard of SoTellUs as a review software, probably because they are not one of those massive, venture-backed software systems. SoTellUs is a locally owned family organization based out of Phoenix, Arizona, and is by far the best review software we have used.
So let’s dive into some of the really unique features and why we use SoTellus as our main review software for our clients.
1. Great Price Point
To begin, many review management platforms out there are charging between $200 and $300 a month to utilize their review software. For me, that’s excessive. When I found SoTellUs, I was thrilled to find that their starting package starts at $99 a month.
With this plan, you get to push out reviews to any major platform you want. You can actually set it up within your dashboard to ask people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook and others. It doesn’t matter where you want your reviews, they have a ton of platforms that are integrated into the software. Additionally, you can set up the software to automatically send out messages or text messages depending on your CRM systems. Or you can manually ask people to leave reviews.
2. Only Publishes the Best Reviews
Another great feature about this review software is that it will only ask people to push reviews if they have rated you four or five stars, ensuring that only the best reviews are being left in the places that matter most. If someone does leave a review of less than four stars, the review will still be sent to you without being published elsewhere. This serves as feedback on how you can improve your business without having that negative review posted everywhere online.
3. Reward System for Sharing Reviews
Another cool feature that comes with the upgraded package is that you can set up your review system in such a way that you offer a “reward” in exchange for the client sharing their review on social media. For instance, you can offer a 10% discount or $10 off whatever service or product they are buying in exchange for sharing their review on social media. This is a great way to directly drive traffic from people leaving reviews.
4. Integrated Feature for Video Reviews
The upgraded package also allows people to easily leave video reviews. Normally, video testimonials are extremely important but difficult to do in most cases. SoTellUs offers a super-easy way for anyone without even having their app to leave a video review that gets integrated into their review widget and displayed alongside written reviews on your website.
5. Customizable Review Widget
The software also comes with a customizable widget (mentioned above) that you can add to your website. This widget captures reviews from every online place that collects reviews like Google maps, Facebook, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and so on, and displays them on your website.
Because these reviews show where they’re coming from, that builds a lot of trust and adds more credibility than if you were to just type out a review that somebody gave you and put a name.
6. Dedicated Onboarding Specialist
Despite being fairly easy to use, SoTellUs has a dedicated onboarding specialist to help you set everything up. You can also reach out to them if any issues arise in the future and they’ll be quick to respond.
In a nutshell, we have found SoTellUs to be the best, all-around review software with the best features and usability. That is why we use it for about 70 to 80% of our clients who are utilizing review software.
Bonus Feature: SoTellus also has a free light package that allows you to access some of the features for free. For instance, you can integrate the review widget into your website but it will only grab a limited number of reviews from each platform.
How Does SoTellUs Match Up Against Some of the Well-Known Review Management Software?
Birdeye came onto the scene in a strong way about five years ago. Since launching, they’ve been one of the biggest review software available. However, there are several factors that make them not very favorable for businesses.
Unethical Business Practices
One of the things that Birdeye did after launching, which I thought was fairly unethical, is they actually captured their clients’ business data and started using their reviews online on their own website. By doing this, they were able to steal traffic from businesses and drive a huge amount of traffic to their own website.
High Price Point
In addition to being one of the biggest review software, they’re also one of the most pushy and sales-oriented review management platforms I have come across.
I had a meeting with Birdeye, where they wanted to sell me on utilizing those services as a white label partner. So I have inside data on how Birdeye is forcing its white label partners to charge certain amounts, which I also thought was highly unethical.
So for us, we had to charge a minimum of $299 for each client (after getting the software at about $80 a license) for the same features that other companies like SoTellUs offer for a fraction of the price. To me, that would be a huge increase in profit margin, but I would be charging clients way more than the value of the software.
Along with the fact that they essentially stole reviews from their clients and utilized them to drive traffic for their website, I found Birdeye to not be an overly ethical company. I believe they are charging way too much money for their products and are far more focused on making a profit than on helping their customers succeed.
Fairly Good Features
In terms of review management, Birdeye does fairly the same thing as most other review software. They have both online ways of leaving reviews, and you can also text people if you have their phone numbers.
They also have a system in place where if someone leaves anything below a four-star review, they are not asked to push the review to other places, thereby helping prevent having a lot of negative reviews online
Added Citation Management Tool
One of the things that Birdeye does well is it helps with citation management or getting your listing data across all of these local business sites. Still, there are other far better solutions for citation management that are far more cost-effective than Birdeye.
Podium is one of the other well-known review softwares out there and has a fairly good reputation overall. But it is not without its shortcomings.
High Price Point
The biggest negative to Podium, again, is the price point. Starting at $299 a month, it is a quite high price point for what you’re getting. And it’s the number one reason why most of my clients have chosen to stop utilizing Podium as much.
There are many other software programs out there like SoTellUs that offer very similar products and services to Podium but at a much lower price point.
Integrated Payment System
The one thing that Podium does really well is that it allows you to take payment through the software, through text messages. It also allows you to communicate very easily with your clients both through messaging and text messages, among other great features.
Overall, Podium is a decent review software and my clients that use it are fairly happy with it. I would recommend Podium over Birdeye if you’re weighing your options between the two platforms. And thanks to their integrated payment management system, Podium can definitely make sense for some businesses.
SoTellUs – The Number #1 Review Management Software
So there you have it! We’ve used over 10 different review software and the number one software that we recommend to our clients is SoTellUs. Their features are outstanding, their phone app works great and can be used by multiple team members, and their price point is one of the best we’ve seen for any review software.