Ways To Do Great Product Reviews Without Spending Any Money
Last Update: Feb 6, 2019
Last weekend, when I started drafting this post, I was thinking along the lines of shampoos, books, electronics and travel destinations. Yet in the last 24 hours, I've been searching my mind for ways to best market an $18.5 million dollar house in Aspen, Colorado that I have not seen in person yet.
I can not afford to go out and purchase this home prior to my reviewing it. Shoot, right now I can't afford to go out and buy a new camera either. That said, I hope to see this home on February 12, when they are hosting an event for persons interested in the auction. This post may be a little "rough" because I won't have much time to edit it if I want to have a chance of finding a buyer for this house. Time is short, this house will be auctioned, without reserve, to the highest qualified bidder on February 28.
This home, or retreat if you prefer, is truly exceptional. I have already spent hours doing online research trying to learn as much about the home, its architect and interior designers, the antique furnishings that come with it and even its owners. For me, I this home is comparable to a piece 18,000 square foot piece of artwork. It has the ability to speak to your soul like a complicated lover.
Typically, I do not work in the Aspen, CO area. Aspen is four hours away. Yet, I feel compelled to do my best to find the buyer destined to make this home theirs. The home just spoke to me that way. Now, if I can find a qualified buyer that loves this home as much as I do, I would earn a meager 2.5% commission. That is a benefit of being a licensed real estate agent. If I can't, well I am gaining a lot of useful knowledge that will allow me to better market the Colorado lifestyle.
If you only remember one thing from this post, it is this:
Fantasize. Dream. Visualize Yourself Owning the Product
This is extremely important.
If you are going to attempt to review products or items that you can not afford to purchase, you have to allow yourself to truly imagine yourself shopping for that product. You be able to imagine yourself owning the product. You have to put yourself into the mindset of people that have the money to do so. If you can't, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to convince your target audience to believe you.
You have to do everything possible to truly understand your target market.
- For example, with the house - if I had $20 million to spend on a house, would I really want that house? Why or why not?
- If I had $3,000 -$5,000 to spend on a professional quality camera; which Canon or Nikon full frame camera would best suit my needs and why?
- If I could afford to spend $40 on shampoo and hair conditioner, would I?
- If I have $15 - $20 budgeted for a book purchase, would I purchase an older edition of a book on Amazon or not?
I occasionally do comments on people's posts, via the site comment feature. When I see someone reviewing an expensive product that starts talking about it being too expensive for most people because of the cost; my brain shuts down. Let your readers make that decision for themselves. True, some expensive products don't offer a value that matches the cost. Yet, if you automatically disqualify a product because of its cost, that signals to me that you don't know what you are talking about.
For example, with the $18.5 million home. I need to be aware that the ultra-high net worth buyers that could afford this home, might find the late John Denver's Aspen estate more appealing. John Denver's estate is currently for sale. At $11 million, it costs less. If I was doing an article comparing the two homes, I would not say that you do not want the 18.5 million dollar home because it is too expensive.
Yet, I will take into account that someone may prefer to own a home that has been recently renovated. They may place a higher value on owning a place that a well-known musician owned rather than one owned by a music mogul. They may prefer a smaller home on a smaller lot. Or one with a recording studio rather than an artist's studio. Or not....
I do know that I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the utility bills in John Denver's home should be half the cost of the electric bills in the $18 million dollar home. Utility bills are extremely important to my "average" or "typical" buyers. Ultra high net worth buyers are not average by any means. The exception would be if my buyer prospects worked in the renewable energy field. Then I would plan on being able to discuss both homes energy design features. (Not sure if energy design is the correct word to be using or not.)
You have to do your best to think like the probable buyers.
I realize that most of you are not working in the real estate niche. So, how can you review products that you can not afford to go out and purchase?
Tip 1: Books and magazines are a GREAT thing to review. You can go to your library and check them out for free. You can go to Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore. Look through magazines. In both cases, you can take a picture of the item with your cell phone and use that. There are books and magazines out there for every niche.
I am on the verge of implementing videography into both my online affiliate marketing businesses and my real estate business. Unfortunately, I can not afford to go out and test a bunch of different cameras, video cameras and recorders. Yet, I can talk about "bootstrapping' with my current equipment. I can review relevant magazines or books that I find at the book store or library.
On Sunday evening, I was at Barnes & Noble. One of the magazines that I looked at was intended for art collectors. Little did I know that 3 days later, some insights that I gained from flipping through that magazine would allow me to better understand the mindset of someone that builds and/or owns a multi-million dollar house.
Tip 2: Go shopping but don't buy:
If I wanted to review a camera that I could not afford to purchase, I would go to the bookstore first. Then my next stop would be the local electronics store or camera shop. Personally, I would choose a big store so that I could avoid having a sales person looking over me constantly. Yet that sales person that I want to avoid, could be a great source of information. You have to decide.
While at the store, take a picture of the product(s) that you want to review. You could discuss why this item is better than your old cell phone or trusty old point and shoot camera. You could also discuss why someone might be able to make due with their current equipment. Be aware, if you are reviewing older products, EBay has an affiliate program. Or at least they did the last time I checked. Some Amazon sellers still carry older products and refurbished products.
I've never actually tried it, but it could work. Some Amazon seller's might be still carrying older models of the camera's that I've got. Or.... I could just tell people, I've been using a Canon Rebel t6 for instance. After doing the research, I've decided to upgrade my lenses and keep my current body. I could then talk about lenses and how they would/could help me achieve my photography goals now.
Tip 3: Review Products that You Use or Have Used at Home
It's a good thing that I am not in the healthy & beauty niche. Otherwise, I would be blasting a new shampoo that I have used for the last week. I would also be sharing great reviews of my old brand of shampoo. I did not appreciate the old brand of shampoo until I switched shampoos.
When switched shampoos a week ago, my hair has looked so stringy and bad, that I have ended up wearing a cap or hat almost every day. This new, cheaper shampoo is seriously undermining my confidence.
If you look around your house or your workplace, I am certain that you will find lots of things that you could review without having to spend any more money.
Tip 4: Review Products that Your Friends or Family are Using
Consider interviewing them. Going back to the camera example. I am a Canon person and I have a Sony mirrorless. Even if I wanted to, I could not afford to purchase a Nikon in order to write a review on it. Yet Nikon's are a leading brand of camera. If I am writing camera reviews, I better be aware of the Nikon features and costs.
Fortunately, I know a lot of people that are Nikon users. I would work with them to write reviews on Nikon products
Tip 5: Try to Find Opportunities to Try Out the Product For Free
Going back to the camera example once again, every so often a photography shop in Denver, CO will host an event at the Denver Zoo where you can test a bunch of different cameras and lenses.
For those in a travel related niche, you can often find "free days" that allow you to visit places for free. For example in Colorado, I have seen days when you can visit a museum for free. There are days that you can gain admission into a National Park for free.
The better you learn you niche, the easier it is to stumble up these "free" events.
Tip 6: Volunteer to Work at a Trade Show or Conference So That You Can Get Free Admission
Trade shows and major conferences are typically shopping extravagances. The ones that I have attended provide countless opportunities to see the newest and latest products in person. If you can afford a ticket to the event, I recommend purchasing one so that you can get directly to "work."
Yet, if you choose to volunteer you might have to invest 2 -4 hours of your time in exchange for free admission.
A couple weeks ago, I attended the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The Vitamix blender company had a huge booth. Of course, it made me think of Kyle and Wealthy Affiliate. Had I been interested in that niche, I could have gotten some great videos and photo's of the Vitamix blender in use.
I could have also been learning about lawn mowers, fencing, garage doors, and endless array of beauty products. Instead, I was taking pictures of some newest leather furniture designs, artwork and home decor.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas of how you can do great product reviews without actually spending any money. Can you all think of other ways? If so, please feel free to share in the comments.