Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Views on Product Reviews and Giveaways: Part 1

Here at Smart and Trendy Moms, we are bloggers, we read reviews on blogs, we enter blog giveaways, and Jennette has an online Boutique and sponsors giveaways both on STM and on other blogs so we have experience on all sides.  Who benefits from reviews and giveaways ? Do they work?  

We believe they can help bloggers, sellers, and blog readers.

SELLERS / COMPANIES Advantages of a Review for Sellers

The way we see it, the advantage of a review for sellers are many. The biggest advantage is advertising. A review gives you the opportunity to get the word out about your project to a specific group of followers since blogs typically have a particular group of readers with some common interests. And the readers hear about your product first-hand from a real person. A positive first hand opinion is generally better than an impersonal ad.
A review also usually contains a link to your online store, and those links from other websites (especially higher traffic websites) will help you with your ranking on most search engines. You can typically pay anywhere from $10 -$100 a month for a well-placed ad on the same blogs that will review your $5 -$100 product. These ads typically run month to month and are gone when you decline further sponsorship. This is another advantage of a review because on most blogs the link to your site stays up for the life of the blog. It continues to help you long after the review is finished.

Disadvantages of a Review for Sellers

You can open yourself up to possibility of a negative review if the blogger has a bad experience with your product or if they have a misunderstanding of the way your product is used (Some blogs have a policy of only publishing positive reviews so you can avoid this possibility. And some blogs will allow you to see the review before its published incase they had any misconceptions about your product so you can correct any assembly mistakes or other issues resulting from a misunderstanding that would cause a bad review.)


Advantages of a Review for Bloggers

For bloggers, the advantage of doing reviews is the opportunity to try new products (sometimes for free) and to get the word out about the products that you love to your readers. (As a blog reader, I have found many great products that I would not have known about had I not seen them on a blog.) Also, you can get additional traffic to your site when someone finds your blog looking for an opinion on a product.

Disadvantages of Reviews for Bloggers

There aren’t a lot of disadvantages for bloggers other than the time it takes. You spend a good deal of time researching the product and the company. You have to test the product thoroughly. Then, it takes time and effort to write a good review. And you spend a great deal of time promoting the review and designing, maintaining, and promoting your blog. To do reviews successfully, you really have to believe in discovering new products and getting the word out about those products.


Advantages of Reviews For Readers

As a blog reader, you get the opportunity to hear about new products that you might never have known about otherwise. And you get to hear what a real person that you know online thinks about a product. You get to hear his or her first-hand experience with that product and not just from an ad. Of course an ad will make it sound just wonderful, but an ethical blogger will give you a detailed honest opinion of it. I know I like that kind of input when I am deciding where to spend my money, and I follow several bloggers who opinions are usually similar to mine.

Here are some of our personal experiences with the effectiveness of  reviews:
  • I (Kelly) read a review (and entered a giveaway) for Reduce water bottles. I hadn’t known that they existed before that. When I didn’t win the giveaway, I purchased the set. The giveaway sponsor got a sale, the giveaway host got a new follower, and I got a great new set of water bottles that I love (read my review)
  • From a seller’s standpoint, Jennette has first hand experience with seeing her traffic and sales increase with having her items from her online boutique reviewed. 
  • As blog readers, we both have found lots of great products in blog reviews that we wouldn't have heard about if we hadn't seen the review.
While we have seen from our own experience that they are a good thing, the overall effect of Reviews and Giveaways can be hard to judge because not only does it have the immediate effect of getting the word out about a product, it continues to have an effect over time since the post continues to exist months or even years later.

This is our view on the advantages or disadvantages.  Do you agree? Disagree?  Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings. Please leave us a comment.

Be sure to look for Part 2 of this article on Giveaways.

Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipies, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclaimer