One of the fastest and most powerful ways to let consumers know that you are a trustworthy brand is by allowing your current customers to do the talking for you through user-generated content.
User-generated content, or UGC for short, is perceived by shoppers to be more authentic than marketing materials carefully crafted by the brand itself. What is UGC? It most commonly comes in the form of product reviews, testimonials, and social media posts.
Why is User Generated Content Important
Getting customers to generate UGC for your brand is vitally important not just because it comes across as authentic but because it increases conversions. According to Neilsen, 42% of consumers are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over content generated from a brand itself.
- 50 or more customer reviews per product can provide a 4.6% increase in conversion rate
- Reviews provide a 17% increase in click-through rate when used in ads or emails
- 88% of consumers trust a product has customer reviews more than a personal recommendation
- 71% of users agreed that reading customer reviews could make them more comfortable about purchasing a product or service
According to Tomer Tagrin, CEO of YOTPO, a software program that helps brands collect and show customer reviews on their websites, “shoppers favor customer reviews and photos from past buyers over brand product descriptions and photos because they come across as more genuine and often touch upon pain points that influence their purchase decisions.”
He goes on to say that this “brings us to another important benefit of user-generated content: it builds trust throughout the customer lifecycle.”
Tagrin says that when Yotpo added customer photos to product pages for one of their clients it “increased checkout by 24%, which added up to an additional $8,900 in sales for the $100 product over a 10-day period.”
There is no arguing that UGC isn’t important. What’s amazing is that a brand doesn’t need to make a hefty investment in time or money to generate UGC since it should be authentically generated by customers. What brands should do is put a system in place to encourage consumers to create content for it.
The One Email Campaign
What kind of system should brands setup to obtain more UGC? The first thing I would recommend is setting up automated Review Request Emails.
This is a simple email that is sent out a set number of days after a customer has made a purchase asking them to rate and review the product once its received. Ideally, this email wouldn’t go out until the shipment is received so that the email doesn’t get lost and forgotten.
Most customer review platforms, like Yotpo, will allow you to easily say how long the software should wait after a product sells before requesting a review.
Once a customer submits the review you can then use it in your marketing materials, but most importantly you can display it on the appropriate product page.
The product page is the ideal place to showcase UGC since we know 42% of consumers trust a recommendation from another person over a product description written by the brand.
A Case Study
A couple of months ago I started taking spin classes. The studio I go to offers free spin shoe rentals, but after I decided to commit to the sport I wanted to invest in my own shoes.
I started doing some research and came across a brand called Tiem. They just so happen to be a brand that leverages UGC in a really great way. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I ended up buying shoes from them even though their shoes are more expensive than other brands that also look nice.
When I first went to the Tiem website I choose the style of shoe I liked best and started scrolling through the product pictures.
The shoes looked nice on the website but I wanted to know how they looked in “real life” so I went to Instagram and searched for #Tiem and thousands of posts came up.
As I scrolled through the feed I found quite a few pieces of UGC that featured the pair of the white marble shoes I was interested in purchasing and I thought they looked very nice when paired with a cute workout outfit.
Still images are great, but UGC in the form of video is often better so consumers can see a product from different angles!
After looking through posts on Instagram, I then went back to the Tiem website and scrolled down to the see even more UGC in the form of customer reviews. I saw that there was an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 which is pretty convincing, but of course, like most consumers, I wanted to read the details of what people liked and disliked about the shoes.
If you recall earlier the CEO of Yotpo said that reviews are helpful because they “often touch upon pain points that influence [their] purchase decisions.”
That’s exactly what I found to be helpful and true on the Tiem website. When I was wearing the rented spin shoes the cleat at the bottom protruded out of the sole a lot, making walking around the studio feel awkward. As someone prone to tripping this always concerned me!
Scrolling through reviews I saw one that said, “I love that I can walk around the cycle room with ease because the clips are recessed into the sole of the shoes.”
Seeing a review mention the ease of walking in the shoes was so key in helping me decide to purchase these $130 shoes even though there were plenty of other nice looking options from other brands that cost under $100.
If this review had not been listed on the site I would have never known about this key feature since the product description doesn’t mention it at all.
With this helpful information from a fellow customer in mind, I went on to purchase the shoes from Tiem.
A few days after I received my new shoes I also received a follow-up email from Tiem asking me to leave a piece of UGC in the form of a review. The email starts by asking me to create a photo to go along with my review, or to post to Instagram and use the hashtag #TiemAthletic to have my photo featured on the product page.
The email then goes on to provide me a simple way to leave a rating and review directly from the email.
This one simple email, automatically generated by a piece of software, can help increase conversion rates by up to 4.7%. What would your ROI look like if you could increase the conversion rates from all your campaigns by almost 5%? A lot better than it does today, even if your conversion rate is already good!
What If a Brand is New and Doesn’t Have a Customer Base Yet?
UGC is great for lifting sales, but what if you have a brand new company? What if you haven’t made your first sale yet and have no one to ask to leave a review?
One of the best ways to generate a lot of UGC quickly and somewhat inexpensively is by working with nano-influencers. A nano-influencer is someone who has a small but engaged social media following – usually 2,000 followers per network or fewer.
Nano-influencers love partnering with brands in exchange for getting to try new products and if they ask for a fee it’s usually minimal ($5 to $50 is a normal pay rate range for nano-influencers in my experience).
A nano-influencer won’t get you the gigantic reach of a celebrity or other major influencer. However, big influencers often command fees of $100,000 or more per brand contract and most won’t work with new companies even if that company had the budget to pay their fees.
The big influencer will also probably only give you 1 or 2 pieces of UGC, and of course, all of that would be obviously disclosed as sponsored.
When working with nano-influencers a budget of $2,000 could get you 200 pieces of UGC that you can put on your website or show off on social media to help you earn new customers and generate free UGC from them in the future!
You could try to manually research and reach out to nano-influencers on your own, but by using a platform like Heartbeat you can identify and collaborate with nano-influencers quickly and easily.
If you’re looking to increase the conversion rate of your website or simply obtain some UGC to use on your social networks, investing in a low-cost platform to help you automate the process is key.
An email request platform like Yotpo can help you quickly and easily obtain customer reviews, and a nano-influencer platform like Heartbeat can help you obtain social UGC.
Whether you’re an established brand or new on the block, UGC will help you lift your sales so don’t hesitate in implementing a process like the one described in this post!