by “Uncle” Alan R. Bechtold
Far too many courses and e-books tell you to sell products or services by simply writing reviews, or by putting up quick YouTube videos raving about the product. Or, they advise you to set up a site full of reviews slamming virtually everything…except for the only programs you’ve found that actually work.”
That last sentence is in quotes for obvious reasons. These don’t imply you actually have to try the programs you’re selling or even know anything about them … not even to review them. Many even offer you software capable of churning out dozens and dozens of reviews or entire review Websites at the push of a button.
Here’s a couple of examples to consider:
Scam Review Products – http://www.scamreviewproduct.net
This is an interesting site because it includes reviews of all kinds of product scams, including money-making programs. I got excited. I thought I’d accidentally found a genuine review site that does what I know works. Besides…there was even a nice lady on the screen assuring me this is the place to be.
Then I clicked on several of the reviews.
Damned if I could find a single bad review anywhere. And – every review included an affiliate link to go buy the product the site had just raved about.
The site is called Scam Review Products, but where are the scams? This is the scam, obviously created to try and trick people who search for the name of a product or company plus the word scam, to see if there are any negative reports they should consider.
Scam Reports – http://www.scam-reports.com
At least the publisher of this site acknowledges the FTC ruling that prohibits what most of these bozos are doing. And she mixes up her comments on each program reviewed…starting out with the positives but always ending with reasons why the program being reviewed is now a total failure and why you need to contact her for information about the one opportunity she’s found that really works.
It seems to me this site is entirely a list-building exercise designed only to benefit the publisher. I have to ask, however, why would I want to get on the list of someone like this?
Work From Home Scams – http://www.workfromhome-scams.com
Wow! The banner right on top of this site warns you to keep reading or you will get scammed! I have serious doubts that it will save me. I only saw two reviews, and just a handful of articles. All the available articles were posted January 18, 2011. All were about how there are scary scams out there and you should be concerned. But — of course — if you subscribe to the site’s newsletter, they will lead you to the right ones.
Here’s the point:
If you follow this advice you are:
a: violating FTC law;
b: misleading people;
c: setting up a dead-end for yourself and
d: misleading people.
It seems innocent enough. At first. The idea certainly sounds right – if you’re only interested in your own gain.
But consider the consequences. Reviews imply you’ve actually purchased or at least used the product you’re reviewing. And they require your honest opinion. This is the value proposition you offer to your audience. It’s the reason your audience will come back for more … or not.
You want return visitors – right?
An honest review site can make money for you. Not auto-generated review sites that are barely readable by human standards. Not fake scam reviews obviously designed to capitalize on people searching on keywords followed by the word scam. Real reviews.
Whether you choose to write them, or record them and provide your audience with audio or video reviews, tell your audience what you really think and share your personal experiences with each product, good or bad. Don’t gloss over the bad. If you wouldn’t recommend it to a friend…don’t recommend it to your audience.
And tell them why not.
Then add your affiliate link right on the end anyway. Tell your audience you don’t recommend the product, but you also know there are people who will want to form their own opinion. Then give them the link anyway.
Likewise, if you loved it, state your reasons. Don’t blather on like a used car salesman pumped up on a couple of gallons of Starbucks espresso. It’s not a sales letter, it’s a review! Talk about your own experiences with the product. Give your audience your honest appraisal of its value – to you and to them. Perhaps suggest a few uses besides the ones you put it to, or explain why you feel someone else might like it, even if you didn’t.
Then put your affiliate link at the end. Seriously! Whether your review is good or bad.
This can make you money even without putting affiliate links in the reviews themselves. Traditional publications have done it for centuries, for crying out loud!
Build an audience and place ads on your site. Start with affiliate offers. Eventually, you could even sell ad space, when your audience grows.
Yes – advertisers will still pay to be seen in your publication, even if your honest reviews don’t always praise their products. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read scathing reviews of a new movie in a magazine with – you guessed it – a huge ad for the movie they just panned, right there on the page next to the review!
The readers respect the publication’s reviews. They come to rely on them. Yes – that makes a bad review even worse for the company selling that particular item. But, savvy advertisers also understand the power of publicity. While they would most certainly prefer a positive review next to their ad, they also understand some readers will disagree with the reviewer. Some will question the reviewer’s conclusions and check out the product for themselves. Some will actually do the opposite of what a specific reviewer tells them, because they know they always tend to like what the reviewer doesn’t.
And the ad still gets noticed, so the resulting buzz is still worthwhile.
Do the same and your audience will come to rely on you for your honest opinion. This will build your audience. As your audience grows, it will also get to know your likes and dislikes. A surprising number of your audience members will buy from your link, even if you hated the product.
And companies will start offering you a chance to review their new products, sending you all kinds of stuff, because now you’re a voice of authority and they know they can capitalize on your honest reviews either way.
The world is hungry for people they can trust, for leaders they can listen to. In today’s socially-connected online world, they’ll spread the word for you after they’ve seen you are one of the few they can count on.
This is so much better than putting up fake reviews, mucking up the Internet for everyone, because they’re a lie. And so are the guides and courses that dare even hint that they’re a legitimate way to sell your products.
And you can’t build a lasting business on lies.