UGC, the Tax Industry, and You

User Generated Content (UGC) is a term you may not be familiar with, but you know exactly what it is. UGC is the new Word-of-Mouth for the internet and social media age. A recent report from TurnTo Networks and Ipsos shows that clients look at UGC more than ALL other forms of marketing.

Let that sink in: Word-of-Mouth beats out Google.

“Consumers demand a more engaging shopping experience; they’re looking to fellow shoppers to answer questions about products and share insights about purchases,” said Jim Davidson, director of research, TurnTo Networks. The numbers that this report contains are impressive. 61% of the 1,000 U.S. shoppers said that UGC encourages them to engage with brands. 63% believe that it creates a more authentic shopping experience, and 73% said that it increases their purchasing confidence.

“This study demonstrates UGC is outpacing traditional marketing tools when it comes to increasing shopper confidence and influencing decisions. Marketers who want to connect with the consumer must find ways to incorporate UGC into each step of the customer journey – not just the product page,” continues Davis.

Turning this information into an increase in profits is no quick or easy task. Keith Glasspoole, of Ipsos Connect, identifies three points that drive success and that relate directly to UGC action items.

  1. Be salient to be considered – Make sure your brand comes to mind at the moments that matter. No matter how many competitors you have, people only ever consider a few brands. Be one of the few.
  2. Be chosen first at the moments that matter – Make sure your brand has the highest perceived value. Do so by making sure your brand performs well. Then make sure your brand has created a stronger emotional connection than the next brand. But do not worry if people do not love your brand. Just strive for like more. Why, because brands with stronger brand desire see a greater Share of Wallet.
  3. Be easy to choose – Which means be available and visible and in the format people want. This is so much more important, and more profitable than focusing on price (regardless of sector or geography).

Engaging with your tax customers and utilizing their voices to leverage your business is key – turning negative experiences into positives and the positive experiences into profits. Some of the most important places to be (to generate real UGC) are community volunteering events. Real experiences, face to face, with your potential tax customers will push your company up the ranks in their mind. And since you’re looking to develop loyalty, remember that in the TurnTo report – 97% of those ages 18-29 said that UGC has an extreme influence on them.  And according to Davis, “Shoppers today are more sophisticated and marketers must understand discounts and free shipping offers are simply table stakes.”

Yes, the 2017 tax season is half a year away, but it is crucial to the growth of your business that your brand is always working for you. Working to gain the trust and loyalty that will translate into that golden UGC that everyone is talking about.

Here is an article on how to use UGC from marketing company Wishpond. While this article is a few years old, the advice holds up. Keep in mind that, while you’re reading the piece, not every action-item will work for everyone and some might not make sense for the tax industry. The point is to get you thinking differently in how your customers interact with you through the season and beyond. Maybe try something new this year — start small and build. Soon, you’ll find what best works for your customers, your company, and you.

How can EPS help get you started for next season? Our Software Purchase Assistance program is open! Contact us to see how we can get you set up while the prices are super low.

—Steven Schmid, National Account Manager