Your talented content writer spends a couple of days crafting the perfect email to send to your database of potential tourists. An intriguing subject line, conversational copy, and a resounding call to action are added. The email is almost ready to launch.
At the last minute, you are scrambling to add one more element: visuals. The first instinct would be to check online for free stock imagery or sift through your branded content. These visuals are already on hand, and you know that something must be added to keep readers interested.
However, incorporating user-generated content ("UGC")—in the form of customer reviews, imagery, and video—improves an email conversion rate. 5.6% of recipients who view emails with user-generated content will make a purchase (as opposed to only a 2.1% conversion rate for emails without any UGC).
It is apparent that adding UGC to your social media channels will increase your followers and engagement rates; therefore, it is not surprising that introducing UGC into your email marketing will yield impressive benefits in the form of conversions.
Email marketing has been around for over 40 years, but unlike radio ads or TV commercials—emails aren't being phased out. Another difference between these forms of advertising? Email is the only medium that offers the 1:1 personalization that many consumers crave. Adding a subscribers' name in the subject line or sending them a custom itinerary similar to the last trip they took can be achieved through the targeting capabilities of email marketing.
Additionally, cost plays a significant role. A full-page ad in a newspaper can cost anywhere between $2,700 to over $163,000 based on the type of publication chosen. In contrast, email marketing costs between $9 to $1,000 a month for mid-sized businesses. This depends on the type of provider you use, the size of the subscriber base, and how many emails you intend to send each month.
Now that you know a couple of general benefits, how does UGC improve your conversion rate? We discuss the most effective sections of an email to add UGC and what content types will work best depending on the email's purpose. Once you have mastered where and when to add user-generated content, conversions will come pouring in.
As you get your email newsletter ready for deployment, you can choose between a customized or pre-built template within your Customer Relationship Management Platform ("CRM"). Regardless of which template style you decide to go with, all will have dedicated sections for your logo, body copy, and visuals.
But, where are the best places to integrate UGC for maximum impact?
Once an individual clicks through to your email (thanks to your appealing subject line), their eyes will likely land on the header image. This sits below your logo and typically is the first component that gets noticed. Since text will most likely be overlaid on top, the UGC here should be a static image.
The header image has the important task of moving a reader further along in the email. Think of a page-turner, but instead, the header should be a "mouse scroller" to entice the reader.
The body copy is the meat and potatoes of your email. This section takes up 80% of a template, and it can be a lot for an individual to process if you don't format all of the components properly.
With newspapers, magazines, and blogs, one prominent formatting element you may have noticed is breaking up large chunks of text with visuals. Add between 2-4 pieces of UGC (videos, reviews, and images will all work well here). Therefore, if an individual skims over the body copy, at least your user-generated content will reinforce your key message.
The footer of an email is the final chance to make a last impression. This section of your email is the make or break: will these individuals click on any of the contact information included in the footer to take further action, or will they exit out of the email and carry on with their day?
To make your UGC as unique as possible, experiment with animated images in the form of GIFs (you can take any static image and quickly turn it into a fun, dynamic GIF). Another option would be to link your Instagram feed to the footer of the email. That way, all of the exhilarating photos previous visitors have taken and shared of your destination can also resurface.
Similar to how the body copy is adjusted depending on the type of email you send, UGC should do the same. With three main variations of emails, we examine how user-generated content can be tailored to meet the needs of your audience.
Having just signed up for your email newsletter, an individual moves past the awareness phase into the consideration phase. User-generated content in the form of written reviews will make a strong impression as they begin to contemplate booking a trip to your destination.
Whether your destination is bound to spark joy and relaxation or is geared more towards that thrill-seeker traveller, make it known through customer testimonials. When finding reviews to potentially leverage, ask yourself this: are they original, thorough, and natural-sounding? If answered yes, then these testimonials will do the trick!
Pro tip: Turn your testimonials into an appealing graphic by adding a background colour, bolding the text, and including the star icon (to make it known you have a 5-star rating!)
A prospect has found your brand, signed up for your email list, and is simultaneously browsing your product pages to learn all they can before making a decision.
The main objective of promotional emails are to turn these interested leaders into purchasers. Therefore, your communication should not only be consistent, but your selected UGC needs to pop off their screens.
Does your destination provide hot air balloon tours or authentic cooking classes with local chefs? After acquiring the rights to UGC from the digital content creator, display content of your previous visitors engaging in these diverse activities. It could be a photo a traveller captured from 10,000 feet above, or on the other hand, it may be a 30-second video of them learning how to roll sushi.
In the end, the compelling, authentic user-generated content speaking to the merit of your destination is what will influence prospects to take that last step—booking their getaway.
From time to time, your destination might decide to offer a special discount on select accommodations or activities to encourage travel during off-seasons.
For example, the UGC chosen must be enthralling if you are trying to sell a last-minute trip—as many of your prospects might not have a 3-day trip to Wales or a week in Dublin pencilled in their vacation planner.
So, what will make that individual hit the "book" button after receiving your special discount email? User-generated video. This video could be compiled of short snippets shot by several travellers who have spent time in your region (and loved every minute of it) to instill adventure in your readers.
Don't pass up the opportunity to utilize user-generated content through email marketing. Cultivate closer connections with your audience, dazzle them with an exhilarating array of UGC, and prompt them to take action right away.