Sure, customers can be great ambassadors for products or services and often don’t hesitate to express themselves through online product reviews, tweets, testimonials, videos and blog posts. But how much should you encourage or feature this user-generated content created by unpaid contributors? Answer, a lot. In the following, I suggest some user-generated content ideas that you may find to be powerful assets in accomplishing your marketing goals.
User-generated content benefits are substantial
User generated content marketing is growing by leaps and bounds because it works. Virgin Holidays, a UK-based vacation package company, achieved a 260 percent increase in online bookings and a 64 percent increase in passengers in a single year after launching a user generated content campaign.
Customers find UGC to be authentic and relevant. As a result, brand engagement grows when consumers see user generated ideas and opinions alongside professional content. In fact, 85 percent of consumers say UGC is more influential than brand-generated content in a buying decision, according to a survey by digital marketing platform Wyng, formerly OfferPop.
Jumpstarting a UCG program
This powerful form of marketing remains under utilized beyond adding it to a website, particularly among non-travel related companies. To make the most of it, rev up your user generated content marketing:
Telling customers how to do User-Generated Content:
Only 16 percent of more than 300 companies surveyed provide specific directions on how consumers could create and share UGC, according to Wyng.
53 percent of consumers want those how-tos.
42 percent also want brands to share examples of photos and videos that help guide consumers in creating content.
- Leverage the customer content that you’ve already curated by using it in billing statements, letters and marketing communications.
- Hospitality – To promote a specific resort or bookings for a certain time of the year, vacation ownership companies could draw on a database of positive reviews from owners who have stayed at the property and deliver the reviews in a billing statement, special offer text or marketing email. Reviews are hugely important in the hospitality industry.
- Healthcare – To increase patient-owed collections, a hospital could promote patient financing on billing statements by featuring patient quotes about their positive financing experience. The need for patient financing is growing: 68% of consumers with medical bills of $500 or less did not pay off the full balance during 2016, up from 49% in 2014, and that’s headed to 95% by 2020, according to a June 2017 TransUnion analysis.
- Financial Services – A mortgage company looking to encourage customers to opt-in to digital vs. mailed statements could include quotes from users who describe how easy it is to sign up. A June 2017 survey found that an overwhelming 90% of people, including 88% of those aged 18 to 24, believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications, print or electronic.
- Organize, curate and easily access UGC with Nordis. Using the Expresso application, leveraging UGC is as simple as adding it to your content library and using our custom rules engine to insert it in your customer communications as you would other content blocks, images and so on.
By starting or expanding your user generated content marketing, you can deliver clear benefits to your company and your customers. UGC is a key pillar of digital marketing that improves customer experience to build engagement and sales.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.