Writing product reviews is an important part of our business. We know that the better our reviews are the better the sales will be. We learned this first hand when after writing hundreds of poor quality reviews we decided one day to change one page on one of our sites to a long detailed helpful review. This page was already getting traffic but conversions were poor. When we made the change the result was amazing. Sales increased – so much so, that we knew that we needed to change our style of writing reviews.
Writing product reviews is simple really but we make it really complicated because we tend to focus on the money first and that clouds our actions. If you couldn’t make a sale from it all and your primary goal was simply to be helpful then how differently would you write your reviews? Oftentimes it is worthwhile keeping this in mind when you write your reviews. In other words, write them like you don’t care whether you will make a sale or not.
Of course we also need to be practical here because we still need to eat so we can’t afford to not make sales. The key then is finding a balance between providing real value to our readers and making those all important sales. The problem however is that a good majority of people focus more on making sales than providing value so the balance is tipped towards the wrong end of the scale.
In order to write good quality reviews, all you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of your readers. I think that just about all of us have at some time or another looked for a review for a product online. I do it all the time. I very rarely buy a high priced item without checking out a few reviews first.
The last time I spent time looking for reviews was when we were heading overseas and we were looking for a camera to replace the old Kodak camera we had been using for the business. I spent quite a few hours checking out the best cameras for our specific needs and eventually decided on the Canon S95 – brilliant camera by the way – I highly recommend it – it’s almost impossible to take a bad shot.
The reviews that helped me the most when deciding on whether to buy this camera or not provided a lot of detail. They didn’t just list the features of the camera, since I could find that myself on the manufacturers site, but they went further by telling me what those features could do for me. They were also personalized and what I mean by that is that they provided their opinion and you could tell that they knew what they were talking about. I knew there was a real person behind the review and that made me trust their opinion more.
So since I know what I want to see in a review, it helps me when I am writing my own product reviews. I can put myself in my readers shoes because I have experienced what they are going through first hand.
Since the Amazonian Profit Plan was released, we’ve looked at a lot of product reviews from our readers and we’ve seen a lot of really good ones in that time. In fact, some have been exceptional. However, we’ve also seen a lot of not so good ones and and just about all of them are because of one or more of the following reasons:
1. The product review sounds like an advertisement
The goal with your product reviews is to write them as if you were telling a friend about the product. Instead we see a lot of people write their product reviews like they are trying to sell something and it just ends up sounding like the manufacturer wrote the review.
People read reviews for a reason – they want the real story behind the product and it’s your job to give them that. They don’t just want a rehash of the content they can find on the manufacturers website.
It’s often worth going back and reading your reviews to see if this is the case. As we mentioned previously, put yourself in your readers shoes – would you like to see that review if you were deciding on whether to buy the product? Would you think it was just overly promotional and just trying to get a sale out of me?
Think about what you want to see in a review and apply that to your website.
2. The review isn’t personal enough
This is one of the most common mistakes we see with product reviews. Just because you don’t own the product, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get personal about it and give your opinion. This is why you need to use ‘I’ in your reviews. This is particularly important in the first paragraph. Your readers want to know that there is a real person behind the review and they will continue reading if they see that.
Here are just a few examples of what I mean by using “I” in your reviews. Just by adding these types of statements throughout your review it starts to sound more personal and you will get more people reading through to the end.
“I like the safety features of this stroller”
“I prefer this drill to the XYZ drill because…”
“In my opinion, this feature of this dog bed beats all other dog beds hands down.”
“I don’t think you will find any other chain saws with this safety feature.”
“I’ve also reviewed the XYZ drill and it just doesn’t compare to this cordless drill.”
3. The review contains too many ads
In the early days when we were desperate to make some money with all of this we would often include lots of ads on our product review pages. We assumed that the more ads we had, the more likely our readers would click through to a merchant and make a sale. We eventually realized that it didn’t work as well as we hoped. The more ads we had on the site, the more likely people would just click away. Plus these days most people are becoming blind to ads and simply don’t even notice them anymore.
We know that the best types of ads (if you want to call them that) are just plain and simple text links scattered throughout the product review. It took us a long time to realize this but we make most of our income from text links than any other type of banner ad, Adsense ad, widget, pop-up or fancy new form of advertising.
The more subtle you are with your ads the more likely people will trust you and read your review. So keep it simple and avoid using too many ads on your product review pages.
4. The reviews are too short
We’ve already mentioned above how we initially started out writing poor quality reviews. They were usually around 300 words and although the content was okay, it just wasn’t enough for our readers to make an informed decision about whether the product was right for them.
If your reviews are short then it is most likely that you aren’t providing enough value. We’ve said before that you only need a handful of reviews to make a decent income online so you can take your time with your reviews and make them the best they can be.
It will depend on the product of course, but you should be aiming for a review length of around 1000 words. You can make it longer if you wish. I am in the process of writing a review for an internet marketing related product and it is currently at 3700 words….too much?…maybe but if someone is interested in that product they will have everything they need to know about it before making their decision…they shouldn’t have to go anywhere else….and that should be your goal with your reviews.
5. The review focuses too heavily on the negatives
If you want to write valuable reviews then you can’t simply focus on the positives only. On the other hand, if you focus too heavily on the negatives it can kill your sales.
Just about every product is going to have a negative consumer review only because there are some people out there that are just never happy with anything. They can’t help but write about what they don’t like about the product. When you see those sort of consumer reviews on Amazon then you simply ignore them. These are not the sorts of negatives that you should be adding to your product review. It is only when you see the majority of the consumer reviews talk about the same specific problem with the product that you need to include it in your review.
Mind you, if the majority of the consumer reviews on Amazon are complaining about the product then it is probably not a good product to be reviewing in the first place. This is why we always suggest selecting good quality products – products that you yourself would buy.
If you have to add a negative to your review then if possible try and turn it into a positive. For example, if your product review is about a particular vacuum cleaner and a number of reviewers have complained about the noise of that particular vacuum cleaner then you might say something like this: “A number of reviewers have complained about the amount of noise this vacuum cleaner generates but I see this as a sign of a really powerful vacuum cleaner.”
Some final tips…
- Always add images to your reviews – we always add an image to the very top of the review and link it to Amazon – (see How to Add an Amazon Image Link).
- Try and get the word ‘review’ into the title of your post – most people looking for reviews will use the word ‘review’ when searching in Google.
- Leave plenty of white space – we’ve seen a few reviews where the paragraphs are all bunched up together. White space just makes things a lot easier to read.
- Create sub-headings throughout your review. It also helps to make the review easier to read.