What is it with affiliate product reviews?
They're so good for your site.
But they're just so damn hard to write.
And, it's frustrating. Because they should be so straightforward, shouldn't they?
You're just giving your thoughts on a product.
But then your inner marketer climbs out of the woodwork.
Should you say this? Should you talk about that? What can you do to get the best return from it?
Which leaves you somewhere between writers block and fear. And you have no idea what to say.
Don't worry, with this article, that's about to stop.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)
What You'll Learn
- The simple formula you need to create a perfect affiliate review every time
- How to use free graphics to create reviews your audience will devour
- The real reason you should be writing product reviews
- Why it's more important to be honest than nice
Why Should You Write Product Reviews?
A lot has been written on the benefits of having your products reviewed. From the fact that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Through to the way that they can give you up to an 18% rise in sales.
But not a lot has been said on the benefits of writing a product review.
Let’s take a look at why you should be writing product reviews then:
- Money: I’ll cover this a little more in depth next. But, you can make affiliate sales quite swiftly from product reviews.
- SEO: You can target more long-tail keywords and drive more specific search traffic from people looking for the product. (If you're a beginner at SEO, check out this guide)
- Authority: By reviewing products, and having people engage with them, you can create more authority in your niche. Because you must know what you’re talking about if you have a platform to speak from.
- Free stuff: A lot of people will give you free access to their tools and products too. Meaning that, even if you don’t get paid, you have a new toy to play with.
Which, no matter where you are in you niche site journey, you can always benefit from. Even well established Pro’s like Matt Woodward still review affiliate products on their sites to reap these benefits:
But, before we get into it, I need to be really clear with you about the real reason you should be writing product reviews...
"Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires" - Bo Bennett
The (Secret) Reason You Should Be Writing Product Reviews
It’s not about any of those benefits I just mentioned.
Don’t get me wrong at all.
But if the main reason you’re writing the review is to make money, you’re not going to provide an impartial - or honest - opinion.
Just like a blog post, a sales page or any other piece of copy, it’s not about what you want to write. It’s about what your audience wants to read.
So, before you write a product review, think of this:
Why do you read product reviews?
Chances are, it’s one of the reasons from this list here:
- To find out the pro’s and con’s of a product
- To see if people would recommend you use it
- To look for other people who have had success with it
- To make sure you’re spending your cash wisely
- To check for any alternatives
- To make a decision about whether to buy or not
For example, for my recent trip to Peru, I was looking to choose a hostel in Lima. And, I finally made a decision based on the common themes in the TripAdvisor reviews:
Because it made it feel like a sound investment, and I knew that even if I got a boring hostel I’d still have a nice clean one that’s welcoming and friendly.
Here’s the best bit about product reviews, too:
They’re already looking for a reason to buy.
They’re engaged and interested and have the desire to buy the product. They’re just looking for a way to verify, or sway, their decision. You don’t need to sell to them.
You don’t even have to worry about writing a good review either. If you’re honest with people, they’ll pick up on it. And, overall, it’s been found that bad reviews can improve conversions by 67%.
That means you don’t need to give a five star review to every product you want to sell. Hell, you don’t even have to give a great review to a product you’re an affiliate for.
You just have to give a real one.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s look at what it takes to actually craft an epic product review…
Step #1: Write Better Reviews By Getting To Know The Product
This is by far the biggest mistake you can make in writing your review. Not actually ever using the product, seeing the product, or owning the product.
If you try and write your review from other people’s opinions, or what you think the product would be like, you end up creating a flimsy review that doesn’t really say anything.
What do I mean?
Guess which one is which:
“The Majestic SEO suite is great. It has an easy to use interface that even a beginner could get to grips with. And, with it’s unique trust flow and citation flow metrics, it’s a great addition to your arsenal for future SEO too”
“I love the SERPed interface. It’s simple and easy to navigate, while the simplistic and flat design makes it still beautiful to look at. And where other tools have one layer of depth, SERPed has at least 10. It shows you not only the results from their own database, but from those of all their competitors tools too. Making this a perfect all in one suite.”
So, which one of those products have I actually used? Yep, that’s right…
You can tell simply by the fact I was able to go to more depth about specific things. Instead of a general overview of what the product would be like.
So before you set out to review a product you either need to:
- Request access from the product owner
- Purchase the product yourself
- Access a free trial or sample (if available)
And spend a day or two getting used to it. Try it in different situations, for different problems and even put it in the hands of your friends and family. The more you learn about the product at this stage, the better the review in the end.
"If your goal is to provide value, then it’s absolutely crucial for you to have the product in your hands (or on your computer)"
- Karol K
Step #2: Use Honesty To Make More Affiliate Sales
There’s going to be a little voice in the back of your head that says, “Be nice, they put a lot of hard work into this”.
This is a problem I face when I review local stage shows. Because I know what it’s like to be an artist and put your work out there, and for people to say bad things about it.
But that still doesn’t stop me from publishing two star reviews:
But you can’t give in to that voice and write a nice review just to stop hurting someone’s feelings.
Your service isn’t to the product creator, it’s to your audience. And they need to know the truth.
So don’t worry about writing something that might upset someone.
That’s part of creating content (see this post before creating your next blog post), and what the other person accepted when they put their work out into the world.
Step #3: How To Stack Information So You Don't Lose Customers
There’s one truth about the internet you need to understand as a niche site owner:
People are always ready to stop reading.
At any point in your review they could just go, “Nope, I’ve had enough of this!” and move on to something else. So it’s important to make sure the start of your review contains all of the most important information.
Someone who has this down to a perfect art is Robbie Richards.
Look at these snapshots:
All of the important information is in the first few seconds you’re on the page.
You can see what he thinks of the products. The features you need to know about.
The benefits to the potential customer. And, why you should carry on reading.
There’s enough information here to help you make a decision on whether to buy the product alone.
Never mind when you delve into the extensive review beneath it all.
You should look to include:
- Your star rating of the product
- The stand out features of the product
- The people it will benefit most
- Best places to buy/save money (if it’s relevant)
- Picture of the product in action
Like this review for a Dyson Hoover:
You can easily use a free tool like Canva to create these reviews as well. I made this spoof image to review Stuart in under 5 minutes:
Okay, I’m a writer not a designer. But you get my point. Even a dodgy image like that is easy to process and adds a lot of value to a reader before they’ve even got into the main content.
Step #4: The Simple Content Hack To Create Epic Reviews Every Time
The original is a little acronym called AIDCA:
- Attention: Grab your reader's attention and hold it
- Interest: Build their interest in buying the product
- Desire: Make them want it
- Conviction: Give social proof of why they need it right now
- Action: Give them a simple, powerful, call to arms
And you can read more about that one in this post I wrote right here. But for Affiliate reviews, you’re going to alter it to AIDACA:
- Attention: Grab their attention and hold it.
- Interest: Explain what makes the product interesting.
- Desire: Explain the interesting pro’s and con’s of the product.
- Alternatives: What else is available out there.
- Conclusion: Your final verdict of the product.
- Action: If they want to buy it, here’s a powerful call to action.
This template is a little more flexible and suitable to different product reviews. Because this isn’t a sales piece, it’s a review.
Here’s a short examples of how this might look for a product to give you an idea of that in action:
Duolingo: Online Language Learning Software
Attention: Have you ever wished for free language software you could take anywhere in the world? Well, now you have it.
Interest: Duolingo brings together all the tools you need to not only learn, but remember, a language. Spaced repetition, speech, translation and context. And it does it all in one beautiful desktop, mobile and tablet compatible app.
Desire: The smart software constantly combines different aspects of the language, and pools them together, to give you a true real world feel of using the language.
But, like any online software, it has it’s bugs. There are occasionally inconsistencies and bugs that get in the way. Which can mean you learn the wrong word or spelling from time to time.
Thankfully there are community threads for each individual question or task on hand for those instances to help you along.
Alternatives: Other products in the market, like Memrise, do a better job of providing you with ways to to remember words - using mnemonics and images - but don’t have the same ‘game’ element that Duolingo has perfected. So if you’re looking for a mix of entertainment and education, I’d say Duolingo is your better option.
Conclusion: I’ve been using Duolingo to teach myself spanish for a number of weeks now. And, while I’m not as far along as I thought I’d be, I’ve made much better progress remembering the basics than I expected.
The game element is actually more addictive than I expected. And, wanting to continue my daily ‘streak’ made me study on the days I’d normally have slacked off.
The process has been frustrating at times, but like any game, it’s always fun in the end. And this is a great way for anyone on any budget to learn a language.
Action: Memberships have, and always will be, free for Duolingo. So you can sign up right here.
It’s a simple formula that you can check through and create perfect body copy for your reviews. And, you can expand it however you want by:
- Including images
- Case studies
- Experiment results
- Comments and feedback from people you shared it with
The list really is endless. But even if you wrote one sentence for each of those points you’d still have a product review people want to read.
"The voice or style of your review should be honest and factual. You should not try to hype up the product." - Loz James
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)
The Truth About Affiliate Marketing...
All it really takes is honesty.
It builds trust. It creates tribes. And it's going to drive you more sales.
If you take nothing else from this article, let it be that.
But here's the main lessons from this article to help you write epic affiliate reviews:
- Don't write for the money: Write to serve your audience.
- Get to know your product: So you reviews are always believable and thorough.
- Don't be scared: To give an honest (or bad) review.
- Put the important information first: And use graphics to drive your points home and keep customers.
- Use the AIDACA formula: To create perfect body copy every time.
The rest, my friend, is up to you.
Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments...