Have you ever bought something online and shortly after you received it, you were asked to rate or review your purchase? The company is asking you for user-generated content (UGC). Most everyone who has ever shopped online has been asked to offer feedback. That's because UGC is one of the most important marketing tools for building customer trust and converting shoppers into buyers.
User-generated content isn't limited to customer reviews. Original customer photos of your product, hashtags, and post sharing used in social media relating to your brand are all excellent forms of UGC that you can utilize in your marketing plan. When implementing UGC as part of your strategy, it is important to ask yourself two key questions:
1. What do you want to know from your past buyers the most?
2. What do you most want to communicate to new shoppers?
Once you have targeted the answers to these questions, you can better prepare a plan for how to integrate UGC into you marketing strategy. Next, let's discuss some of the different types of UGC and how to utilize them.
Customer reviews are going to be one of your most powerful tools in your inbound marketing strategy. In fact, YOTPO (a reviews and user-generated content marketing platform) data shows that UGC increases click-through rates for Facebook ads by 300% and decreases CPC (cost per click) and CPA (Cost per acquisition) by 50%.
The difficulty in converting shoppers into buyers online, however, is the uncertainty of details and the shopper's ability to visualize your product or service in their day-to-day life. Authentic customer reviews combat that challenge by relating to your shopper in real-world circumstances.
When a customer submits a review of your product or service, detailing how he or she uses it, why it's beneficial, and what he or she loves about it, it becomes relatable to your new shoppers. They are no longer just taking in your marketing, but learning about it from others who have purchased and used your product. This helps the shopper to get all of the information they need and put their uncertainty to rest that otherwise may have discouraged a purchase.
You should encourage your customers to submit reviews that detail the answers you identified to the questions above. What do you want to know from your customers most? What do you most want to convey to your new shoppers? Ask them to upload creative, original photos that detail your product in an attractive way. Be sure to ask permission and make it clear that any user-generated content submitted may be used throughout your other marketing channels.
Here are some ways to utilize your customer reviews and photos throughout your marketing channels:
- Implement solid reviews and photos in your website design. You can feature them on your homepage to encourage new shoppers to continue through your website. Include them on product description pages and on the checkout screen.
Fact: Implementing reviews on your website actually boost your site's visibility on Google search results.
- Use relevant user-generated photos of your product in conjunction with your professional photos of the product on the product page. This gives the shopper the ability to visualize size, color, and/or how they would use it and ultimately deciding if the product meets their needs and expectations.
- Include reviews in Facebook ads. This will inspire the will to click through rather than scrolling past your ad.
Hashtags and Social Sharing
Hashtags are a widely used concept on social media today. You can take advantage of that for your marketing. Encourage your customers to use a specified hashtag when sharing their social media posts about your products. This will drive more business to your website and gain you more brand recognition from people who aren't necessarily shopping at the time. When a customer shares their product purchase with their social network, it will show in their friends' feeds and with the appropriate hashtag, it can lead those potential shoppers to your brand and website. People trust word-of-mouth and personal recommendations more than just a great marketing campaign, and upon seeing that people they know have vouched for your brand, they will be interested in finding out more about you.
Facebook ads are easily recognizable and, although they are a great marketing tool, they are easily scrolled past if the potential shopper isn't shopping. With social sharing from your customers, they are more likely to let curiosity compel them to actively seek out your brand and increase your click-through rate. Consider creating a marketing campaign that encourages social sharing. For example, if you are selling apparel, encourage your customers to share their unique style and how they styled your product through pictures, what they love about the product, and the chosen hashtag.
When it comes to social sharing, always be proactive. Keep an eye out for tags, shares, comments, and questions from your customers and shoppers. Always respond to questions quickly and be sure to show your appreciation for sharing by commenting on and liking your customer posts in relation to your brand.
Encouraging user-generated content makes your customers feel important, fosters brand trust and loyalty, and can win new business for your brand. Let your customers do a lot of the work for you and reassure new shoppers that they are making the right choice purchasing your product or services. Good and bad reviews are essential to creating trust among your shoppers and reviews will drive your Google search results ranking higher. Adjust your marketing strategy for how people now shop, with social media and trust through other people's experience.
Are you ready to start making user-generated content work for your business? Contact Sire Advertising today to learn how we can help drive your online business.