How UGC helps creators grow their email list and sell more products

Your creator business is just like any other business.

With the right marketing, you can see a big difference in brand awareness, subscribers, and sales. And one of the strongest strategies for helping your business scale in today’s world is user-generated content (UGC).

People love to see proof that your newsletter, products, or services are delivering on your promises. As much as they need your take on them, they really want to know what other customers have to say.

Give your creator business a marketing boost by adding UGC into your campaigns, and we’re here to help show you everything there is to know about adding customer-generated content to your campaigns.

What is UGC (and why is everyone talking about it?)

This isn’t your first run-in with user-generated content. One quick scroll through Instagram, and you’re bombarded with UGC in sponsored posts. You also see it every time an influencer posts about their favorite products. You’re most likely posting UGC all the time, as well!

Remember that delicious smoothie you shared with your audience or the book you shouted out in your newsletter? That was user-generated content! User-generated content puts your customers at the center of your creator business through a flywheel.

Image via Hubspot.

User-generated content is a photo, video, or testimonial from customers that features your brand and its products. Here’s an example: Aleyda Solis posted UGC for SparkLoop, our newsletter referral program for creators when she posted this tweet:

Here’s an example of UGC for SparkLoop. Image via Aleyda Solis.

User-generated content is exciting because the format drives more engagement and conversions than brand-created content. From their 2022 user-generated content report, TINT found:

  • 76% of consumers have purchased a product because of someone else’s recommendation before
  • 72% of consumers believe that reviews and testimonials submitted by customers are more credible than the brand talking about their products
  • When emails contain user-generated content, click-through rates increase by about 73% and produce more conversions

Just think of your buying habits—how often do you look at reviews before hitting the buy button?

What makes UGC appealing?

Aside from helping you get more subscribers, sell more products, and sign more clients, user-generated content is also a huge help in content creation.

Creators use the Audience Building Flywheel to get more email subscribers, but it requires a lot of content. You need to add content to your email signup form, emails and newsletters, and social media profiles regularly.

If you’re a solopreneur making all of your own content, it’s a relief to have your customers help you out. Their photos, videos, and testimonials easily turn into social media posts and newsletter content. That gives you a break from having to be the Head of Marketing and Content Creator of your business (we know you’re wearing *a lot* of hats).

Katelyn Bourgoin, the creator of the Why We Buy newsletter, adds user-generated content to her promotional tweet. Instead of Katelyn talking about how great her newsletter is, potential subscribers can see how much her audience loves Why We Buy. Plus, she gets to copy and paste the testimonial without having to spend time creating her own attention-grabbing graphic.

Win-win!

User-generated content comes in a few different formats. Take a look through and see which makes the most sense for you.

What are the different types of UGC?

User-generated content typically exists in 3 formats: photos, videos, or written testimonials. Ideally, you have all 3, so you can place your UGC natively across platforms. This just means that you can turn video UGC into an Instagram Reel, a photo into a tweet, and place written testimonials on your landing pages or your emails.

Realistically, you can add any format of UGC to whichever platform works best.

Here’s what UGC photos, videos, and written testimonials look like in the wild.

UGC photo

Kaleigh Moore shares the arrival of her Athletic Greens order on Twitter through these two photos. Athletic Greens can snag this user-generated content and share it across their marketing channels—especially those with people who follow Kaleigh and appreciate her recommendations.

UGC videos

To promote “VIP Days” where agency owners spend a day with her and learn how she runs her business, Anna Nassery posts video testimonials from her happy clients. This user-generated content is powerful because it proves her customers are willing to put their faces behind their recommendations. That says a lot!

Image via Anna Nassery.

Written testimonials

Harry Dry, the creator of the Marketing Examples newsletter, asked his subscribers to send in a quick testimonial. He took those testimonials and put them right on his landing page, so visitors see the flurry of happy subscribers raving about his newsletter.

Creators use user-generated content to get more email subscribers, sell more products, and land more clients for their services. If you’re feeling stuck on where to start with UGC, here are a few ideas you can adapt to your creator business.

How creators use UGC in their campaigns

Anytime you want to ask somebody to take an action—adding user-generated content is a powerful way to get them to agree. Creators ask their audiences to take action when they ask them to download a lead magnet, subscribe to their newsletter, buy their products, or jump on a discovery call for a service. You’re constantly asking your audience to take action (that’s how your creator business grows!), which means UGC fits snugly into your business strategy.

Grab some inspiration on how to add user-generated content from these creators:

Business coach Rachel Bell dedicates an Instagram Highlight to testimonials from happy customers. Every time she runs a new program cohort and asks her followers to schedule a discovery call, she tells her audience to take a look through the testimonials. Her screenshots from her Slack community turn into proof that her coaching program delivers on its promises motivating her audience to book that call.

Share UGC screenshots on Instagram to prove you deliver on your promises. Image via Rachel Bell.

Shaan Puri, the creator of the Power Writing Course, has 12 written testimonials on his landing page and two video testimonials. This user-generated content makes writers on the fence about buying his course confident that he’ll deliver what they’re looking for. Adding different styles of user-generated content (written testimonials and videos) creates a dynamic promotion for your creations.

Creators like Shaan add different types of user-generated content to their landing pages. Image via Shaan Puri.

User-generated content is great for selling products and for showing how much people love your community. Monica Lent features 10 pieces of UGC on her landing page for her free email course and newsletter, Blogging for Devs. Each piece of UGC shows potential subscribers why they’re a great fit for her newsletter—and how much they’ll get out of the experience.

Share UGC to get more email subscribers. Image via Monica Lent.

Alright, now you know where to put user-generated content to promote your creator business. But what happens if you don’t have any UGC to use?

Luckily, that’s an easy fix.

How to get UGC

Having a library of user-generated content is the best-case scenario for creators. You can look through and grab testimonials based on what you’re promoting. For example, if you’re promoting your newsletter today, you can scroll through your UGC library and send a quick tweet telling people that now is the best time to subscribe. Or, if you’re running a flash sale on a digital product, you can post a UGC video testimonial of a happy customer.

Creating a UGC library is actually pretty easy because people are so used to sharing their experiences online. You’ll either grab what’s already being posted, ask your audience and customers for testimonials, or run a giveaway.

Look for customers sharing UGC organically

If you haven’t looked out for user-generated content, it might be slipping through the cracks. Depending on the size of your audience, UGC might be all over the internet—you just need to find it. Search for your name or your products on social media platforms and Google to see if you can find people giving you credit for the great work you’re doing.

For example, Matt Ragland took to Twitter to talk about how much he loves ConvertKit and why he’d use it if he were starting his solopreneur journey from scratch. This is great user-generated content for us! We can ask Matt if it’s okay to repurpose it across our other marketing channels (as well as retweet it) and now we get a great piece of content that showcases why creators love building their email list with ConvertKit.

Ask subscribers and customers to share UGC

You don’t need to be picky when it comes to user-generated content. Anything your subscribers, customers, and clients are willing to send over can benefit your business—just as long as it portrays your product or service positively and isn’t too off-brand.

But, if you’re looking for specific types of UGC, like a photo, video, or testimonial—you can ask for it. For example, add a P.S. section to the bottom of your newsletter asking for a few sentences about why people would love to subscribe or ask your customers for video testimonials. You can even add a request for UGC in your product emails, so people see your request as soon as they get their product.

As soon as people subscribe to Blogging for Devs, Monica sends an automated email asking them to share on Twitter. This creates user-generated content that Monica can repurpose on her landing pages and social media feeds. It also helps get her newsletter in front of more like-minded people.

Monica asks her new subscribers to create UGC. Image via Blogging for Devs.

Run giveaways and competitions to inspire UGC

If you’re not finding UGC organically online and it’s trickling in too slowly from your current audience, subscribers, and customers—get a little creative. Create a giveaway or competition that inspires people to share user-generated content. Be specific about what you’d like (do you want them to tweet about your product? Do you want a quickly written testimonial to use on your landing page? Do you need more video UGC?).

To grow his email list, Corey Haines runs a giveaway to his audience to share a referral link with five friends. In return, they get a discount on his Swipe Files membership or 50% off their next year if they’re already a member.

Instead of a referral link, Corey could ask his subscribers to send in a photo, video, or written testimonial about how much they love being a member of his community.

If your product or service is expensive and you can’t afford to send out too many freebies or discounts, choose a specific number (like 5) and tell your audience it’s only available for the first 5 participants.

Run giveaways to get more UGC. Image via Corey Haines.

People love to share their favorite creators and products online. Getting user-generated content is less about hoping your subscribers and customers will create it and more about asking them for it.

Spend more time creating

User-generated content is authentic, trustworthy, and original. It’s the reason that mega-successful brands, like Chipotle, have dedicated their entire social media feeds to UGC. Take (free) advice from them on what’s working and add user-generated content to your creator business.

Turn user-generated content into a content flywheel that works in your marketing systems. With UGC, you can spend less time creating promotional content and more time in the creative process.

Creators use ConvertKit to grow their email list, create paid newsletters, and sell digital products. Through automations, landing pages, and commerce you can set up your creator business to work for you so you can focus on your favorite part of being a creator.

Creating.

Get your free trial of ConvertKit today.

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