How to Use Instagram Shopping to Drive Product Sales

How to Use Instagram Shopping to Drive Product Sales

Have you used shops on Instagram? With over a billion active users and growing, Instagram may already be one of your favorite places to promote your e-commerce store. However, lots of opportunities exist for marketing on the channel, so it can be a great place to build a follower base and get the word out about your products and brand.

What if you could take passive interaction to the next level and actually buy and sell directly from the platform? That’s possible with Instagram shopping. This can be enticing for Instagram users and e-commerce shops who want to keep their interaction, from discovery to sale, right there on Instagram itself.

What Is an Instagram Shop?

Instagram shops are an option for Instagram account holders who have e-commerce brands to sell directly from the Instagram platform.

They provide a way for Instagram users to interact and shop with brands they love, find new brands they might like, and purchase through the Instagram app.

An Instagram shop exists like a mini e-commerce store, within Instagram, as an extension of your brand’s page. As a brand owner, you can build collections that are customizable and reflective of your style and perspective.

Shops can choose to allow purchasing directly from the app, using Facebook Pay, or they use their Instagram shop to point to an off-site e-commerce store. Either way, they can build a more interactive shopping experience for their users.

How Does Instagram Shopping Work?

Instagram Shopping is a pretty simple process for Instagram users. The whole idea of this feature is to make things more enticing, so users spend more time on the app, checking out the shops they love, as well as discovering new brands.

To find shops you want to explore or buy from, go to the little shopping icon that looks like a shopping bag on the app:

From there, you will see shops from brands you already follow, as well as some that are recommended based on your interactions on Instagram. You can also check out “Editor’s Picks” to see different categories, such as Gift Guides, and to explore collections and other recommendations.

If you click “Browse Shops,” you’ll see a listing of brands you already follow who have shops on Instagram. This can be a great place to start when you’re exploring because you probably already have an interest in the products and may have even purchased from them in the past.

Once you click on a shop, you’ll see the products and collections they have available.

From there, you can learn more or choose to buy, just like you would at an e-commerce site.

How to Set Up an Instagram Shop

To set up a shop on Instagram for your brand, you must have an Instagram Business account, and you must be eligible. According to Instagram, eligibility includes but is not limited to:

  • Operating in a supported market (dependent on your location)
  • Having an e-commerce website from which you sell products

Remember, an Instagram shop is an extension of your e-commerce store, not necessarily a replacement for it.

You will then have to connect your Facebook account. More later on how those two are connected and why it matters for your Instagram Shopping account.

You then follow the steps to set up your account, load your product images, and “turn on shopping.”

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go through those technical steps:

  • Use high-quality, editorial images for your products and collections: Think of your Instagram shop as a type of interactive catalog. Be selective about the images you are using for your products. Make sure they stand out and show lots of detail.
  • Have all your product information on hand: Again, thinking about this as a catalog, you will need to enter all the descriptive information about each product, including prices, colors, sizes, flavors, types, etc. You’ll also need information about shipping and other details. Keep it all at the ready before you dive in.
  • Get ready to tag: After getting your Instagram shop set up, the last step Instagram recommends is to start tagging. When you upload an image, select “Tag Products” and type in the name of the product you want to tag to that post. You will be able to do this in Instagram Stories as well.

Benefits of Having an Instagram Shop

Why would brand managers want to take the time to set up shops on Instagram? First, let’s look at some numbers. According to Instagram, 60% of people interviewed said they discover new products on the app. Facebook says 70% of people referred to as shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram to shop, and 36% of all Instagram users consider shopping to be a hobby of theirs.

The best reason to set up shops on Instagram is to tap into that enthusiasm. Think of Instagram Shopping as the trendiest mall from back in the day, with eager buyers walking around and window shopping. You want to be there with your brand too, right?

Here are some more benefits of having a shop on Instagram:

  • It’s free: Yes, you can set up your Instagram shop for free. The only fees associated would be a selling fee when customers place an order and the fee for any ads you use to promote your products or shop.
  • It’s another online storefront: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, they say, and that applies to online shopping too. If a hiccup occurs with one platform, you’re already set up somewhere else.
  • It’s a mobile catalog: Instagram has designed these shops to be very clean and scannable. They are easy to peruse and to get an overall idea of a brand’s look, as well as to dig in and learn more about the products. For this reason, you can think of shops on Instagram as a kind of mobile catalog. You may even find yourself sending people there to get a feel for what you sell, just because it’s so easy to scroll through.
  • It’s a way to build your following: As we talked about earlier, people are going on Instagram looking to shop. Setting up your shop there is a prime way to draw buyers who are ready to make a purchase, as well as to build a following for your Instagram account (which probably supports your overall social media marketing strategy).

Instagram Shopping vs. Facebook Shops

You may be wondering how shops on Instagram compare with shops on Facebook. While they are different platforms, they are both under the Facebook umbrella.

Remember that corporate Facebook owns Instagram, which means Facebook powers Instagram Shopping. To set up your Instagram shop, you will need to link to your Facebook account, and, as mentioned, payment is processed through Facebook Pay.

Should you set up an Instagram shop and a Facebook shop? Here are a couple of considerations to help you decide:

  • Link easily: Because you need Facebook to launch the Instagram shop, it may be worth having products on both platforms. You can use the same products and collections on each if that makes sense for your target market and brand.
  • Consider demographics: Your target market may spend more time on Instagram than on Facebook. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure you set up an Instagram shop. If your target market straddles both the demographics of Facebook and Instagram, you may want to set up a shop on each.

Submitting and Receiving Payment for Instagram Shopping Products

How do you go about actually buying and selling with Instagram Shopping? A big part of this question is how money is exchanged.

Remember you can choose to have your products point to your e-commerce site. Buyers will then be directed to your website, in a browser within the Instagram app, rather than processing the purchase through the Instagram platform.

However, if you want to save buyers that step, you can set up payment options to allow the transaction through Instagram. When you set up your shop, you’ll need to link to Facebook Pay. We noted above the relationship between Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Pay is how you receive payments for purchases made.

When you purchase something from shops on Instagram, you’ll need to submit your credit card, debit card, or PayPal information to use Facebook Pay to finalize the transaction.

How to Promote Your Instagram Shop

Once you have an Instagram shop up and running, you’ll want to find ways to promote it and draw potential customers to your new location. Here are some tips for achieving that:

  • Launch timely collections: When you create collections or groupings of products to showcase in your shop, think about the browsing buyers first and what they are searching for right now. Instagram recommends thinking about seasons, holidays, or pop culture moments to create collections that connect with and attract buyers.
  • Make it easy for shoppers: When you create posts and stories, make sure to choose the “Tag Product” option to link directly to your shop products. Also, Facebook recommends adding calls-to-action in your captions to remind buyers of what to do. Another recommendation is to update your bio with shopping information.
  • Invest in ads: Want to reach even more people with your Instagram shop? You could consider launching an ad on Instagram with clickable tags that draw people to your shop.

Alternatives to Instagram Shopping

There could be a few reasons why a shop on Instagram is not the right platform for your brand, or maybe you want to explore other shop options to find a better fit. Some of those reasons may be:

  • It’s not the right demographic: Yes, Instagram is wildly popular, but not everyone is shopping there. If the target market of your brand is not tech-savvy, doesn’t tend to use Instagram, or prefers not to shop on new platforms, you may not want to set up an Instagram shop.
  • There aren’t enough products: Shops on Instagram showcase collections of products well, allowing brands to launch or promote groups of products. If you are only selling one item, it may not be worth your time to set up a shop. However, even one product, if photographed and promoted well, could be popular there.
  • They aren’t physical products: You do need to sell a physical product. Digital products or services are not sellable with the app.
  • It’s not in the right location: As mentioned earlier, you do need to operate in a location where Instagram Shopping is available. If you don’t, you’ll need to find an alternative.

In these cases, or if you’re just looking for more customization or wider tools, you may want to choose an alternative to Instagram Shopping. Examples may include:

  • Like2Buy: With Like2Buy, you can build shoppable solutions, as well as create other calls-to-action, such as requesting email addresses of potential customers.
  • Yotpo: In addition to several e-commerce marketing tools, Yotpo offers an Instagram integration tool.
  • FourSixty: Advertising a design-centric aesthetic, FourSixty provides Instagram marketing tools, including shoppable galleries and scheduling.

Conclusion

Shops on Instagram allow you to interact with your followers (and new buyers!), in a seamless way. You can create collections just in time for a season or holiday and promote your products to an audience that is eager to buy.

This feature allows brand owners to sell on Instagram dynamically. While it may not be the only solution you need, it can be a great addition to your Instagram sales strategy.

Will you be shopping and selling directly on the Instagram app? Or do you prefer a more traditional e-commerce platform?

How To Write A Product Review That Sells Without Making Your Site Look Cheesy (Template & Examples You Can Follow)

How To Write A Product Review That Sells Without Making Your Site Look Cheesy (Template & Examples You Can Follow)

In this coming guide, I will show you how to write a product review that does not alienates your readers but can still generate good revenue for your website.

But first, let’s summarise how searching for feedback about a product you are about to buy usually goes…

Step 1: type “product” + review in Google.

Step 2: your eyes melt at the amount of star ratings and review websites appearing on your screen, half the titles read “is a scam? Don’t buy before you read this!”

Fat Loss Factor Review Google Search

Step 3: Tentatively click on a result that doesn’t seem to be an obvious click bait and where the domain name looks trustable (i.e not producthonestreivew.com).

Step 4: Land on a page filled with CTA 100% positive reviews and is obviously completely sold out to the product owner (and, if you’re lucky, some rehashed product descriptions).

Step 5: Close your browser in rage after landing on 3 or 4 such sites not knowing what to do about buying the product or not.

Does this sounds familiar?

It does to me, yet I actually have done that for a while and if you navigate Health Ambition a bit and look at some of our reviews from a few years ago you will see we were playing that exact game.

But the truth is, even when they rank, these kind of product reviews just don’t produce nearly as much revenue as they used to anymore.

The truth is, most people are now fairly well educated about sketchy affiliate sites selling this way and while you can STILL make sales this way, you won’t bank the way you used to.

But with every downturn there is an opportunity.

In that case, being the honest kid in the block and understanding how to write a product review where you are not afraid to be critical about the product and have the reader’s best interest in mind can have a massive payoff and set you apart from all the crappy online reviews.

We have been experimenting with that in the past 12 months with great success and generated thousands of dollars in affiliate earnings both on Authority Hacker AND Health Ambition.

We have cleared the board, forgotten everything we knew about writing reviews and looked around to try and learn from the best. We realised great customer reviews rely on 2 simple things:

  1. Trust with the author
  2. Bridging features and benefits through real life examples

While we don’t publish a ton of reviews (and we clearly should release more), we have had great success with them earning 3 – 5 figures with multiple reviews in the past 12 months.

Here are some of our earnings generated ONLY with reviews.

Thrive Themes Affiliate Program

Buzzstream Affiliate Program

In this post we will be sharing the format we use to write those reviews and earn great commissions on affiliate products.

How to Write a Product Review

  1. Create product review summary box
  2. Empathize with your readers
  3. Identify who the product is for
  4. Introduce the solution with the product
  5. Explain the relationship between product features and benefits through case studies
  6. Offer social proof
  7. List product alternatives
  8. Use the right format for your reviews

Enjoy.

What you will learn

The Summary Box

If you’ve read any of our reviews, you’ve probably noticed a short product summary at the very top of the page.

This summary box is one of the best converting sections on our page.

For example, the summary of our Buzzstream review accounts for nearly 30% of our sales. Same for some of the reviews on Health Ambition.

The summary box does two things:

  • Captures highly motivated buyers who are just looking for a quick opinion before making a final purchase decision.
  • Summarizes the review and gives readers who are scrolling back up the page another CTA to click on.

An ideal summary should at least have the following six elements:

review summary box
  1. A short sentence identifying the product and its intended use.
  2. Product ratings under different headers. “Value for Money”, “Support”, “Effectiveness”, etc. are some common. Make these visual by using icons.
  3. A summary of the product’s pros and cons. Important to throw in the cons otherwise your review will feel biased.
  4. A summary of the review. Keep this limited to 1-2 paragraphs.
  5. A CTA. Use actionable copy on the CTA text.
  6. The product price, since many of your readers will decide to buy or not based on this factor alone.

This specific box was built with the elements available out of the box with Thrive Content builder, you should be able to recreate it quite easily with it.

Empathize With Your Readers

For those who are still reading and are here to actually read your content, it’s time to get personal to stand out from the competition.

Have you ever come across a review where the reviewer was more interested in rattling off the product’s features than actually solving your problems?

Such reviews are a dime a dozen online, and usually do a miserable job of helping readers.

Understand that buyers read reviews not to see the features, they can do that on the seller’s website.

What they want is to learn whether the product can actually solve their problems.

They don’t want to hear about all the cool things the product can do; they want to see how the product performs in real life for someone in the same situation as them.

Therefore, the first step in writing a good product review is to empathize with your readers.

As it turns out, empathy is directly linked with your likability. This, in turn, affects how much people trust and follow your advice.

Empathy And Likability

In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, author Robert Cialdini says that likability is one of the six pillars of influence.

The idea behind this is simple: you are more liable to follow someone you already like.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

According to The Likeability Factor, how much you like someone is a function of three things:

  • Realness: Whether a person comes across as ‘real’ and ‘authentic’.
  • Friendliness: Whether a person has an open, friendly disposition.
  • Empathy: Whether the person can relate to you and your problems.

How To Use Empathy In Your Product Reviews

Follow these tactics for empathizing with your review readers and making yourself more likable:

  • Friendly voice: Use first-person voice with a casual, conversational style. You should come across as a friend gently guiding the reader through his/her problems.
  • Share your problem: Before you even mention the product, talk about your problems and how the product helped solve it. Try telling a story about how your life was before and after you used the product.
  • Pressure the pain: Ask rhetorical questions (such as “do you feel you’re wasting hours on social media?”) that pull the reader in and make him silently empathize with your situation.
  • Be a real person: People empathize more with a person than with a brand. Address the reader directly as “you” and use real pictures to draw the reader in.

Your objective in the first few paragraphs of any review should be to tell the reader that you’re just an ordinary person like them, and that the review is your personal experience of using that product.

For an example, take a look at this review of Earn1k course from Ramit Sethi:

review of Earn1k course Ramit Sethi

The reviewer clearly identifies that he’s just a “university student” stuck in a dead-end job. If you are in the market for Ramit’s course (which usually targets millennials), your eyes would instantly light up – this guy is just like me!

Another reviewer had the same approach – he identifies his profession, says he was bored and wanted to make something on the side.

Kerti

This is a situation many people in the market for Ramit’s course find themselves in as well. By stating this first thing in the post, the reviewer manages to empathize with the reader.

You are not a nobody in their eyes anymore and the narrative makes people want to know what happens in the end, keeping them on your page.

Identify Who The Product Is For

This is something most reviewers miss – they write reviews for everyone, even if they aren’t the right fit for the product.

The result? Tons of tire kickers who waste your and their own time reading the review.

Therefore, the third step in writing the review should be to clearly identify the product’s target market.

This is quite straightforward – simply include a section in the review that explains who the product is for.

For example, our Buzzstream review states in no uncertain terms that this isn’t a product for you if you send only a 100 or so emails a month.

buzzstream target market

This does two things:

  • It qualifies prospects. If someone isn’t a good candidate for the product, he/she can simply leave at this point without wasting anybody’s time.
  • It builds credibility. We identify a few free alternatives or tell unqualified people they should not buy the product. This tells readers that we aren’t just after their money but want them to get the best possible product for their needs. You can earn a lot of trust with that.

Introduce The Solution

By now, the reader knows he has a problem and is searching for an answer and trusts you.

This is where you step in and introduce the solution.

You can do this by giving your readers a brief overview of the product. Show them what the product includes, what its capabilities are, and what results users can expect from it.

I like to do it in a video because it makes me more relatable, puts my review on Youtube search which generates traffic on its own and gives a nice multimedia feel to the post.

Essentially, your job in this part is to pre-sell the product.

The Principle Of Pre-Selling

In sales, pre-selling is defined as the process of creating an environment that helps customers choose a product.

By demonstrating the product’s value and answering buyer questions, you can leave such a favorable impression that people buy your product without even being pitched to.

Pre-selling is the process of creating an environment that helps customers choose a product, i.e. sales without selling

Which is to say, pre-sales is sales without the selling.

Pre-sales tactics are very effective in product introductions. It lowers your readers’ guard and demonstrates the product’s usefulness without the added pressure of making a purchase decision. Here are two ways you can pre-sell the product:

  • Demonstrate value: Demonstrate how the product can solve problems by showing off your own results.
  • Educate: Answer questions and doubts readers might have about the product.

How To Introduce The Product

The best way to introduce the product is to show off your results through screenshots and videos, and clear away common doubts they might have about the product.

For example, in our Buzzstream review, we start off by talking about why we don’t have any link building product recommendations on our website (short answer: they’re mostly crap).

Then we talk about how Buzzstream is different – it’s a relationship building tool, not just a link building tool. Then we get people interested by posting a few relevant emails that resulted in a backlink:

Buzzstream outreach success

This way, we’ve managed to tell the readers what the product is all about, and how it can help solve their problems.

In our Thrive Leads review, we accomplish the same with a short product walkthrough video:

This demonstrates the product’s value, and hooks them in for the rest of the review.

Moreover it shows them I actually own the products which pushes trust a little further.

Explain The Relationship Between Features And Benefits Through Case Studies

A big part of writing a review is explaining the product’s features and benefits. Most reviewers (and vendors) simply list them out one by one.

The results from this approach, as you might have guessed, are less than inspiring.

The right way to explain products and features is to actually show how they help solve problems. You can do this by creating a case study inside the review. This accomplishes two things:

  • It shows how the product works in a real world setting.
  • It gives value to the reader, builds trust and they feel compelled to do something in return (buy from your link)

The second part – doing something to get something back – is actually called the principle of reciprocity.

The Principle Of Reciprocity

Robert Cialdini

Author of Influence

“We are human because our ancestors learned to share their food and their skills in an honored network of obligation”

Which is to say: if you do something for someone, they feel obligated to give back. This is the principle of reciprocity in a nutshell.

We’ve seen this principle at play firsthand on Authority Hacker. We give away so much content that we often get comments from readers asking why we’re doing this in the first place.

Authority Hacker post comment

That’s not all – we’ve even received emails from readers asking us to share our affiliate links. People have read our reviews and got so much value from them that they feel like they owe us a sale.

Thrive Theme Template Affiliate Link
Thrive Theme Template Affiliate Link

This is a powerful concept. Use it in your reviews and your conversion rates will skyrocket.

How To Create High Value Product Case Studies

The purpose of a case study inside a review is twofold:

  • To demonstrate the product’s features
  • To help potential buyers picture themselves using the product and improving their lives doing so.

The best way to do this is to create a short tutorial that walks readers through a sample use case of the product.

For example, in our Buzzstream review, we show readers how we used the product to get backlinks for Health Ambition. Not only do we list out the steps we followed, we also show our results:

Buzzstream Link Partners

For your own reviews, follow these steps:

  • Identify core features: These are the features that readers care about the most. Whether they decide to buy the product or not will depend on how well these features actually work.
  • Show core features in action: Use a video or screenshot walkthrough to show how the product actually works. For inspiration, take a look at our Buzzstream video review.
  • Give value by explaining how to use the product: This is where you can give value and trigger the principle of reciprocity. Your aim should be to walk readers through a short tutorial explaining how to get real results from the product.

In our Buzzstream review, we offered readers a quick overview of the outreach process, then showed them how to use Buzzstream for successful outreach.

outreach process copy

We never tried to hard sell the product. Instead, we just focused on helping people with the outreach process. Selling Buzzstream was just an added benefit.

This does not just work with software tools though, you could do the same with blenders by showcasing some smoothies you have put together with it or showing a case study of how you applied the learnings of a course you are reviewing.

Offer Social Proof

Social proof is the third pillar of persuasion, and it can really set you apart from the dumb review sites using spun user-generated content.

According to Robert Cialdini, quoting results from the Asch conformity experiments, he shows that people are more likely to follow something that is already popular.

People are more likely to follow something that is already popular.

As you’ll see below, you can use this fact to your advantage while writing reviews.

How to use social proof in your reviews

Follow these steps to add social proof of the product’s success to your reviews:

  • Add reviews and quotes from other users: To show how others perceive your product, simply add reviews and quotes from other users. You can easily find such reviews on sites like AmazonClickbank, or speciality sites like GSMArena, etc.
  • Add reviews from power users: “Power users” are bloggers, reviewers and other recognizable online personalities. If they’ve already reviewed the product, use their quotes in your review. This gives readers a nice balance between what lay users and experts think of the product (the same format used by MetaCritic and RottenTomatoes).
  • Incentivize comments: A large number of comments on a product shows that it is popular. You can get people to comment on the review by offering incentives through a contest. Check out our earlier post to see how to run a contest.
  • Get more social shares: Higher social shares = higher popularity. Buy some ads on Facebook or Twitter to pump up the share count on your reviews. This subtly shows readers that the review is already popular.
  • Use giveaways: Another tactic to get more social shares is to run a giveaway on the review page. This will pump up the social activity as your social media followers jump in to take the reward.

For example, in this review of the Earn1K course, Dave clearly mentions results from other reviewers:

Other Reviews

This was a great try but something that works even better is to actually quote the other reviews. This way you both earn more trust and avoid “review shopping” because all the important information of all the major reviews are on your page.

No need to go and read anything else until you make your decision about the product and click the link on that page (your affiliate link) if the answer to “should I buy this?” is yes.

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List Alternatives

We included listing alternatives as one of our 17 most effective affiliate marketing tactics in 2015.

This holds particularly true for reviews where listing alternatives accomplishes two objectives:

  • Increase sales: If people are not interested in the reviewed product, they might still be interested in the alternatives. More importantly, it changes the question from should I buy it to which one should I buy. This is a powerful change in frame that can have a profound impact on sales.
  • Show impartiality: By offering readers multiple alternatives, you subtly tell them that you aren’t partial to any particular product.

Listing alternatives is a rather straightforward process. You can simply include a section titled “Alternatives” or “Competitors” and list out candidates.

We did something similar in our Activecampaign review where we offer Convertkit as a decent alternative.

Same thing happens With our Ahrefs Review and KWFinder review.

Shane from Activegrowth goes a step further and offers an entire ‘Do Not Buy’ list, along with alternatives for each product.

While most people try to shy away from doing that because they’re afraid of not making a sales, remember that alternatives may also have affiliate programs so if you are playing smart you will make more money doing this not less.

Use The Right Format

By now, you have a powerful, persuasive review that gives tons of value to your readers. But before you can hit publish, you also need to format the review for maximum impact.

We have already established the power of formatting in our previous posts.

Follow these formatting guidelines in your review:

1. Use Plenty Of Pictures And Screenshots And User Generated Images

Pictures are crucial for creating great reviews, especially if you believe in the “show, don’t tell” philosophy.

Use them generously in your articles, but make sure that you only use real pictures, not stock images lifted from the product creator’s website.

Try to aim for a 3-4:1 ratio between pictures and images. That is, for every three-four paragraphs, include an image.

Image Use

This gives much needed visual flow to your review.

Sites like Trustedreviews.com use this tactic with great success and a study has shown that user generated images greatly improves conversions by a lot.

2. Divide Review Into Sub-Sections

Writing a great review isn’t enough; you also have to make sure that it is easy to navigate.

You can do this by breaking down the review into separate subsections. We do this for most of our long posts.

Authority Hacker Post Navigation Example

Try to use both headings and pictures to mark subsections.

I must admit I have skipped that one for Authority Hacker and have had complains about it, so I will take my own advice and implement those soon!

3. Use Symbols And Icons

When listing out features, benefits and ratings, use symbols and icons to add visual flair to the page.

It won’t make a bad review great, but it will definitely make your review easier on the eyes, and faster to scan through. Use a plugin such as Thrive Content Builder to make this process easier.

If you are using Thrive Content Builder like we do here is how you can add icons to your content and help increase it’s readability:

1 – Go In Your WordPress Dashboard And Click On Icon Manager.

WordPress Dashboard Icon Manager

2 – Go On Icomoon.Io And Click On Icomoon App

IcoMoon

3 – Select The Icons You Want To Import On Your Website

IcoMoon Icons

4 – Once You Have Done Your Selection, Click On “Generate Font” At The Bottom Right.

IcoMoon Font

5 – Then Click Download

IcoMoon Font donwload

6 – Take The Zip File You Just Downloaded And Import It Back In The Icon Manager On Your Website

IcoMoon Icon Upload

7 – Refresh The Page You Are Editing And Pick The Icon Element. This Time It Should Work!

Thrive Architect Icons

4. Offer Star Ratings

Star ratings or scores out of 5 or 10 are used in almost every review. Your audience implicitly understands what they mean.

They know that 4/5 stars means an almost great product, while a 1/5 is universally recognized as “don’t buy” product.

You can either use star ratings:

Authority Hacker rating stars

Or you can use a score

Authority Hacker review ratings

Both work equally well. You can also add your star rating to your search results with the all in one schema.org WordPress plugin.

5. Divide Comparisons Into Columns

If you’re offering comparisons (say, a pros-cons list, or a feature list across two products), it’s useful to place them into separate columns.

Contests Sweepstakes column

This is a simple, visual way to make a comparison.

Users can juxtapose two features/benefits side by side and better understand the product and have been used by magazines forever, it’s a classic visual code.

6. Use Multiple CTAs

Lastly, make sure to use multiple CTAs throughout the review. You should have at most 3 CTA – one each at the top, middle and bottom of the post.

Use simple, value-driven text on the CTA. Don’t write “buy now”. Instead, use something like “Try the [product name] free trial”, or “Learn more about [product name].

AH CTA

Don’t go beyond three and maybe a few links inside the content otherwise readers will think that you’re trying too hard to sell.

Make sure that the CTA stands out on the page. Use a bright, bold color that isn’t used heavily elsewhere, and give it a big enough size to attract attention.

I have also noticed that animating the call to action and the call to action alone increased the number of clicks on our affiliate links.

To Animate your CTA’s with Thrive Content Builder follow the steps described below:

1 – First Select Your Button And Click On “Event Manager”

Thrive Content Builder Event Manager

2 – In The New Window That Opened Click “Add Event”

Thrive Content Builder Add Event

3 – Then Select Trigger “Comes Into Viewport”, Action “Animation” And Pick Your Favourite Animation For It.

Thrive Content Builder Event Triggger

On our own reviews, we use Thrive Content Builder to create all the above visual formats.

From CTAs to star ratings, it has everything you need to make highly readable, visually striking reviews.

Conclusion

Writing reviews isn’t quite as easy as getting the specs and stringing together some thoughts. If you want your reviews to sell products (and rank well), you’ll have to do some legwork.

Don’t be like one of those spammers who write fake reviews and get banished from the SERPs every week.

Instead, offer real value to readers and they’ll thank you by buying from your link.

Master the art of influence to create reviews that not only deliver value, but also sell products.

And lastly, make sure to organize and format your review well – it’s the difference between a review no one will read, and one that gets hundreds of shares.

How to Turn Product Reviews Into a Full Business

How to Turn Product Reviews Into a Full Business

Product reviews on their own are not a smart business strategy. The burst in revenue from the sponsorship is nice, free products are normally fun, and the easy commissions with affiliate links are very appealing. But you likely won’t survive in the long run if you always rely on doing reviews.

Once Google, YouTube, Pinterest, etc… wipe the review or reviews that drive your traffic, and they will, your business will sink because you only focused on these types of short term wins.

If you’re a current product reviewer or you are thinking about creating a review platform, here is how you can take a successful product review and turn it into a long term business strategy.

Here’s the process and then I go into more detail:

  1. Do keyword and topic research (this is the must read section)
  2. Create the review
  3. Make sure to optimize it and not just for the brand terms
  4. Create a follow up post that tries to display as recommended reading
  5. Bring the person to a place or platform you control
  6. Monetize!

Do Keyword And Topic Research

If the product or brand you are reviewing has a lot of search volume, this is good news for you! But only if you rank for Product + Reviews on YouTube or Google.  If the product or brand doesn’t have a ton of search volume, then you need to do keyword and topic research to help an audience find you.

Keyword and topic research are not the same thing!

  • Keyword research is looking for specific phrases with an estimated monthly search volume on a platform like Google, YouTube and Pinterest.
  • Topic research is finding the questions people are asking like if the product is compatible with another product, how much the product weighs, or if the product really works.

(Before we get into the meat of this post, some of the links below are affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you shop through them.)

Here’s a three step process to do keyword and topic research:

 

  1. Log into a keyword research tool and type the product name, brand name, and a couple of related keywords in to find the search volume.
  2. Now type the relevant phrase into a topic tool like Answer The Public or the same one from the affiliate link above to find questions and answers. As a bonus, many of these phrases have featured snippets in Google and rich content which are easier to get than top ten rankings.
  3. Last type the keyword phrase into Google and write down the auto suggest results before you click enter. Now click to search and write down the questions inside the “people also ask” and “searches related” versions inside the search results.

Now you have the estimated search volumes and the questions people are asking to bring more people to your product reviews.

Create the Review

This is the easy part. You unbox the product, talk about the benefits and encourage the person to take an action like shopping for the product. I highly recommend doing a few things if you want to build trust and provide a good user experience.

  • Time stamp the video to let people know what they’ll learn at each section of your review.
  • Provide a list of the sections towards the top of your blog post or web page with anchor links to bring people to the relevant section.
  • Make sure your featured images and thumbnails have proper labels including alt tags that matches the theme of your review.

Bonus Tip – With your email list sign up you can tag the product and review the person came from. This way you can market similar products, brands or products with the same audience demographics, and competing products to that list. Make sure to set up a subscribe list named “meat” or “coffee” or something so you know the niche the person is interested in. 

Optimize the Review Not Just for Brand/Product + Review

If the brand or product does not have a search volume, at least right now, you’re not going to see any activity unless you already have an engaged audience. By using the topic research above you can optimize for the questions people are asking or that Google is recommending. This may also help you to show up as recommended content on YouTube, or for keyword mixes on other platforms.

If you use this strategy you’ll be attracting a new audience and you are building awareness for the brand. This awareness will likely get you on the brand’s radar that you aren’t just a reviewer. You are a content creator that provides solutions to an audience’s problems. This builds trust with the person using your content and presents you as a trusted solution provider. This type of trust is what you want for long term success.

As the person finds more of your videos and you help them over and over, they may subscribe and you can become their go to resource.

Create a Follow Up Content Piece

Now that you have a review done, why not create a content piece that is likely to optimize for “recommended reading”? This is another opportunity to become the recommended videos on YouTube or on Facebook after a person watches the first video. This content can also be the recommended post in content sites that offer similar topics like an aggregator.  It’s a great way to piggyback off of someone who already has a lot of volume and viewership.

Bonus tip – You could also try doing a comparison post between two or three popular and competitive products. This provides even more solutions for your visitor and builds you as more knowledgeable and an authority if the person trusts it.

Bring Your Viewer to a Platform You Control

As I mentioned above, someone else will replace you in Google, YouTube or Pinterest as they create a newer review that meets the platform’s algorithm criteria better. When this happens your traffic dries up. That is why you ideally want a website but more importantly an email list.

With every review, make sure you tell the person to subscribe or follow you, but also encourage them to go to your website and join your newsletter. Your newsletter is your most reliable way to bring the person back to your new content and on your own terms. You can email to it, upload it to social media or Google, and make money from it across multiple channels.

Give the person a reason to sign up like telling them they’ll get a custom discount for a specific brand, unique content only available through the list, not to mention new product reviews as they go live. Think about what someone would want by signing up for your list and create the offer for them.

Monetize

Monetizing is the ultimate goal. You have tons of options as a reviewer. Here are a few.

  • Affiliate links in the review
  • Ads showing on the page via CPM and CPC
  • Lead generation (CPL and CPA)
  • Sponsorship fees
  • CPV video ads

If you’re looking to become a professional reviewer, this is what I recommend you keep in mind. There will always be someone else doing a review of the same product that will eventually replace you and get the traffic. If you cannot get the people that watch to subscribe while you have the top space and the traffic, you will not survive in the long run.