How User-Generated Content Improves Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing is no longer a ‘nice-to-do’. Today, it’s an essential element of any marketing strategy. Global email marketing revenue is projected to reach almost $18 billion by 2027. So investing in emails should be a top priority.

However, that’s not to say you should start spamming your mailing list with daily newsletters. For your strategy to be effective, you need to consider consumer behavior, best practices, and the latest trends.

One of the most significant trends today is user-generated content (UGC) – and it’s an excellent way of boosting your email marketing strategy. 

This guide will help you better understand this method of content curation and how it can benefit your campaigns. Then, we’ll show you how to incorporate UGC into your marketing emails by sharing a few best practices.

Understanding User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is any type of content that has been shared by other users on content platforms, most commonly social media. UGC doesn’t only refer to material like customer reviews and testimonials. Any unique content focused on your brand that has been created by a consumer can be classified as UGC, including:

  • Videos, images, and other visuals
  • Product recommendations
  • Content requested through contests, challenges, and campaigns

This type of content can be incredibly varied and versatile, which is just one of the reasons it’s so effective. 

UGC is an important type of marketing in the digital age, similar to word-of-mouth advertising. It showcases the benefits of your brand, products, and services through the eyes (and voices) of your customers, which can help you achieve better exposure, credibility, trust, and loyalty.

Free-to-use image sourced from Unsplash

How can UGC Benefit Your Marketing Efforts?

Whether you’re planning to use UGC for outbound lead generation services or want to leverage it to engage with existing customers, the benefits of this approach are manifold.

Here are some of the main advantages: 

Boosting Trust and Credibility

Inspiring trust and credibility in your target audience is a challenge all brands face. It’s a constant effort that businesses have to engage in to protect and expand their customer bases. In this way, UGC is important for achieving greater trust and credibility with your audience.

Letting your customers take center stage and voice their genuine, unfiltered opinions about your products or services automatically enhances the sense of reliability and trustworthiness people are searching for from brands today.

This is particularly beneficial if you’ve recently launched a new branch of the business. For example, if you’ve created a direct-to-consumer strategy and have built a separate shop section on your website, UGC content is a great way to garner trust and send consumers to your new subdomain (read more about which is better, subdomain vs domains).

Reducing Costs

Managing marketing campaigns can be challenging, particularly when operating on a small budget.

You may have a great idea for a campaign that you’re sure will have an impact and resonate with your target audience. But what if it exceeds the limited funds you have available? UGC helps you produce impactful material without exceeding your budget.

User-generated content is already out there – you just need to find it, collect it, and repurpose it for your campaigns. Some content will be  suited to product launches, while other examples might be better for helping with re-engagement. That’s the beauty and versatility of it.

Free-to-use image sourced from Unsplash

Meeting Consumer Expectations

Consumer expectations are constantly shifting, and there are countless marketing tactics that try to cater to changing demands. 

With more and more customers valuing authenticity, UGC taps into this growing trend. When potential customers see your products or services being used by someone they can relate to and who feels genuine, it can be a very effective tactic.

Essentially, people want to connect with their peers on shared pain points, values, and goals, as well as wins, which is why UGC can be a great tool to add to your marketing kit.

UGC Email Marketing Best Practices

Whether you aim to boost your email engagement or are focused on promoting new launches, adding UGC to your email marketing can help. 

1.    Select the Right UGC

While UGC can be entertaining and informative, not all user content will align with your brand’s messaging and values. So before crafting your UGC email marketing campaign, review the content you have and select the most appropriate ones for your purpose. Make sure the content is also high-quality and positively reflects your brand.

Whether it was a customer review or an Instagram video, you’ll need to obtain the creator’s consent before using their content in one of your emails.

2.    Segment Your Email List

Some of your customers might love UGC, while others might be neutral to it, and others might not like it at all. You need to understand who will enjoy your UGC emails, and, in turn, who you should not target with them.

Consider segmenting your email list based on UGC preferences. Doing so should enable you to pinpoint the exact audience that is more likely to benefit from a UGC email campaign.

Free-to-use image sourced from Unsplash

3. Add Your UGC Content

Once you’ve collected your user-generated content, add it to your email marketing campaigns. Because UGC is so versatile, you can adapt it to the type of email campaign you’re preparing. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Email newsletter: Consider running “special editions” every month or so, in which you invite your customers to share a bit about themselves and how your products or services have improved their lives. This could be in the form of a video interview (something like: “Three questions to our customer of the month”), so you can reap the benefits of both UGC and video content.
  • Welcome email: Use these to introduce new customers to your brand, products, and services. This is especially useful if you offer SaaS or PaaS services from an AI or tech domain as you can incorporate UGC to share reviews from genuine users or guide subscribers through the features and benefits.   
  • Promotional email: This is particularly beneficial if you’re launching a new product or service. You can run a contest or challenge with your customers and allow the winners to test new releases before anyone else. In exchange, they should provide you with some UGC (either written or video) to demonstrate how to use and make the most of the specific product or service.
  • Seasonal/holiday/occasion email: Seasonal emails present a great opportunity to share UGC content. If you operate an e-commerce business in Dubai, you could share customer photos showing how different people use your products during Ramadan. Or if you’re US-based, you could share short quotes about how your products or services help customers enjoy a relaxed Fourth of July with family and friends.

4. Regularly Track and Review Performance

Free-to-use image sourced from Unsplash

As with everything in marketing, every initiative needs to be measured for effectiveness. The same goes for UGC email marketing campaigns.

Even though segmenting your audience and targeting them with carefully curated UGC content is a great step, you still need to measure how effective the strategy is with your audience.

Here are a few ways of doing that:

  • Tracking metrics such as open and click-through rates
  • Analyzing how people interacted with your UGC
  • Comparing the performance of your current UGC campaign with non-UGC ones
  • Checking the number of conversions that are a direct result from your UGC campaign
  • Collecting feedback straight from your email subscribers

If one or more of these areas shows low performance – or is not performing at all – then reassess your strategy and make improvements. Depending on the specific issues you have pinpointed, you may need to review your segmentation criteria or adjust the type of content you send out.

The Bottom Line

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach, engage, and re-engage your target audience. By incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into your email marketing campaigns, you can take your brand to new heights.

The secret lies in selecting UGC that aligns with your brand and will resonate with your subscribers. By regularly monitoring what your readers want to see and matching that with the type of content that gets results, you’ll soon be met with higher engagement, a boost in email open rates, and more sales.

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