User-generated content, or UGC for short, is content created by the followers of a particular brand. This type of content comes in many forms, including product reviews, success stories, photos on social media posts with specific hashtags, and posts on the comments sections of blogs.
The importance of user-generated content
Through user-generated content, your brand can gain new audiences, exposing these potential customers to how your brand’s products or services can enrich their lives.
Certain kinds of user-generated content — like positive customer reviews or feedback — can help with the public perception of your brand and therefore boost its reputation. This is because consumers trust user-generated content. They view at as much more sincere compared to content generated by the brand itself.
In fact, a recent survey indicated that 91% of consumers trust online customer reviews in the same way as they would recommendations from friends, family members, or coworkers.
For example, imagine your brand manufactures and sells a variety of winter gear. An Instagram user posts an image of herself wearing your gear while she’s on vacation at a ski lodge and then tags your page in her post. The user’s followers like her post and then proceed to follow your brand’s Instagram.
This type of word-of-mouth advertising can generate significant buzz around your brand and your offerings. In turn, this buzz can make it easier for you to move prospective customers through your sales funnel.
How to leverage user-generated content for your email marketing
You can incorporate user-generated content into all of your digital marketing channels, but one channel where user-generated content really shines is email. Here are three ways you can apply user-generated content to your email marketing strategies.
1. Customer reviews
Asking your customers to review your products or give you feedback is one of the easiest yet most effective tactics you can try when it comes to taking advantage of user-generated content. Furthermore, it gives you a concrete idea about the quality of your products as well as what you have to improve on.
All you need to do is email surveys or feedback forms to your customers.
Give customers the opportunity to give you a star-based or point-based rating. Ask them YES or NO questions about their purchase. Allow them to tell you about their entire experience, from choosing the specific product to going through the checkout process.
To convince customers to provide feedback, offer them an incentive. It could be a complimentary item, a gift certificate, or a discount on their next purchase, like what sportswear brand Rapha does in the example above.
Once you’ve collected enough positive reviews, you can showcase them on your website, social media pages, and your promotional emails. When your audience sees these reviews, they’ll definitely feel more inclined to trust your brand and make a purchase.
2. Hashtag campaigns
Send an email to your subscribers and encourage them to post images of themselves on social media using your products. Ask them to include a specific hashtag in their posts. This increases the visibility of the images on social media, and also makes them easier to search for.
However, not all your email subscribers are followers on social media and vice versa. For maximum visibility, promote your hashtag campaign on both channels.
One thing you can do is collect your customers’ images and create a collage of the best ones. You can then send this collage to your entire list of subscribers and post it on your social media pages at the same time.
This type of cross-promotion ensures that your campaign reaches the highest number of people possible.
Similar to asking for feedback, it’s also important to offer your audience something in exchange. In this case, you can entice people to join your hashtag campaign by offering a small discount (5% to 10%) to everyone who posts an image and uses your specific hashtag.
Make your next hashtag campaign rock!
Collect amazing user-generated content using your hashtag from multiple social media channels.
Gamification is a new and unique way to integrate user-generated content into your marketing strategies. Put simply, gamification is the inclusion of gaming concepts on what would normally be non-gaming scenarios.
In the context of email marketing, you can use typical gaming concepts such as high scores, contests, levels of difficulty, and leaderboards. Send an email to your subscribers explaining the mechanics.
Whatever type of game you decide to offer your subscribers, give them the chance to generate content (and improve your engagement in the process) by encouraging them to post their achievements on their social media profiles and include a specific hashtag.
As an incentive for subscribers who join, you can offer small gifts such as gift certificates or discount codes. For winners, you can offer prizes such as a free product of their choice or just stipulate a maximum amount.
In this post, you learned about user-generated content, its benefits to your marketing, and several ways you can try combining user-generated content with your email marketing.
While not every type of user-generated content is included, the ones mentioned are a great place to start because they do require only minimal effort and resources. You can start on them today and most likely see quick results.
If you’re successful, you can try other strategies. Don’t be afraid to get creative. There’s no limit to what kind of content your audience can create for your brand.