90% of consumers saying that an online review is more important than input from a salesperson. Moreover, after reading an online review and deciding to make a purchase, nearly 80% of consumers buy the product online.
The study doesn't specifically refer to bloggers as a source of online reviews, but as a blogger who does product reviews, and has for 10 years, I know that women seek out reviews of items they're considering buying, and then when they find a trustworthy source, they'll stick with it, and become loyal over time. Online reviews are powerful, and can be a great tool for bloggers to grow their audience as well as monetize, BUT with great power, also comes great responsibility:
Please please please always tell your readers HOW you received any item you are reviewing. It's actually THE LAW. I usually put a disclaimer next to any item I'm wearing and listing in the post, as well as at the bottom of each post. Most of the time, I purchase things myself, or with store credit (which I disclose), but whenever I receive something from a company to review, it's always listed as a “gift for review” whenever I wear it.
Always be truthful
Honesty is always the best policy. If you love something, but it got a hole the first time you wore it, say so. If you thought a company's customer service could have been better, say so. If you love something, and in fact bought multiples, or some to give away as gifts, say so! Speak to your readers as you would your best friends. Would you want them to buy something on your recommendation only to be disappointed later?
Always speak from YOUR voice
This is where I differ from bloggers who take sponsored posts that are already mostly written for them; I couldn't do that, and I think that readers will start to distrust bloggers who use this as a way to monetize too frequently. Readers will only trust you if they can relate to you somehow, and if they feel like they KNOW you in some way. And you will only get there if you're honest with them, and let them into your life a little bit.
Don't always be positive
Point out flaws and things you think could be better about the product. There's no need to tear something completely apart (unless it's warranted), but readers distrust too many “OMG, this is the BEST EVER!” reviews and comments, without some criticisms to balance them out. Be truthful, of course, and if you can't find faults, then, fine, but as you wear or use something more, think about how you might be able to edit your original review to reflect your experience with an item over time. Don't be afraid to go back and say that something wasn't SO great after wearing or washing for a while. Your readers will thank you for it.
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