Potential customers weren’t born yesterday. Even if your marketing content isn’t sales-y, they know your ultimate aim is to sell them something. So, how do you find an authentic means of promotion?
The key is to ask people who genuinely love your brand to do the promoting for you. When “real” people endorse your offering, others are more likely to listen. That’s where a brand ambassador program comes in.
But what exactly do brand ambassadors do, and how do they help you improve brand awareness and sales conversions? Keep reading to find out.
What is a brand ambassador?
A brand ambassador is someone who partners with a company to help promote its products and services. This person is already a big fan and is happy to pass on recommendations to friends and followers.
The primary role of an ambassador is to show the brand in a positive light and encourage others to engage. Word-of-mouth marketing is perceived as trustworthy, as it’s not just the company tooting its own horn. For example, if you’re selling an HR platform, the best people to sing its praises are the HR professionals using it.
Brand ambassadors are different from influencers. These are typically hired on a short-term basis, whereas you’ll build ongoing relationships with ambassadors. While influencers are usually well-known on social media platforms, ambassadors can be your own customers or employees.
5 Steps to launch a brand ambassador program
A brand ambassador program is a structured scheme in which you recruit and support the people who represent your brand. Ambassadors operate within your guidelines, sometimes working with the marketing team as well as creating their own content.
Although goals and methods will differ between brands, here are the basic steps to creating an effective brand ambassador program.
Establish program objectives and framework
The first step is to think about what should be included in your program. What are your objectives for the scheme? Do you want to boost your social media follower count, increase conversions, or improve your brand reputation?
What types of ambassadors would work best—will you recruit existing customers, employees, or affiliate marketers? You might base eligibility for the program on how long someone has been using your product or service, or how many followers they have.
You may have specific ambassador requirements, such as a certain number of brand-related posts in a given period, or specific hashtags. Clear guidelines clarify ambassador expectations, and a set framework helps you find the right people.
Outline your preferred brand ambassador profile
Consider how you’ll define your ideal ambassador, and put together a profile of the right candidate. The whole idea is to find someone who already supports your brand, so loyal customers are perfect for the role.
Other potential brand ambassadors include current employees, fellow businesses or nonprofits that share your values, or “celebrity” ambassadors. These don’t have to be Hollywood stars: they could be a local personalities with an established social media presence. You might also choose a niche ambassador for a specific target audience.
How do you find a brand ambassador? Search online, look for social media content or blog posts that mention you, use an affiliate platform, or invite applications. If you’re recruiting employees, looking at your HR reporting software can help identify the most suitable members of your team.
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Provide product training and support
Whoever you appoint as an ambassador needs to know all about the products and services they’ll be promoting. It’s up to you to provide this information by offering training—especially if you’re selling tech products, such as data analysis and forecasting software—and sending regular updates.
Answer any product-related questions your ambassadors might have, and make sure they’re fully up to speed with your company mission, values, and goals. It’s a good idea to carry out full onboarding with guidelines on how your ambassador program operates.
To aid you with this, you may want to leverage automated onboarding software, which will make the process quicker and easier for everyone involved. Ambassadors can also test out new products and give you valuable feedback, which you can then use for product development and marketing strategy.
Plan out a compensation and incentive structure
Before you hire a brand ambassador, you need to decide how you’ll compensate or incentivize them. Loyal customers will likely be happy to promote you anyway, but it’s best to keep them sweet with exclusive discount codes or early access to new items.
Some ambassadors earn a performance-based monetary fee, but it’s still less expensive than traditional advertising. Affiliate ambassadors promote you on their own platforms using affiliate links and receive a commission each time someone uses their link to make a purchase.
Others may be happy to receive recognition through your social channels, while employee ambassadors might earn in-house recognition or other prizes.
Track and monitor the program performance
You need to keep track of performance so that you can make changes if required. When you set up your ambassador program, establish relevant KPIs (key performance indicators) for measurement. These should be tied to your overall objectives, such as increasing traffic or sales.
How and what you use to track performance can vary depending on who your ambassador is. For example, if they’re a previous customer, you’ll want to stick to your websites or social media analytics reporting tool. But, if they’re an employee, you might want to combine this data with career development software for a more holistic view that’s aligned with their goals.
By tracking the right goals, you can see how ambassadors are helping to grow your brand more effectively. You can also offer data or insights to help them perform better and encourage their feedback about the program.
Creating an effective brand ambassador program brings many benefits, including promoting your company to a wider audience and building trust and loyalty among your customer base. Ambassadors can help you smash your marketing goals and boost your competitive edge.
Remember to establish guidelines and key objectives before seeking potential ambassadors, and provide information, training, and fair compensation. If you can form long-term partnerships, brand ambassador programs are a cost-effective and low-risk strategy.
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