How User Generated Content Helps Your Lead Nurturing Strategy
If your lead nurturing strategy does not already include user-generated content (UGC), now is a good time to think about how to include it as part of your broader email marketing campaigns. Although the concept of user-generated content is certainly not new, it has certainly evolved over the years.
Think back to the 90s, to shows such as America’s Funniest Home Videos, and magazine features that allowed reader problems to be turned into photo dramas. Look at TV news bulletins, which include scrolling comments on major stories. People love seeing their views being featured. It is that love for seeing our name and views being validated that drives UGC. While seeing your name in print, social media, email or TV is one thing, that does not mean that UGC is only about customers having their 10 seconds of fame. Instead, it is about customers feeling heard and respected. In the context of lead nurturing, UGC offers benefits to your brand as well as your audience.
That’s not all, either. Some studies show that UGC also helps other consumers make better purchasing decisions. Thanks to the rise of reviews, customers have more power than ever before. No silly home videos are required to be heard. Instead, users are able to create reviews that share their experiences in using various products and services. The impact of UGC is fairly huge. According to a 2012 study by Bazaarvoice and the Center for Generational Kinetics, 51% Millennials trust user-generated content from strangers more than referrals from friends and family members. Although just 34% of Boomers preferred user-generated content, Millennials make up a significant portion of today’s market. In the same study on Millennial shopping trends, 84% said that user-generated content had a fair influence on their shopping habits, while 44% said that they trust experienced consumers over friends and family.
Why is user-generated content so effective for brands wanting to leverage customer reviews? How does UGC help your lead nurturing strategies? Keep reading to find out.
Top Reasons to Include User Generated Content in Your Lead Nurturing Strategy
How does UGC help you craft better lead nurturing campaigns that build trust, drive engagement, and reach more customers? For starters, here are a few benefits worth noting.
It puts customers into the limelight.
Customers today have more power than they have ever had, which is never a bad thing. Rather than sitting in the back row, hoping to be heard and seen by brands, customers of today have the chance to truly be acknowledged. Every customer likes to feel as though they matter to the brands they engage with at any given time. When customers feel valued, they are far more likely to engage with your brand on a deeper level. This, in turn, drives trust, which in turn drives loyalty. The result is customers who are happy, respected, and proud to be loyal advocates for your brand.
It builds community.
Feeling part of the bigger picture is what everyone wants. Human beings are social creatures who prefer communities of like-minded people. Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, user-generated reviews and content have made it easier than ever to build communities around brands. When used alongside brand content across highly targeted email marketing campaigns, the result is stronger, more engaged communities.
It builds trust.
In today’s world, people are more wary of marketing messages than ever. Many people use ad blockers. An equally large number will cancel their email subscriptions if they feel that they are getting too many emails, too often, or if they feel that the message is too promotional. People don’t want to be sold to – they want to connect, grow and learn. UGC puts the message back into the peoples’ hands, rather than letting it be told by brands.
How to Incorporate User Generated Content in Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Here are a few ideas on how to integrate UGC into your lead nurturing campaigns:
1. Customer stories
Your customers are your biggest selling tool. You can use their stories to craft lead nurturing campaigns that are designed to answer common questions, introduce your benefits and products, offer cross-selling and upselling opportunities, promote new products, and drive engagement. Customer stories help to build trust. A huge number of people use reviews when making their final purchase. A well-timed email campaign to new customers that features personalised stories from similar customers can act as a personal recommendation. Things to consider asking your customers include the products they buy, how they use your products, the results they have seen, and their favourite features.
Customer surveys are also a useful tool for both potential and existing customers. Do you truly know what your customers want? When was the last time you asked? Surveys can be done to get feedback on new products and services, email campaigns, content, customer service, and just about anything else you need feedback on within your business. These can be personalised or kept broad-focused. They can also offer critical insight into what is working and what is not, as an added benefit.
3. Video testimonials
These do not have to sound like infomercials. You can even make them fun. Create an email sequence that invites customers to share their thoughts on video. Choose a theme, get creative, and get your audience involved. You can then share the best videos as part of an email series, and also share them on your social media channels and website. As people see others making videos, they will want to join the fun as well. As rewarding as video testimonials are for those making them, they have the added benefit of helping to build trust for potential new customers who view them before making their purchase. These require little to no effort on your side, beyond sharing videos in embedded emails and creating the initial request for video email.
4. Discussion groups
You can also create member-only groups and discussion groups. These can be done on your website, or on social media. Email campaigns can be created with weekly topics to discuss, with suggestions relating to your products, services and industry. For example, if you specialise in online wine sales, you could create a discussion group that reviews a wine of the month, specific wine types, the best wine glasses, wine openers, wine pairings or any other topics that fit in within this niche. This gives you the chance to identify passionate brand enthusiasts, while also providing your audience with valuable resources and a platform to share their interests.
As simple as these ideas are, they can be highly useful to help you get the most from user-generated content. Implement UGC into your lead nurturing efforts, and we are sure you will start to see the difference!