Friday, June 19, 2015

Understanding The Fundamentals Of A Product Review Campaign

Did you know that 77% of online shoppers read consumer product reviews before making a purchase? According to Jupiter Research, it's a proven driving force in sales. That's because consumer reviews share tid-bits that aren't often mentioned in sales material or product guides, thus giving consumers a more well-rounded view of the product.



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?)
And remember, professional reviewers do not just "give" good reviews in exchange for free product. They give honest, constructive feedback that is read by the public as well as your staff.

© , All Rights Reserved. www.alyiceedrich.com

* This article first appeared on The Dabbling Mum eMagazine.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Working With Kids Underfoot

It is summertime and the kids are out of school, do you know how you’re going to accomplish your work and still keep them happy?

Many new work-at-home moms think they can take the summer off, but one summer of not working your business will have you peddling fast to try and salvage what you spent a year working to accomplish. No, closing shop for the summer isn’t the answer to the age old dilemma, “How can I get any work done with kids underfoot?”



If you’re ready to multi-task as you’ve never done before, you’ll enjoy these simple, yet useful tips for juggling quality time with your children and running a successful home-based business.

1. Schedule Morning Play Dates.

No matter how much work you have to get done, don’t push your kids aside hoping to get the work done first. The guilt of telling them “no”, “not right now”, “give me five more minutes”, or “later” will weigh heavy on your mind and prevent you from having a productive work day.

Because you work from home, you make your hours. With that in mind, schedule client meetings and phone calls after lunch, push deadlines for later in the evening instead of early morning, and let your answering machine handle all morning calls.

Spend your mornings basking in the love and companionship of your children. Giving them first priority shows them that they’re more important that your work and will stop sibling fights that often occur out of boredom.

2. Take Five.

Even though you’ve given your children a fair amount of your time, leaving you less hours to complete your work during daylights, don’t allow that to become an excuse to leave them alone all afternoon. Take five minute breaks to check up on them. Use these breaks to cuddle and watch cartoons, to play a quick game, or to simply talk. This way, your children learn to play on their own—which is great for their imaginations without completely feeling alone, they learn to respect your work time, and you have the satisfaction of knowing what’s going on in the other room. In time, the schedule you’ve set will become the norm and you’ll be able to accomplish your day’s tasks without the guilt.

3. Get Outdoors.

Summer time is beautiful and warm. Don’t spend it cooped up in the house. Get out and enjoy the weather, the sun, and the many outdoor activities available to you and your children. Something as simple as a weekly trip to the local zoo can do wonders for your productivity and your children’s “cabin fever”.

An annual pass to the local zoo usually runs $100 or less for a family of four which makes it a great, low cost outing. Toddlers love the fact that they can run amuck without being told to watch for cars or breakables, they get their little heart rates up, and be the day’s end they’re ready for a nice nap—which works out great for you, because you can work while they sleep. (Don’t forget to pack a lunch for that picnic!)

Pre-teens, however, may find the local zoo a bit “immature” so consider a pass to the local water park or amusement park. The weekly visit may wear you out as much as them, so don’t plan on working on any big project. In fact, consider taking the day off!

Go swimming every afternoon. Whether you live near the beach or have a public pool just around the block, a 5 o’clock swim is a great way to unwind after a long day of juggling home and office and more importantly, your kids get to experience a wonderful time in the sun with mom!

Take a picture walk. Purchase a few cheap disposable (or digital) cameras then head out for a walk around town. Have your children choose one theme for the day and only photograph items, subjects, or people that match that theme. The next day, use those photographs as a craft project: scrapbooks, collages, mobiles, posters, reports, etc.

4. Start A Babysitting Club.

Even non-wahms need a break from time to time. Scheduling a play date is a great way to gain an entire day of kid-free activities. Get together with a few moms in your neighborhood and offer to swap babysitting for a day.

Here’s how it works: Mom 1 takes all the kids on Monday. Mom 2 takes the kids on Wednesday. Mom 3 takes the kids on Friday. That gives you two free afternoons to hold client meetings, return phone calls, or work on that big project. And if you run a product-based business, it allows you to handle customer service issues and ship your products.

5. Eat Out.

Depending on the age of your children, eating out can be rather fun. Small children find a trip to play-land at the local fast food restaurant a wonderful treat and it offers the perfect opportunity for you to catch up on reading. Pre-teens find a trip to the bowling alley for a game and pizza to be the perfect combination. And teenagers might actually enjoy a sit-down meal at their favorite restaurant while chatting it up with mom.

The key to working at home with children underfoot is to remember that “nothing is set in stone”. In other words, be flexible. Be willing to meet the needs of your children when they beckon, but don’t be afraid to say, “Remember, mommy spent all morning playing with you. I have to get this done or we won’t be able to ___ tomorrow.” There is nothing wrong with fitting in a little work so long as you realize that you also need to balance that with a little play time!

© , All Rights Reserved. www.alyiceedrich.com

* This article first appeared on The Dabbling Mum eMagazine, back in 2009.

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