Friday, August 3, 2012

Steps to Writing Effective Affiliate Marketing Reviews

Product reviews are one of the most used tools in the affiliate marketing toolbox. These reviews are designed to engage the reader and to motivate them to buy the product based on what they’ve read. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
Well, there’s actually a lot that goes into crafting an effective product review. It’s a careful balance of urging the reader to buy without appearing to be too sales oriented. So, how do you pull it off? Follow these steps to write product reviews that both inform and motivate readers.
  1. Find a product that motivates you- Sure, you can write reviews on virtually any product out there and make money. However, I’ve found it’s much easier to write an effective review when it’s about a product I’m truly passionate about. Passion for the product will come across in your review, and it will help motivate your readers to take action. Make a list of your interests and your favorite products; then go from there.
  2. Perform keyword research- Of course, if no one reads your review, what’s the point? That’s why optimizing your product reviews is a must. Brainstorming is the best way to start your keyword research. Write a list of all the phrases people might search for if they’re looking for more information on the product. Then, enter these keywords in a keyword suggestion tool, and determine which phrases will bring you the most traffic.
  3. Know your $*!#- The whole idea behind a product review is that the person reviewing it has used the product and knows a lot about it. So, take your time to do detailed research on the product. The last thing you need is to distribute misinformation to your readers. This can cause irreparable damage to your credibility. Know your $*!#.
  4. Spend extra time on the headline- Now we’re starting to get into the copywriting side of things. And when you talk about copywriting, it all starts with the headline. Don’t just use the typical dull “(Product name) Review.” Borrrrrrrrrrring. Instead, think of a headline that just begs someone to click on it. Bold questions often work well, e.g. “Is (Product name) a Scam or the Real Deal?” When it comes to writing headlines, the bottom line is this—there is an unlimited amount of information available online; the only way to stand apart in a crowded search engine is to create click-worthy headlines.
  5. Focus on the benefits- Features are the technical aspects of a product that make it different from the competition. Benefits explain how those features will benefit the consumer. Case in point—one feature of an iPod might be that it can store up to 120 GB. The benefit of that is the user has more than enough room for their entire music, video, and photo libraries, allowing them to be entertained wherever they go. When writing your review, focus on the benefits instead of the features. Consumers are selfish. They only care how they will benefit from buying a product. Deliver the benefits effectively, and your readers will turn into customers.
  6. Build trust through statistics- The effectiveness of your product review depends directly on  your readers’ trust in you. Without it,  your review means nothing to them. So, how do you build trust with random website visitors? Statistics and testimonials are great tools for building trust. When you do your research on a product, see if you can find any case studies demonstrating its effectiveness. The more proof you have that the product works the likelier it is your reader will buy it.
  7. Make it scanner-friendly- By now, you’ve probably seen the heat maps depicting how people read web content. To summarize, online users tend to scan content rather than fully read it. What does this mean for you? It means your product reviews need to accommodate their scanning needs. You can do this by writing short paragraphs, using bullet points, bolding important phrases throughout the review, and using white space.
  8. Include pictures- People want to see the product they’re reading about and thinking of buying. Include at least one good picture of the product in your review.
  9. Finish strong- Product reviews don’t have the typical call-to-action that you find in most sales-driven copywriting. This is because they aren’t meant to deliver hard sell language. However, your conclusion still needs to motivate the reader to take action. The best way to do this is by giving a solid endorsement at the end that conveys just how beneficial this product is to their needs. Remember, it’s all about maintaining a balance between selling and appearing unbiased.
How many of these tips do you follow when writing your affiliate reviews? What would you add to the list?

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