4 Ways SaaS Providers Can Build Brand Reputation Online

February 3, 2022
Contributor: Amita Jain

Use these tips to improve your brand reputation and manage the conversations happening around your products and services online.

Software buyers are more confident transacting with tech providers that have a good brand reputation. In fact, 64% of buyers who feel a high connection with a brand are more willing to pay a premium price for its products and services, according to Gartner (full research available for clients).

From security breaches and hiring practices to privacy policies and software bugs, tech buyers are judging software providers more than ever before. The online narrative around a provider’s brand can have huge implications for their bottom line.

How, then, does a SaaS provider manage its brand reputation in this “always on” space and shape it to build a trusted name? There are many ways to protect and improve the online reputation of your software brand. Before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at what brand reputation is and what it means to manage it.

What is brand reputation management?

Brand reputation is a buyer’s perception of what a company stands for, how it behaves and the value it creates. The need for reputation management arises when stakeholders’ expectations from a brand do not match the stories they see or hear. 

Online brand reputation management influences buyer perceptions by monitoring sentiments on the internet, responding to potential reputation threats, managing reputation damage and seizing opportunities to boost online reputation.

Brand reputation management

Four key indicators to check your brand’s health

The first step to building a stronger brand reputation online is to have a clear and deep understanding of your brand health.

While brand reputation is an intangible asset, it can be measured through four indicators — brand exposure, brand experience, brand image and financial — each of which has several quantifiable metrics (examples below). Choose metrics that will help you achieve your brand goals. If your goal is to gauge the popularity of your brand, track how many people are engaging with your posts and sharing your brand’s stories.

  1. Brand exposure refers to the number of people who see your brand online and engage with your calls to action (CTAs) and posts. It helps measure brand loyalty. 
  2. Brand experience measures how satisfied stakeholders — including customers, industry analysts and employees — are while interacting with your brand. 
  3. Brand image is the sum of feelings buyers have about your brand and how they differentiate you from your competitors. 
  4. Financial indicators mostly represent the easily quantifiable benefits that brand health provides.
Four key indicators of brand health

Most of these metrics discussed above, such as willingness of customers to recommend, can’t be directly controlled but only influenced.

1. Build credibility through software reviews sites

Testimonials from peers validate the features and benefits buyers expect to receive from a software solution. According to Gartner Digital Markets’ 2021 Global Buyer Trends Survey, nearly 78% of buyers check reviews before making a purchase. Collect, evaluate and feature customer review badges on your website’s prominent pages to make your brand look more appealing and authentic for prospective buyers.

Reviews and ratings on reference websites build positive brand reputation by improving search rankings, creating customer-generated content around your products or services and increasing conversions. We’ve seen software providers get a 127% boost in traffic to their profile pages by collecting 10 or more reviews.

Manage online reviews and user ratings using these five critical actions:

  • Identify. Identify where buyers are posting reviews for your software solutions. Establish a process that will alert you to new reviews on software reviews sites (such as Capterra), Google search results and social networks (such as LinkedIn).
  • Triage. Establish escalation procedures. While not all reviews need a response, responding to both negative and positive reviews will prove beneficial (full research available for Gartner clients). Determine keywords or phrases to cull out reviews that need responses. Involve legal, communication and other teams as appropriate.
  • Respond. Learn when it makes sense to apologize and always keep your tone empathetic, authentic and solution-focused. You can ask your marketing team to respond to positive reviews and customer services to respond to negative reviews. 
  • Leverage. Leverage reviews in your marketing communication. Embed them on your website. Share them on your social pages. Tag reviews in answers to customer queries. Ensure the reviews you feature are recent and authentic
  • Cultivate. Make customer feedback a core part of brand-building exercises. Encourage more buyers to post testimonials. More importantly, don’t just focus on earning five-star reviews. Research shows that the purchase likelihood peaks at 4.2 to 4.5 on a 5-point scale, instead of the perfect score. Use net promoter score (NPS) to gain user mentions and showcase customer satisfaction.

As you build these five elements into your reviews strategy, consolidate your marketing technology stack with review management software or social listening tools to easily analyze, respond to and cultivate more reviews.

2. Leverage recognition from third parties and research reports

Brand mentions from industry analysts, high domain authority websites and other SEO-optimized channels (e.g., YouTube, LinkedIn) can present your software to users organically and go a long way in improving your online brand reputation. You can earn mentions for your brand in market research reports and top-rated software listings by third parties.

Not sure how to increase online mentions? One simple approach is to show off your recent user reviews. Share them on social media and your website. Tag users who write positive reviews and thank them for their feedback. This creates a buzz that is eventually picked up by popular third-party platforms and industry analysts. You can also directly approach third-party websites to evaluate your offerings and publish about them in their reports.

Here are some ways you can make use of recognition from third-party resources:

  • Showcase the badges you earned from reports such as Capterra’s Shortlist, GetApp’s Category Leaders and Software Advice’s FrontRunners.
  • Place online review badges or mentions in top-rated listings on the prominent pages on your website, such as the banner above the fold.
  • Feature recognition from third-party sources on social media and online communities.
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3. Maintain a resonating social media and web presence

Social marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are the top B2B marketing channels for chief marketing officers to enhance brand visibility. With buyers spending 27% of their time researching independently online, the promises you make on web and social platforms form a major part of your brand reputation management strategy.

Ensure your messaging online matches with what buyers seek. You may be positioning your software as more cost-efficient than others, but buyers may be looking for a faster support network or new features. A misunderstanding of buyers’ needs can create gaps and render your marketing efforts futile.

Keep these things in mind to better resonate your brand on the web and social media:

  • Reach out to existing customers to learn what they value most about their experience with your brand. Carefully analyze what they say and the phrasing they use.
  • If there is a mismatch between the brand values you promote and the values buyers seek, adjust your social and web messaging to fill the gap.
  • A rule of thumb for social media promotion is the 80/20 rule, where 20% of content is branded and 80% reflects what others say about you, such as industry reports, top-rated listings and customer reviews. Let your customers and third-party analysts be your brand advocates.
  • Include microinfluencers to drive higher engagement rates. Microinfluencers are better able to align to what buyers seek by focusing on niche segments and presenting relevant information more authentically.

4. Differentiate your brand messaging

As many as 46% of buyers can’t differentiate between the digital experiences of two brands. As a software provider, you need newer and better ways to define your brand to buyers. Using traditional messaging around organizational values often fails to capture attention.

The best brand messaging promises a benefit that caters to buyers’ needs, objectives and well being. Conduct brand recall surveys to find out how prospective customers view your brand. Ground your brand’s value propositions in buyers’ needs and the unique benefits your brand can provide them.

Answer these questions in your brand messaging:

  • How can you help buyers achieve their business goals?
  • How can your software address a business problem buyers face?
  • How can buyers justify their software choice to other stakeholders?
  • How can you make operations easy, efficient and secure for buyers?

In a world where information is shared and promoted in a matter of seconds, creating an alignment between what you think your brand represents and what consumers think about it is critical. Take advantage of these ways to capture buyers’ attention and create a brand name they respect.

The Power of Customer Reviews Ebook

eBook: The Power of Customer Reviews

Collect and leverage customer feedback to boost your brand reputation.

Amita Jain

Amita Jain covers B2B content creation and strategy to help businesses reach their marketing goals. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London, U.K. Exploring the world of art and reading fiction are some of her usual happy distractions outside of work. Connect with Amita on LinkedIn.

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