You know that feeling when you’re 3 hours into a deep Youtube hole and wondering why people aren’t as concerned about the Bermuda Triangle as you are? Then the man with a ponytail you’ve been listening to explain the disappearance of a plane in 1950 tells you to click a link so you can save money on an electric toothbrush? Classic.
This is an example of a company using ambassador marketing. It’s using the influence of a customer to help drive sales through their content, social media, and word of mouth.
So, what are the benefits of running a successful program for ambassador marketing?
Benefits of Increasing Ambassador Referrals
Well, the clear answer is conversion to sales. Ambassador referral programs can be an extremely effective way to not only drive sales but also increase your profile for public relations reasons. While many different kinds of traditional marketing are still effective, ambassador referrals can raise sales, awareness, PR, and more all in one program. ambassador marketing is a way to not only connect with the customers but also help spread the motives and vision of the company through their commitment to the brand.
Over the last 4 years, spending on referral marketing has risen significantly, as seen below.
For starters, a company must see the value in word of mouth marketing and product demonstration. In its essence, that’s what ambassador referral marketing is. A brand is choosing customers of theirs to be an extension, a branch on a larger tree, in the hope that they are referring other customers to drive traffic to their stores or websites.
An ambassador wears their gear, uses their products, and becomes walking advertisements. Advertisements that given the proper management, will become an efficient marketing strategy that can become extremely profitable for any company.
Tips to Increase Ambassador Referrals:
So, what are some of the best ways to build an effective ambassador program and increase sales?
1. Choose the Right Ambassadors
Choosing the correct candidates to be the ambassadors that will help drive ambassador sales is not about picking those with backgrounds in marketing or with the most impressive resume. A company should pick the ambassadors that best represent the goals and vision of the brand.
Some companies have programs that will seek out ambassadors on their own. Lululemon’s ambassador program is a great example of a company that not only uses its ambassadors effectively, but they usually seek out their candidates themselves. In many cases, ambassadors will be people that are already established, such as celebrity or influencer endorsements.
Lululemon finds people who not only are avid wearers of its gear but are also active in the fitness industry. By being specific about the types of personalities they work with, the brand keeps more creative control and can keep confidence their message is being sent the way it’s intended.
The ideal ambassador is active on social media, they are using your products in some way, and they understand the brand. Not just what the brand is or does, but what message it’s trying to send.
2. Use the Right Ambassador Software
An extremely important aspect of running a successful ambassador program is having the tools and organization to help things run smoothly. Choosing the correct ambassador referral software to keep track of the ambassadors and their contributions to a company is going to be vital to the success of any program.
The brand ambassador platform that BrandChamp offers serves as a useful tool to not only the company but also to the ambassadors themselves. Platforms such as this will help any company mobilize its customers and turn them into effective advertising, while also helping manage the incentive-based rewards systems. It will also allow a brand to manage posts as well as create content for ambassadors.
To learn more about BrandChamp’s program, please click here to contact or set up a demo.
3. Provide Resources for Ambassadors
Just as a company would expect it’s a to work hard for them, it is vital the company provides its ambassadors the resources to be effective. If they expect it’s ambassadors to be walking advertisements for them, they will need the products and support to do their job adequately. This can come in many forms.
The content given depends completely on what the brand in question is selling. A beauty company can give skincare items. A nutrition company may give protein powder or bars. A clothing company will….well, the idea is clear. A company will need to provide its ambassadors with some of their products so they can be used, worn, or consumed.
An example is what companies can do with celebrities wearing their products, as seen below.
Content can also come in other forms, not just products. Giving your creators the tools to create sponsored social media content can increase the reach of a specific campaign, while still keep the scale and costs of the marketing low. This can be as simple as sending a product or inviting ambassadors to come to visit a location.
4. Rewards that Work
Compensation comes in many forms across all types of brand ambassador programs and there is no set ambassador referral pricing. Many ambassadors are given products for demonstration, sponsorships for their own events, and partnerships on content, such as YouTube videos where a company provides an ambassador link, as the screenshot shares below.
For example, Amazon runs a productive program through its ambassador links. They give out a specialized link to wherever there is an audience. A good example of how they run links is through their work with Youtube creators Basically, when someone buys a product from Amazon through that link, it also benefits the ambassador. This is a simple and direct route for the ambassadors to see and be compensated for their efforts.
5. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships…
The last and most important piece of increasing ambassador referrals is the relationship a brand has with its ambassadors. This is important for a few reasons.
First, a positive and fruitful relationship with the ambassadors of its program will lead directly to sales. If a company is providing its ambassadors with the tools to succeed, the translation to sales will be swifter and will be accomplished in a more productive manner. It’s a similar idea to sending a normal employee into a meeting with the proper notes or information. If they are prepared, that employee will be a successful extension of the company. The same thought process should be used for ambassadors.
The power of the internet is an astonishing thing, whether that be for better or worse. In the current climate, it’s extremely easy for a small problem or mishap to become a national story and a negative image for a brand.
Look at the situation for Peloton, for example. A brand that has a largely positive image took a major hit due to the perceived context of a holiday advertisement. So where do ambassadors play a role in helping these sorts of situations?
Ambassadors can fill an important role between a company and the common customer. While they are not full employees, they are not just normal customers either. If a brand continues to spread a positive message, support its ambassadors, and reward them for their work, they are creating a sort of safety net when it comes to reputation. A brand will have spokespeople out among the population with a positive image of the brand, helping other customers see this company is a good one to do business with.
So, What Makes a Successful Program?
While there are certainly a number of factors that make up the larger picture of a successful ambassador referral program, the ones that succeed have common ground. They are choosing the right customers, usually loyal ones, to represent them. They are taking these customers and giving them the right tools and content they need to succeed. Then, they reward them for their effort.
These pillars of what makes an ambassador program successful depend almost completely on the relationship between the brand and its customers. Investing in customers is always an effective play.