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How to Use User-Generated Content to Strengthen Your Online Sales Funnel

cameras and tablets used to create user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is extremely powerful when it comes to strengthening your online sales funnel. In fact, about 92% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over other forms of advertising. Developing a UGC campaign can provide you with tons of valuable recommendations that generate social proof and increase your brand trust, especially when you know what to do with that UGC once you’ve curated it. We’ll walk you through how to add user-generated content into your online sales funnel, and how it can strengthen your overall marketing effectiveness, below. 

How UGC Strengthens Your Online Sales Funnel 

Every online sales funnel is different, but they all have one thing in common: to work well, they have to consider the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is the path people take from awareness of your product to action (usually, purchasing your product or service). Depending on your product, your competitors, your industry, the consumer themself, and a variety of other factors, this process can take days, weeks and sometimes months (or even years)! 

Here’s what the buyer’s journey looks like:

  • Awareness: the buyer becomes aware of a problem they need to solve. 
  • Consideration: they define their problem and explore different options to solve it.
  • Decision: the buyer evaluates their options and decides which business will provide them with the best solution. 

It’s not news that people don’t buy the first thing they see. It’s been known to take an average of 7 touchpoints before a consumer is ready to make a purchase. Typically, once we’re aware of a need, we may ask a friend what they think, see an ad, visit a website, then a competitor’s webiste, look up reviews, see an ad again, explore other products options, and more, until finally, we’re ready to take an action. A purchase (or decision) will only be made once this process has been completed ot the satisfaction of the buyer. 

As a brand, thinking of all the effort you need to put in to create 7 quality touchpoints can sound exhausting! That’s why any strategy that makes consumers move through the buyer’s journey (and your online sales funnel) more quickly and efficiently is always the goal. This is where UGC comes in.

What Makes UGC Effective?

Nowadays, one of the biggest struggles that brands face is low brand trust. In fact, the majority of people trust recommendations from family and friends over brands. This means when considering solutions to their problems, consumers want to hear from other consumers. 

 A study run by Stackla that surveyed consumers from the U.S, Australia and UK found that 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. And, when visual UGC was added to the conversion path, the result was a 10% increase in conversions. 

Clearly, user-generated content has a big impact on the buyer’s journey. Which means adding it into your sales funnel can make your strategy more effective, helping consumers make purchase decisions and even increasing the likelihood of conversions!

Want to learn more about how this influences consumers? Here are 15 UGC statistics that prove its worth.

Now let’s talk about how you can put all of this powerful user-generated content into action to strengthen your sales and marketing funnel. 

Download the PDF "The Ultimate Guide to User-Generated Content Campaign ROI"

How to Add User-Generated Content to Your Online Sales Funnel

Before you put the tips below into action, make sure you have permission from the creator to share the user-generated content they made!

  • Run a UGC campaign or contest - You can make your audience an extension of your sales funnel by inviting them to create user-generated content and post it to their social profiles. Not only will this help you scale your consumer-generated marketing quickly, it will also make your brand more discoverable. There are multiple ways to do this, like creating a contest with prizes to incentivize consumers to create content about your brand. Another option is to run an UGC campaign, or influencer marketing campaign, on TikTok, Instagram (even Reels), or Pinterest. The bigger your campaign, the more UGC you can collect and sprinkle throughout your sales funnel, and the more social proof you’ll build.
    Pro tip: ask contributors to include a custom hashtag in their post so your brand can easily track the results and other social media users can discover your contest (or their content) easily too!
  • Repost UGC on your company’s social profiles - These days, it’s not uncommon for consumers to discover brands on social media. Remember how we said consumers want to hear from other consumers? Reposting user-generated content on your brand’s social media helps create social proof right off the bat. After running a successful user-generated content campaign or influencer marketing campaign, remember to take advantage of all of that great visual UGC by reposting it to your Instagram Stories, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. If you’ve set up your Instagram Shop, it’s a good idea to include product tags to your UGC when posting so they’ll link back to your Shop. You can even use that visual UGC in your Instagram Shop, on the the product pages themselves!
  • Use UGC in your paid ads - Adding user-generated content into your paid ads can make them more effective. In fact, when visual UGC is used in online ads, it’s been shown to increase CTRs by 5x. With fewer people trusting brand marketing, it’s powerful to see real people using your products in action to reveal incredible results. Before you include UGC in your ads, make sure that you have permission to use the content for  advertising purposes.
  • Display and amplify reviews - Consumers like to research before they buy and reviews are just one of the ways they do that. Ninety-seven percent of online shoppers say reviews influence their buying decisions and the average consumer reads 10 reviews before giving a business their trust. Adding reviews to your homepage, product pages, on social media, in emails, and on just about any other marketing material can help consumers learn which products are right for them and bring them further down your sales funnel toward a purchase. Bonus points if you share reviews that include images or videos!
  • Display UGC on your website - Last, but certainly not least, display visual UGC throughout your website! We’re talking homepages, product pages, and anywhere else that contributes to your sales funnel. Showing real customers wearing or using your products offers massive social proof and shows other consumers what your products look like in real life, on an actual person. Since your website is where a purchase decision will generally take place, it’s the perfect opportunity to display user-generated content front and center. Think about how convincing it is to see, or hear, a consumer sharing their results, or their experience with your product, right on the page where the conversion takes place. As we mentioned above, having visual UGC within the conversion path has been shown to boost conversions by 10%! Want to know how to display UGC on your website? Here are 3 social hub softwares to help you do just that! 
Ready to start curating quality UGC you can add into your sales funnel? We can help you develop a successful, hassle-free influencer marketing campaign by matching you with influencers, handling product shipping and managing your entire campaign! Just contact us to chat with one of our experts, tell us your goals, and we’ll take care of the rest.