How to Start A Successful Brand Ambassador Program
Over the years I have helped hundreds of e-commerce start successful ambassador programs.
BrandChamp’s ambassador software platform helps brands manage and scale their brand ambassador programs through automation across the entire ambassador life-cycle – ambassador recruitment, activities, activity verification, reward distribution and communication.
BrandChamp helps brands measure the impact of their ambassador campaigns on their bottom line by integrating with Shopify, WooCommerce or Amazon Seller Central to track referral sales via cookies, links and discount codes.
Is Your Brand Ready To Start An Ambassador Program?
Not all e-commerce brands are ready to start a successful brand ambassador program. Here are some good signs that your brand is ready to invest into ambassador marketing:
- Customers are asking if they can become ambassadors
- Customers are sharing your product for free, without you asking them to
- Your products are apart of people’s identity. Think health, fitness, accessories and apparel
- You have built an engaged community of customers
- Your store generates $100,000 per month in sales
- Your store has more than 1,000 sales per month
1. Things To Think About While Creating An Ambassador Campaign
Most successful ambassador programs evolve over time, especially if this is your first time running an ambassador program. Spend most of your time executing, measuring, and iterating on your program – not planning it.
Spend some time, but not too much time thinking about:
- How will I choose my ambassadors? Do I have any requirements around customer loyalty, social following, or minimum ambassador activity?
- What are easy, authentic activities my ambassadors can do? How often do I want them to perform these activities?
- What rewards will my ambassadors love?
- How much revenue do I need to generate to justify this program?
- Are there any less tangible benefits like User Generated Content for use in other marketing channels, or increased brand awareness?
2. Start With A Simple Brand Ambassador Program
When you first begin your program you don’t have any data on:
- Which customer type translates into high performing ambassadors
- What kind of activities create the most engagement from your brand ambassador’s audience
- The types of rewards your ambassadors love to complete activities for
The customers you recruit, activities and rewards are going to change as you learn more about what works, and what doesn’t. This is why it’s important to spend most of your time executing, measuring and iterating instead of planning.
Keeping things simple is as important for you as it is for your ambassadors. Ambassadors are doing your brand a favor by talking about your brand with their friends and family. The last thing you want is to put them off joining the program by making them read through an incomprehensible list of terms and conditions. Keep it simple.
3. Give Your Ambassadors A Voice
Brands running successful ambassador campaigns like Inner Fire Apparel rely heavily on their ambassadors to help shape the program. One of these easiest ways to find activities and rewards ambassadors love is by asking them! Not only does this help you run a more successful program, it helps create stronger ambassador relationships by making participants feel heard, and valued.
3. Create A Brand Ambassador Program With Great Rewards
Skirt Sports generated over 25,000 pieces of user generated content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and personal blogs. Vibe Kayaks works with pro fisherman to get feedback and create user generated content. In order to create a successful ambassador campaign you must provide awesome rewards.
Successful brands don’t just provide transactional rewards for measurable referral sales, but also provide rewards for just completing an activity – regardless if it sent trackable sales or not.
Why is this?
Because your ambassadors audience likely won’t convert on the first activity, and if you only reward tracked sales than your ambassador is likely to give up before they are generating referrals for your brand.
Trackable referral sales increases over time and consistency – the more times your ambassador talks about your brand, the more likely their audience is to convert into customers.
4. Build an Engaged Community Along Side Your Brand Ambassador Program
BrandChamp helps manage all of your ambassador communication in one-place, but there is a ton of value in creating communities for your customers and ambassadors to talk to each other. Smart brands are using Facebook Groups to create engaged communities.
Customers in engaged communities purchase more, they purchase more frequently, are more likely to recommend your brand to a friend, or invite a friend to join your brand’s community.
Skirt Sports has almost 10 Facebook groups with dozens of thousands of active members:
- International Facebook group for all customers
- Regional Facebook groups for ambassadors
- Private Facebook group for top performing ambassadors
5. Open Communication Is Important To Creating A Successful Ambassador Program
Communication, communication, communication.
Ambassadors need to know what you expect from them, and when they don’t quite hit the mark on promoting your brand, they need feedback on how to comply with your requirements.
BrandChamp makes it easy to automatically approve activities in one-click. If the activity does meet compliance requirements you can leave feedback from within the app on what your ambassador needs to do differently to successfully complete the activity.
You should also be communicating in your Facebook group to keep your brand at top of mind, and customers and ambassadors engaged.
Skirt Sports runs weekly Facebook threads in their Facebook group to promote engagement.
- Share / Like / Follow each other on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest threads to help their ambassadors and customers build bigger audiences
- “What Did Your Skirt Do This Weekend” threads to allow customers and ambassadors to post pics of them wearing Skirt Sports products
- “Ask A Nutritionist / Chiropractor / Physical Therapist” threads to connect their customers to health experts for Q&A
6. Give Your Ambassadors the Spotlight
Highlight ambassador content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog and product pages.
This has a ton of benefits:
- Recognizes your customers and ambassadors as important to you
- Increases customer and ambassador loyalty and engagement
- Increases authenticity of your marketing and advertising campaigns and content versus brand created content
- Reduces your content creation cost
7. Consistently Ask for Feedback
I know I already mentioned this, but it’s so important to a successful brand ambassador program that I needed to re-iterate it.
Consistently ask for feedback.
Want to know if your ambassadors are happy with your program? All you need to do is ask. Give your ambassadors plenty of opportunities to give feedback you can use to improve your ambassador program.
If you are a fashion brand, check out these fashion brand ambassador programs that are crushing it.