User Generated Content In Email Marketing: Humanizing Brands With Consumer Emotions
Retailers, brands, professional marketers, and whoever else involved in the eCommerce are unable to get past billions of selfies posted on social media every month. With the help of their gadgets, people share their emotions on the Internet. The most influential social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cannot do without followers.
Moreover, the very existence of those opinion sharing platforms is built upon the user-generated content (UGC). The followers and fans do matter most for any brand in the contemporary world of the shared experience. Otherwise, any product or brand looks artificial and deadly cold whatever price, quality, or advantages it offers.
The old merry word of mouth still works
The word of mouth remains one of the most ancient and powerful means of human motivation. In the digital era, it gains the unprecedented power being supported by both the gadgets and the internet. The more publicly a brand behaves the bigger consumer attention it can acquire.
The opinion bouncing around some marketer circles that brands create their consumers and that supply creates demand is a nonsense. Capitalism is still alive, and a free choice allows people to know better what they want. Where would all great brands be without the huge armies of their fans? And the great brands are fully aware of the value UGC can add to them. Calvin Klein, for instance, managed to gather 3.6 million new followers in a short period when #MyCalvins campaign unified celebrities and average consumers in sharing their experience of how to wear the brand’s jeans.
User Generated Content is the currency of confidence
People want to be a part of big things participating in big deals. Brands want to know exactly what consumers feel with regard to the brands. These two objectives are easily combined with the help of a very flexible instrument—UGC. Users are generating their native content continuously day and night. This is the bottomless and free resource for any branded email campaign.
In accordance with Yotpo’s study, the email campaign conversion rate is 166% higher when people see UGC in emails. Why is it so? Just because of the empathy we all feel towards the people who are neither superstars nor professional models, who are looking like us and doing like we do. That’s why emails containing something naturally generated by common people inspire trust. The trust along with attention constitutes the golden currency with which brands can buy our hearts. And UGC is a tangible representation of that currency. Emails enriched by UGC become hardly resistible and extremely effective.
Inspiring users’ imagination
The task of any successful email campaign comes to creating emails authentic and resonating with the consumers’ interests. Encouraging consumers for shopping by a dedicated email campaign a brand should not try just to sell its product or service. The impressive quality, wide assortment, and considerable price are the factors that consumers expect by default. Besides, any direct competitor uses the same arguments.
In many cases, the very emotions motivate people for selecting one brand from the rest of competitors. That’s why a striving brand should help people to imagine themselves with the product. The social proof works well in such a case making potential customers share feelings of the actual followers. “I feel good with it, it’s worth trying” is the message UGC can send to those consumers who hesitate standing one step away from the purchase.
The extra credibility is worth efforts
It does not matter too much which type of UGC is used in the emails – both visual and textual contents work well when they are created by the real “unpaid” consumers. It is important to inspire confidence in the subscribers making them believe that the content is originated not from professional marketers but from the average users. The great proof of authenticity is a link to the social media profiles of the actual consumers whose feedback applied as UGC.
Of course, any piece of UGC should be properly processed before representing to the subscribers. The “raw material” from the users can hardly be acceptable for the email campaign. However, neither subscribers nor the authors of UGC are against the curated content in most cases.
Besides, brands should obtain the consent of their UGC suppliers before using their personal data in the email campaigns. Although the preparation process of the UGC-containing campaigns may seem overcomplicated, the game is worth the candle since the extra credibility that brands can gain from their consumers compensates all preparatory efforts and inconveniences.
Gamification enriches UGC
People are playful creatures. Our culture has a clear distinction between work and play. An offer to play generates a different emotional response than an offer to works. Brands should try to transform their consumers into followers, into emotionally tied playmates because not everything in business is about selling. Focusing on a long-term, brands can create a series of events that attract consumers either just for fun or due to awards and gifts they can get participating in games and contests.
A contest in emails serves for:
- creating an emotional link between consumers and a brand;
- engaging and re-engaging users to keep their attention on the branded products;
- encouraging users to create the new UGC through sharing their contest-generated feedback;
- increasing a brand’s fanbase due to the natural human greed to get something for free while participating in a contest.
Incentivize readers with prizes
Being asked by a brand to share their content, readers can clearly realize that their photos/videos/feedback will be used as an effective promotional and advertising instrument by the brand. Besides, such a content is unique and free. Readers should get something in exchange for their original UGC in order not to feel just utilized. It is necessary to reward readers with gifts compensating their valuable efforts to generate UGC.
Any contest implies winners, and the winners should get prizes. Free services or awards in cash will work as well as the public recognition. The latter can inspire users even better since becoming a part of a great brand appeals to user’s pride satisfying the sense of self-importance. Let an average consumer be a celebrity for a while and you will get your brand’s fan in perpetuity.
Determine the winners objectively
From the technical viewpoint, any contest should have some measurable indicators determining the winners. It is important to figure out the method of how a winner can be selected. Moreover, the method should be clearly understandable by the readers. This is the credibility issue: people will not agree to participate in a contest unless all terms and conditions are explained. It is better to apply some objective measures than a subjective verdict of a jury to decide who wins.
In order to facilitate the measuring technique, an email campaign should be combined with social media. Such a combination is useful for many reasons including arranging the contests. Therefore, Facebook likes, retweets, redirected emails, time on site, links, views as well as many other objective indicators can prove the equitable results of a contest. Arranging the contest don’t forget, nevertheless, the final objective of the campaign – using the winner’s UGC to add value to a brand.
Since the progressive brands follow the trend of authenticity, they should encourage the customer experiences to evolve. The compelling and original user-generated content applied to various email campaigns correlates directly to both revenue and credibility rate of the brands. Whatever techniques and methods are used to inspire consumers for sharing their content, the final objective of using UGC comes to sticking consumers to a brand emotionally through the stimulation of their imaginative power helping them to visualize themselves with the brand’s products. Thus, the customers’ emotions shared via UGC humanize relationships between brands and consumers for their mutual benefits.