How to Write Product Reviews for Affiliate Cash
Take Any Decent Product and Pitch It to a Target Audience Using a Review Formula That Tempts Consumers Into Buying!
What’s the Profit Potential of a Good Review?
You have to know the background of this, but I’ll keep it short:
On October 13, 2008 I was in the Warrior Forum and I happened to see a post by a new member who wanted us to review his site design. His thread was removed a few minutes later as self-serving I guess, so I’m SO glad fate allowed me to catch it while it was up. I clicked on the link, wanting to help out, and saw a product that made me fork over $147 and in a second you’ll know why that’s a big deal.
Number one, as a writer, I’m a big snob about eBook content. To impress me (and be worth $147), you’d have to write in an interesting manner, give me info that will rock my world, and not give me writing that’s a mess (tons of spelling errors, etc). Most don’t do it for me.
Your fancy graphics aren’t going to sway me to buy. His graphics were great though. This guy made me spend my Christmas money on it. It was the funny way he wrote – a little irreverent, which I like. You could tell the copy was good, but you could tell there was a person behind it, too. He had videos on the sales letter and proof, which you could see when he logged into his account on Amazon.
Number two, his product was essentially telling people to forget info products. LOL – and here I am not only selling an eBook on how to launch your own info product, but I also ghostwrite them for others – talk about shooting myself in the foot! The product I’m talking about it called Info Product Killer. I even love the name.
So that’s why it was odd that I not only bought this thing, but promoted it myself as an affiliate. (And by he way I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking if this product is still relevant – it’s evergreen – it’ll work forever in my opinion).
A week later, on October 20, 2008, I sent a quick email out to my list of under 5,000 at the time. Eleven days later I had $6,178.04 in commission waiting to be sent out to me from ClickBank. That means the product owner also made the same amount – $12,356.08 worth of sales from under 5,000 people.
Over the coming weeks, I made another $988.30 in sales from a Squidoo lens review page I made about this product.
What’s your profit potential? It’s going to be different for everyone – you should start building a list. You don’t have to – but would you rather have $988.30 in a few weeks or $6,178.04 in 11 days?
If you want a tutorial on the list building process, like getting people to subscribe, etc., then there’s no better teacher than Jimmy Brown – through his List Profit System.
Jimmy is to list building as Ewen Chia is to affiliate marketing – or John Reese is to traffic techniques. His guides are always written for the everyman (or woman) in a simple, step-by-step format.
You can read more here: iBusinessOwner
But it doesn’t matter HOW big your list is – if you don’t know how to write a good review, you can forget making any sales.
“How Am I Supposed to Trust You?”
That’s why I have to work at getting your trust. Even the biggest gurus can’t always be trusted – in fact, I know plenty who are total scam artists. And even if I get you to trust me enough to fork over some cash for a product, you’re still going to have it in the back of your mind that a refund is available – and that’s okay.
There are a few things you can do to build trust in the long-term:
1: Recommend good products
I have burned a few bridges by not jumping onboard the “JV train” when a big name asked me to promote his products. C’est la vie. I’d rather have my reputation intact than promote something I don’t feel is top quality – OR worth the money. It might be good, but not that good.
2: Be on their side
I see so many crappy reviews that make the reviewer look like their nose is permanently attached to the backside of the product owner. I’m not out there to impress business partners, sorry.
I’m looking out for the people who pay my bills – MY customers. I have their back.
3: Serve the bad with the good
If you’re not honest with your readers about what’s bad about the product, then it looks like you’re being a sneaky Pete. No product (not even mine) is 100% perfect. Someone’s bound to find holes or improvements that could be done somewhere.
I know with my own products, I always update them and work to fill in those holes. Some product owners don’t. So find things you can say that aren’t perfect about the product – and try to have a way around that.
Here are a few examples:
- The guide is missing any information about ________ so what I’ve done is create a separate bonus for you that fills in that gap in information for you.
- The product owner recommends this paid keyword tool here ________ but I can recommend a free one that’s just as good and won’t cost you a cent here _________.
- Some people would rather watch than read, so I’ve put together some video bonuses that walk you through his guide so you can follow along with me on video while you do it.
You have to truly be their advocate. Believe that you’re looking out for their best interest. If you can feel for the consumer, then you won’t rip them off just for a quick buck – and they’ll trust you with their livelihood.
What Benefit Does the Customer Derive From It?
Here’s the “blah blah blah” part that you think you already know. But I’m going to tell it to you from a different prospective. Don’t skip this section! Consumers are selfish and many reviewers don’t seem to grasp that concept. I see a lot of reviews saying, “This product did THIS for me (or the product owner).”
All they care about it – “Yeah, it works great for guru A who has experience, but what’s it going to do for a nobody like me?”
Take this product for example – this very guide. Some consumer might say, “Yeah it worked great for Guru B with her 5k list and her lens making abilities on Squidoo, but I don’t have a list and I don’t know how to build a lens.”
So you have to explain that it will show them how they can tap into a list OR the marketplace in general and make money offering reviews of readymade products. In fact, maybe that could be your “flaw” with this product – that it doesn’t tell you how to build a list or a lens. So your bonus could be about list or lens building.
Depending on the product you’re reviewing, you’ll want to use trigger words and phrases, to show them the benefits – like this:
…in the shortest time possible
Think of the acne cure info product “clear your face in just 3 days.”
…with ingredients in your pantry
Using the acne cure info product as an example again – no expensive doctor appointment. No pricey prescription (have you priced those OTC acne cures? An “in your pantry” homemade remedy would be a big perk to the budget challenged).
…with the least amount of effort
This is a big review perk for me. I always try to review things for my list members that don’t require you to have a degree in technology to use them. I want dummies guide, step by step, screen shot, hold my hand simplicity. I let my readers know they will be at ease and I put myself on their level as a tech dummy.
…with no money required
How many times have you bought an info product only to discover that to make it work, you had to spend a lot more money on tools? You start feeling ripped off.
…without anyone having to know
Think of the benefits people get when ordering “adult” products through whatever site – the “plain brown wrapped box.” It offers complete anonymity. No walking into an adult store and facing the clerk. No watching the postman snicker as he drops off a box with a return address that makes you blush.
So in your review, tell them what the possibilities are for them. Paint a picture for them. Make them feel it with every bit of their senses.
What Are the Features of the Product?
In your review, you’re going to need to talk about what the product is.
- Is it an eBook?
- How many pages is it?
- Is it easy to read?
- Are there videos to show them how to do this?
- How many videos?
- How long are they?
- What do they need to be able to use the product – anything special?
They need to know both the monetary investment they’re going to have once all is said and done as well as the time they’ll need to put aside to implement this – whether it’s making money online or smearing a homemade concoction over their face to get rid of acne.
Is Support Available Once They Buy?
A good product goes beyond the features of “1 eBook, 5 bonuses and a video.” It’s about customer service – what kind of person are they buying from? Do you even know or could you be leading the little lambs to slaughter?
I’ve seen a great product I wished I could promote but I knew the marketer was a complete tool – so I didn’t promote it. I didn’t want to expose my customers to him.
You want to test out the customer service firsthand by initiating an email to the product owner. Like I told you before, my email request for a discount coupon resulted in a YES answer for me – and I got to know right away that he was eager for my business.
Hit ‘Em With a Call to Action (…or More)
Don’t hem and haw about it trying to find the perfect time to sneak in a call to action – tell them need to buy now – not later. Stress the importance of it and make them fearful that they may miss out on something special if they delay.
If you’ve been able to secure a discount coupon, let them know that it won’t be there forever – you don’t even have to give them a specific timeframe that it will be in effect. If it’s a short period, you can and should pass along that information, like this:
“I talked Mr. Product Owner into giving you a discount, but his coupon’s only going to last 48 hours, so if you miss out, it’s going to cost you full price!”
In your email, or lens, or blog or wherever you’re reviewing this product – make sure you use a call to action more than once. Notice in all the guru emails they slap that link up right under the opening paragraph? Then again in the middle and once more at the end.
Some even stick another PS (or three) in there to make SURE you got the point!
Who Else Thinks This Product Is Worthy?
Some people care what other people think. I’ve become cynical in my line of work – seeing the incestuous JV relationships behind the scenes. BUT…many people who aren’t exposed to what I see can be impressed with testimonials.
If you know that others are promoting this product and you feel that could sway your readers, then by all means name drop!
Nothing wrong with name-dropping in my book. So for example, you might say this, “My Social Networking on Squidoo is the same one John Reese and Yanik Silver endorsed!” If they know those two guys and respect them, then it may matter that they gave my product two thumbs up.
You might also, over time, get emails from your list members telling you thank you for sending them the link – about how much they appreciate the recommendation because it XY and Z for them, etc.
Save and use that glowing feedback in your reviews!
Stick a Bonus Under Their Noses
Okay I’m not a fan of this strategy in MOST cases but I’m going to share it with you anyway because it IS viable and I HAVE used it before with much success. I’m just not a fan of the way the big launches have become a total tug of war lately.
You know what I’m talking about? The high dollar launches with huge bonuses that make you really confused about who to buy from. Do you want a 7 week phone interview with guru A or a complete website set-up with training by guru B?
I guess I don’t mind the strategy itself – I’m just tired of seeing it on every big launch. I’d like to see a cash back bonus LOL – Wouldn’t that be nice? I love seeing gurus who say their bonus is worth “$1,997” – okay, so how about Fedexing me a cashier’s check back for that amount if I buy through your link?
Not gonna happen.
But back to the strategy. I once promoted a product as a review because a guy contacted me and let me see a copy of his product. It was good, but it lacked my own point of view. So I created a simple, 4-page bonus report that covered what his product didn’t share.
It had an introduction into the report’s purpose and then it gave three samples with commentary below each one. That was it. Nothing shiny and expensive. Just letting my customers know I had their backs – I was watching out to ensure they got a compete product.
Here’s what not to do:
Don’t tell them you have a bonus for those who buy through your link and then give the bonus away to your list for free.
Don’t gather 25 PLR bonuses just to say you have a bonus. I once helped a big guru turn a failing site around because I told him the problem – he had an “okay eBook” with 25 PLR bonuses.
I spiffed up his product and wrote three 5-page ORIGINAL bonus reports to go with it. His sales soared and his refunds became virtually non-existent.
Compare This Product to Others
If you know the product has stiff competition, then tell your readers how it stacks up. Do a chart in a PowerPoint if you want to. Have a side-by-side comparison. Have you seen examples of this when you upgrade an account somewhere?
Here’s an example of a side-by-side comparison of plans for a LinkedIn account – just use the same type of format for whatever products you’re comparing with the perk or feature on the left, and a checkmark or even a comment by you under each column to the right:
This type of comparison chart is also good because you can put links at the top (like those Upgrade buttons) to hyperlink to all of the products you’re comparing in your review – so that even if they ignore your advice to buy one in particular, you still make money on their decision!
Affiliate Product Review Case Study – 11 Days $6,178.04
Okay so on to my example – I’m going to show you the exact email I sent out to my list that made me over $6,000 in 11 days. And keep in mind – most of my list is comprised of newbies. Not all, but many of them.
They’re new to Internet marketing, so it wasn’t like this was a bandwagon-jumping scene – no one else had promoted this product until I did.
I’m going to add commentary in parenthesis under each paragraph here:
Email Title: VERY Timely Product to Consider!
(I did this to create a sense of urgency. This WAS a timely product – it works best during Christmas, and it was October 20th, so they had to get it in gear in order to make it work, right? But I was totally upfront that I was hitting them with a sales pitch.)
Last week I saw a post in the Warrior Forum that was gone in the
blink of an eye – it got deleted because the URL was in the post.
But before it vanished, I went to the site and I’m so glad I did
because I truly believe what I saw is an info product that will
demolish info product sales.
(A little bit of curiosity building here. I always like to be honest about HOW I find a product – I tell my list if the product owner approached ME, if someone asked me to do a favor, or if I stumbled on it by myself.)
For awhile now I’ve been harping on the importance of tangible
product sales, right? Stuff like Amazon. Well this guy made over
$102,000 last Christmas selling off Amazon and some other tangible
sites (primarily Amazon). It’s very urgent that IF you plan on
getting it, you get it now IF your goal is to cash in for Christmas
2008. (It works year round though).
(The numbers didn’t lie – he was logged into his account on video on the sales page letting you see his $102k. I associated it with Christmas because here it was October and Christmas money is what most of us were thinking about. I was out and out blunt about urgency, wasn’t I? But I threw in a perk – works year round)
He took his amazing knowledge and turned it into one of the best
info product packs I’ve ever purchased – and even though I knew he
would soon be running a special on it, I paid full price and no,
I’m not sorry I did.
(My personal recommendation first – they know I’m a snob about writing and here I was saying his stuff was stellar. Then, I tell them I paid full price knowing he’d be selling it cheaper – I showed them MY sense of urgency. I was willing to pay more to get it right NOW.)
Here’s the deal though – it’s an idea that works year round, BUT
explodes during the Christmas season. As he logs into his accounts,
you’ll see his “dormant” account earned about $2,000 a month in
off-season. (Yeah give me that kind of “dormant” any day) but like
I said – he earned an obscene amount of money over the holidays.
(Ah the drawback that wasn’t really one. $2k a month? Yeah, really shabby – but still, it is a drawback – I wanted to be honest that they weren’t going to be bringing in $102k a month all year.)
I have already begun using this. It works. My sites are indexing
within 24 hours. I’m seeing sales. I’m a happy customer.
(I let them know the honest truth – I was using it, I was being indexed, I was seeing sales. I was (and am still) a happy CUSTOMER. Why do you think I said that? I was putting myself on a peer level with them – I wasn’t an affiliate – I was a customer, TOO! It made them notice they were reading a peer review.)
This product is for sale here:
(Stuck a link in there but a bold WAIT statement like I didn’t want them to order. I was looking out for them.)
Since the product sells for $147 I wanted to give you a special
code that lets you have $68 OFF the public price. When and if you
go to buy, he has a coupon area – type in WSO777 and you’ll pay
less than outsiders. Is it still pricey compared to some products?
Yes – but there’s a reason – you stand to earn fast money and a lot
of it. So that’s why I was willing to give it a shot – you’ll have
to make your own decision.
(I made it sound like a special clique – less than the outsiders. $68 off was a good price point but then look what I said – I flat out told them it was STILL pricey! It was, but then I hit them back with something that broke down their resistance – the REASON he charges so much is because they can MAKE so much.)
Now if you want to know more, let me remind you that I got
intrigued by this method when I used a single Squidoo lens to earn
about $2,000 over the course of the Oct-Jan holiday season last
year. This guy is teaching me to heighten my sales without using
(I had mentioned something about my own Squidoo lens earnings. Even right now that same lens earns about $68 a month on average year round and it was a one-time set-up. I just brought this offer full circle with a previous case study I had shown them for one of my own products.)
When I first bought, I emailed him and he not only emailed me back
– he called me! He was a very nice person who listened to my
concerns about being a tech dummy. Anything I felt uncomfortable
about, he either made a video about for the members area or he’s in
the process of it right now. And let me tell you, it’s something I
figured out anyway, so it wasn’t hard, but he wanted to make this
as easy as possible for the next buyers.
(Here’s the customer service kicker – my endorsement for the man behind the product.)
I consider this a stand-up kind of person. He’s not anyone we know
here YET but he’s already made big connections behind-the-scenes
and with good reason. He knows his stuff. And you’re going to be
seeing a lot more of him I believe.
Check it out: LINK I’m
making a lens about it too but this is a product you need now if
you want money streaming in this Christmas, so I figured I’d blast
you an email about it.
(Just a friendly fellow marketing “fill ya in on something” ending. I get a lot of compliments on my emails – they come across as real and that’s because – I AM! I don’t write sales crap in my emails. I write from my heart. And my customers appreciate it. And here’s that lens I mentioned: http://www.squidoo.com/infoproductkillerreview – I sold it when someone made me an offer, but I’m making another. The owner has slightly altered some things, but you can tell from reading this report which parts are mine.)
Have a great day!
(I didn’t even bother with a PS – to me, if they didn’t see the potential from the two earlier links, they weren’t going to see it with a third.)
Not every review is going to pull in $6k in 11 days. Some bring in $2k in 3 days. Some bring in a couple hundred in a few hours.
Some fail. Then you go back and see what you did wrong. Was it the product? Was it your too eager and overly sales-y email pitch? You’ll figure it out if you compare your successes to your flops.
The best advice I can give you is to be a normal person – be you. Don’t try to be a guru. Be a friend to your customer and they’ll trust your reviews.