Did you know that you can get more out of your email marketing strategy by making one simple change? Emails are probably the only remnant of old-school marketing tactics that are used to this day. And rightly so – email marketing still turns a median ROI of 40:1, making it one of the most efficient and effective ways to generate sales.
Companies use a lot of tactics to make waves on social media by adding UGC email marketing into their strategies. They carry out giveaways, launch full hashtag contests and even pay people to create UGC newsletters for them. Who can blame them? UGC (user-generated content) is just a lot more engaging than any other kind of content.
However, the same philosophy can be applied to email marketing – a proven channel that’s already bringing great results for marketers. By combining UGC with email, you get the best of both worlds – high engagement and high conversions. This can truly boost your sales. Here’s a guide on how to use user-generated content in your email marketing.
UGC in Email Marketing: What is it and Why it Matters?
If you didn’t know already, UGC refers to any content that is created by users or consumers of a brand instead of influencers or by the brand itself. This content may come in many forms, such as photos, videos, social media posts, reviews and testimonials.
UGC creates value for brands by allowing them to leverage their customers or users in order to promote their products and services. Using this approach in email marketing can increase user engagement, build trust and drive more leads.
Benefits of using UGC in email marketing
There are many benefits to using UGC in your email campaigns:
- Increased engagement: Because UGC is created by real people, it is more authentic and, therefore, more engaging as compared to branded content.
- Improved trust: Content from real people adds a layer of social proof, increasing your trustworthiness in the community.
- Higher conversions: Thanks to social proof, people are more likely to take action when they see others purchasing from your brand.
- Cost-effective: Since UGC is free or low-cost, using this content in your email marketing campaigns becomes beneficial.
How to use UGC in your email marketing
You know the benefits of using UGC in email marketing campaigns. Let's discuss this strategy step-by-step and how to use it properly.
Step 1: Set Your Business Goals
Clarify your ambitions before using UGC in your email campaigns. Ask yourself first: Are you looking to build loyalty, increase engagement, or convert more leads? Once you can create a clear outline of your intentions, it will be easy to determine what type of UGC you can use.
Step 2: Identify the types of UGC to use
Here are some common types of UGC:
- Social media posts: Any content in the form of text, photos, short videos, etc., that consumers create or share on social media platforms.
- Reviews: Reviews made on sites like Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or even Google Maps to share experiences with business products or services are the most popular type of UGC.
- Blogs and articles: Some people share their experiences with a business or product in a long-form writing format like blog posts, articles, or even in newspapers. This is a very authentic type of UGC.
- Forums and discussion boards: Since the early days of the internet, there have been online discussion forums where people have built their like-minded networks. UGC created in threads of forums makes for very engaging conversations, which can be utilized in email marketing campaigns.
- Videos: Combining visuals, sound, and music to create a memorable experience for the viewer, people consider video content more engaging than any other content involving expertise.
- Podcasts: Podcasts offer another deep involving experience by conveying the brand message through the speaker's tone, inflection, and emotions. They are also convenient for multitasking, such as driving, exercising, or doing chores.
- Photos: Photos can quickly convey messages and connect with emotions, making them visually appealing and memorable. Collecting consumer photos and using them in an email marketing campaign can be very effective.
- Memes: Memes are viral, attention-grabbing, and can convey your point quickly. They effectively promote products or services to a younger audience due to their humor and relatability.
- Games: Platforms like Roblox often host user-generated games, where users create their own game experiences and share them with others.
- Creative writing: Self-publishing platforms like WordPress.com or Medium.com allow users to publish their creative writing, such as stories, fiction, poetry, or journaling.
Now it's your turn to pick which type of UGC aligns with your business and email marketing goals.
Step 3: Find and personalize UGC
After selecting the type of UGC to use in your email marketing campaigns, you must curate them. This can be a daunting task if you don’t have time and resources. Remember that when curating UGC, you must obtain permission from the original creator to use it and provide proper credit.
Step 4: Incorporate UGC into your email campaigns
In this next step, you can incorporate UGC into your email marketing campaigns. Ensure that the UGC aligns with your brand message and values.
Best practices for incorporating UGC in your email campaigns
Here are some best practices for incorporating UGC into your email campaigns:
- Always ask permission from the content creators and give them full credit.
- Make sure your UGC aligns with the brand's message and values.
- Incorporate social proof into your email campaigns to show potential customers or clients.
- Experiment with various forms of user-generated content (UGC) to determine which best meets your audience's needs and aligns with your goals.
Examples of successful UGC email campaigns
Some brands have successfully implemented UGC into their email campaigns. Here are some examples:
Airbnb uses UGC in its email campaigns to showcase consumer photos and customer reviews. This builds trust and gives potential customers a better idea of what they can expect when booking with Airbnb.
Starbucks inspires customers to share photos and short videos of their drinks on social media, mentioning Starbucks and using the hashtags #Starbucks. They then filter and compile these photos to use in their email campaigns, which help build customer loyalty and engagement.
When customers review Sephora products, Sephora uses user-generated content (UGC) in their email marketing campaigns, which helps build trust and proves the value of the products to potential customers.
Drawbacks of using UGC
UGC can be an essential tool for brands, but there are disadvantages. These include:
- Because users or consumers create UGC, your brand may need more control over the message and quality of the content.
- Harmful content: User-generated content (UGC) can include negative feedback, poor reviews, or comments that may harm your brand's reputation.
- Legal issues: Brands must ensure they have all the rights to use UGC for email marketing campaigns. Otherwise, there is a chance they may face consequences.
Tools for finding and curating UGC
If you still have a small audience, it can become impractical to source UGC directly from consumers. That’s where UGC platforms come into play. UGC platforms such as Paysenger allow you to source content from UGC creators. To find a UGC creator on Paysenger, simply:
- Download Paysenger on iOS or Android (or use the Web version)
- Find a creator using Search Filters
- Check creator profiles and view their portfolio
- Identify content that is in line with your niche
- Send a content request
Using a UGC platform streamlines the content generation process since it eliminates the need to curate and review content submissions. It saves time and money because you can get content delivered to you up to your standards and also in bigger quantities.
Who should avoid UGC campaigns?
While UGC can be a powerful tool for many brands, it may only fit some, and UGC campaigns may not be a good idea if:
- If your brand is highly regulated or sensitive, it is better to avoid UGC.
- If your users/audience do not use or are not active on social media, you should avoid UGC.
- If your brand has built a negative reputation for some reason, then you should not try UGC.
How to measure the success of your UGC email campaigns
Here is the list of metrics you can track as are fellow:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Engagement rate
- Share rate
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Number of responses or inquiries
- Time spent on email
- Subscriber growth rate
These metrics can help you analyze the effectiveness of your email campaigns, and you can also make changes based on the results.
Conclusion: The future of UGC in email marketing
Overall, brands can use UGC as an essential tool for email marketing campaigns. Integrating UGC in email campaigns can build trust, increase engagement, and drive sales. Although this model has pros and cons, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. We expect to see more creative ways in email marketing as UGC grows in popularity in the future.
Use Paysenger to order content directly from UGC creators. Streamline UGC generation process, get shoutouts, reach out to influencers quickly and achieve your marketing goals with ease.