User generated content

For years and years marketing, both online and offline, was all about influencing the audience, the consumers, the clients and customers in order to grab their attention and turn them into yourUser generated content brand’s fans. Most importantly, into your paying customers.

If you’ve been a fan of recent vampires series, it was sort of like looking for the best way to “glamorize” your customer into buying a product or service, regardless of the fact if he  or she was the one looking for the product in the first place or the brand was the one who created the demand for the product that suddenly a customer simply wanted at all cost.

Today the rules of the game have changed; whether you’re a marketing professional or a sit at home mum with a great lifestyle webshop with homemade products, you need to find the best way to grab a potential customer’s attention and convince him your product is the one that he was looking for.

A great tagline, descriptive technical specifications, HD videos showing off the product are all must-haves and there’s no way around it. However, who does a customer trust the most during his or her buyer experience, the brand – the seller that gets their money OR fellow customers who have had the chance to try and test what you’re selling?

Yes, we know you know the answer and we know you might not like where we’re going with this. Still, it’s worth the risk so keep reading.

The customers trust the customers

According to the latest marketing research data, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers have expressed their desire to have more options to share their opinions on a certain product or service. In marketing we define customers’ opinions as user-generated content (USG). Moreover and even more importantly, 50% of people trust user-generated content more than any other type of marketing or media and USG is 35% more memorable than any other type of content that you may have up on your website*.

Does that mean that all your marketing efforts so far have been completely useless and a waste of time? Not at all. When it comes to making your website nice-looking, user-friendly, fast-loading and informative, the rules are the same. To attract the attention of search engines as well as catch the eye of those who use search engines, you need to have a good content strategy in place. You also need to target your potential customers properly, be a social media mastermind, communicate with your dear users through all the channels available today, and stay ahead of competitors by finding new ways of doing things.

However, the real advantage at your hand is having other users and customers share their positive opinions on your services and products as this is something that truly weighs in when it comes to clicking on the “Add the cart” button, the holy grail of online selling.

Hot to generate user-generated content

There are so many creative ways to get your customers’ feedback on a product or service you offer. Going from the most simple “Rate This Product” star system you can easily implement in your Commerce platform, to a “Leave Review” box that enables clients to rave about their latest gadget or your great service.

Whatever way you choose to let your customers speak for you and tell fellow peers how great your brand is, you will be a hero both in your customers’ eyes as well as in those looking to buy the type of goods you have in store.

Not only we love to read a nice product review before clicking on that holy grail cart button, we also love to be asked our opinion and treated like it does matter what we think, don’t we?

Ok so let us remind you of some great examples of how brands managed to leverage user-generated content at tier advantage and success.

Coffee for Less, an online coffee service, realized that USG was a great way to let their clients weigh on their favorite coffee beans and by enabling users to leave reviews, they managed to boost their conversions by 125% over a 5 year span**.

Coffee for Less

Ever heard of Hotsy Totsy? This is a great quirky fashion brand that decided to feature and highlight customers’ reviews on the stuff they bought from the website. Not only the reviews helped the brand in raising their credibility as a fashion retailer, but it also enabled the brand to use the testimonials as sort of a peer-to-peer FAQ by displaying reviews on product quality and shipping service.

Hotsy Totsy testimonials

Finally, Fred Perry is an excellent example of how to engage your loyal customers just to transform them into advocates for the brand. A while ago, this legendary English brand asked their fans to send in videos and stories telling their experience with the brand. This resulted into great users’ stories and their life experience s while wearing the brand’s clothes. Not only this raised Fred Perry’s iconic profile even more but it also produced great USG to be shared over social media and all other online media outlets.

Fred Perry

What about negative reviews?

At this point, you’re probably thinking this all wonderful but what about potential negative reviews, comments and feedback. Should you hide them? Erase them as soon as one gets in? Absolutely not.

Users’ feedback is your best monitoring tool to understand what your target audience likes, wants, and desires. It also helps you understand your flaws, how to improve your services and the product offer as well as the user experience on your website.

Display the negative comments and prove to your customers you care about their experience with your brand; transform the negative into positive by fixing what went wrong as soon as possible and let your audience know you fixed it because you truly care. They will appreciate your effort and know you are a brand they can rely on during their next purchase!

* corp.crowdtap.com/socialinfluence
**www.marketingsherpa.com