How to Write a Product Review

If you promote products as an affiliate, you're going to love this post. I'm going to spill my secrets on how to write a product review that makes sales.

Product Reviews are responsible for the majority of my affiliate sales, and not just on the day that I write a product review. They get ranked in the major search engines and continue to make sales for years!

Here are some consumer survey stats* to whet your appetite:

  • 83% of consumers say that product reviews influence their online purchasing decisions
  • 70% of online shoppers actively seek out product reviews before they buy
  • More than half of US online shoppers surveyed, read user reviews as part of their product research
  • Nearly 9 of 10 US online buyers read reviews at least "some of the time" before making a purchase

Ready to learn how to write a product review that actually puts people in the buying mood? Great! Read on...

There are 7 elements that go into a great product review:

  • Image/Video
  • Product Description
  • Buyer Description
  • Proof
  • Negatives
  • Call-to-Action
  • Keyword Phrase

Keep in mind that it's the merchants job to sell the product. Your job as an affiliate is to pre-sell the product. A good product review will assist the visitor with their buying decision so that they buy the right product, and feel good about doing it.

You may choose to frame your product review around the visitors needs or wants, or you may choose to frame it specifically around the product you are reviewing. Either way, here is a description of each of the 7 elements you should include in your review complete with examples from some of my own reviews:

Product Image/Video

Opportunity.com ReviewAlways include an image and/or video of the product or service that you are reviewing. This helps your visitor visually connect your review with the product or need that they are researching, and draws them into your content.

You can take a photo of the product yourself, use an image from the merchant's website, take a screenshot of the website, or use a picture of you using the product. Depending on the product, you might also include before & after pictures.

Video options include: screencasting for digital products: ordering/using/results, unboxing of physical products, or an explanation of the product (talking head video).

Product Description

Describe the product in detail: size, number of pages, features, ordering process, delivery/package details, benefits, expected results, your specific results.

People are wary of scams, and of the actual value of a product. They want to know exactly what they'll get if they order this product today.

Include your personal thoughts and personal experience about the product or the decision to order the product. This helps your reader relate throughout the review, as they are now in the position that you were when you purchased that same product.

Example: TS2 is completely new. For those of you that have the original Traffic Secrets course on your bookshelf (here’s mine) - you’ll be getting a completely different course when you order TS2. It’s not just an updated or edited version, but contains brand new up-to-date marketing strategies and ideas. Traffic Secrets 2.0 Review

Buyer Description

Who is this product for? Who is this product NOT for? No one product is a fit for everyone (that's why we have an entire wall of toothpaste to choose from at the store!) so don't frame it that way. Be sure to describe the ideal buyer in a way that your reader can easily decide if this is the right product for them - or not.

The point of a product review is to make sure the right people buy the right product.

Example: If you are anxious to set up your first blog, but get frustrated with all the technical stuff… this course is for you. If you already have a blog and have no problem customizing it yourself, or learning the code on your own… this course is not for you. Beginning Blogger Review

Tip: If there are two similar products, you might include an alternate recommendation for people who need "xyz" instead...

Proof

There are two types of proof to include in your product review. Proof that you actually reviewed the product, and proof that the product works.

People are skeptical of product reviews and believe that product review sites are biased, and that reviews are based on payment or compensation. Your job is to prove that you have the product yourself, and have provided an unbiased review.

Proof can be achieved by using photos or video, by describing the product in more detail than can be found on the merchant's website, mentioning unadvertised bonuses, and by addressing the negatives (see next section).

Example: I sat down tonight to submit my request for StomperNet’s special offer, and I decided to turn on the video camera and let you watch over my shoulder through the order process. StomperNet Review

People are also skeptical of results, so you should include proof on how the product works if possible. This can include images, video or details about your personal results with the product.

Example: It automatically loaded the project into the software so that I could archive it, review it or upload it to the web. Here’s an example of an illustration done with the Livescribe Smartpen... Livescribe Smartpen Review

Negatives

Pointing out any negatives with the product itself, or with the ordering process, will make your review objective - and will dramatically increase the 'believability' of your product review. If you don't mention an obvious negative, it will increase skepticism.

Don't be afraid to tell you readers the negatives! They are probably already thinking it, so this is your opportunity to address those thoughts and help them make an informed decision about making the purchase.

Example 1: The only real downside I’ve found to this gadget is that you have to upload your work to the Livescribe website in order to share it. The flash replay files are proprietary, meaning you cant upload them to other spaces on the web - such as YouTube or your own website.

I found a simple work-around as you can tell by the video above. Livescribe Smartpen Review

Example 2: At this point, the only negative thing I can say about this camera is that it doesnt have a flat bottom like the original (non-HD) RCA Small Wonder. No worries, I have a mini-tripod that I can use, but that does add a level of inconvenience. Isonic Snapbox Review

When addressing the negatives, immediately follow that up with the solution - or with the reason why the negative didn't deter YOU from making the purchase.

Call-to-Action

Don't forget this important element! Your call-to-action tells your reader exactly what they should do next, and it needs to be very specific directions with a smooth transition. For example:

  • Ready? Click here for ordering instructions
  • Get Free Shipping by ordering through Amazon.com
  • Click here to download XYZ
  • Click here to read more consumer reviews on Amazon
  • Get the best deal on ABC by ordering online at XYZ website

Take a look at the landing page you'll be sending visitors to from your product review, and frame your call-to-action in a way that encourages them to click through - and lets them know exactly what to expect when they do.

Keyword Phrase

As always, every piece of content that you create on the internet should be optimized for a specific keyword phrase - and reviews are no different. You may be optimizing your review for the actual product, or you may frame your review around a specific problem or need. Choose your keyword phrase so that you attract the ideal reader.

Examples:
- Starting a Home Business? Read this…
- Membernaire Review: Membership Site Help

It's often easier to rank for the product name + review. For example, my Membernaire Review ranks #2 in Google for "membernaire review". Simply use the product name and add "Review" at the end.

I also (still) rank #1 on Google for "opportunity.com review" and "traffic secrets 2.0 review". This is a great way to continue to make sales on a product, long after the initial buzz or launch phase is over - particularly in the Internet Marketing niche.

Bonus Tip #1 If you share a lot of product reviews on your site or blog, make it a point to talk about what NOT to buy. Don't be afraid to write negative reviews now and then. It's important to prove that you are real, and that you can be objective. Your readers will appreciate you for it, and trust your opinion more.

Bonus Tip #2 Need more details for your product review? Go to Yahoo! Answers, or any forum or discussion site/area, and post a query for feedback on your product. This is especially helpful with physical products, such as a certain gas grill or home appliance. At the end of your query include a note that you may use responses anonymously in an upcoming report on the product, and that you'll come back and share the link to that report when it is available.

Learning how to write a product review that engages readers and makes sales is a skill that will improve over time. Take this checklist and write a product review for your site or blog today!

Best,

p.s. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also join us on my Internet Marketing Forum for questions about affiliate marketing, internet marketing, or setting up your blog or website.

* stats originally provided by Web Pro News, shared with me by Susanne of http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for the great guide laid out here. I've been struggling on this aspect. Precious post this is.

    Matt

  2. Another beauty of a blueprint!

    I think Clicknewz is my top reference resource of all.

    Thanks, Lynn!!

    Dan

  3. Lisa Marie Mary says:

    Lovely blueprint for a couple of chicks I know, that is for sure! ;)

  4. Great information Lynn. I am always looking for ways to improve what I'm doing and I love passing on my knowledge to others. There are so many products out there that are questionable and I want every penny to count not just for me, but for others as well!!

  5. Excellent info! As you know, I have been doing product reviews but I took away many great nuggets from this post. I know it's best to add negatives but so far I haven't really had any but I tell in my review exactly how I feel and make sure to be honest about the products.

  6. Fran Jeanes says:

    Lynn, I love the way you remind us to mention the negatives - I think people are really afraid to mention any down side to what they are selling for fear that the buyer will run a mile when they learn about any minus, but the reality is that nothing is perfect.

    Often people get disappointed in something they've bought because they have built up an idea in their minds that the product can do everything because it wasn't spelled out for them that it has shortcomings.

    People remember negatives so if they remember what something can't do I think they are less likely to be pissed when they receive a product because they didn't first fool themselves into believing it could do everything they need.

    Great post!

  7. I agree, Dan. I am really impressed with the quality of in-depth material presented here.

    Thanks, Lynn!

  8. Here is another tip that I find works well to get more info about a product. Just call the company and ask for more details. Very often you can get some different or additional facts that don't appear on their website. Then your review is different from others promoting the same product.

  9. Just about every product whether it be a physical product or digital product has a missing link. That is either a confusing installation instruction, a tip that makes the product easier to use, inadequate user manual, etc.

    I appreciate a review that fills in the missing links.

  10. Great template to follow for writing reviews, Lynn! Thanks for posting. When I see "write a review" the first thing I think of is paid reviews or sponsored reviews, but you're right...the pre-sell of an affiliate product or service is the most important part of making the sale.

    Most new bloggers (myself included) opened up shop thinking all they'd have to do is plaster a few banners on their blog and the dough would start rolling in. There's a great quote by Napoleon Hill that applies to just about everything, including making money on the internet: "Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances rarely found together." Ain't that the truth!

  11. Love having the 7 elements blueprint (is 7 the magic number this week or what? LOL) and will keep this in mind when writing my next set of product reviews.

  12. Thank you, Lynn! I've been waiting for this and it was worth the wait.

    I love how you take the most important elements of an effective product review, explain each one and even guve examples.

    I'll be going over the product reviews I've written to tweak them and make them 100% better.

  13. Melissa Ingold says:

    Fantastic post Lynn, and timely :-)

    Reviews are one thing I want to do more of on my blog, and because, geesh, I don't know if I've actually written a review, lol. So I'll be printing this out to refer to. Thanks again!

  14. roseroyce says:

    It's so good and nicely written. I never knew this could be easy, I have now the value of my judgment. Thanks!

  15. Thank you for a great step by step guide. I always followed these same guidelines but was a bit confused on how to stick a negative in the review without harming the product.

  16. Thanks! I'm just starting a review site, and I'll keep this article in my bookmarks.

  17. It's true, reviews are very helpful to other people. Even on my part, I seek first for reviews before buying a particular product. In this way, I can assure myself that I'm buying the right product.

  18. Another post worth printing out. Thanks for taking the time to "write it plain." Thumbs up! ;-)

  19. Mike Hays says:

    Lynn,
    Great use of examples in your post. I would love to see an example how you would use Yahoo answers to get product review. In fact I'll mosey on over there now and have a peak.

    • Just like I outlined above, basically. Let's say it's a certain patio set. You might do a headline like: Anyone own an XYZ Patio Set? and ask for feedback or reviews.

  20. This is a great resource Lynn! just shared it on twitter - writing product review is definitely hard if you don't have an outline and quite easy following a template as you just provided, assuming you own the product :-)

  21. That was extremely helpful. Instead of focusing on my list today, I got sidetracked reading this article then I got sidetracked writing a review. I did the video thing and the P.S. and followed the 7 things. (I may have to tweak it, but at least I understand all the parts that need to be in it).

    I have very good stats about our product so I'll get back to you when I have something to report about my sales level.

  22. Laurie Neumann says:

    Lynn,

    This really spells it all out. Thanks so much - it's very helpful. I have quite a few affiliate products on my site, and I'm going to go back and test out the pages against your post:-)

    Thanks again.

  23. MJ Schrader ~LoveRockstar says:

    Thank you for explaining review sites so well! I have been trying to figure out how to get more traffic to my reviews, and now I have an idea of how to write them better and hopefully pull in more interested prospects. ♥Live ♥Laugh ♥Love ♥MJ Schrader

  24. Habit Guide says:

    This is wonderful Lynn, many thanks. I'm going to recommend this post to our affiliates. ~ James

  25. Hey Lynn, Josh Spaulding's Tweet was right, this is A+. I like your review style, it's a more honest and open approach than what I've seen recommended at times by other affiliate marketers. Gathering the feedback from forums is so simple yet so powerful; there's nothing like 'real' social proof. Definitely bookmarking this and can't wait to do my first review using your steps. Thanks! :)

  26. Excellent post. I especially like the part about pointing out who the product is for and who it is not for.

  27. Thanks for the great information. I have been doing various product reviews and picked up a couple great tips. I also realized I was doing some of the "right things" too!

  28. Mike, Internet Marketing Seminar Review says:

    Thank you Lynn for another great post. I will be going over all my reviews with this system as soon as I can get a free minute... The boss is calling... Got to get out of here! Thanks again :)

  29. For those of you that wanted to print this tutorial, or share it with others, I now have it available in PDF Format with giveaway rights. You can download it here:

    http://www.selfstartersweeklytips.com/free/WriteProductReviews.pdf

    (right click to open in new window, or save to your hard drive)

    Enjoy! :D

  30. Its an amazing work done by you. I am sure that this article is going to help a lot of people. You have also covered the minute details needed at the time of product review.
    Thanks a lot for the information and stats. Keep posting....

  31. Very informative post & I picked up some new tips. Thanks!

  32. great article..

  33. This was a really neat review.

    I think it was awesome just that you laid it out in such an easy, and simple format.

  34. W. Clark Robinson says:

    This is great. Tangible, highly implementable information. Thanks
    W.Clark

  35. Pointing out the negatives in my product reviews was something that I always was hesitant to do, but it now makes sense to me - I want to increase the objectivity of my reviews and this will increase my sales. Thanks!

  36. FREE 10-page Income-producing e-book says:

    Hi Lynn, Thanks so much for sharing this.

    I have always had difficulty in writing reviews, as much as I believe it to be a good way to promote products. I have been missing a number of the aspects that you mention in your very clear instructions.

    I am now off to follow your instructions and see if I can produce a much better review than my earlier efforts.

    Thanks again.

  37. Those of you that write product reviews, or promote products online in any fashion, will be interested in my latest post:

    The FTC Update - In Plain English

    Full disclosure is now required...

  38. Hey Lynn. I found this through Jason Moffat's Truth Serum and wanted to say hey! I know a few things that I've learned over the past few months with "reviews" of any kind. Promote less products, but do it right.

    One video I have on YouTube has had about 1,000 or so views and it is an honest to god, video review. I go over the product step-by-step, use it, buy it go over the content pages, show examples of where it's worked for me etc, etc.

    I don't think I've had higher conversions on anything before... 1 in 6-8 hops is the conversion in ClickBank right now! It's totally crazy...

    The fact that it is #1 for "product name" & "product name review" helps too... It's increasing in views and sales are coming in a few times every week since I released it.

    That's a 8 minute video + 2 minutes to "add the link on top of the video"... 5 minutes to upload I guess. It has made a ton of money, probably over $1,000 even, not sure.

    Product reviews kick butt =)

    And this is the way to do them!

    - Chris

    • Excellent, Chris! Great to meet you, and thanks for sharing your experience. I find videos to be a great addition to my reviews, both in post and as a means to drive traffic to the written review. Congrats on your success with this one ;)

  39. Hello,
    I give Lynns post a solid 5 stars. Its obvious she takes alot of time to produce an informative post. Thanks very informative

  40. Great article. I think the most important thing to remember when writing a product review is to be completely unbiased and hypeless.

  41. Loved the article and tips, especially the part with mentioning the negative aspects of a product. I read many reviews on my life but only a few mention the negative aspects.
    Jon

  42. Gail J Richardson says:

    Lynn, This is a great post on how to write a product. I haven't written one yet but I just keep coming back to this post to jog my memory.
    Thanks for what you share with us.

  43. Thanks for the nice article. One of the things that people always forget in reviews is to call for action. It may sound like you are over doing it but it works! Just a simple one liner saying "Click on the link below to buy now!" can do wonders.

  44. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for a great post. The product review is exactly where I have been falling down on the job. What a great help this is! I greatly appreciate your help!

  45. Thank you for making it so clear. You would think that writing a product review couldn't be hard. But between trying to describe the product, trying not to sound like an insincere, fanatical maniac, trying to be a little bit original, and trying to prevent readers from falling asleep, it has become tough. So having this checklist is really going to simplify matters. Thanks.

  46. Hi Lynn,

    The stats you've mentioned are not really surprising. When I need to buy something, the first thing I do is fire up my browser and search for reviews by consumers who have used the product. I love that you have broken down the review in parts so the person writing the review can use it as a guideline and create a complete review. Great information! Thanks.

  47. Hi Lynn - I'm not surprised this is a popular tutorial because it is packed with great stuff. I'd like to thank you for all the help you give us newbies, because there is a lot of c..p out there, as I know you know. I hope to be as helpful to folks in the not too distant future.
    Caroline
    Wales, UK

  48. It's so important for a product review to be -- and look -- as natural as possible. If you feel you might buy the product after hearing the pitch, then it's legit.

  49. Thanks Lynn.

    Do you think I can use product reviews to promote my own company? I do web design, SEO and online marketing.
    So I'm not really selling a product but a service.

    Any ideas please?

    Cheers,
    Bob.

  50. Bob,
    Most definitely you could be doing reviews on your site. Even though you provide services there are certain tools you use every day. Write product reviews on those products. This help establish yourself as the expert in your market. Another suggestion is to write a small ebook about how to pick the best web design company and self publish it on Amazon. It's easy to do and only takes about 30 minutes.

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