How user-generated content fits into email marketing

If you’ve been in the marketing scene for a while, then I’m sure you’re used to seeing trends come and go. As time moves forward, people change, which means marketing strategies do, too. However, there is a way you can make your life a little easier.

User-generated content, if used correctly, can supply brands big or small with easy content. But, this is a blog about email marketing, right? Well of course it is! And believe it or not, user-generated content can fit into your email marketing strategy a lot easier than you think.

Today, we’re going to go over a few ways you can not only interact with your email subscribers, but get them more involved with your brand. All this while generating content with minimal effort. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well of course it is! So let’s talk about it.

What exactly is user-generated content?

So, I’ve hyped this up through the entire introduction, so now it’s time to explain what user-generated content is exactly.

As the name suggests, user-generated content is content generated by your users. These users can be email subscribers, product owners, or even newbies that aren’t so familiar with your brand.

As a whole, user-generated content isn’t entirely what it seems. True, it makes generating content a lot easier, but there will still need to be some action on your part in order to help nudge the content in the right direction.

This is where your email marketing expertise will come into play. With email marketing, you can reach out to the users directly, and incite more interaction not only between the users and the brand, but from user to user, too.

Don’t worry if you’re still not sure how to take advantage of user-generated content in email marketing. Now, we’re going to go over a few tips and tricks that you can follow in order to really get the ball rolling.

Create a contest

The overall goal of user-generated content is to get users to interact with your brand on their own accord. A great way to do this is to give them an incentive through a contest.

For example, let’s say that you own a business that sells hats. I know, very original, but bear with me.

Your business makes a living selling all kinds of hats to a variety of people. You could challenge these people to send you a picture of themselves wearing your hats. In the email, let them know that the images will be voted on, and the winner will receive a prize.

There are all kinds of contest ideas out there. Nobody said you have to be unique. You just have to get the customer or user talking about your product.

Create your own hashtag

Hashtags rule the social media space. They provide an easy way for people to discover you, and follow you. Even if you don’t have many followers, hashtags open up your brand’s profile to a whole new world of possibilities.

That being said, how do you use this to your advantage? You can send out your standard email for marketing purposes, but this time, add a unique hashtag that leads back to your brand.

Again, this will take some incentive, but the payout could be huge. Simply let them know that if they use that hashtag in a post on social media that relates to your brand, they have a chance to win big. The winnings could be anything from a discount to free products. That is really all up to you.

Ideally, your hashtag will take off, and users will start tagging their posts with your brand’s name on it. As time progresses, you can imagine the opportunity here. People talk, and hashtags are fun to use. It’s the perfect user-generated content strategy.

Give shoutouts

Social media's influence simply can’t be overlooked anymore. Most of the world has some sort of social account, and everyone wants to have followers. As an email marketer, you can really use this to your advantage.

Depending on your brand’s following, you might have a bigger influence than you think. A simple post with a shoutout can get the person being shouted out a lot of followers.

Granted, this may not work for every brand. But, let’s say that you own a clothing company or a SaaS. You can challenge your email subscribers to display a new feature or pose in a new shirt and post it on social media.

This is a win-win situation for you and your users. If they get a shoutout, then their follower count will go up. All the meanwhile, you’re getting free shoutouts of your own.

Display your social accounts

Since we’re on this whole social media, an easy way to gain followers and produce user-generated content is to display your social media accounts everywhere that makes sense.

If you have a physical store, make some signs and place them around. If you have a website, use easy to find and click social media buttons that link directly to your accounts.

Here, meaning both the signs and the buttons, you can also display your brand’s current unique hashtag for customers to use. Nothing beats good ol fashioned marketing, so don’t forget about the simple things like this!

Utilize influencer marketing

I’m sure you’re no stranger to influencer marketing. Some of the marketing geniuses of the world even refer to influencer marketing as the best bang for your buck, and it’s for good reason.

Whether it be YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or a mobile game ad, influencers are the rulers of the digital space. Just as their name suggests, they can influence people efficiently because they typically have a large, loyal audience.

If done correctly, the return will greatly outway the initial cost, which is exactly why you should be looking into influencer marketing to increase your user-generated content.

This is not to say that every brand can benefit from influencer marketing. I have no doubt that no matter who you are and what you’re selling, you’ll be able to find an influencer that will promote it for a price.

But the trick here is to find an influencer that attracts an audience that would also be attracted to your brand. For example, if you’re selling a VPN, a YouTube channel that reviews children’s toy’s may not be the best bet. Instead, you may want to look for a person that uploads video game content or computer related content.

Great examples of user-generated content

Now that we’ve gone over some of the ways you can utilize user-generated content in your email marketing campaigns, let’s look at a few brands that are doing it just right.

GoPro

GoPro has long been at the top of the user-generated content game. They’re well known all over the world for featuring incredible people doing incredible things. Users turn in their videos shot by the famous brand’s camera, and they’re rewarding if they win.

In fact, in 2018, GoPro sparked a global movement with their million dollar contest. Yep, you read that right. This giant prize caused everyone between amateurs and professional athletes to travel the world in search of that perfect shot.

As you can see, their strategy worked, as we’re still talking about this user-generated content strategy even today.

Coca-Cola

Another industry giant, Coca-Cola, looks for user-generated content in a unique way with their share a Coke campaign.

This campaign isn’t anything fancy. In fact, it really isn’t much of anything. All it is is Coke itself encouraging others to share a cold Coke with a friend, family member, or stranger.

Doesn’t sound super impressive, I know. But, Coca-Cola isn’t a world renowned brand for no reason. They’re marketing legends! So, in order to really get the sparks flying, they started to print the labels on the bottles with names and phrases.

The strategy worked flawlessly, as people would walk into a store, see the name of a friend on the bottle, and buy it for no other reason than that. Coca-Cola’s version of user-generated content will be talked about for generations, as I’m certain that many of these bottles are still being kept safely as collectible items.

BMW

BMW may not be the first name people think of when they imagine their dream car, but it is a name that everyone’s familiar with.


On the automotive innovator’s Instagram, they feature BMW owners showing off their prized possessions. As of the time of this article, any Instagram picture with #BMWrepost is eligible to be featured on BMW’s very own page.

What to take home from this

User-generated content is a highly rewarding marketing strategy that can help bring the brands closer to their users, and vice versa. For the sake of this conversation, it’s very, very important that any sort of user-generated content like what we’ve discussed above is promoted through an email campaign.

Your email subscribers are undoubtedly some of the most loyal customers that you have. They are the ones that will almost definitely be willing to participate, so they should be prioritized.

The goal of any user-generated content campaign is to get people buzzing about your brand. The more people buzzing, the bigger the impact. With that said, emails are the perfect avenue for promoting any sort of contest, feature, and of course, user-generated content.

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