Absolute surety before buying a product or signing up for something is an intrinsic need for humans, especially for those who’d spend hard-earned money.
Long before internet technology became commonplace, it’s a standard typical for consumers to discuss products with friends and neighbors before committing to a purchase. And now that the internet has connected people in the virtual space, online product reviews have become an effective and very powerful promotional tool.
In fact, Trustpilot has reported that 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before buying products.
Whether you’re an online business owner or a blogger trying to scale online revenue, this post will go in-depth on how you can write and structure an effective product review.
We’ll also cover whether comparison tables, pros and cons features, or top specs and verdict tables are necessary for the reviews.
By the end of this post, you’ll be able to format product reviews that would resonate with your audience and get you closer to your online income goals.
What Are Product Reviews?
Product reviews are product-centered content that investigates everything a consumer would want to know before buying a product. The review can either be for dropshipping products, affiliate marketing products, or even for online services like a cryptocurrency marketplace.
We’ll mostly refer to product reviews in this post but the processes also apply to online service reviews.
Ideally, this type of content should be made by an independent author, in most cases, a niche-based blogger who can present an unbiased perspective.
A lot of these independent reviews also prompt readers to engage by discussing further, commenting, and rating products that are discussed.
A product review is a “bottom-of-the-funnel” promotional device for those who are close to deciding to buy but still want an assurance they’re making the right decision. It reduces buyer remorse when a review proves a product is a good fit for them.
And since consumers don’t really trust how a salesperson presents a product, they turn to product reviews to get a realistic perspective on what the product is and isn’t.
Why is Writing a Product Review Important?
Writing a product review is important because it enhances consumer trust in a product. When it does, it can contribute to a significant increase in revenue.
It’s so important that 62% of consumers express that they would not support brands that censor product reviews.
Product reviews benefit 3 groups of people: product owners, review writers, and consumers.
As long as the product is proven to be useful and of quality, product reviews will help consumers be confident in making a purchase which in turn means revenue for the product owner.
It also helps product reviewers because it establishes their authority in the niche, and in the long run, when they start to rank on search engines, product reviews will help increase organic traffic to their website.
Now that we’ve established why product reviews are so important, let’s now move on to discuss how you can prepare for a functional and rewarding product review.
3 Things To Do Before Writing The Product Review
Know The Product
Logically, you can’t review what you don’t know. And if you try to copy and paste existing reviews, chances are either Google can catch up on you and penalize you for duplicate content or readers will not derive value from it because it says all the same things other reviews say.
You need first-hand and thorough knowledge of a product so you can position yourself as an expert review creator.
Whether you promote dropshipping products or affiliate products, buy the product yourself. Then examine the manufacturer’s or product owner’s website and read the manual so you can compare their publicity material to the real-life experience you’ll have with the product.
Use The Product
When the product arrives, test the product out, at least for a few days especially if it’s an electronic device or try it on for a day if it’s wearable like lingerie to get a good feel of its quality.
As an example, if you find a beach mini dress in an online lingerie store like 3Wishes that are described to be “lightweight” try it out for a day first to feel if it’s as weightless as promised.
And if you’re trying to review a service, say a streaming service like Everytale claiming to have high-quality video streams, signing up for it, or requesting a reviewer’s access from the creator will give you the personal experience you need for the review.
Perceive What Readers Would Like To Know
Understand what consumers would like to know about a product. Undoubtedly, consumers haven’t converted yet because they still want to know something more about the product or service. Think about what these questions might be.
As a rough guide, consumers would like to know:
- Is it user-friendly?
- Is it helpful for a student? A parent? An office worker? Or any target market you think the product is made for.
- It is of high quality (hence the need to test it out for a few days yourself)
- What are the pros and cons of this product?
- What can competing products offer that this can’t?
- What can this offer that competing products can’t?
- Have others had a pleasant experience using this?
- Is it worth what I paid for?
- Does it serve the purpose I bought it for?
If it’s an automation tool like a predictive dialer, you can ask: “does it serve the purpose? Can it really automate cold calling?” Or an automation tool like an Amazon listing optimization software, you can ask: “Is it worth what I paid for? Does it help increase revenue for my products?”
For a presentation software like Visme, you can ask: “does it offer a wide choice of interactive templates that will be useful for my presentations? Does competing software offer the same charts, diagrams, and widgets?”
These are just ballpark questions you can always customize depending on what the product or service can do.
Writing The Actual Review
When writing the actual review, some essential steps and elements should never be left out. Otherwise, the purpose of writing the review won’t align with the actual outcome.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, here is a detailed process you can follow when writing and structuring your product reviews.
Identify The Target Audience
Narrowing down your audience will ensure you minimize tire kicker readers for your reviews.
These are people who are least likely to convert because their interests are far from the products and services you offer.
Why do you want to minimize tire kicker readers? When you start tracking your review content performance, tire kicker readers will disrupt the statistics on traffic and conversions. Meaning, you get less accurate data because the statistics include people that are not the right fit for the product.
Less accurate data will mean less accurate optimization for your content which means you could be wasting your efforts.
The solution? Identify your target audience by including a section that explains who the product is for.
For example, if you’re doing a review about an eCommerce SEO agency like Avidon Marketing Group, clearly indicate that this review is for digital marketers, online business owners, bloggers, and other groups of people who make online content intending to rank in search engines.
Use The Right Format
Here’s how you should structure your product reviews.
I. Introduction – Grab readers’ attention by drawing them to a pain point the product solves. Pique their interest by disclosing what the review will feature. Then draw their desire by saying that by the end of the review, they’ll be able to decide if the product is worth buying.
II. Review Summary – Online readers are skimmers and scanners. More often than not, they’ll skip from one portion of the review to another rather than reading it top to bottom. By including a review summary, you’ll give them an immediate idea of the product features and a quick verdict for the product.
You can add star ratings or star testimonials to make the review more engaging and easy to understand. It might seem counter-intuitive but by giving them the verdict right off the bat, you’ll stir their interest to know what other information you can offer.
III. Product Description – Outline what the product features and who it is for. If possible, include a brief background of the manufacturer or the creator of the product or service. In this part, you can add a specs box in the form of a summary about the section.
IV. Product Showcase – After describing what the product can do, show the readers what it actually does by sharing your experience while using or interacting with the product.
Was it easy to use? Are the features easy to find? If it’s battery-powered, how long does it last before needing a charge?
Show scenarios of where you’ve used it by including photos.
V. Product Comparison – Assuming that you’re a third-party or an independent reviewer, you should include product comparison of competitors. This way, it’ll be easier for consumers to gauge which is the best buy for them.
To make it easy for skimmer and scanner readers, take advantage of comparison tables for quick comparison between the products.
VI. Conclusion – Finish off with your verdict. Since you’ve included this in the review summary, the conclusion can delve deeper into why you gave the product the verdict you did.
Elements To Include
- Photos – this is where the “show, don’t just tell” philosophy comes in. Take real pictures of how you used the product. It’ll make the review more realistic and make you more trustworthy. You can also use photos to break up walls of text so readers won’t tire out from reading. You can even hire graphic designers when you need tasks delegated.
- Sub-Sections – just like photos, sub-sections act as visual breaks to cut off tons of paragraphs like what VPNoverview did to their Torrent sites review. It’ll also make it easier for readers to find important points.
- Comparison Boxes – it makes it easier for readers to weigh up a product or service’s features. This is exactly what awesomeX did with their hosting services review and it’s a great example you can follow. Comparison tables are also good if you’re doing pros and cons or good and bad features.
- Use Symbols And Icons – use these elements to add visual flair to the review. Take this comparison review for Sendinblue by awesomeX. Inside the comparison box symbols of an “x” mark and a checkmark are used to simplify showing what the software has and what it hasn’t.
- Star Ratings – this was already mentioned earlier but just to make it easier to remember what elements to include, we listed it here. Adding star ratings will give a quick recognition if the product is good or not.
- Multiple CTAs – CTAs don’t only direct your readers to the action you want them to make whether it’s to buy a product or sign up for a mailing list, it can also act as a visual break from a wall of text.
- SEO – If you remember earlier, one of the benefits of doing reviews for bloggers is that they get to rank their website on the first page of search engines. To make this happen, you have to employ SEO tactics like using semantic keywords, internal and external linking, and optimizing photos, meta titles, and meta descriptions. Plus if you plan to sell your review site later on valuation tools like Flippa valuation would price your website higher than others.
Create A Summary Box
The second part of an effective product review is a review summary. It can be a simple paragraph of your review verdict. But better than that, you can embed a review summary box.
A review summary box includes a bit of everything about the product: its description, features, price, and verdict. But best of all, including a summary box, means you can blend a call-to-action early in the product review.
A great example of this is the Medical Alert Buyers Guide. In their review for the Best Medical Alert Systems, they included a summary box that outlined the features with progress bars, star rating for a verdict, pricing, and CTA.
Empathize With Readers
One gigantic mistake many reviewers make is to rattle off product features rather than showing how it solves a problem. This mostly happens when the reviewer hasn’t tested the product himself and is heavily reliant on existing reviews.
Technically, they won’t need your review to run down all the features, the product website already does that for them. What readers want to know from your review is if the product has the benefits from the features that can really solve a problem.
It’s not just about the cool things a product can do, it’s more about how the product performs as a solution to a problem.
To come off as empathetic, present your review as if you’re talking to a friend, this means using a friendly voice, using the word “you” constantly.
Share the problems you personally had and how the product was able to solve them. Stories are great attention-grabbers, add a brief narrative about your problem and the product being the solution.
Lastly, pressure the pain. Use rhetorical questions to bring gravity to the problem. Ask questions like, “have you ever felt upset when this or that happens”.
Bring Up The Solution With The Product
Now that you’ve poked the pain points enough, it’s time to bring the product as the solution to the problem. You can add this part after the product intro and description.
This is where you highlight the benefits and capabilities of the product and how it solves the problem.
The fourth part of the review format is the product showcase. This is where you show how the product features work in a real-life setting, the chance to showcase what is promised is what will be delivered by the product to the consumer.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to be all praises for the product. It makes the product review unrealistic and biased. Remember to also include the product limitations.
Take a look at what ecommerceCEO did to their Shopify review. The review box highlighted pros, cons, and realistic star ratings.
Think about it:
When you last landed on a page filled with positive reviews, didn’t you feel it was sketchy?
Include Social Proof
Adding social proof backs up your verdict and thus increases your credibility as a reviewer. If you’re reviewing an affiliate product you’re promoting or affiliate tracking software you’re using, social proof will help persuade readers to convert.
To get social proof, you can get screenshots of customer reviews from places where the product is sold like Amazon.
A great example of this is ReferralRock’s inclusion of social proof from LinkedIn, it included not just the pros, but also the cons of the services.
You can also incentivize comments by running a contest or giveaways.
List Product Alternatives
Listing alternatives gets you 2 things: more sales and a reputation for being impartial.
It gets you more sales because if they end up not buying the product in your review, they might convert with the alternatives.
It also subtly tells them you’re not just reviewing what you’re reviewing because it’s your way of promoting it to make a sale.
For this, it’s best if you join various affiliate programs, so you can monetize the alternatives you include on the list.
Conclude With A Take-Home Message
Again, this part is where you express why you gave the verdict you did, your personal opinion about the product. Personal recommendations are highly valued by readers. By telling your personal thoughts, you give a realistic perspective about the product and this might just be the trigger for them to finally convert.
Writing affiliate reviews isn’t just about stringing features together. It’s about giving an intimate point-of-view about a product. It’s about being the virtual friend who can give absolute surety about a product they’d spend hard-earned money on.
Offer real value to readers by trying the product yourself, structuring the review with the right format, including alternatives and social proof, and finishing off with a take-home message.
This way, you’ll be able to empathize with your audience better, in turn, increase their trust in you, and best of all, move them to the action you want them to make.
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