Friday, April 03, 2009

Squidoo: create a product review lens

One of the best ways to promote affiliate products
is to create a product review lens.

However, there are ways to make such a review
effective in terms of affiliate sales.

Rosalind Gardner, author of the Super Affiliate
Handbook
, has written a landmark article on
this topic:

How to Write a Product Review

by Rosalind Gardner

How do you choose the products you buy?
Do you simply accept as gospel truth all the
good things a merchant says about their own
product? Or, do you ask your friends' opinions
and look for independent product reviews
before opening your wallet?

If you're a savvy consumer (which of course you are),
then you put more stock in your friends' opinions
and independent product reviews. As affiliate marketers,
we become much more successful when we approach
our site visitors as friends and take the attitude that
they too are savvy consumers

From that standpoint, an affiliate's real work is to
pre-sell our merchant partners' products by writing fair
and balanced reviews, also known as endorsement letters.

Sure, writing a review for each product takes a little time
and effort, but it's an activity that sets the super affiliates
apart from their less-super counterparts in terms of
rewards... read 'income'.

Product reviews can be either stand-alone or
comparative.
The first type focuses on a single product,
while the second is an evaluation of similar items that
allows readers to choose which product best suits them.

Before you begin to write a product review, you'll
need to evaluate the product. (Nothing like stating the
obvious, eh?)

I prefer to endorse products that I've actually used.
However, buying a product isn't always feasible.
If that's the case, affiliate managers will often grant
'proven' super-affiliates access to products for their
review.

That's especially true of information products and
ervices that are delivered online, such as internet
dating services.

But what if you're not yet a super affiliate, and can't
fathom a basement full of treadmills to review for
your exercise site? Well, do what your customer
would do if product reviews didn't exist on the
Internet - go to the store and test those treadmills
out!

And how do you review acne medications for your
skin care site if you don't have acne? Surely, you
have some friends with (previously) pimply-faced
teenagers... ask them to tell you what worked for
them.

If you can't find out that way, search Google
for "consumer reviews" + "acne medications".
Read as many as you can to come up with three
to five effective products (that have affiliate programs).

Once you've collected information about the product,
it's time to start writing that product review.

The structure for a product review is simple,
containing an introduction, overview and summary.

The introduction consists of a few sentences outlining
the problem and introduces a possible solution for
the reader, without going into detail.

The overview describes the product's promise,
a description of how the product is used, as well as
its effectiveness and value.

The summary is almost a repeat of the introduction,
and contains a strong recommendation for purchase
based on your conclusions.

To simplify the review-writing process, I ask myself
the following questions when writing product reviews
for my own affiliate sites.

1. Who is my reader and what is their problem?
2. What does the product promise?
3. How well does the product solve the problem?
What does it do? How does it work?
4. Does the product offer good value? (Would I buy
this product?)

Let's look at each question in turn.

The first question asks, "Who is my reader and what
is their problem?" If acne is your reader's problem and
your site visitors are adults, you probably want to avoid
terminology like 'Zap those zits!' and use more
age-appropriate language. Remember too, that 'zits'
aren't really the problem.

The real problem is how your reader feels
about having pimples all over their face and
how that affects their life
.

If you've experienced the problem yourself, say so.
Describe your experience, and show understanding
and compassion for the reader's plight. Speaking from
real experience earns your readers' trust which always
improves sales rates.

If you have trouble figuring out how your reader might
be affected by his problem, then you can research
that online too. For example, I searched Google for
"hate acne" and came across Acne.org, where one
young woman lamented, "My sh%tty skin is seriously
ruining my social life and my relationships with men.
I'm avoiding it all just cuz I don't want to show my face.
Its really sad. I also spend a lot of money on make up'
I'm not even asking for the most perfect skin (even
though it would be nice) but even if I was limited to
just a couple zits....and then it would take me under
30 mins to get ready ....I would never be home, and
I would go back to living the life that I ohh so miss."

That gives you a pretty clear picture of how she feels,
right? Now address those concerns using emotive
terms and you'll improve your conversion rates.

Here's an example. Rather than say, "Product A will
cure your acne", start with a question that appeals
to your reader's emotion, such as "Is acne ruining your
social life? Scared to leave the house - or even show
your face? There IS a solution to your plight."

That introduction brings us to the next question
which is, 'What does the product promise?' Does the
product cure the problem? Does it work faster, or with
less hassle and expense? You found answers to that
question during your product research.

In this section you simply summarize your findings.
Next, answer the third set of questions, "How well
does the product solve the problem?", "what does it
do?" and "how does it work?" based on your product
research.

Results are the most important information,
so it's not necessary to provide nitty gritty details
about how you use the product or what it's made of or
how it is packaged, etc. unless the merchant does not
supply that information on their site, and you consider
the information of importance to your reader.

Too, we're all aware that no product is perfect, so don't
go overboard and write a completely glowing, one-sided
review. To make the product review balanced and fair,
detail what you do and don't like about the product. If you
want to avoid negative statements when outlining your
dislikes, try phrasing the sentence like "although I'd
prefer a slightly less greasy formula..." or "although the
bottle lacks a pump dispenser..." and finish on a positive
note.

Lastly, make a value statement. For example,
"While Product A and B both eliminate most acne problems
in 30 days, Product A wins our 'best value' award priced
at $20 less per bottle. Or, if you're writing a single product
review, you could say something like, "Acme's Acne Product
would be great value even at twice the price, but at this price
it can't be beat!"

For even better conversions, be sure to include a
product graphic
on your product review webpage,
and a testimonial or two from users that you solicit
through your site or use with permission from your
merchant partner's site.

In summary, tell your visitors what you would say
to a friend if you were telling them about a product
that you found and liked. That approach will make
writing reviews easier and your friendly attitude
will push your conversion rates through the roof!

© Copyright Rosalind Gardner, All Rights Reserved.

Article by Rosalind Gardner, author of the best-selling
"Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797
in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online".


[Emphasis added]



**********************************************
Ron Passfield is a Top 100 Squidoo Lensmaster and
Giant Squid. He provides free resources for Squidoo
affiliate marketing on his Squidoo lens:
http://www.squidoo.com/squidoomarketingstrategies

To learn more about Squidoo Affiliate Marketing
check out:
http://www.squidooaffiliatemarketing.com/

Subscribe to Ron's free Squidoo Marketing e-course:
http://www.smsecourse.squidoomarketingstrategies.com/

Ron is the author of the ebook:
Squidoo Marketing Strategies

********************************************

1 comment:

Alan said...

Thanks for the product review guidelines.