Product Inserts that get reviews, without asking for them

Product Inserts that Get Reviews, Without Asking for Them

What is sensory marketing? 

Marketing you can feel, smell, taste, touch, and share… the type of marketing that makes your brand stand out from the herd.  

Today we’re diving into product inserts, that aren’t really product inserts after all.

It’s the THOUGHTFUL thought that counts

Selling more is about creating the right offer, not the everyday offer. Most people send out little cards with their products and about 1/1000 actually do anything with it. 

Instead, we are going to increase your effectiveness with product inserts while keeping your “loyalty to Amazon” rules intact. 

Your product inserts have to be stand-alone pieces for your customers to notice and take action on. Do not offer the loyalty card or the weird discount—offer them something they can remember and refer back to! 

I recently ordered a book that included an engaging and functional bookmark. It led me to a website where I ordered another book.

A THOUGHTFUL product insert can retain customers, attract new customers, and promote your brand, thus taking your brand to new heights. 

Put yourself in the place of a customer, how would you feel if the brand you purchased from added a bit more care, value, love? 

Every single step towards a better customer experience will benefit your bottom line.

Add Value Everywhere Your Competitors Overlook

Your brand is not just the products you sell but also the value you must, and should want to, give to the customers who continue to support you by buying them. 

  • Free Publicity: Ask, what can I include in my packaging that can be a walking billboard? Something that keeps my brand at the forefront of my customers’, and future customers’ minds? 
  • Memorable First Impression: The unboxing experience is often a customer’s first physical interaction with an online purchased product. How can I make my unboxing worthy of being recorded or photographed for social media? A sensory experience with a hint of customer appreciation goes a long way here.
  • Personal Touch: When able, customized or personalized inserts should make customers feel valued and appreciated, ultimately increasing loyalty and ambassadorship.
  • Feedback and Reviews: A well-designed insert can also INDIRECTLY encourage customers to leave a review or provide feedback, which not only helps in improving the product or service but also enhances customer engagement and loyalty.
  • YOU CANNOT ASK FOR REVIEWS: if you do, then you are directly violating Amazon’s ToS (terms of service). Savvy competitors will order your products, take photos of your inserts, and report you to Amazon. Then you’ll be fighting reviews being removed and listings being suppressed.

You want to leave a lasting impression by doing something unique. Do the exercise and see how many things you can do differently than your competitors. 

Go with the product insert that gives the customer more than expected, or else skip it like everyone else who wants to cut cost corners.

Designing Effective Product Inserts

Visual Appeal and Brand Consistency

Aligning with Brand Identity: The design of your product inserts should be a visual extension of your brand. This means aligning the insert’s aesthetic elementscolors, fonts, and imagery—with your overall brand identity. Consistency in these elements ensures that customers immediately recognize and associate the insert with your brand.

Quality of Visual Elements: Use high-quality graphics and images that reflect your brand’s standard. You need to be visually appealing and ensure you show that your brand is top quality through and through. The visual appeal of your insert can significantly impact the customer’s perception of your brand’s quality and professionalism.

Design Layout: A well-organized layout that is easy to read and visually appealing is crucial. Balance text and images to create an engaging yet uncluttered design.

Clear and Concise Messaging Avoids Information Overload. Provide essential information in a digestible format, using bullet points, clear headings, and concise sentences.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Clear and Compelling CTAs

The point of a clear call to action is to drive a specific behavior for your brand—the action you want then to take. Create a call to action paired with a sensory marketing tactic, and you are golden.

There must be only one

Use only a single CTA that is as easy as possible to execute. Otherwise, they will not take any action.

Is it safe?

Pokemon Go infamously launched a popular geo-tagging game that prompted players to take actions that lead to several deaths. Here’s the stats:

While that is extreme, it’s important to consider whether your CTA violates any privacy concerns or could lead to some other form of harm.

Visible and Accessible:

Ensure that the CTA stands out in your insert design and is easy for customers to follow, possibly through the use of QR codes or simple URLs.

Create a product insert that people can literally hold, smell, touch, hear. 

Don’t you want your customers to feel your vision? The point of building a good brand should be to convince a customer that your product is the only one for them. Be that one out of a million ! In order to create a long lasting product that stands out from the day to day, you need to grab their attention. 

Grabbing attention starts with the senses. If it’s a QR code that projects a cool virtual art design or token, or a product that smells with the new fragrance that will lead to a purchase of your new product. The point is, you have to key into the human instinct. 

Do this exercise if you want to make a good product insert that customers can enjoy.

Make a list of 10 sensory types of product inserts that would impress you if you were the customer. Do this and ask all of your staff to do the same. Once you have the best out of the top 10, slowly start to implement. 

Example product insert that is the epitome of adding value

These are way more than little pieces of paper that end up in the recycling or, worse, trash.

The notepad that keeps on giving

You’ve gotta get bold, different, and special with your merchandising so that your brand shows its true value. 

Gamification and Branded Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: 

If you really want to capture attention, get the customer involved. Don’t just let them throw your flyer away, give them something they can scan or play with so that they forget what they are doing for a second. Sometimes a game pop up or a QR scan into a AR style game can engage the customer and leave that warm or lasting impression that you need to increase CLV, but most importantly, show them that you care! 

Gamification and Branded Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences:

QR codes that unlock branded AR experiences, like virtual try-ons, interactive games, or immersive product stories, offer a novel experience that customers are likely to share online.  Provide content that enhances the use of the product, such as creative ways to use it, maintenance tips, or troubleshooting advice.

Leverage your valuable, and most commonly neglected, market basket analysis to include Product samples of your other product offerings. These are highly informed based on mining your customer cohort insights that know if they buy product A then they typically buy product D next.

Seed Paper Tags:

Tags or small inserts made of seed paper that can be planted to grow flowers or herbs. This eco-friendly gift keeps your brand in the customer’s mind as they watch their plants grow, and it’s perfect for sharing the progress on social media.

Social Media Contests and Community Building:

Insert cards that encourage customers to share their product experiences on social media as entries into a contest.  Invite customers to join brand-specific online communities or forums.By making a community, you keep your new updates and closest customers, even closer. These can amplify your brand’s visibility and engagement.

Interactive Recipe or Art Cards:

If your product can be used in cooking, crafting, or any creative endeavor, include beautifully designed cards with recipes or art projects. Encourage sharing the results or the process on social media, tagging your brand.

Sell a more complicated product? Must include Educational Content: Include informative content that educates the customer about the product or related topics. For example, a cooking gadget might come with a mini-recipe book as an insert. 

Product-Specific Information:

For technical products, include detailed specifications, setup guides, or FAQs, and for lifestyle products, suggest usage scenarios or lifestyle tips.

For comparison

These are traditional inserts that range from spammy to cute but still miss the mark.






To truly stand out in today’s competitive marketplace, your product inserts need to transcend the ordinary and become a pivotal part of your brand’s identity. By incorporating sensory elements, memorable experiences, and value-added content, you can transform a simple insert into a powerful tool for customer retention and brand advocacy.

Remember, the goal is not just to inform but to delight and engage your customers at every touchpoint. From visually appealing designs and personalized messages to interactive experiences and eco-friendly options, every aspect of your product insert should reflect the thoughtfulness and quality that your brand stands for.

Investing in creative and thoughtful product inserts does more than just prompt customer reviews. It builds a lasting connection with your consumers, enhances their overall experience,

By Mike Danford

I work out so I can eat, more. My happy place is being surrounded by water, whether that's wake surfing, jet skiing, or swimming in the ocean. I am a sucker for brands that do good, especially in a world where it can be so easy not to.

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