3 Tips for Perfecting Your Affiliate Product Reviews

As an affiliate marketer, high-quality content should be central to your website. Blog posts, email newsletters, and general page copy are all important. However, you may be ignoring one very important and lucrative form of content, and missing out on its many financial benefits.

Affiliate-written product reviews are in-depth articles that highlight the pros and cons of industry products. They provide extraordinary value to your readers, as well as a boost to your income by providing a natural lead into a sale. In short, getting them right, optimized, and focused should be a primary concern.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to product reviews and their benefits. We’ll then highlight three tips you can use to create the most in-depth and useful reviews available within your industry. Let’s get started!

What Product Reviews Are (And Why You Should Use Them on Your Affiliate Site)

An affiliate product review

Making Sense of Cents provides reviews of products and companies.

For the initiated, product reviews are in-depth pieces of content written by marketers and bloggers. You can use them to help readers form educated opinions before making a purchase. These are different from user reviews, which are commonly seen on online shops and review sites, such as Yelp.

By creating product reviews for your website, you can gain an edge over your competition. There are a number of other benefits to consider too:

  • Reviews provide value to your readers.
  • They enable you to prove your expertise in the industry.
  • On the whole, they’re natural, ‘non-salesy’ pieces of content that are a key ‘social proof’ metric.

Of course, your readers will only get the most from your reviews if you avoid a few common pitfalls. While there are a number of them to consider, the main problems are ‘over-egging’ the sales talk, along with relying too heavily on the reviews of other marketers and not personalizing the review to your target audience.

3 Tips for Perfecting Your Affiliate Product Reviews

In this section, we’ll look at three tips for writing the perfect affiliate product reviews for your readers. We recommend including all three within your own reviews to maximize their impact.

1. Use the Product Yourself to Gain a Unique Perspective

A product review with a live product

Using the product yourself – which is commonly done on Digital Trends – is the best way to offer your own perspective to your readers.

An underrated technique for writing successful reviews for your readers is to use the product yourself, from the reader’s perspective. By using the product yourself, you can gain a better understanding of its pros and cons. This enables you to provide more genuine reviews, and as a result, build more trust with your readers. With the products properly tested, the results will form the basis of your reviews. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Include descriptive examples. Incorporate anecdotes and usage examples into the review. This will add a genuine touch, and boost credibility.
  • Provide tips for best use. For example, provide simple fixes for issues you’ve come across, or offer up a unique use.

We also strongly recommend you choose products that align with your target audience. If you want any chance at all of your product being successful, you must choose ones that your audience will actually find useful. So, keep your audience in mind with every review you create.

2. Create a Consistent Ratings System to Improve Your Reviews’ Value

A product review ratings sytem

The five-star – or, in this case, circle – ratings system is a popular choice for bloggers and affiliate marketers.

A ratings system provides you with an objective way to rate product metrics, and it sets you up as an authority in your industry. With a consistent ratings system, many readers can then use your site as a way to compare and contrast products. Here’s how to get started creating your own system:

  • Select your metrics. Assuming you’ll be reviewing products from within the same niche, it should be easy to choose metrics that will fit with these products. For example, a reviewer for WordPress plugins can choose features, usability, and support as metrics.
  • Create a ‘rubric’ for each metric. A rubric is a system that associates a number, letter, or other indicator with a set of expectations. For example, a 1–5 number scale can be used to create a rubric that rates product metrics from poor to excellent.

A great way to display your ratings system – and keep your product reviews consistent – is to incorporate a ratings chart within each review. This provides an easy way for your readers to understand your rubric.

3. Include Visuals to Supplement Your Reviews

A product review screenshot

Visuals – including screenshots – can enhance the effectiveness of the review for your readers.

One way to show readers you’ve tested a product is with visuals. With proof you’ve used the product, you can boost your audience’s confidence in your review. Visuals can also break up dense content, which improves the users’ experience. Fortunately, using visuals isn’t complicated:

  • Use functional visuals. By taking your own photos and screenshots of important product elements, you add value to your content without any additional words.
  • Experiment with different mediums. Photos aren’t the only appropriate visual. You can consider using GIFs, videos, and even infographics to further support your reviews.

You don’t have to be a professional to create illustrative visuals for your content. However, it doesn’t hurt to take the time to ensure your visuals are of the highest quality possible.

Conclusion

Product reviews are a form of content that affiliate marketers can’t afford to dismiss, regardless of your niche. Not only are they valuable to your readers, they can also benefit you and your affiliate business immensely. What’s more, perfecting them will likely see your conversion rates soar.

In this post, we’ve introduced you to the importance of product reviews. We’ve also outlined three tips you can use to perfect your own affiliate site’s reviews. To quickly recap, you should:

  1. Use the product yourself to gain a unique perspective.
  2. Create a consistent ratings system to improve your reviews’ value.
  3. Include visuals to supplement your reviews.

Do you have any questions about how to create effective product reviews, or how Affiliate Royale can help? Let us know in the comments section below!

3 Guidelines for Effective Affiliate Marketing with Product Reviews

reviews

Online reviews influence people. One study shows that 67.7% of buyers will read reviews about the products they intend to buy before committing to a decision, and that trend is only likely to continue. Clearly there’s a need for reviews, and that means there’s also an opportunity for affiliate marketers.

Product reviews are useful to consumers because they offer valuable advice, and effectively compare the pros and cons of similar products (or at least, they should!). They’re useful to businesses because they offer an avenue for their products to become better known, and also act as a form of social proof.

Best of all, product reviews can be highly profitable for you as an affiliate marketer. They provide a way to secure a steady stream of income, and by showcasing products or services in your reviews, you can steadily drive traffic through your affiliate program.

With the above in mind, this post reveals three guidelines for supercharging your affiliate marketing with product reviews that people will both love and trust.

1. Become an Expert in Your Niche

An expert is someone who sets himself apart from his peers in terms of knowledge and insight, and who delivers unerringly consistent results. To convince people that your opinion matters, you need to set yourself up as an expert on the industry and product(s) you’re covering.

Of course, that will take some work – so how much time is really necessary to become an expert on a particular subject? The author Malcolm Gladwell would infamously have you believe that you need to invest 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert. However, that seems impractical, and in reality opinions are divided on the matter.

Compare Gladwell’s rule to what Tim Ferriss said in The 4-Hour Workweek:

Expert status can be created in less than four weeks if you understand basic credibility indicators.

Regurgitating sales copy or simply listing the features of a product doesn’t make for a valuable review. You need to give expert advice, insider tips, and practical information, and you need do it consistently. Doing so will ensure the exponential growth of your reputation.

How to Become an Expert in Your Niche

There are ways to become known as an expert without having to invest months or years of your life. It’s always a good idea to choose a subject that you already know something about, and build on that. You can also use the following tactics:

  • Join trade organizations and display your affiliations on your site.
  • Read the top selling books and most popular online content in your niche to stay up to date on all the latest trends.
  • Write guest posts on authoritative blogs to boost your reputation.
  • Partner with an expert.
  • Quote only credible, authoritative sources.

2. Develop Trust

Product reviews are one of the mainstays of affiliate marketing. They’re often more effective than blatant sales tactics because they can get past a buyer’s ‘filters’. However, to be effective, your reviews need to generate a sense of trust with readers.

The ultimate challenge is to write something honest, that still converts into sales. That means you need to review products that you believe represent good value for money, and also offer an authentic, unbiased opinion.

It’s important to be balanced and fair when reviewing. There are actually some positive effects from negative publicity. It may seem counter-intuitive to mention the negatives about a product in your review. After all, you’re trying to sell it. On the other hand, people are more likely to trust you if you provide a balanced point of view.

How to Gain the Trust of Your Readers

Readers appreciate transparency, and will be far more likely to follow through with a purchase if they sense that you’ve provided all the facts. To gain trust, use the following tactics:

  • Openly discuss both the pros and cons of your product.
  • Explain who the product is right for, and also who it’s not right for.
  • Be authentic and forthright. For example, could you honestly say that you would buy it for yourself?
  • Test your product thoroughly and show people how it works in real life situations.

3. Stay Clear of Legal Issues

When you have a financial agreement with the company you’re endorsing, it implies a responsibility to your readers, and has legal ramifications.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides guidelines about fair and legal disclosure on your product review site in the USA. Misleading readers by failing to disclose the fact that you have a vested interest in selling a product is sure to land you in hot water.

How to Stay Clear of Legal Issues

Broadly speaking, the FTC seeks to protect consumers from misleading endorsements. If you follow the guidelines below, you should be safe from legal issues down the line (although we recommend you make your own inquiries as you see fit):

  • If you’re making commission on a product you’re reviewing, you need to disclose it.
  • If you got the product you are reviewing for free, you need to mention it.
  • You should disclose your relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously, so readers can decide how much weight to give your endorsement.
  • The guidelines apply to blogs, websites, and social media equally.

Conclusion

In order to make product reviews a viable and sustainable source of income, you need to do far more than just sell products. You need to give your readers something of value, and do so with a clear conscience.  

Keep the following three guidelines in mind in order to create reviews that will continue to satisfy readers, and ultimately work to earn you more commission:

  1. Become the expert in your niche by doing your homework, providing an ‘insider’s’ point of view, and offering practical advice for users.
  2. Build trust by remaining transparent, unbiased, and thorough with your testing. Only endorse products you would buy for yourself.
  3. Watch out for legal snares by following FTC guidelines.

What key elements do you think make up the perfect product review site? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!