As an affiliate marketer, you are bound to write reviews of products and services somewhere on your blog. Reviews are also a great way to attract visitors and to engage them when they have further queries on the product you are reviewing. This not only lets you help the people by providing them the best information possible on the product being reviewed but it also enables you to understand the buying behaviour of the people. From the blogger’s perspective, reviews are considered the real money-making posts of the blog and every blogger pins his or her hope on these posts for generating revenue from their site. Insofar as reviews remain the cornerstone of your blog, there must be a right way to write them. And at the same time, there are wrong ways to write a review, don’t you think?
Reading reviews of a product or a service is very much a part of the buying process. I for one tend to go through many reviews, comparisons, and recommendations before zeroing in on a product. I can understand that writing a review and receiving a review is entirely a different ball game. However, most bloggers forget that deep down they are also buyers and they conveniently forget this once they don the reviewer’s hat. Most end up writing a disguised sales pitch instead of actually reviewing the product or they do not give enough information on the product leaving the readers confused and unsure.
Why people read reviews?
Before going any further, let us first understand why people read reviews. Picture this. You intend to buy a product and you are going to invest your hard-earned money towards it. Yet you are unsure of the actual utility of the product, its features, if it has alternatives in the market, how it fares compared to other similar products. So what do you do? Well, you browse the internet for information on the product, and even if it is described in detail on the “official” website, you tend to go to a reviewer’s site in the hope that it will give you an unbiased info which you might not find on the official version (for obvious reasons). So people read reviews:
- To find out the good as well as the bad things about the product.
- To see if the product would be useful to them.
- To find out how it compares to other similar products.
- To find out if it provides them good value for money compared to other products with the same features.
- To see if it comes with a trial period or with full-money-back warranty.
- To see if buying the product comes bundled with other hidden costs (product upgrade, accessories, etc.).
- To find out other people’s experiences of the product.
Planning to write a review? Consider avoiding these points.
You might want to write a review of a product or a service on your blog. Who knows with your brand already established, people might approach you to write a good review on their product they plan to promote. Yes, a review is a good way to promote a product and to carry it forward to sales conversions. While there are certain ground rules one should adhere to while writing a review, there are also many things one should be avoided while writing a review. The following are the things people don’t like in a review:
#1: No respect for the buyer’s intelligence
I don’t like it when the blogger goes over the top and makes crass assumptions about the intelligence of buyers. If you are continuously hammering me with sentences like “Don’t be a fool…”, “Here’s what I think is right for you…”, “Don’t just keep on thinking, decide now…”. Do you know you are making me feel stupid? I came looking to find out more details about the product but if the reviewer thinks I’m stupid and that he’s going to make the choice for me, how insensitive is that! Well, I know what to do. I’ll click away to another review. Simple.
#2: Sounds too pushy
Some reviewers are too direct and are eager to shove the product right under our nose. I hate it when I’m told “this is an opportunity you cannot miss” because I feel as if I’m being conned. Come on, it is my money that is going to buy the product. Nobody has the right to force me into buying something I do not like. I’m going to invest my money and I need time to think. Let’s go slow, shall we? Don’t make feel as if I’m being conned.
#3: All 5-star rating
Come on, no product can be 100% good. I do not believe there’s a product that has all the pros but no cons. In fact, I came to a review trying to find holes, trying to know the bad things about the product beside the good ones. My buying decision is going to base on how the pros outweigh the cons. I do not want to hear only the good things; let me hear some bad ones too. I tend to generalise that a review with all 5-star ratings for the features is a bad review. How’s that?
#4: Trashing other products
Making comparisons is okay. In fact, feature-by-feature comparisons are needed between similar products, but if the review tries to completely trash one product while trying to push the other and when it becomes all too obvious, it becomes disgusting. Give me a point-by-point comparison and tell me why your product is better. But if you say all bad things about the other product, it dents the credibility of the review. It sounds biased. It lacks class, you know.
#5: Too many Call-To-Actions (CTAs)
When prospective buyers (yes, most who read reviews are indeed potential buyers) are looking for an honest and unbiased description of the product. But if the review tries to come up with “Click here, “Buy now”, “Get the best deal here”, and such CTAs, the reviewer sounds desperate. My assumption is he’s already biased. It sounds pushy and is actually irritating.
#6: Simply restating marketing material
A product’s descriptions are already listed on the official website. But a buyer opts for reviews that are “unofficial” simply because he expects the product to have some bad points. A review needs to be persuasive but it needs to be authentic too. The review is not expected to advertise the product. As a reviewer, you need to prove that you are an expert and worth listening to and that your opinions are authentic. We need to hear your personal opinions and about your own experience with the product. What good is that review that simply lists all the features one by one without any input from your end?
#7: Too loud and too much hype
In a review, the key is to maintain transparency throughout. If the blogger goes ballistic from the very first sentence about how wonderful the product is, I become suspicious. I’m looking for an intelligent review and I want to be shown the delights of using the product (or service) from the reviewer’s own first-hand experience. It pays to remember that buyers are intelligent and by putting two and two together, they will soon find out that you are not honest. As a buyer, I don’t mind being led into buying something and I’ll happily follow what the reviewer tell me, including clicking that CTA if I feel he is honest.
#8: There’s no history of the product
Most products come through different stages in their evolution before it assumed its present avatar. Buyers sometimes prefer knowing how the product was in its earlier version and how it has improved in the present stage. This gives an idea of how involved and dedicated the manufacturer is about giving the best in their product. Hence, it makes sense to include a bit of its history in the preview.
#9: There’s no take-home message
A review should ideally have an ending with a final take-home message. A review without a final verdict is too open-ended and usually leaves people confused and unsure. After reading a long product review, I would love to read a summary, a gist of the whole review to give me a clear idea of where I should be going from there.
#10: There’s no feedback or comment
People invariably look for feedback or comments in a review post to assess other people’s experience with the product. Hence, a dedicated space for discussion is necessary for people to leave their own reviews. Yes, these user-generated reviews are helpful to a new visitor to the page because he will be getting reviews from different users. But if you ignore this discussion space in your review, it makes the reader less amenable to your suggestion. It makes your review less credible.
As a blogger, writing reviews is a great way to keep your audience engaged. But be mindful of the things that will lend less credibility to your review. At heart, we are all customers and buyers but when we jump the fence and become sellers or promoters, we conveniently forget that. Creating a review is all about being honest and unbiased. It’s a fine line to tread but the attempt should be to make everything as balanced as possible. Please leave a comment below if you can add more to the “to avoid” list. Thanks for reading.