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6 Tips for Dressing Up Your Product Reviews

This guest post is by Peter Lawlor of B2Web.

One of my favorite methods of monetizing my blogs is by promoting products as an affiliate.

As an affiliate, I have the opportunity to learn all I can about a product I promote, and share what I know, including likes and dislikes, with my readers.

I’m constantly experimenting with ways to pre-sell products, with a focus on quality content and dressing up reviews with eye-catching and informative techniques.

In the end we have two goals when promoting products as an affiliate:

  1. Attract targeted visitors to your pre-selling page.
  2. Persuade visitors to click your affiliate links.

Pre-selling is both an art and a science

The art of pre-selling lies in the unknown qualities of your posts that encourage people to click your affiliate links.

Dressing up

Image copyright gemenacom - Fotolia.com

It could be:

  • voice
  • sincerity
  • reputation
  • the way you present information on the product
  • your shared experience of the product
  • the design of your website and/or post layout
  • contextual aspects of your affiliate link placement.

The science of pre-selling entails:

  • attracting traffic, be it organic traffic from the search engines or paid traffic
  • the formatting of tried and proven pre-selling techniques (i.e. tables, charts, and quality of a review).

Taking all of these criteria into account, I use and test six methods for dressing up product reviews and other pre-selling pages when promoting products as an affiliate.

6 Tips for dressing up reviews and other pre-selling articles

1. Use images

I use a slightly unusual approach when procuring images for my pre-selling posts and pages. Many bloggers go to large image retailers and grab an eye-catching image for the post. I rarely do this.

Instead, I use screen capture software and capture many images from the vendor’s website. I also use any images provided by a vendor (usually physical product vendors have several images affiliates can use). For example, I may use an image of a vendor’s home page at the top-right of the post.

One type of image I like using in my posts is pricing images for products that offer various packages, and present these in a stylish pricing comparison table. I simply screenshot them and include an affiliate link to the vendor’s order page on my blog.

If you’re selling a digital product or web-based software, buy the product or sign up for a trial offer so you can take screenshots of the back end of the service. You can use these screenshots to show how easy it is to use a product, or turn a series of screenshots into a how-to tutorial.

2. Tables and charts

I love websites that use tables and charts to present a great deal of information in a succinct manner. For example, you can set out the product features and specifications, along with a brief write-up, in an attractive table or chart. I also like using tables and charts to compare products within a product-line or industry.

I use WordPress and both TinyMCE Advanced plugin and/or the WP-Table Reloaded plugin for creating tables and charts.

3. Demo videos

You can take the image screenshot method further by creating demo videos of the product you promote. For example, if you’re promoting web-based software, you can do a screen capture video of yourself using the service. Again this forms a great pre-selling demo that informs your readers about the product.

If you’re promoting physical products, you can make videos of yourslef using it, assembling it, or pointing out its various features.

4. Quote boxes

Some bloggers like to include quotes taken from reviews and testimonials of the product they’re promoting. You can dress up re-published reviews with the Quote tool in the WordPress visual editor.

I use the Quote tool for parts of a post and reviews other than quotes. It’s an easy, fast, and stylish method to split up your posts for your readers.

5. Coupons and sales pages

A coupon and sales page is a no-brainer for any affiliate marketer. Many vendors, whether they sell physical products or digital products, routinely offer coupons, sales, and discount opportunities for affiliates to promote.

As a blogger and affiliate marketer, you have a great opportunity to earn commissions with these discounts. You can create a dedicated post setting out the discounts your readers can use.

Be sure to do some keyword research first to see what type of “sale”- or “discount”-oriented keywords consumers in your niche use to look for deals. Then, optimize your sales and discount page for the most used terms. Personally, I like displaying multiple coupons, sales, and discounts in a table.

6. Bullet points

Using bullet points isn’t new, or an earth-shattering technique. However, it merits mention because bullet points are effective in dressing up any type of web page, including pre-selling pages.

At the end of the day, it’s a great idea to try different techniques, both in your writing style and the visual presentation of you your product promotions as an affiliate.

How will you do it?

There certainly is not one way to promote products as an affiliate on a blog. The key is offering your readers variety and providing information in a useful format that helps them with their buying decision.

Although the above “dressing-up” techniques help you pre-sell, the most important element of your reviews and other pre-selling articles is the quality of your content.

What’s been your experience of pre-selling affiliate products? Share your tips and advice in the comments.

Peter Lawlor is a contributor to B2Web which is a site all about using WordPress which includes video tutorials, in-depth video-based reviews and theme recommendations such as the Genesis Theme by StudioPress.

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Comments

  1. Images have increased my affiliate revenue by about 20%, so that’s a key for me, but in the end the biggest factor is trust.

    If you can get your audience to trust you, then you should have a much easier time converting visitors to buyers, it’s also important that the product you are promoting is trustworthy as well.

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Jamie,
      You’re bang on in that trust is key. Trust is established with quality and informative content regardless the type of conent … whether a review, informative article, pre-selling page, or sales page.

      I too found images extremely effective. I often create my own of the various products I promote, especially digital products such as the back end of a software service or table of contents of an Ebook.

    • Tien Trinh says:

      Spot on. As a web developer, i have got stuck with this for a while. took me ages. this is brrrrilliant!

  2. Kasi says:

    I have done this at different times promoting an offer, but never looked at it as an actual strategy to use until now. Makes better sense for my efforts. Good tip.
    Thanks…

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Kasi,

      I find trying different strategies is good in the long run. I started with the typical info-based pre-selling articles. Then I did some reviews which worked well. The more I dug into my niches, the more creative I became in presenting information for readers. For example, as a consumer, I LOVE tables and charts so I decided to use them extensively.

  3. Dan Thorley says:

    It’s very rare to hear an Internet Marketer share so much detail on how they optimise thier product reviews. It is fascinating to read and really useful advice and reminds one to use as many of the available tools as you can, like free coupons etc.

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Dan,

      I’ve been on the fence in the past about divulging pre-selling ideas. I’ve decided to share some of my pre-selling tips because I had a hard time finding good info on this by other successful affiliates. As I’ve experimented with strategies, I see no reason not to share what’s worked and not worked. I’m glad you found the details in the article useful.

  4. Gerry Media says:

    You can also use “stars” to spice up your reviews…

    For IM products, producing “buying experience” videos also help because you prove to your readers that you actualy bought and you are using the product you are reviewing. Helps build trust and credibility.

  5. Hi Peter,
    I have had some success with promoting affiliate products. Having a coupon code and also using my newsletter has worked the best for me when it comes to promoting affiliate products.

    I also get sales from fellow bloggers who want to buy a product from me instead of the other guy.

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Justin,

      When you have readers buying from you on purpose, that’s the ultimate compliment. I’ve done that from other bloggers as well who help me with a buying decision.

  6. Lella says:

    Thank you for this post. I was thinking about product reviews so your tips are very useful. Lella x

  7. Love the ideas presented here. I always fill like my product reviews are lacking in the creative department. I’ve never thought of using tables and charts…may have to give that a go around soon!

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Heather,

      Try different approaches. Sometimes a plain review is good as well. What I do is leverage research into several posts. For example, suppose I buy, use, and research 5 products in a product line. I can write reviews on each, then a chart page providing brief info on each product with affiliate links and links to my reviews.

      You can add additional articles such as 5 reasons to buy X, 8 myths about Y, etc. Again, leverage your existing knowledge, experience and research into multiple posts.

  8. You just gave me a fantastic idea! I’m an Amazon affiliate, and promote a lot of books for my niche (pollinating animals). Personally, I don’t like to buy a book without looking inside to know what’s there. But sometimes I have to because the local store doesn’t have it and I can only find it online. I’m going to start adding videos of me flipping through the pages of the books I review and pointing out things I like and don’t like! I love it!
    Thanks so much for the idea!
    :) Athena

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Athena,

      Terrific idea. Your readers will love it. You can jazz it up with some funny/informative commentary. You could turn that idea into a terrific website. Good luck.

  9. Justin Dupre says:

    Excellent tips on dressing up product reviews. Thanks for sharing them.

  10. Katherine says:

    Thank you, great ideas. I’m working on a focused website with SiteBuildIt! which I’m excited about. But then I often get a little sidetracked with other things — like this today: http://www.katherinekay.com Thanks again!

  11. Si Kasep says:

    Hi Peter.. This is interesting, I’ve been building my blog for almost 10 months but I never realized to build an affiliate on it, how ever after reading your post, I may consider to trying the affiliate programs to get an extra income from blog.. Thanks! :)

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Affiliate income can generate thousands per month from a blog. Start with products you know, use, and love. Write in-depth about those products. Try some in-context links as well. You’ll love the extra income. These days as affiliate marketers we’re very fortunate in that so many products/vendors/retailers offer affiliate programs.

  12. Ardorm says:

    Peter,

    The key thing for me is the image, as a consumer. The moment I can see how the product looks and works, I decide whether I’ll buy it or not. So, I’d say a one minute video about it would be the best tactic for me. :)

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      I would generally agree and I use images a lot. However, test not using images. Sometimes, you might pique readers’ curiosity so they’ll click your affiliate links and check out the vendor’s website. The goal is they click your affiliate link.

      Again, I use images more often than not, but sometimes it can work not using images.

  13. James Greg says:

    Images always have a huge effect over the public. An image shows what words cannot described and is a guaranteed way to attract attention. Any thing dressed well is noticed at once and be it a review or any other product a shabby one will be easily over looked. Building demo videos is a good strategy but I think people need to polish their skills in this. A video explains a lot but the perfect video is something that not everyone can make.

  14. I like the tips so much that I would like to share these tips with my audience on twitter and facebook.

  15. farhnaz says:

    http://www.focusa2z.com is the heaven of professional bloggers !! joining 100% free

  16. Daniel says:

    Great information, Peter.

    I am not doing Affiliates at present, though, I must say you have put forth some interesting approaches on how to go about doing this.

  17. Matt says:

    Granted, this is a blog about how to monetize and earn a living off of blogging. But am I the only one here who finds the idea of dressing up a product sales page to look like a product review to be disingenuous?

    In all fairness I suppose it all comes down to how much you believe in the product you are reviewing and selling. If you only ever push the very best stuff you find, then you are doing a service to your readers.

    “If you’re selling a digital product or web-based software, buy the product or sign up for a trial offer so you can take screenshots…”

    This implies the seller hasn’t actually used the product, and the only reason to use the product is to produce a better sales page. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a worthwhile service to anyone.

    • Peter Lawlor says:

      Hi Matt,

      Excellent point, and it’s a perspective shared by many. However, I’m also a consumer and I’ve read articles by bloggers sharing a new product in the above fashion who don’t use the product, but they may still like it. It’s the information I appreciate as a consumer and if someone gives me info not available elsewhere that aids my buying decision, then I have no qualms about that blogger receiving a commission.

      Consider a car salesman who shows you a car, says it’s a fantastic car and persuades you to buy. I don’t particularly care if the salesman owns that car as long as they inform me adequately about the car and help me with my buying decision.

  18. Mike Simmon says:

    Try Omnistar Affiliate for your affiliate software, it helped me to increase sales by about 10%

  19. I think it pays to think differently