So you want to review some products, eh? It’s not as hard to get products as you may think! …better still, you can get them for free, and I’m going to tell you how!
Find the product you’d like to review, find the contact information for that company, and send them a “Request for Product” email. Here’s an example of what I send. Don’t use this verbatim, otherwise the same company may get the exact same request from different people. Not good for any of us. Change it up, use your words, and make it your own.
Hello [company name]!
My name is [your name here], and I am the owner of [name of your website] ([website URL]).
I am writing to see if you would like to work with me on a review and possible giveaway or discount for your [product you’d like to review] ([URL of the product you’d like to review]) on my site.[Name of your website] is a website that deals with [your niche].
Over the course of the last 90 days, [name of your site] received [your numbers] unique page views. We get [your numbers] unique visits each month, with [your numbers]% of that being new visitors. We currently have [your numbers] Facebook Followers, [your numbers] Twitter Followers and [your numbers] Pinterest Followers. Our site is also represented on [other social media you are on] with growing numbers, and our newsletter goes out each week to over [your numbers] subscribers.
I know my readers would love to hear about your products – [why?]! I invite you to visit my website and let me know if you are interested in forming a working relationship.
Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you.[Your Name] [Your Address] [Your Phone Number] [Your Website Name & URL] [Your Social Media Links]
A couple of things you should take into consideration and understand before you even send your first email that will keep you going in the right direction:
You may be told no – Some companies don’t want to send free products for review to anyone, and that’s just a fact.
Only ask for things you will use – If it’s something you think would be cool to check out, but you may never use it outside of testing it for the review, don’t ask for it at all. No need to be greedy.
What do companies look for the most?
Your Blog’s Audience Size – Is it worth it to them to send you the product? The larger your audience is, the more likely you are to get a more expensive item. That being said, different companies will have different requirements and may never tell you what those requirements are.
Documented History of Product Reviews – Some companies may ask for examples of reviews you have written in the past. It might be a good idea for you to add a line to your email with a couple of links to examples of your best written product reviews. If you haven’t reviewed any products before, and you keep getting “no” from your requests, I would recommend you reviewing what you already have. Your food processor, back pack, tractor, salad spoons – whatever you use and know how it works, review it! Then, when you send off future requests, you’ve got something to show them if they ask.
Social Media Subscriber Base – Let’s face it, we’re right smack dab in the middle of a social media driven world, and smart companies exploit social media as much as they can. Why? Because they know it works for them! They also know it will work for you, but if you only have tiny numbers of followers, it may not be worth it to them to send you any product.
Relevancy to Their Audience – How relevant is your website to their product and audience? If your website is strictly about raising chickens, it’s unlikely you could get a bug-out bag. Likewise, if your site is strictly about surviving the apocalypse, you may not want to even think about asking for that stand mixer. Only request products that fit in with the natural flow of your site.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Through this whole process, you may get several “No” responses. Don’t let this discourage you. If you ask, and they say no, they’ll likely tell you why. If they don’t, ask them why! If you don’t know why you were turned down, you won’t know what to work on to improve your chances of getting a “Yes” answer in the future.
Always keep a record of what you’ve asked for from each company. It doesn’t look good if you ask for products from the same company over and over – regardless as to whether you’ve gotten something from them before or not. Don’t ask more than once in any given period of time.
If you don’t get a response from a company within a week or so of your request, send them another email – a “hey, just wanted to see if you got my email and what you thought” kinda thing. If you don’t get a response there, it may be best to mark them off your list and move on.
Also in the “ask again” column would be re-asking the same company. If you’re told no, and they tell you what to do to improve your chances, you’ve got something to go on. After you’ve made those improvements, ask them again. Tell them you’ve sent them an email before and were told no, but you have made the changes they asked for, and you’d like to see if they might be willing to work with you now. I’d wait at least 3-6 months before asking the same company, though. That’s just me.
Things I Wouldn’t Do:
- Use the word “give” – instead of saying “will you give me”, ask instead “would you be willing to send me”.
- Use the word “free” – instead, say “in exchange for”. Let them know you’re doing something for them in return.
- Send more than 1 email in a week (unless a dialogue with the company has been established).
- Send more than 2 emails in a month (again, unless a dialogue with the company has been established).
Things I Would Do:
Be honest in your review – If you have something negative to say, say it. Otherwise, it looks more like a paid advertisement instead of an honest review. If you only say positive things, that’s doing an injustice to your readers. They’re reading your review because they want to know what you think of the product so they’ll know whether or not to get one for themselves. If there’s something negative to say, 3 things will happen – 1, your readers will trust your reviews… 2, the company will appreciate your honesty (unless the entire review is slamming the company and their product)… 3, future companies will know you’re doing your job as a product reviewer and will be more likely to work with you.
Write the review – If you ask for a product in exchange for a review, write it! Don’t forget to write the review, otherwise, you’re not living up to your end of the bargain, and your word becomes invalid.
Thank the company – Remember, they didn’t have to send you anything. If they agree to send you something, thank them. Let them know you appreciate them working with you (not sending you something for free).
Stay in contact with the company – Let them know when you get the product, when you have written the review, and when it will go live on your site. Give them the opportunity to read the review before you post it on your site.
Thank the company – Yes, this is a duplicate, but it’s a different “thank you” than before. Once your business has concluded, send the company a final thank you email letting them know again that you appreciate them working with you. Always close with something like “I hope we can work together again in the future” – it leaves the door ajar so it’s easier for you to request additional product from them in the future. I know, I said don’t do this, but honestly, if they appreciated what you did, they may be willing to send you more product sometime down the line (though I wouldn’t ask again for at least 12 months).
That’s it. That’s all I have for you (although I may add to this as questions arise in the Facebook group). So what are you still doing here? Go get your products to review!