Have you ever been chatting with a friend and they go on and on about a new device that has been an “absolute game-changer?” Maybe it’s a new coffee machine that gets their latte just right. They’re pitching it so hard you say, “Are they paying you or something?” That, my friends, is the root of brand ambassador marketing! In this post, we examine how brands are able to turn customers into brand advocates that promote and sell for the brand.
How to Recruit Brand Advocates
Some potential brand advocates are already in your reach. They’re repeat customers that you have access to via email and other channels. But before you can enlist them as brand ambassadors, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a great offer in place.
Step 1 – Build an Incentive Program
Think about what the best type of program is for your business. For restaurants, loyalty programs work well. For many retail and ecommerce brands, ambassador marketing programs are a good fit. Referral programs, which are often part of ambassador marketing, are also an effective way to engage brand advocates.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating an incentive program:
- Have a plan for managing your program. You’ll need to have at least one team member who can build a framework and manage the program. To simplify the process of collecting applications, managing activities, rewards, and communications, consider a brand ambassador management tool.
- Make sure the rewards you offer are what your community wants. Sometimes discounts on merchandise are enough, but offering a variety of rewards to discover what motivates your brand advocates is a smart idea. You can also create a survey asking your community what would appeal to them the most.
- Set goals for your program. Not just monetary goals for the company, but goals for your ambassadors, as well. Make sure they know they are an integral part of your team. For example, if you’re an events-based company, let your brand advocates know that the goal for an upcoming event is to have 600 attendees. If each person can bring in 10 attendees, you’ll reach the goal and celebrate that success with the team.
- Monitor Outcomes. One of the biggest challenges for companies that work with ambassadors and influencers is that they don’t have clear insights into campaign outcomes. By using referral links and referral discount codes, you can track sales made by brand advocates and determine which campaigns (and which advocates) are most effective.
Once you have an enticing program in place, you’re ready to share it publicly and with your community.
Step 2. Make Your Program Easy for Brand Advocates to Find
Try typing in the name of your favorite brand followed by the words “ambassador program” and see what comes up. Don’t be too surprised to find that the company you searched already has some sort of affiliate, ambassador, or loyalty program in place.
Over 90% of companies have some type of loyalty program, and 93% of marketers have reported using some form of influencer marketing as part of their strategy.
Now let’s apply this knowledge to your own business – Customers that love your merch will be actively looking for ways to get involved. They love free stuff almost as much as they love posting to social media! So why not kill two birds with one stone?
The question is – Are you effectively advertising your program?
How to Maximize Your Brand Ambassador Program’s Visibility:
- Have a great landing page. Clearly showcase the benefits of joining the program and what type of activities members will be participating in. Share images that portray existing brand advocates engaging with your brand. Include a stand-out call to action linking to the application form.
- Make sure that your program is visible on your website. Someone visiting your site should be able to easily find your ambassador program from the home page. Here’s an example from Kaged Muscle’s website, which highlights their “Innovator Program” as you scroll down the home page.
- Confirm that it appears in searches. Make sure your program’s landing page is appearing when you perform a Google search. If not, you can troubleshooting missing pages and request indexing if needed.
Step 3. Create an Outbound Marketing Campaign
Now that you’ve set up channels for organic search discovery, it’s time to focus on outbound campaigns.
Easy ways to share your brand advocacy program with prospects:
- Send out a newsletter featuring your program
- Add a call to action (such as “Join our Rewards Program”) in blog posts where it’s relevant
- Share the details on your social media pages
- Promote it on Instagram stories
- Talk about it in your YouTube and TikTok videos
- Ask your existing ambassadors to promote the program
For advocacy programs to be a success, you should constantly be inviting and adding new ambassadors to your program. Set a recurring schedule of growth activities, such as the ones we’ve listed here, for you and your team in your marketing calendar. You may also want to check out our eBook, 25 Tactics to Recruit Brand Ambassadors.
Brands That Have Mastered the Art of Brand Advocacy:
Image Source: iliabeauty.com
It goes without saying that the cosmetics industry is a crowded space. Ilia is a relatively young company that started in 2011. Their approach is to offer high-quality beauty products that nurture and protect the skin. With sustainable packaging, they are also able to attract environmentally conscious buyers. But as for the main secret to their mounting success, they immediately understood the importance of social media marketing.
Today’s buyers want to see diversity and inclusivity. They also consume short-form video at rates higher than ever before. By having real women of all ages demonstrate their makeup application in short reels, Ilia was able to garner the interest of the masses. Relating to customer desires makes brand advocates pursue you (the brand), and not the other way around!
Ilia’s affiliate program lets top fans enjoy free samples, bonuses, and sales commissions on referral sales made. It’s a win-win for the customers and the brand.
If you’ve been single in the last 10 years, you’ve probably heard of Bumble! The company has distinguished itself in recent years as a dating app for people who value equality and seek healthy relationships. “Bumble Honeys” are college brand ambassadors that assist in creating campus events to raise awareness on important issues and “spread the Bumble mission.”
Image Source: thebeehive.bumble.com
Bumble’s approach is brilliant in that it incorporates what Gen Z values the most – social responsibility and diversity. Knowing your audience is key when creating a successful brand advocacy program. Be sure to align activities with customer values.
BrandChamp Makes Managing Incentive Programs Easy
At BrandChamp, we make it easy to turn your customers into brand advocates. Our software helps manage all of aspects of brand ambassador marketing – from creating and approving activities to rewards management and commission payouts. Customizable tagging features help you tailor your program so you can manage diverse groups of advocates, such as customers, employees, and affiliates.
Increase Brand Advocates’ Engagement
Brand advocates love using BrandChamp’s gamified platform. Members can log into their account to see top-performing content from their peers and share ideas. They earn points by participating in available activities and redeem them for rewards. Having an easy-to-use system at their fingertips helps increase engagement and referral sales.
Want to learn more? Schedule a 15-minute demo with us