It’s inevitable that, as you expand your affiliate marketing efforts, you’re going to be reviewing your own affiliate products and comparing/contrasting them with other products on the market. This is necessary if you want your affiliate website to be viewed as an authority in its product field. Also, quality product reviews help increase your conversion rate (i.e., sales).

Generating an product review is fairly easy if all you’re selling is a $5 book or DVD. You can simply buy one of your own affiliate products and review it.

However, what happens when your affiliate products run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

That’s where you need to get creative. Here are some strategies that you should consider when creating product reviews of expensive products.

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How to generate an expensive affiliate product review

1. Use customer testimonials.

If you are selling affiliate products through Amazon, it’s not hard to find customer reviews and product scores on that website and use them for your own research. Given a few decent customer product reviews, you can even cobble together your own “meta” affiliate product review and actually provide some valuable information to your readers.

Is passing off a meta product review dishonest? Not really. You are deriving your information from actual customer testimonials, for starters. As long as you’re honest about where your information is derived from, there is no reason you can’t data mine a product review without ever having touched the product in question.

You could also proactively ask your readers to submit their product reviews in exchange for product credit or a prize. Be sure to emphasize that positive as well as negative reviews are being solicited; that way, you won’t unfairly (and unrealistically) skew your reviews to consist only of those that portray the affiliate product in a good light. Also, publishing both negative and positive reviews adds credibility to your website.

2. Generate a sponsored product review.

Many product manufacturers will send you their affiliate product free of charge if you contact them and let them know that you wish to generate a review. Naturally, because you are receiving compensation in the form of free product, your product review will need to disclose this fact to your readers.

Is a sponsored review less credible than an objective one not based on any compensation? Generally speaking, no. Most readers understand the premise behind sponsored reviews and won’t discount yours simply because you worked with the manufacturer to create one. You could also quell any random naysayers by announcing that the product you’re reviewing will eventually be given away as a contest/raffle item to a reader or email subscriber.

3. Buy the product, then sell it.

Sometimes, you may just need to bite the bullet, so to speak, and buy the affiliate product that you are promoting. While this maneuver is certainly not the most ideal, it is one way to generate a lot of unbiased content including videos, photos, etc. You can also get creative and place the product into the hands of your friends or colleagues to generate numerous testimonials and product reviews.

How do you justify buying an expensive product simply to generate a quality review? By considering how much of an affiliate commission you made from buying your own product, then making back the net amount paid by selling back your product.

Let’s say, for example, that you purchased a camera that cost $650 but made you $100 in affiliate commission. After you had finished reviewing the camera, you could post it for sale on an auction site like Ebay -or even your own website- for $550. Given that the camera would now be $100 cheaper than its competitors, your chances of selling off your affiliate investment would be high.

4. Purchase high commission products.

It goes without saying that the higher your product commission, the better able you’ll be positioned to purchase your own product and maybe even make a profit by selling it later on. On this note, you’ll need to forget about touting products sold only through Amazon and peruse items listed on affiliate marketing sites like ClickBank, Linkshare, Commission Junction, etc. Why?

Amazon affiliates make only a 4%-6% commission rate on the products they sell. By comparison, other affiliate marketing sites offer 20%, 50% or even as high as 75% commissions on their products. As a result, it’s much cheaper for affiliates to purchase those products to generate reviews. And it’s also much easier to later sell those products and still make back the original invested amount.

5. Expense your expensive affiliate product purchase.

If all else fails, you may consider simply purchasing the affiliate product in question, reviewing it, and then either keeping it for your own use of giving it away as part of a promotion. This may be the case with products that can’t be re-sold; for example, food items that are consumed are not valid for resale.

In other cases, the manufacturer may stipulate that the products cannot be re-sold through a third party vendor. This is a rare situation but it has been known to occur with certain manufacturers that wish to control their brand image and use.

What can you do in a case where you’re guaranteed to be stuck with your affiliate product? Several things, actually.

You can view your purchase as a necessary business investment and at least write off the cost of that purchase on your taxes. You might also view your purchase as a kind of advertising fee and later use the product in various affiliate promotions and contests. Finally, you may reduce the cost of your investment by asking other affiliate marketers if they’d be willing to go in on your purchase in exchange for using the actual product (barring any trademark or copyright infringements).

Are expensive affiliate products worth your time?

Expensive affiliate products have several advantages over their cheaper peers, including a lesser likelihood of market saturation, higher profit margin per item sold, and higher profit margin cross-sell and upsell affiliate products.

Many affiliate marketers shy away from selling expensive affiliate products because they assume their readers will be too reluctant to purchase anything that costs hundreds of dollars. However, you can make a valid case for an expensive affiliate product with a persuasive sales landing page preceded by an effective email marketing campaign. You may also wish to consider the kind of audience you’re advertising to, and whether your readers consist of B2C or B2B consumers.

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