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Why UGC should be your go-to for increasing engagement

Email is one of the most influential marketing tools you have at your disposal right now, and adding user-generated content to the mix makes your campaigns even more effective. UGC campaigns have proven to be 20% more influential on purchasing decisions than other types of media, all while having the added bonuses of increasing engagement and creating authenticity.

And while UGC might not be new, the ways marketers are incorporating it into their email campaigns are. At Movable Ink, many of our retail clients have reported seeing their social media followers spike every time they include live social feeds in their emails. But when you’re incorporating content that isn’t owned, it’s even more important to get things right. There are plenty of tricks of the trade to help you pull it off.

How to take your UGC to the next level

     1. Make sharing straightforward

Make it incredibly simple for your audience to interact with you. Movable Ink uses a tool called social sharing paired with deep linking to pre-populate content into a Tweet. So, if you want to incorporate a live poll in your email, the vote button link can create a draft that pre-populates with the right content, @ mentions, hashtag, and links so people can share your message accurately across platforms.

     2. Use social proof to reach your goals

Contests are also a great opportunity to integrate social media. Any marketers that run contests know that driving audience participation can be challenging. Use live social feeds in your emails to show customers how others are participating will make the idea feel more accessible to them. If you show what other people are doing, the ask feels realistic, and the barriers to entry aren’t so grand.

One of our clients, Jetstar, used UGC to encourage subscribers to select their seats in advance. In one of their emails they featured a curated Instagram feed with window-seat photos of plane wings above picturesque landscapes, then closed out their email with the CTA “Select Seat.” The message was clear: get yourself your favorite seat and show us the view once you get there.

     3. Eliminate the grunt work

We’ve seen a lot of clients who use data visualization, whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or as an annual review cadence where they share really cool personalized stats about how the user has interacted with the brand or product. Think of how excited people are to see a year-in-review email with great personalization like Spotify’s month-in-review email that shows each user’s favorite tracks. Years ago, people would have to create their own screenshots to share, so Movable Ink made it easier to share that content. Now it’s as easy as clicking to create a pre-populated post. Your audience gets to share something interesting, and you have high-quality content.

     4. Bring the content to life

Brands also take things to the next level when they use animation in the creative. If you’re showing a phone in the creative, easily turn that image into a GIF, with the screen showing off different posts directly from your users. Then when your recipients click through, they’ll see that you’re featuring real posts. That kind of engagement gets people coming back.

     5. Curate your feed

When it comes to curating your UGC, you have to think about your brand at all times. We never advise clients to go blindly on a hashtag, branded or otherwise. Automation is key here. When you’re pulling in any content from social feeds or curated feeds through Curalate, make sure you’re pulling in a live, updated feed to control the quality of the content. You also have the flexibility to filter the content by engagement metrics or hashtags to make sure you’re always showing the best of the best.

     6. Always keep it on message

Always keep it on brand and consistent with the featured email message. Email real estate is a valuable asset, and a simple branded feed might not always fit. Earn the real estate by filtering the content that best relates to the message – if it’s a holiday-themed email, pull in content with a certain hashtag, or if the email is promoting trending topics or items, pull in content from social with a certain ‘like’ threshold. It’s always fun to see real-time feeds in emails around certain sports games or events to see how people are reacting to what’s going on on the court or stage. Supporting the main message will always be the natural path into including social & UGC into an email.

UGC is your best bet for connecting with your audience

When it comes to UGC, a lot of brands are unwilling to sacrifice a click to something that isn’t a page where someone converts. But it’s important to incorporate engaging content into emails instead of always pushing your audience to buy. You want to show your audience that you have a brand personality, and more importantly, that they can have a relationship with you.


Movable Ink is the leading provider of intelligent content, which enables marketers to personalize email content at the moment of open. We work with more than 500 leading brands, including Delta, eBay, Spotify, and The Wall Street Journal.

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