“The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.” – John Doerr, Venture Capitalist
The number of brands vying for increased engagement from consumers is unbelievably huge. One useful tool for increasing this is user-generated content. A study by Olapic has found that those retailers who incorporated user-generated content in their emails see an increase of 43 percent in click-through rates and a two to three time increase in conversion. Given that, user-generated content not only helps increase customer loyalty but also gives you plenty of organic marketing. All you have to do is find a way to nudge your customers to step into the role of advertiser.
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How UGC is taking over the world of digital marketing
UGC is based on the psychological response of users. So when a potential user gets to learn about your brand through others, their hardwired brain feels the assurance that they are making the right choice. For example, if we see someone ranting about the coffee they had a night before, we'll make sure we plan a visit to the particular coffee house, regardless of how far it is from our place of work or stay. The reason is simple – word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind of referrals, even in the age of digital marketing.
Let's talk about Lay's ‘Give Us Your Dillicious Flavour’, which was an eight-month long engagement programme that became one of the biggest ever consumer outreach programmes of the millennium. In this programme, consumers were asked to send their entries suggesting flavours and four winning flavours were launched in the market. Consumers were asked to vote for the best flavour and the winning flavour won Rs 50 lakh, a mere one percent of the sales turnover of that year. Similarly, Kurkure also came up with ‘create your recipe’ and the winning family was featured on the packets of the snack.
The takeaway from these campaigns
Give your consumers freedom to have fun while creating unique, fresh and engagement worthy content for the brand. Creating a campaign that induces enough excitement among your users to drive your engagement and spread the world. Additionally, multiple participation leads to extended period of engagement, thereby boosting the interest of consumers in the brand.
Decline of email marketing? Not yet!
Research shows that consumers do not want telemarketers calling them, preferring email instead. Email is one of the best platforms to display your UGC and can help a great deal in giving credibility to your brand. Although market leaders may feel that email marketing is dead in 2017, you'll need email marketing to reach your target audience. But that would need you to Ctrl+Shift+Delete all that you've learnt so far. Promotional emails will get you nowhere. The new generation of users has to be handled slightly differently, and UGC is the only way to get them.
Subject lines matter more than ever before. Personalising them will help you get better click rates. Also add a story element to your email campaigns to build trust. Showcasing real stories that your potential consumers can relate to, will help you get quality clicks and better CTRs. Featuring feedback and suggestions from loyal customers will show that you appreciate their effort, and they will appreciate your brand in return. This will also make them talk about you brand enthusiastically with their peers and groups.
Michael Hess, Global Head of Marketing at the social video news agency Storyful, says that one thing that user-generated content provides that no other type of content can is authenticity. According to him, brand marketers need to consider how to build on user-generated content to mould their campaigns and provide more relevant content on a regular basis.
You can use user-generated content to build a community around your brand. User-generated content is 20 percent more influential than any other media type. In her article Leah Swartz, a senior content specialist at Millenial Marketing says that key to creating user-generated content is finding the biggest fans of your brands and giving them different opportunities like building communities or hosting contests to create useful and meaningful content on behalf of the brand but at their own time and expense. Adding customer testimonials would also add to your brand’s credibility.
Go ahead and integrate user-generated content in your next email campaign and get an extra boost to your efforts of increasing sales and building your brand.