What is ambassador marketing?
If you don't have ambassadors already, it should be your next priority. Period.
Why? Because they're a great marketing tool and most importantly a huge source of extra revenue.
Wondering how you can turn people into ambassadors? Read on to learn about my experience with running an ambassador program with over 700 people enrolled!
- What is a brand ambassador exactly
- Why do you need ambassadors for your business
- Where can you find potential ambassadors
- How do you turn customers into loyal ambassadors
1. What is a brand ambassador exactly
A brand ambassador is a person who will actively promote and support your brand or business in a positive way. Eventually even becoming a brand influencer.
Meaning they will tell other people about your company.
They might do this via social media, by word of mouth or by showing off your stickers, merch, banners, etc. Depending on which tools you give them.
2. Why your business needs ambassadors
Ambassadors usually* start off as regular customers. Which is great!
A good ambassador needs to be able to sell your product like you would sell it. Meaning they need to have experienced your products firsthand after buying it themselves.
Nobody will apply to be a brand ambassador for a brand they don't like or have a bad experience with anyway.
The reason you need them is because they are the most authentic, strongest and "cheapest" form of advertising. Plus, they already paid you some money
- Authentic: They are promoting your brand because they genuinely like it.
- Strong: A personal message from a real person blows every billboard or sponsored
ad right out of the water.
- Cheap: You don't necessarily have to pay your ambassadors to talk about you.
They'll usually start by paying you when buying something from your
*A lot of influencers are paid ambassadors that will promote your brand in return for free goods or actual cash. So they usually don't start out as customers.
Where to find potential ambassadors
As mentioned above, your customer base is the best place to start.
They already know your business or products and you did not force them to buy something from you. You didn't, right?
Not all customers are eligible to be an ambassador. So it's up to you to filter the potential ambassadors from the rest of your customers.
Here's a list of a few easy ways to spot customers that are potential ambassadors.
Some of them may require some research but it's definitely worth it. The list is also ranked from low potential (which is still potential!) to high potential.
- Customers who follow you on one or more social media channels
- Customers who follow you and repeatedly like your social posts
- Customers that are subscribed to your newsletters and actually read them
- Customers who share your products or business on their own social media
- Customers who buy your products frequently
- Customers who refer potential customers
It's very probable that there will be other criteria that will fit your business model better like amount spent or x events attended.
So you don't have to stick to the ones mentioned above. Feel free to experiment or trust your gut feeling
All of the above is based on your future ambassador being a customer. What if they're not a customer (yet)?
There are a few other ways to go about it but they might require spending money or products.
- Influencers: People with a big audience on social media that will showcase your products temporarily in exchange for freebies or money. Influencers will cost you anything between €25 and €500.000 depending on the amount of followers they have.
- Test audience: You can also hand out free versions of your product (if applicable) in order to convince people to become a customer and/or ambassador.
Personally, I prefer working with customers instead of influencers and others.
How do you turn customers into loyal ambassadors
In my case, I had a shorts brand called Rufus&Royce, which enrolled around 714 brand ambassadors in colleges and universities all over the USA and a few in Europe.
All of the ambassadors were customers. That was really important to me.
- They owned my products so I didn't lose time explaining what we stood for.
- They bought my products and thus invested in my brand. Making it easier for me to reinvest money into them.
Again, you need to decide what's important for you when picking potential ambassadors.
Here's what I did to make loyal ambassadors out of those customers:
Have them make an effort to sign up. They had to answer some questions, let me know which product was their favorite and why, etc. If they didn't take the time to do this, then they wouldn't take the time to be a good ambassador either.
Make it worth their wile. Unfortunately, nothing is really for free in life. If I make money they can make money too. I gave my ambassadors a percentage* of every sale they made. I gave 5% but you can decide on a percentage you're comfortable with. You can also give them your custom merchandise to reward them. If it looks nice, they'll wear it a lot and promote your business even better.
*How did I track sales? Every ambassador got an unique discount code. If a new customer used their code, I could then easily track that data in my software and calculate their commission.
Create a community to voice their ideas. All of the ambassadors were put together in a closed Facebook group. It took our team a while but after a few weeks in, a lot of the members started sharing ideas themselves on how to sell more shorts, etc.
Another great thing about a community group is that you can pitch new products to your ambassadors before launching them. Their honest feedback can help you save or make a lot of money!
Start out by doing these 3 things and you'll go a long way.
If done successfully your ambassador program will start to bring in more customers, more revenue and more credibility.
Pro tip: Encourage your ambassadors to take pictures of / with your products (if applicable). That saves you a ton on brand photography and again, nothing beats authentic user generated content. People trust people. Not your generic banner ads.