Reputation management pricing: How to price your agency’s servicesBy Solange Messier
Up to a quarter of a company’s market value can be attributed to its reputation, according to online reputation management stats. Businesses of all sizes need to seriously consider how they are going to manage their online reputations. As a digital marketing agency, this creates a huge opportunity for you to support your SMB clients and grow your business in the process. However, reputation management pricing can vary dramatically. There are many moving parts to consider when determining what your agency’s approach to pricing your service will be.
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In this guide, we’ll help you identify all of the considerations you should take into account, including the reputation management costs you will incur as a SaaS reseller, client variables, and your desired profit margins. By the end, you’ll be able to build your own reputation management pricing strategy that works for your agency.
Table of Contents
- What is reputation management?
- Reputation management pricing: Things to consider
- Frequently asked questions
What is reputation management?
Online reputation management for businesses is the process of actively influencing and improving customers’ perception of a company. It involves many moving parts, including monitoring and managing online mentions about a brand in places such as social media and blogs, the generation and management of online reviews, listing management, SEO activities, and other steps to protect and improve the business's reputation.
The services an online reputation management provider offers to clients will vary from one agency to the next, but they can include any combination of the following:
- Creating a strategy to generate more positive online reviews and mentions across a variety of platforms, such as the business’s own website, their Google Business Profile, and Yelp
- Responding to all reviews, both positive or negative
- Creating a strategy for how a business will respond to common issues and concerns that arise for their customers
- Engaging with followers on social media
- Maintaining an on-brand, professional, and up-to-date online presence across all channels
- Creating and maintaining online listings across many platforms
- Some online reputation SEO activities, particularly as they apply to local SEO
- Competitor analysis and benchmarking of things like brand sentiment to gauge performance against others in the same space
As this lengthy list indicates, reputation management can include a wide variety of different activities, so it’s difficult to provide accurate average reputation management pricing.
The price will depend on:
- which services a client asks your agency to deliver
- their budget
- other important considerations that we’ll get into in just a moment
Knowing which factors to take into account when building your online reputation management services pricing can help you create a pricing strategy that reliably delivers returns for your agency.
Why your agency needs to offer reputation management
If you don’t yet have reputation management services as part of your product and service offering, it absolutely needs to be on your radar. Regardless of what your core products and services are, your ability to be effective in driving results for your clients hinges considerably on their online reputations. If their reputation isn’t actively being managed, it can quickly deteriorate, making it more difficult to be effective with your other digital services.
Any effective, comprehensive digital marketing strategy must include online reputation management.
Other important reasons to make reputation management part of your product mix include:
- Your customers are going to ask for it. When they do, you want to be able to say “yes.”
- The ability to create bundles with your other products and services. Bundling your services enables you to boost the potential profitability of each client while offering them an incentive to consolidate more of their marketing budget with your agency rather than your competition.
- Improve client retention. By successfully managing and improving clients’ online reputations, you can reduce the chance of them churning. Delivering this service effectively will meaningfully improve their bottom line, giving them another reason to stay with your agency. In other words, it can help you create stickier, more profitable long-term relationships.
Now that you’re ready to offer reputation management, how should you price your services?
Reputation management pricing: Things to consider
Putting together your reputation management service pricing requires taking into consideration:
- the cost of software and tools required to deliver the service
- staff time
- the specific services your client requires
- their goals and budget
Let’s look into these in more detail.
Cost of software
Conducting reputation management manually would be extremely time-consuming and ineffective. It would require regularly manually finding every review and brand mention, and responding to each of them. Missing reviews, particularly bad ones, create a negative impression of a brand’s reputation. Using software to ensure every review and conversation about a brand can be easily found and addressed is essential.
Software like Vendasta’s Reputation Management and Customer Voice can be used to automate much of this process. Reputation Management enables clients to access all of their revenues from over a hundred platforms and respond to them, from a single easy-to-use dashboard. Customer Voice makes it easy to generate a steady stream of positive reviews across a range of platforms.
As a SaaS reseller, you will pay a wholesale price to license these tools. Your costs will depend on factors such as the size of your client, but as these tools are indispensable, their price should definitely be built into your overall reputation management cost.
Will you simply be reselling the tools we discussed to your clients so that they can use them to manage their reputations, or will some of your in-house staff spend time actively using them to manage client reputations? Will you spend agency hours developing a reputation management strategy? Any time that you or your team will spend on delivering services should be built into your online reputation management cost.
If you don’t plan on using in-house staff to deliver services but wish to offer a full-service option to your clients, white-label reputation management is the way to go. With a white-label model, instead of having your in-house team work on reputation management for your clients, an outside white-label team of experts working under your agency’s brand name will do the heavy lifting.
The benefit of this model is that you can rely on their experience and expertise rather than having to recruit and train an in-house team. From your client’s perspective, all services are still being delivered under the banner of your agency. You’ll only be charged for white-label services when they are actually used, so you don’t have to take on any hiring, onboarding, or training costs and risks. Determine what your white-label costs will be, and build these into your reputation management services pricing.
Agencies differ: Some may position themselves as more affordable and small-business or startup-friendly, while others may be specialized boutique agencies targeting only clientele with higher budgets. In other words, your clients likely have some pre-existing expectations about how much they are willing to spend with you. Take your own brand positioning into consideration when setting your prices.
Your client’s budget for reputation management pricing places a limit on how much you can charge, so be aware of this when structuring your offering. You might want to create several reputation management pricing tiers so that there is something for everyone.
For example, you might have a starter option, a growth option, and an enterprise option. Each would have more robust services than the last, but this way your clients of varying sizes and budgets can all find a reputation management cost that fits their budget.
Every client is unique, and this will impact your reputation management costs. For instance, businesses that have multiple locations are more complex than single-location businesses, since each location will have its own listings on different review sites. Brand sentiment and reviews might be positive for one location, and negative for another. Larger, more complex, and multi-location businesses will typically require higher reputation management services pricing.
Beyond the fact that every business wants to have a stellar online reputation, the specifics of their goals will vary. One may want to improve their star rating on their core product from 4 stars to 5 stars. Another may be dealing with an existing negative sentiment which will require more time and effort to turn it around.
Take time to understand your client’s specific goals. Defining them will help you plan for how to achieve them and give you both a metric for measuring success.
Scope of the work
Related but distinct from client goals is the scope of the work. Once you understand their goals, you can determine the work required to get there. The broader and more complex this is, the higher your online reputation cost to deliver will likely be as well.
Another consideration is whether you’re starting from zero or working with a brand that already has a reasonably positive online reputation. Building a brand reputation from zero will likely be a greater scope of work than maintaining an existing positive reputation.
Budget allocation over time
Reputation management pricing may shift over time. For example, a research phase upfront may have one price, while the implementation phase may be more expensive. When determining your reputation management pricing, consider whether there are phases to the work and if those phases involve different costs.
The best for last: Your profit margin on reputation management services
Your desired profit margin is, of course, one of the most important components of your online reputation management services pricing.
If you plan to delegate the delivery of key services such as review management to a third party, discuss the white-label fees with them so that you can have a clear picture of how much it will cost you to deliver your reputation management services. The most significant cost inputs are, ultimately, the cost of software and the cost of white labeling or using in-house labor. Once you know these, you can determine how much you want to make per client, per month as profit.
Clients pay anywhere from several hundred a month for software to many thousands per month for full reputation management services for large businesses. The average cost of online reputation management will vary depending on your industry, the scope of the work, client budgets, and more.
Know what your baseline target profit margin is for your agency. Then, when it comes to determining reputation management pricing for specific clients, you can determine if there is room for you to charge a bit more, thereby increasing your profit margin, based on the specifics of their budget, goals, and other variables we discussed.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best reputation management company to white label?
Vendasta is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a company that offers white-label reputation management services to white label. It’s easy to build a reputation management offering that directly meets your client needs, whether they want to focus on review management or want additional services, such as local reputation management and SEO for reputation management.
Plus, thanks to AI-powered insights, your white-label reputation management strategies for your clients will only improve over time. White labeling means you don’t have to worry about in-house reputation management expertise; you can deliver quality services at scale, leaving you time to focus on sales, customer retention, and other important activities.
How do reputation management companies work?
Reputation management companies work by providing tools and services that help clients manage, protect, and enhance their online reputations. While there are many moving parts to a robust reputation management strategy, one of the cornerstones is review management. Today’s customers rely heavily on reviews to gauge whether or not they want to do business with a company, and having abundant and recent positive reviews can make a meaningful impact on prospects’ buying decisions, which enables businesses to earn more revenue.