I think it’s about time that I reveal one of the ways that I (and many others) make money online, and that’s with product reviews.
What exactly does a product review consist of, and how can you use a product review to make online sales?
FYI, Product = anything that you have to pay for, so it can include services and experiences as well as tangible products.
What is a Product Review?
A product review can be anything from a full Consumer Reports Magazine style teardown to a recommendation from friends or family.
The most powerful form of product review is the kind that you get from friends and family. This is a form of social proof, which is a big driver of sales in many industries – especially electronics and the movie industry.
When a friend recommends a movie to you for example, it’s natural to want to see the movie just so you can discuss it with your friend. This also happens with product purchases such as iphones or ipads. When your friend or relative says: “I LOVE my new iPad – you need to get one too!”, that’s a powerful endorsement.
How powerful depends on how much you trust your friend or relative – and TRUST is one of the most important parts of a review. If your friend has given you lousy reviews in the past, then you’re less likely to listen to their recommendations today.
This is also true if you receive obviously biased reviews. If your family member works for Ford and tells you how great Fords are you may believe them, but you also know that the review is biased.
How Do I Use Reviews?
This brings me to how I use reviews to sell products & services online. You can read a brief review I wrote here: my OneHourBacklinks Review. Believe it or not that review has gotten quite a few clicks and made some sales too.
I use similar reviews to sell products on most of my affiliate websites (although most of my reviews are better written.)
I recently placed a review on my ‘test’ site – GreenHobbit.com – representing a gardening product called Aquaponics4You. For the record I gardened a lot as a child – both my parents have gardens, and I’ve spent a lot of time weeding, pruning, picking veggies an so on.
Aquaponics4You is a clickbank ebook product that teaches you how to build your own Aquaponics system. You can read my Aquaponics4You Review Here.
While I’m sure my review could be better, I still want to point out the things that I do in my product reviews that improve my clickthrough rates and convesions (sales).
6 Ways to Improve Your Product Reviews
#1: Buy and Read or Use the Product You’re Reviewing! – This is a big one. If you want to look credible it’s important that you read, use, or try out the product.
I read Aquaponics4You several times, and while I didn’t build my own Aquaponics system, I’m pretty sure I could.
More importantly, I can write a comprehensive and honest review of the product because I actually know what the product is about in detail.
A huge percentage of review sites don’t bother with this step at their own peril. A review that sounds like rehashed information from other websites won’t generate a click – it will just result in a potential customer clicking the back button to look for a better review – or to give up entirely.
[green_box]It’s not always necessary to buy the product or eBook. If you’re selling eBooks on Clickbank you can often get a ‘review copy’ from the ebook creator – simply send them an email and ask. If you want to review a physical product you can often rent or borrow the product from a friend to try it out.[/green_box]
#2: No SCAM – A lot of product reviews are written with the word scam in them. Something like: Is Aquaponics4You a SCAM?!?.
I realize that a small group of people are searching for that exact term, however a far greater number of people are simply looking for reviews or information. When you stick the word SCAM in front of anyone, you raise red flags and create concerns where there weren’t any to begin with.
Another thing in common with all these misguided reviewers is they immediately say how product X is NOT a scam. Great – if it isn’t a scam then why bring that up in the first place?
Regardless of what you see online, don’t use the word scam – it will only serve to make your readers overly cautious – which is the enemy of sales and conversions.
#3: List the Bad Stuff Too – When you read a review that’s all flowers and sunshine you start to get suspicious, right? I mean, the product can’t be THAT good, can it?
If you want to have a credible – as in TRUSTworthy – review, then you need to discuss the good AND the bad. I see a lot of reviews that only focus on the positive, and if that review is for something I’m interested in I keep looking for a more honest review.
Even Amazon.com makes it easy to see negative reviews – you simply click on the 1 star and 2 stars and you can see what’s bad about a product. This is important as knowing what the possible downsides of a product are ahead of time actually helps to put your mind at ease.
#4: Break Your Review Into Sections – Most people scan reviews, and if you break your review into sections it will be easier for those people to read.
I read tons of reviews that are big blocks of text, and they are BORING. Even if the content is good, I simply don’t want to read a boring looking block of text.
I always have an overview, pros, cons, and my take on the product, followed by a button with my affiliate link. This makes it easy for people who just want to see the good and the bad – or who just want to see what the product includes.
#5: Don’t Talk About Cost! – There are exceptions to this rule, but in general it’s better if you don’t discuss the cost of the product.
Chances are the person already knows what the product costs, but more importantly your product review is designed to give people more information about the product itself and get them more comfortable with the product.
It’s the sales page’s job to make the actual sale, and it’s better to leave the cost on the sales page.
When I do include the cost on my review pages I’ve seen click through rates plummet, and sales plummet as a result. Don’t do it!
[blue_box]One big exception to this rule is products on Amazon. People are comfortable buying through Amazon and tend to view Amazon’s prices as good – plus Amazon is the ultimate in trust[/blue_box]
#6: Tell Others What You Would Want to Know – ask yourself what YOU would want to know about the product or eBook before you bought it and include that in your review.
If you simply wouldn’t buy the product yourself after using it or reading it, then SAY THAT. I know this sounds nuts, but I do this all the time and still make sales of the product.
[yellow_box]Don’t trash the product however – it’s important that you stay objective and still point out the good things too – assuming there are some[/yellow_box]
The point is, be as honest in your product reviews as possible, give your readers quality information, and your readers will reward you with sales.
That’s it for this post. I’m getting back on the road shortly – leaving Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to California for a week or so, and then back to the east coast.
I’ll be posting more GreenHobbit updates shortly I hope. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.