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How to Write an Effective Product Review

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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 services 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, 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!

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". To learn how you too can suceed in Internet and affiliate marketing, go to:

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