How User-Generated Content Exponentially Boosts Growth

Let’s talk about the future of marketing and where eCommerce is going…

When eCommerce started, the main focus was building an online presence, and a good one. The next step was recognizing the importance of responding to users and building strong customer support methods.

With the rise of social media, social channels became the standard for engagement. But brands quickly learned that simply being present on social was not enough: Brands needed to be content machines and automate engagement to rise above the noise.

Now, we’re entering a new stage of marketing. In this stage, smart eCommerce stores know the importance of content, social, SEO, and customer service.
Their marketing is a fine-tuned machine, and they’re doing all the right things, yet they aren’t satisfied with their results.

They aren’t getting enough engaged traffic, they aren’t improving their conversion rate, their retention rates are low, their customer base isn’t loyal.

Whatever the issue may be, these eCommerce stores are looking for an answer.
That is where user-generated content (UGC) comes in.

Chapters:

  1. Why User-Generated Content Marketing Matters for Growing Brands
  2. How UGC Helps You Reach & Convert Social Shoppers
  3. Cutting Through The Noise: How UGC Cuts Through Distractions
  4. The Importance of a Mobile-Centric Strategy
  5. The Bottom Line

1. Why User-Generated Content Marketing Matters for Growing Brands

Many eCommerce stores are experimenting with methods to combine content and commerce, through storytelling and instructive video, editorial content, merchandised photographs, and “lo-fi” content created for social networks.

But the future of marketing is about learning to use the content that your consumers are generating – on social media and in dedicated campaigns – in your own marketing.

USER-GENERATED CONTENT MARKETING IS A GAME CHANGER

Shoppers have become increasingly wary of branded content.

They respond better to the authenticity of customer-created content, like Instagram photos showing customers wearing products or reviews rating a recent restaurant visit.

We’ve long known the value of customer reviews, but recently, visual user-generated content is becoming increasingly valuable for brands.

When we asked consumers which type of photos they prefer to see when making a purchase decision, 77% said customer photos over brand photos.
And this isn’t just self reported.

In an A/B test for one eCommerce store, we found that adding customer photos to product pages increased checkout by 24%, which added up to an additional $8,900 in sales for the $100 product over a 10-day period.

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.

Which brings us to another important benefit of user-generated content: It builds trust throughout the customer lifecycle.

It’s clear that customer content of all types is quickly changing the shape of marketing, and as it does, increasing the profits of those who have begun implementing it in their marketing.

Brands with strong user-generated content marketing campaigns will enjoy much more sustainable growth than their competitors.

If you are able to engage customers and generate authentic content that is transparent, socially-integrated, personalized, data-driven and insightful, you will lead your businesses into success.

THE NEW ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

Even if you’ve already got a connected customer base, to sustain that growth, you’re going to need to work harder to attract and retain customers.
As customers become harder to reach, brands struggle to cut through the noise.
Building a marketing strategy means knowing how to connect with shoppers that are:

Social: Social proof plays a significant role in which brands people are exposed to, and which ones they decide to connect with. Consumers are living their lives on social media, and the quickest way for brands to connect with them there is by listening and contributing to the conversations they’re already having.

Multi-tasking: In our hyperconnected, notification-filled world, getting the undivided attention of customers is becoming more and more challenging. Even after getting the first sale, retention becomes a big challenge for growing stores.

Mobile: On average, mobile traffic to eCommerce sites is nearly equal to the non-mobile traffic. Brands need to know how to effectively get user-generated content from the on-the-go, on-the-phone consumer.

2. How UGC Helps You Reach & Convert Social Shoppers

User-generated content has an enormous impact on brand’s social growth.

Over the course of one year, simply by sharing customer content on social media, our customers’ Facebook followers increased by 270% and their Twitter followers increased by 150%.

We also found that compared to other organic social traffic, traffic that comes from reviews shared on social has a higher conversion rate.

On average, the conversion rate is 40% higher for Facebook, 8.4 times higher for Twitter and 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn.

So how can you start using reviews to boost social growth?

1. Fill your on-site shoppable Instagram feed with aspirational customer photos.

Ask your customers for photos of them using your products in every day life. The top user-generated content campaigns on Instagram all know that the best customer photos communicate a lifestyle, not just a product.

Selling hiking gear?

Share a shoppable photo of someone reaching the top of the mountain using your equipment. This kind of content helps shoppers imagine themselves experiencing life with your products.

2. Build customer relationships on social by making them feel special.

Start a private Instagram account for your most devoted customers.
Here, you can test pre-launch product lines and ideas by featuring them for your Instagram following and gauging customer reactions.

Draw inspiration from their feedback and build excitement among your most dedicated brand advocates to increase the impact of new releases and promotions.

3. Run user-generated content campaigns encouraging followers to post pictures of their favorite products to understand how your customers use your products.

Challenge your customers with a contest and reward the winners. The insights you gain on customer preferences, pain points and real life experiences will be well worth it.

4. Add social proof to your ads

Adding reviews or customer photos to your social ads tells a complete story of a positive customer experience.

Brands who integrate user-generated content in their Facebook ads get 4x higher click-through rates and see a 50% drop in cost-per-click on average.

Bring your positive customer reviews and user-generated photos together in attention-grabbing social ads that provide shoppers with genuine product information from past buyers.

3. Cutting Through The Noise: How UGC Gets Distracted Shoppers’ Attention

In order to attract and convert shoppers who have tons of content competing for their attention, brands need to know how to give them the right information at the right time.

We’ve gone over how user-generated content can help brands attract more customers (and more quality customers) on social, but what about when customers are searching for specific products to buy?

Customer reviews can help brands show up in more search results by providing fresh, relevant content that builds long-tail keywords.

And once they show up, customer reviews help them stand out with Product Listing Ads and Google Seller Ratings.

A Yotpo study of over 30,000 businesses found that after beginning to collect more customer reviews, traffic from search engines nearly doubled over a nine-month period.

Make sure to make the most of this traffic.

Once shoppers are on site, relevant content like product photos, descriptions and reviews need to be clearly visible and the checkout experience must be quick and easy in order to keep them from moving on.

RETAINING MULTI-TASKING SHOPPERS

After stores get these shoppers, it’s imperative that they invest in retaining them.

Getting customers’ attention is one thing, but what about sustaining it for the long haul?

Return customers account for about 1/3 of a store’s total sales – so your growth depends on building up your retention strategies.

HOW TO USE POST-PURCHASE REVIEW REQUESTS TO BOOST REPEAT SALES

Connecting with customers post-purchase by asking for feedback is not only a valuable way to maintain an ongoing conversation with your existing customer base, it’s also an opportunity to re-convert shoppers.

One powerful strategy to get more reviews and sales is by integrating coupons and upsells in your post-purchase review requests.

Customers who receive review requests with subject lines that offer an incentive increases the amount of shoppers who will write reviews by 18.5%, and data from over 2,000 stores shows that 27.5% of customers who see promoted products in post-purchase review request emails return to buy again.

Even negative reviews present a retention opportunity if you choose to take it.

Every business is bound to get negative reviews – it’s all about what a company does with those reviews.

Most customers will stay loyal after a bad shopping experience if the company shows that they care and that they are making an effort to resolve the problem at hand.

In fact, negative reviews can help your sales by informing you of potential issues with your customer service or product quality while also giving customers realistic details of what to expect when they purchase from you.

You can learn a lot from what your customers say in negative reviews.
A study of 3.5 million reviews found that the most common negative word customers use in reviews is “disappointed.”

Disappointed was mentioned nearly 3 times more than the next most common word (“bad”). To put it in perspective, disappointment was mentioned almost 20,000 times, while bad was used only 7,500 times.

This data proves customers have better experiences need to be properly informed of what they’re getting into – and reviews can help give them the information they need.

And failing to show negative reviews can hurt more than it helps.

Today’s shoppers absolutely won’t continue to shop with brands that avoid transparency and authenticity.

4. The Importance of a Mobile-Centric UGC Strategy

Now, we’ve reviewed how UGC helps you reach multi-tasking, social shoppers, but what about when it comes to mobile?

How can you connect with customers on mobile and integrate user-generated content to build mobile relationships in a meaningful way?
Mobile is key for collecting user-generated content.

The data shows that customers are more likely to write reviews on mobile devices, and brands that have a mobile-first review strategy get nearly 4x more reviews than brands that don’t.

Review and customer photo collection is part of the user-generated content customer lifecycle process.

In fact, it’s the most important step for engaging customers at a critical time in their relationship with you.

So, in order to get the best results overall for your user-generated content marketing, you need to make sure it’s easy for customers to write reviews and upload photos, regardless of their device.

5. The Bottom Line: Why User-Generated Content Matters

Failing to take advantage of user-generated content hurts conversion, traffic, retention, and – most importantly – customer relationships.

When stores do not ask customers for reviews they are missing out on the opportunity to engage with them and build a two-way relationship that is really valuable over time.

The bottom line?

Marketing with customer-created content is imperative for growing brands and is a necessity for creating a scale-able, sustainable strategy.

If you are able to engage customers and generate authentic content that is transparent, socially-integrated, personalized, data-driven and insightful, you will lead your businesses into success.

Leverage UGC
Schedule a demo with one of Yotpo’s marketing consultants to learn how Yotpo helps businesses generate UGC & turn it into sales.

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