6 Methods of Building User-Generated Content
The fanciful curlicues adorning the crockery from Boleslawiec, Poland—four hours northwest of Krakow by car—somehow make the dishes appear too delicate to survive much travel. So perhaps the first item readers notice on the testimonial page for Alexandria, Ohio-based Polish Pottery House is how well the company packages its precious cargo. It's these kind of intangible nuggets that businesses can capture through building user-generated content, which can translate to increased customer interaction and sales.
Cynthia Kowalkoski Boles of Polish Pottery House says after she hired Needham, Mass.-based customer feedback and e-mail marketing firm RatePoint in August 2008 and built her site's user-generated content, she saw sales conversions increase 10 percent.
"I didn't really know how my customers felt," she says. "And if they did have a problem, of course they would call the business. But you don't get a lot of feedback from other people, good or bad."
The CEO and co-founder of RatePoint, Neal Creighton, and Sam Decker, chief marketing officer of Austin, Texas-based social media marketing firm Bazaarvoice, provided more advice about how to gather user-generated content and what direct marketers can do with it once they've amassed it.
1. Ask for it. "Whenever you do a transaction with a customer, whether it's an online transaction or you have a Web presence and you're a landscaper and you've gone out and you've done their lawn, you should ask for a review of your business," Creighton says. For Polish Pottery House, RatePoint created e-mails for customer that led them to a landing page to provide specific reviews about that business.
RatePoint customer GoGreenSolar.com, a Los Angeles-based seller of environment-friendly energy products, credits its 20 percent growth in overall sales each month to the feedback. Company CEO Deep Patel calls high-end customers personally and asks them to fill out reviews. Then he plugs in the RatePoint widget—which carries the reviews—wherever he blogs or posts online.