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8 UGC email examples [+best practices] to build trust

8 UGC email examples [+best practices] to build trust

When was the last time you bought a product online without reading reviews or searching for customer feedback?

It’s probably been a long time or possibly never — unless you already love the brand, or someone you know and trust recommended the product. 

We’re trying to imagine ecommerce without such user-generated content, aka UGC. Perhaps there would be fewer sales. Maybe more returns. And those are just the tangibles. 

Brands have caught on that UGC is a powerhouse for fostering trust. Humans want reassurance that they’re spending money wisely and are eyeing the right solution. Many times, a real customer can ease a hesitant shopper’s concerns better than the brand.

So, it makes sense to pluck out UGC and weave it into your ecommerce email marketing strategy.  

We rounded up eight UGC email examples to show how brands harness their customers’ voices. We’re also covering ways to collect UGC and best practices for using them. But first, a pause to lay some groundwork.  

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What is UGC, and what power does it have?

Let’s define user-generated content before jumping into UGC email examples. 

UGC is any content about your brand produced by a customer — not a paid professional like an influencer — and voluntarily shared online. Regularly interchanged with “social proof,” you’ll find UGC on social media platforms, websites and online forums. 

Your brand has no control over the content, nor should you have a say in the messaging. You want customers to provide honest opinions, perspectives, and a peek into their experience with your brand. 

UGC comes in various forms: 

  1. Customer reviews and testimonials 
  2. Photos 
  3. Videos
  4. Social media mentions

Numerous studies reveal UGC has impact. Here are three statistics to chew on, each related to its innate genuineness:

  1. Authentic customer ratings/reviews influence purchase decisions. 71% of online shoppers agree that they make a “a real difference.”
  2. UGC influences customer loyalty. 90% of consumers say authenticity plays a factor in what brands they like and support.
  3. Customer content trumps influencer content. 86% of consumers are likelier to trust brands that publish UGC over influencers.

The lesson? Infusing your brand’s marketing with authentic voices makes you more relatable and has an overall humanizing effect.   

8 UGC email examples to inspire your email efforts 

With each UGC email example below, brands demonstrate how customer content can establish credibility, evoke emotions and relate. 

Use Seguno’s email marketing platform for Shopify to create a UGC email for your brand, whether you build it from scratch or use a starter template as the base.

1. Recommend products

Most of the UGC email examples we found leverage customer reviews or testimonials to promote a range of products, typically bestsellers. Aeva Beauty takes a slightly different approach by spotlighting one product.

Email with the title "Sharing the love" with a photo of an eyeshadow palette

What works: 

  1. Giving star treatment to the product by opening with a high-quality product image
  2. A call to action (CTA) — punctuated by an emoji sparkle — placed immediately after the hero image
  3. Customer photos, social media handles, and short yet compelling quotes drive home authenticity (80% of consumers say they’re likelier to purchase online if the store has photos from real customers)
  4. Diverse customer representation helps subscribers see the product is for everyone

2. Recover abandoned checkouts

Don’t contain customer content to standalone email newsletters. They can fit perfectly into automated emails, too. The Dad Hoodie shows how positive reviews and endorsements comprise one email in an abandoned checkout email sequence

Email with the headline '#1 gift for todays dad"

What works: 

  1. While it’s not social proof from ordinary people, the brand immediately grabs attention by referencing a national morning show’s endorsement (the email subject line: The TODAY Show Loves Us!)
  2. Minimal design with a few short paragraphs forces you to read the copy; dense text would be much less impactful and possibly ignored
  3. Product imagery reinforces what was left behind; including the total amount is also convenient
  4. Tailored CTA motivates the subscriber to make the purchase

3. Stand out with seasonal or holiday campaigns

If you want your brand to capture attention during typical shopping spikes — especially Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) and the winter holiday season — then be memorable. Sprinkling in customer feedback checks that box. 

While Bartesian spins an unexpected tie-in to Halloween, it demonstrates how brands can creatively pair UGC with any holiday-related email. 

Email with the headline 'trick or treat' laid on top of a drink rimmed with salt

What works: 

  1. The hero image and headline — although cliche — pique curiosity
  2. The playful, short intro goes all in on Halloween
  3. Packaged sections highlight a few product favorites with details to entice: read-worthy descriptions, complementary customer quotes, icons show the extras you need, and the concoction in its final glory  
  4. CTAs for both product recommendations

4. Shape impressions with welcome emails

Jazz up your welcome email automation series with an email that hands the microphone to your customers. After all, you’re attempting to establish a rapport with your new subscribers and convince them you’re a good choice. Athletic Brewing Co. nails it. 

Email with the headline 'beers worth boasting about'

What works: 

  1. The headline summarizes the ensuing content with pizzazz
  2. The CTA is a can’t-miss for anyone who doesn’t want to scroll
  3. Various curated customer testimonials offer different viewpoints (from the gluten-free, booze-free customer to the review-averse)
  4. The discount reminder takes a back seat to building credibility 

5. Spice up sales promotions 

Nearly every Shopify store occasionally leans on a promotional pricing strategy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of run-of-the-mill, stale promotions. That’s why we like Dormify’s breath of fresh air. 

Email featuring Polaroid-type photos, each with two girls sitting on a bed in a dorm room

What works: 

  1. Reiteration of 25% savings throughout, from the top banner to the graphical splashes
  2. Authenticity and relatability through a polaroid-like touch, plus inclusion of social account handles and the college of attendance
  3. Identifying the brand’s products
  4. Encouraging customers to become part of the UGC community 
Learn how to use Shopify discount codes without damaging your shop’s margins.

6. Support a cause or a cultural event

Any brand that participates in cause marketing or latches onto cultural events should look to UGC email examples for inspiration. Parade, for example, asked its “community” of creators, “What does Juneteenth mean to you?” to prompt UGC. 

Email with the headline "Celebrating Juneteenth"

What works: 

  1. The “Celebrating Juneteenth” proclamation is prominent, but still makes room for the brand’s logo to shine 
  2. Emphasis on individuality through photos and leading with the contributor’s name
  3. Partner content block shows Parade’s support of a related philanthropy 
  4. Burying the CTA, because sometimes brand awareness is more important than conversions 

7. Reinforce the realness of your brand

While hunting for UGC email examples, we noticed some brands carve out a recurring spot for social proof within their email marketing anatomy: the footer. Check out the example from Toast’d. 

Closeup of an email footer titled with 'indoors or outdoors' showing three social posts with the product

What works: 

  1. Customer “lifestyle” photos tug at the emotions (Don’t you want to create similar memories for your family?) 
  2. Embedding the social post (the image expands when clicking on it), including the customer’s ID, magnifies the support of real people 
Learn about the elements of an email “footer that functions” and how to create one.

8. Bolster a back-in-stock announcement

Do you have best-selling products that occasionally — or frequently — sell out? If yes, and you use back-in-stock email alerts to automatically notify interested subscribers of their return, then take a page from Paravel. 

Email with the headline "this is some sexy luggage"

What works: 

  1. Enlarged and highlighted customer quote grabs immediate attention
  2. On-point photography provides a comprehensive view of the luggage, from different suitcase angles to lifestyle imagery
  3. Customer testimonials highlight various value propositions
Check out six other back-in-stock email examples for more email inspiration.

How to identify and collect UGC for your email marketing

One study found that just 50% of marketers use UGC in their email marketing. A struggle to find meaningful UGC could be part of why more marketers don’t employ it.  

There are various methods for sourcing customer UGC. With any, you must be clear about your intentions and acquire customer permission before embedding their content in marketing.   

Monitoring social media hashtags and mentions

UGC resides on all social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. You can manually search for mentions of your brand and relevant hashtags, but the better route is using built-in tools. Most platforms have monitoring mechanisms. 

Third-party social media monitoring tools make the job easier by scanning multiple platforms and providing deeper analysis. 

Encouraging customers to leave reviews and share their experiences

The example from Parade demonstrates that UGC doesn’t always manifest through organic means. Sometimes, you need to nudge along its development. 

Use email automations to ask your customers to review their purchases. We like Lendava’s UGC email pitch.

email with the headline 'spread the word and get 20% off"

It has elements to motivate:

  • A discount incentive
  • Explanation of why customer reviews matter
  • An example for inspiration 
  • Multiple CTAs lead to the review form 

Running UGC contests and giveaways

UGC contests and giveaways provide a stockpile of customer content. Plus, they’re great for engaging your audience and spreading the word about your brand.  

Stick to the basics: Invite customers to submit original photos or videos about your brand or a specific product for a chance to win a prize. Require entrants to post on social media and tag your brand for maximizing reach.   

4 tips to follow when using UGC in email

The UGC email examples above pack many best practices. If your head is spinning, follow our four must-dos for creating effective UGC email content.  

1. Select high-quality UGC that aligns with your brand's image

Just because you have UGC doesn’t mean you need to use it. Be selective. You already make choices when deciding what your brand creates and publishes, so the same should go for UGC. Consider whether the social proof: 

  • Matches brand values and identity 
  • Meets your visual standards; do images present your brand in a favorable light?
  • Relates to your audience and adds value 

If you find a testimonial that boasts about you in a new or original way, run with it. Kakao, for example, pairs a memorable customer review with polished brand photography.    

Email section snippet with the headline "what they said"" followed by teh quote "I sent this to a friend who ould never imagine himself eating vegan food. He is however, a hocoholic and absojtely wolfed these down ... a recommendation indeed!'

2. Incorporate UGC in a way that feels genuine 

Use discretion with customer content. While the above UGC email examples are worthy candidates for your Shopify store, don’t let customer input overtake your entire email marketing program. 

Because after a while, it will start to feel manufactured and the opposite of authentic. People will stop listening if you only present UGC. 

Slide it in when and where it makes sense. And like all other initiatives, allow time before checking email marketing metrics. Data analysis helps you decipher whether UGC is resonating or needs adjusting.     

3. Give attention to the email subject line

With UGC email content, you’re trying to captivate and convert subscribers. The email subject line plays a significant role in whether you get the chance. 

Let the content dictate the strategy. Toy around with something like “Hear from your peers” or “The reviews are in” when it’s a UGC-focused email. But if you’re sending something like a back-in-stock alert in which UGC is secondary or very minor, then a “Our ____ is back!” would probably perform best.

4. Use CTAs to guide recipients 

High-performing marketing emails lead subscribers toward the next step. They do it with CTA buttons that encourage a specific, desired action. 

Always include at least one action-oriented CTA and match its language to the goal of the email. Add a second or third CTA for reinforcement — but be discretionary in their use so you’re not over- or under-populating your email. 

Leverage UGC with Seguno email marketing 

Customers are talking about your brand and paying it compliments. 

Some prospects actively search for customer reviews and experiences or stumble upon them. Others won’t find them at all. 

Bring forward the positive voices to be more in control of the narrative. Study the eight UGC email examples, keeping your brand in mind. What might you replicate with Seguno? Do you have UGC on hand to pull it off? Or is it time to get proactive? 

Don’t allow your best UGC to sit idle. Inject them into your email marketing, and you’ll answer consumer questions, banish hesitancy, engage your audience, and grow trust. 

Create, manage, and track your email marketing—without leaving Shopify.

Seguno is the top-rated email solution built exclusively for Shopify. Grow your sales with high-performing newsletters, email automation campaigns, and integrations with Facebook, Instagram, banners, pop-ups and more. Build and send engaging emails in our easy-to-use editor and take email creation to the next level with our Canva integration. Automate your email marketing and drive more revenue with welcome campaigns, checkout abandonment, post-purchase automations, tag triggers and more.

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