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Collect user-generated content with these 12 email templates

Learn how EmbedSocial collected loads of UGC via email—and the subject lines and emails they used to get it.

By Marija Todorovska · September 9, 2021
Hero image from the EmbedSocial team of a man sitting in front of a computer typing an email; the text of the email is also in the image

User-generated content works wonders, but you can't just wait for it to fall into your lap. You need to take things into your own hands and ask for it. It might feel a little awkward at first, but I can tell you from experience, it's worth it.

At EmbedSocial , we've tried a bunch of ways to collect UGC, and email outreach was far and away the most successful. With some catchy subject lines and trial-and-error honed templates (which I'll share here), we were able to get some of our greatest marketing assets from our customers.

The 5-step process for collecting UGC via email

In my role as content creator at EmbedSocial, I'm dedicated to collecting and managing user-generated content on a daily basis. With the help of my team, I created a 5-step process for asking users for UGC over email.

1. Create a catchy subject line. You can write the most convincing email ever, but if the recipient never opens it, it's all for naught.

2. Personalize the message. Create a connection with each recipient by acknowledging their name in the greeting of the message. Even if it's automated, it at the very least shows you've put some effort into the process.

3. Get straight to the point. Tell them what your email is about right from the start. It'll build trust and help make sure they hear you out.

4. Be clear about the expectations. Shoot your goal right away: ask for the specific type of UGC you want, and be specific. Include a link if relevant. If users have to make any guesses or do any interpretation, they're more likely to hit delete.

5. Respect their decision. They're valued users regardless, so help them feel comfortable whether or not they send UGC your way. You might want to include an explicit comment in your email letting them know that it's ok if they don't want to contribute—at the very least, avoid the hard sell.

Before we dive into the emails, let's talk about that first thing: subject lines.

8 subject lines to help get your UGC emails opened

The subject line of your email is the centerpiece—a vital first step to be sure people even read your request. Here are the subject lines that have given us the highest open rate.

Subject line 1: Take 2 minutes to tell us how we did, [customer name]!

Subject line 2: Let's create a success story! 🏅

Subject line 3: [Customer name], you're the best at [goal]!

Subject line 4: [Customer name], can you help us reach the top? 

Subject line 5: [Customer name], we'd love your five ⭐!

Subject line 6: You're our BEST customer. 🤫

Subject line 7: Let's create something awesome together!

Subject line 8: Hi [Customer name], how did we do?

12 email templates for collecting UGC

Before you start writing your emails, you need to know exactly what kind of content you're asking for. We created a whole slew of templates for all sorts of use cases—that way, we can just pick the right template and then adjust it as necessary.

Here are the templates that have worked best for us, divided up by type of UGC. Scroll down to the bottom to hear about some of the results we've gotten.

Email templates for collecting customer feedback

Review request templates

Every business wants lots of shiny Google reviews. But I learned (the hard way!) that those reviews won't just come to you—you have to ask for them. Here are three different templates we've used to request Google reviews.

Template #1:

Dear [customer name], 

It's so great to have you as a customer! 

We would love to know how we're doing and how your experience with us has been. Please take just a few seconds of your time and review us by clicking this link.

[review link]

Template #2: 

Hey there, [customer name],

I wanted to reach out and see how your experience has been with [product or service] so far. 

We'd really appreciate it if you could take a moment to review us. Of course, if there's anything that can be done better for you, please let us know using the link below.

[review link]

Template #3:

Hey [customer name],

Many thanks for choosing us! 

We truly appreciate your opinion, so could you please take a second to let us know how satisfied you are with [company name]? 

Just click [review link] and let us know!

Thank you!

Testimonial request templates

Sometimes we need a little more than just a 5-star review. Once someone leaves a review, you can ask them if they're up for writing a testimonial. Here are some templates to get you one.

Template #4:

Hello [customer name],

We're so happy that you're enjoying our [product or service]! 

We're grateful for the positive feedback you've already left, but if there's anything more you can share with us, we'd love it if you wrote a short testimonial here [link] to help other customers decide which products they should try next.

It won't take more than 5 minutes, but it'll mean a lot to us. Thanks in advance!

Template #5:

Hi [customer name],

We at [company name] are very excited about approaching [company goal]! By leaving your honest testimonial, you're helping us reach it even faster. 

We'd love for you to share how we've helped make things easier on your journey—so please leave your experience at this link: [link].

Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

Template #6:

Hi [customer name],

We are so happy to have you as a customer!

It would be great if you take a few seconds in your busy day and consider leaving us a testimonial that we can display on our website and show how proud we are of our successful customers.

You can drop it here: [testimonial link]

Thank you for considering it!

Email templates for collecting UGC as social proof

You also want to encourage your customers to tell their stories in creative formats—whether that's a video on TikTok, a photo on Instagram, or just a more creative type of review on another social platform. You can then re-post that content or use it in other ways in your campaigns (with permission, of course). 

Depending on the campaigns we're running and the content we're looking for, we use different approaches. Here are a few of the templates we've used—maybe they can even inspire some campaign ideas for you.

Photo/video contest template

Hosting an informal photo or video contest on social can be a great way to collect UGC. But don't just request the content on social—email your most loyal users too.

Template #7:

Hello [customer name],

We're running a photo/video contest about [campaign], and you could win [the prize]!

All you need to do is to send us a photo/video of [the product] and [additional info] by [date/time]. And that's it! You're in the game. 

You can submit your photos/videos at the link below, or just hit reply and send it via email.

Thanks for participating, and good luck!

Personal story request template

Personal UGC can be a great way to create a deeper connection with your audience. It's a great way to build trust and can even be a source of inspiration for other customers.

Template #8:

Hi there, [customer name],

We're so happy that you benefited from our [product/service]. We love the way [shortly explain the process] helped you out with [the problem they had].

We want to help other folks, too, and we were hoping you could let us share your story with them by answering the questions in the form on the link below.

[form link]

Thank you!

Hashtag campaign participation template

Customers will create content under your hashtags on their own, but an extra reminder never hurts. Here's the template we use to get people using our hashtags.

Template #9:

Hi [customer name],

We're running a hashtag campaign for [product]! 

All you have to do is take a photo of yourself [with/using] [the product] and post it with our [special hashtag] hashtag on [name of platform]. We'll re-post some of the best content we receive.

We can't wait to see your creative photos!

Throwback request template

A throwback campaign is a fun way to connect with your loyal users and also show how far you've come. You can ask them for photos or screenshots from older versions of your product or service—then you can create a kind of nostalgic photo montage.

Template #10:

Hi [customer name],

We got emotional and decided to start a retro campaign for [product/company name].

I know you've been our customer since forever, so if you have some old photos of [product], send them over. Or if you still have that [coverage of the product], take a screenshot and pass it here. Just click reply and send them our way.

We're so excited to share some of our memories from back then. Thanks for your help!

Templates for collecting success stories

Customer stories are an opportunity to go in-depth into how your product or service can help your audience. Depending on who you're asking (read this post for tips on how to find the right customer), you'll want to use a different template. Here are the ones we use.

Early-stage success story request template

Maybe you got a big client and want to share the news. Great! Here's our approach.

Template #11:

Hello [customer name],

We're very proud to have [customer/business name] as a client!

We know that we're at the very beginning of our work together, but we'd like to share the big news with the world. Would you be open to us writing a short success story about how you've benefited from our [product/service] so far, and how you plan to use it in the future? 

If so, we'll ask you to answer a few questions—you can find them by clicking the link below.


If you have any questions, let me know!

Big success story request template

It's ok to brag a little when one of your customers has a massive success. This is usually an easy one to get because the customer also wants to strut their stuff. 

Template #12:

Hello [customer name],

I'm so happy that you've enjoyed your experience with [company name] so far—we'd love to share your massive success with our audience!

To learn more about you, your business, and your experience with [company name], we'll ask you to please complete this form: 

[form link]

Once you've done that, we'll put together a story—and we'll be sure to share it with you for your approval before we publish it.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks so much!

The results

Like I said, these templates got us the results we wanted. Some examples incoming.

We used a combo of Template 2 and Subject line 5 to ask some of our users to leave us a review on our Google My Business account.

Here's what Simon said about us in response. 

A positive Google review for EmbedSocial

We ran a hashtag campaign where we asked our users and employees to post images on Instagram with the #branding hashtag. We used Template 9 and Subject line 4 to ask for it. 

Take a look at the output we got.

Some of the responses EmbedSocial got with their hashtag campaign

We have a great partnership with the City Of West Hollywood. I reached out to their Digital Marketing Specialist with a slightly adjusted email Template 12 and Subject line 2. And guess what? We managed to make an awesome success story together.

An example of a success story on EmbedSocial's website

With all the fantastic UGC we get, we make sure to take advantage of a variety of distribution channels to promote it—including right on our website. We love embedding cute UGC widgets, and our customers love it too. EmbedSocial is a UGC platform that can help you do the same without much manual effort.

Over to you

The connection with your audience goes both ways, and user-generated content can help you—and your customers—succeed. So don't wait: send those emails, and see the results roll in. 

This was a guest post from Marija Todorovska, content creator at EmbedSocial. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Read our guidelines, and get in touch.

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