Marketing Analytics

Explode Email Open Rates with User Generated Content

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One of the most popular and useful forms of marketing today is content marketing. Content marketing encapsulates a number of different things:

  • Blog posts
  • Social media content
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Email marketing

In essence, content marketing refers to various types of content created with the purpose of marketing a business’s goods or services. Many ascribe to the adage that “Content is King”, but it can be burdensome for marketers to continuously churn out great, effective content. Idea generation is one issue, with knowledgeable staff and budget as other big hurdles to effective content marketing. However, relying upon fans, followers, and users can save the day – and make your marketing strategy more effective.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) typically comes from regular, everyday people that voluntarily contribute data, information, media that appears before others in a useful or entertaining way. User Generated Content can take the form of restaurant reviews, Wikipedia entries, forum posts, and any other content not created by, or commissioned for a brand.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust UGC more than traditional advertising and according to Adweek, 35% of millennials find UGC more memorable than traditional media. The reason behind this is social proof, or learning from and being influenced by the experiences of others. Social proof is one of the 6 principles of influence, as defined in Robert Cialdini’s notable book on the topic, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

There are many advantages for the savvy marketer to incorporate user generated content into email campaigns.

UGC Builds Credibility

When people see other satisfied customers, it builds trust in the brand. One way marketers leverage this fact is by soliciting photos, videos and testimonials from satisfied customers. This user generated content helps to humanize a brand in the minds of consumers.

One of the earliest UGC campaigns was back in 2009, when Burberry asked customers to submit pictures of themselves wearing their Burberry trench coat. As a result of this campaign, Burberry’s Facebook follower count grew to over 1,000,000, and their e-commerce sales grew by 50%, year over year. The campaign resulted in thousands of content assets that could be used across the many mediums they use to interact with customers.

UGC Drives Engagement

Driving engagement is a key component at the top of the sales funnel. Asking for comments and reviews is a great way to get people talking about a brand to other potential customers, and again, provides social proof to new customers. Strike while the iron is hot, and use automation features on an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send a request for a customer to review a product or service as soon as they’ve had the chance to experience it (i.e. immediately after a service is performed, or a few days after a product is received).

Brands can create a dialog with their customers through the use of branded hashtags and fun campaigns. Implementing various engagement tactics is a cost effective way to boost brand awareness and pique curiosity.

UGC Boosts Sales

When customers do the selling, they outperform brands every time. According to Aaron Orendorff of Entrepreneur, the marketer is not the best salesperson – the customers are. This makes sense considering how Word of Mouth has consistently proven to be the most effective form of marketing, time after time.

Shoppers that interact with UGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not. According to Business Insider, brands see a 78% lift in conversion rates when customers interact with UGC. Revenue per visitor increases 106% when customers interact with UGC versus those that do not.

User generated content can be a boon for business, especially if one is understaffed or running out of ideas. Since consumers trust UGC more, this will result in more engagement and thus, more sales.

If on the fence about encouraging UGC, consider these statistics:

  • 54% of US shoppers read online reviews before making an online purchase
  • 39% of shoppers read online reviews before buying in-store
  • 82% of shoppers read reviews while inside a store immediately before making a purchase

The importance of adding UGC to the content marketing mix, and email marketing campaigns specifically, is essential.

How will you incorporate UGC into your email marketing campaigns? Tweet @SendPulseCom with your thoughts, and we’ll share our favorites!

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