Reviews vs. Giveaways – What You Need To Know, Advertisers, Affiliates, Bloggers

Lot’s of Bloggers ask for free products for giveaways because it grows their brand and traffic.  In addition to the giveaways, they want free product for themselves.  Advertisers think this is great because they will get a ton of sales and build their brand.  This is where there is a misunderstanding about perception, sales and conversions occurs.  What Advertisers, Bloggers and Affiliates need to realize is that giveaways vs. reviews cause different reactions in site behavior and performance, just like how advertising on Facebook drives different results than advertising on Twitter or Pinterest.  One is for play while the other is for research and shopping.  I’m going to break out the benefits and negatives and how you can use reviews vs. giveaways to make money, build an audience and build your brand by Advertiser, Blogger and Affiliate.

Reviews – Reviews build trust and generate interest in a product.  This interest drives sales and the actual review builds trust that the store and products are legit.  Reviews are sales drivers if there is a loyal following or the person is looking for the product and not sure where to buy. 

Giveaways – Giveaways can build a brand and trust, but because there is something for free, people are less likely to shop or come back and buy if they didn’t win.  Giveaways can however generate buzz for a blogger and drive traffic or new readers.  Giveaways can also upset your community if you have loyal followers that never win.

Advertisers:

Reviews – Reviews can typically drive more sales than a giveaway.  A review shows that the site owner or blogger enjoyed the product and that your store is real.  Unfortunately they don’t drive as many new readers or interest for the Blogger or webmaster which is why webmasters and bloggers don’t like them as much.  At the same time, if the review shows up in the search engines for your trademark + reviews, it adds trust and makes your site look or appear more legit.  You don’t however want the sites ranking for these terms in your Affiliate programs as they will be tagging people who already knew about you with an Affiliate cookie, and you reduce your margins by the commission level and network fees.  At the same time they are adding value by building credibility (but they are also required to have an FTC disclosure which takes away the credibility and believability of their review for numerous readers since it now looks paid for and they will be compensated if the person shops through their site.  By having these reviews turn into Affiliates, you do more damage than good if they are ranking for your trademarks and extensions.)   Reviews are a way to drive sales if the Blogger or Site owner has a loyal following.

Giveaways –  Bloggers and Site Owners love giveaways because they help build comments, and a following.  They can tell their readers to share the post to get an entry, leave a comment to get another entry and to have friends leave comments to get an entry into the giveaway.  Unfortunately these people want the product for free so they tend to wait and see if they win.  Unfortunately this turns people that may have shopped from a review into passive customers who will wait and possibly forget about you or loose interest in the product or store.  You also lose product from the review and have to give more product away without generating nearly as many sales if any because of the giveaway.  The giveaway can however drive a ton of attention for your brand and site, get people to talk about what products they like or want from your store and build a positive image for you.  They are also great for Reputation Management and SEO in the search engines.  When a Blogger or Webmaster asks for a giveaway instead of  just a review, ask for the total sales they get on average from each giveaway and how many unique visitors they get to each giveaway within the first week.  Knowing if their site actually drives sales based on giveaways can help you figure out if it is worth it or not or if you are going to make money or if you should think about the giveaway as a way to build your brand.

Affiliates, Bloggers and Site Owners

Reviews –  As the owner of your own brand, you need to make sure you that you build trust with your followers that the reviews are real.  date them, be honest and make sure that you don’t mislead your readers.  You’ll also want to check out the stores customer service, sales process, etc… because if you give a good review for a merchant, but that merchant has horrible service, you could hurt your readership.

Giveaways –  One thing you may want to consider when doing a giveaway is buying a second or third product or asking the advertiser for extras.  If you have people who always enter and never win, you can pretend they won and send them one, even if they weren’t the actual winner.  This not only gets them excited and lets them know your site is legit, but a loyal follower and reader who wins the prize may end up posting about it everywhere bringing you even more traffic and readers.

The main difference between reviews and giveaways are that reviews build trust, drive sales and help to make Affiliates and companies money.  Giveaways are a great way to get the word out about your advertisers brands as well as build your own following.  If you are an advertiser or a site owner and do reviews or giveaways, think about what the goal is and what you want to get out of it.  Are you trying to make money or are you trying to build your traffic.  Once you decide that you’ll know whether to do a review or a giveaway with each product.

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