So the next time you're approached by a blogger, or other online venue, asking for one of your products to feature in their review section, think twice before declining. Product reviews can be wonderful word-of-mouth publicity tools—when done correctly.
Consumers can discover several key factors about your product through well-written "independent" product reviews, factors like:
- Does your product hold up to the claims advertised?
- Is your product a good investment for the dollar?
- Are there idiosyncrasies the buyer should be made aware of?
- Are there certain factors that should be considered before purchasing? (i.e. allergies, space, time, age, physical ability)
- Is there a key component that makes your product better than the competition?
And through consumer reviews, your company can obtain valuable marketing and production insight. Insight like:
- Discovering flaws in the product that should be addressed immediately,
- Deciding whether you should discontinue a product that didn't hold up to its claims—in the eyes of the consumer,
- Incorporating ideas consumers feel will improve the overall design and functionality of the product—ideas your research and development team has yet to consider,
- Creating new advertising campaigns that address the positive key factors your advertising department missed the first time around or simply took you by surprise,
- Creating product descriptions that live up to consumer expectations, and/or
- Expanding your frequently asked questions area to address common misconceptions about your product or offer tips to help consumers make informed decisions before purchasing your product.
When approached by someone requesting a sample of your product to review, don't assume it is just to get your product for free. No matter how small the publication is or how many visitors the blog has, loyal readers can increase sales. Just make sure the publication or blog reaches your intended audience.
The key to a good product review campaign is to be selective in who receives one of your products for review. Check out the publication, the blog, or the website and make an informed decision. Only then will you know whether providing an item from your company is worth the investment.
When approached by, or seeking out, an individual or company to review your product, ask:
- How popular is the publication or blog?
- Is it cost effective to have this publication or blogger review my product?
- Is the reviewer an average consumer, an industry leader, or celebrity figure?
(A good review campaign will use all three sources.)
- Who is the reviewer's target audience and is his target audience my target audience? In other words, will the review reach my intended audience?
- Does the reviewer's target audience trust what he has to say?
(Make sure the reviewer isn't hiding behind a fake identity but is real and trustworthy.)
- Does the reviewer have a proper FTC disclaimer in place?
(Every reviewer must now state whether the product being reviewed was provided free of charge or paid out of pocket.)
- Does the reviewer write comprehensive reviews or just enough fluff to complete his obligation to write the review?
- Can I use the review in my media promotions and it look like an authoritative review or will journalists go to that publication or blog and think the review was a waste of time—a hoax?
- Is the reviewer’s policy on product reviews clear?
(Make sure you understand what happens if a reviewer does not like your product. Will a negative review be written or will the review never be written and if so what happens to the product?)
© Alyice Edrich, All Rights Reserved. www.alyiceedrich.com
* This article first appeared on The Dabbling Mum eMagazine.