This is quite a complex scenario to explore in some ways as some people feel that it is ok to give away copies almost wholesale while others will protect their Product with a ball and chain until a few moments before release.
I think the first point to consider is what you are trying to achieve by giving out review copies.
You may be asking for advice or proofing of some sort prior to release and this is a valid reason to ask for a review. The problem here is that people lie! I am sorry to bring this bad news to the table but it is a fact. I have seen people asking for reviews of sales pages and products within Skype groups only to see many gushing comments being returned. Then when I go to take a look, the sales page doesn’t actually sell, it is confusing, full of errors and maybe even just a mess so why don’t people tell you that? Simply because friends don’t like to offend and so is this a worthwhile strategy? Do you want sales or do you want a pat on the back?
The next scenario is that you want to impress affiliates by letting them take a look around or even use the product prior to the launch. This one is actually a good use of reviews and can cement the opinion of an affiliate in one direction or the other, thereby getting a definite result. One point I might add here is not to directly ask for them to provide a review on the sales thread though. Of course this would be great if they gave one but it should not be out of some obligation and ideally it will be given after the time of launch as pre-release testimonials are viewed with some suspicion in the main.
The next type of review to me is definitely a No-No.
This is when vendors offer free review copies to their list.
Why on earth would anyone offer a product free of charge to a list of known buyers. Not only that, but buyers who have already bought from you!
By doing this you are effectively taking cash out of your own pocket and worse than that, you are telling your buyers it is ok to give this away free and thereby reducing the value of the product in their eyes.
What happens to the people on the list who didn’t get the free copy, are they more motivated to buy? I doubt it and I know for certain that I wouldn’t.
In my mind, I would be thinking if the product can be given to some of the list, why shouldn’t I get it free too?
So before this rant gets in danger of becoming too long I will summarise by saying give your review copies freely to affiliates as that is a proven benefit. Ask for review for proofing purposes from people you can trust but not from your direct community as you cannot rely on the response, and finally, don’t get your customers to review by giving free copy, this is just madness!
Here Endeth the Grant Rant for Today
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