Normally, the higher the price (or the more crucial to your well-being a given product is), the harder you strive to make sure your choice is the only right decision. To feel confident about the purchase, you look for solid proof of the product’s quality.
And it doesn’t matter what that purchase might be — whether it’s food, books, kitchenware, vacation rentals or even dog’s toys…
You always check out online reviews
OK, now switch perspectives. This time you aren’t a buyer but a seller — or, even better — a promoter of given product. A reviewer, to be specific. Here is a simple fact any marketer (or blogger or website owner) should take to heart:
What Are Product Reviews?
If you’ve been marketing for, well, a minute or more, you’re certainly familiar with product reviews. But let’s quickly recap the definition so we’re on the same page.
A review — as discussed here — is nothing more than product-centered content that should investigate in-depth both the benefits and drawbacks of specific goods or services. Some full-time writers and marketers focus on testing and reviewing products. Then, they labor on submitting them to third party websites, blogs, and platforms.
Ideally, a product review should come from an independent author. Such a reviewer would presumably shed light on various products, and represent a neutral, unbiased perspective. Otherwise, when reviews are crafted by in-house content creators with skin in the game, they lack credibility and are rather one-sided.
What’s more, reviews often prompt readers to discuss, rate, and comment on products they might have purchased or are thinking about buying.
The Role of Product Reviews
Product reviews can do much more than just make your product seem enticing; they can boost your product’s image and make it the go-to product. In fact, online reviews are essential to marketing and branding any company these days.
Well, first of all, customers are heavily-dependent on reviews which are often authentic articles written by real users. So, reviews are social proof and help build trust and loyalty.
Second, the more product reviews an item receives, the more transparent it seems and this boosts its credibility. People trust social proof — especially when the review’s author isn’t related to the brand and isn’t anonymous (i.e., can be addressed by name and their social profile can be looked up).
Consequently, if proof of a product’s or service’s quality gets corroborated by multiple and unrelated sources, this positive vibe resonates across the web. This boosts the odds that a prospective buyer will pick that particular product.
Why People Read Product Reviews
Why do people read product reviews in the first place? After all, do savvy shoppers buy anything without checking online reviews?
Here’s an example. Imagine you are reviewing Headspace, the meditation app. This is a real life example because, personally, I’m a Headspace believer and practitioner. 😉
Or we can go with a different example — this time, let’s make it something B2B. For Instance, LiveChat:
So, what should you begin your review with? People want to get to know some practical facts, so:
- Talk about how the product grew on you and share first impressions (and all the consecutive ones!).
- Share your experiences with the product.
- List real pros and cons of the product.
- Tell the readers if a product is aimed at them [who the target users/buyers are].
- Rule if the product is of the highest quality and whether it’s simply worth buying.
- Is it user-friendly?
- Discuss some potential pain points.
- Provide alternatives.
Online reviews should touch on both pros and cons of a product, service or even a whole brand so that shoppers understand the key selling points as well as its market strengths and weaknesses.
A powerful product review should clearly point out who the product is for. Another reason why people read product reviews is even simpler. Users want to make sure the product is the best of its kind.Take marketing tools — people want to make sure they’re straightforward, user-friendly and generally easy to handle.
Moreover, people are curious about alternative solutions. Though, to be honest, they just want to make sure that the product they want to buy is the undisputed king of its category. Also, other users’ experiences aren’t meaningless. Readers want to confront as many opinions as possible before making any actual purchase.
What Are the Benefits of Writing Product Reviews?
First and foremost, people trust product reviews — a whopping 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. There you go — positive product reviews can bring a substantial rise in sales.
Here’s what you get out of writing reviews:
- Money– you can earn some extra money by reviewing products as an affiliate.
- Authority– you build authority as a reviewer and people will trust your opinion if you play it right.
- Freedom– as an independent reviewer and marketer only you decide what products you want to review, recommend and what to write about.
- Traffic– your content helps you gain organic traffic and you can rank your website for strategically chosen keywords.
There are also many other perks (and also drawbacks) of becoming an independent product reviewer. Okay so now, with all those reasons in mind, it’s time to figure out what you can do to craft a genuine product review.
How to Write the Perfect Product Review
1. Get Your Hands on the Product
Being an independent marketer and reviewer demands that you get access to products you are going to review. You might just go ahead and buy them or pitch the manufacturers and just ask for access. It’s quite likely that a company’s marketing representative will be happy to give you access to the product at least for the time you’d need to review it.
2. Become an Affiliate
However, the best idea is to become an affiliate partner if it’s an option.
This will come with additional perks like, for instance, a fixed and sometimes even recurring commission paid on each sale you referred. Being an affiliate makes sense because you’re promoting these products anyway, so why shouldn’t you get a cut and generate some passive income on the side?
Becoming an affiliate is a whole other story, however, so here’s where you can learn more about becoming an affiliate with LiveChat.
3. Learn About Your Product(s)
Once you join affiliate programs or get access to products in any other way, make sure you do your research and study the product. You want to become an expert. Be curious and find out everything about the brand and the product itself. Include competitors in your research and the whole industry as well, before you get started on your reviews.
4. Be Honest. Don’t Hype It
Full transparency is key. Eyes on the prize and remember this:
- People will quickly put two and two together, and they’ll notice (and inevitably raise a fuss) if you aren’t honest.
- It’s always better to look at products through the buyer’s eyes. It makes no sense to trick your audience into thinking that your product has no flaws. Be balanced instead.
- Honesty wins you credibility and users will become loyal and visit your blog or site anytime they want to make a purchase.
5. Confront with Other Players
Product comparisons are crucial to any good review. They provide your readers with a clearer picture of the whole category. You readers will know what the options are and will feel more confident about getting the recommended model.
Talking about alternatives will lend you credibility — especially if you can say something more than, “Hey, these are available, too!”
6. Get a Discussion Going
Anytime you publish any content (not just reviews), ask for feedback and kindle discussion. Let people speak their mind and create a dedicated space for discussion and try to build up a community.
This will invite your readers to leave reviews — and user-generated reviews are tremendously powerful. For instance, millennials, trust user-generated content 50% more than other media.
So, empower users to generate that content!
The more social proof you accumulate below your own review the better. There are also some solid SEO reasons for this. A discussion thread makes a web page longer which helps it index and rank better.
7. End a Product Review with a Take-Home Message
The last few paragraphs are perfect for expressing your private opinion. This is where you can get slightly subjective and speak your mind freely. Recap all the key points you touched on in the review, disclose the price and tell the reader if there’s a free trial (remember, the word “free” is intoxicating — if applicable, sprinkle it throughout your article and emphasize free options to get people excited. It usually works wonders). Sum everything up and make the final verdict.
8. Implement 5-Star Rating and Rich Snippets
Enable a simple 5-star rating system with CSS and HTML radios on your review page and also add rich snippets that will be visible in the search results. This isn’t all that difficult.