Humans are social animals. When you experience something amazing, watch a riveting movie, or buy an excellent product, you talk about it! This is why referral marketing will never go out of style.
If you think about it, you already engage in referral marketing every day without meaning to. Whenever you share product recommendations with friends, family members, or coworkers, you’re acting as an ambassador for that brand. The internet only amplifies the effects of this human habit. Just ask Airbnb, Uber, or Tesla — all three brands benefit greatly from word-of-mouth recommendations.
How Do Brand Ambassadors Boost Referral Marketing?
A well-managed brand ambassador program rewards loyal customers for their support. It leverages the fact that satisfied customers make the best brand ambassadors. And it zeroes in on the concept that successful marketing is all about building trust.
If it comes down to paid ads or recommendations from friends, most people trust what their friends say about a particular product over the endorsement of an influencer or celebrity. So, shouldn’t you reward your most valuable customers for sharing their love for your brand and nurture those relationships?
That’s where a brand ambassador program that rewards referral saves the day. If you want to carve out your niche in the eCommerce space using brand ambassadors and referrals, we share some effective strategies below!
UGC is the GOAT
Don’t overlook your regular customers. They are your best asset in more ways than one! Some ways they add value include:
- sharing photos of your product on social media
- posting glowing reviews of your brand
- singing your praises to their inner circle
Loyal customers are often happy to create user-generated content if they’re happy with your product. And user-generated content always feels more authentic than ads.
Highly-Targeted Marketing for the Win
You know what they say: birds of a feather flock together! Apply this concept to brand ambassador programs and you’ll notice that highly-targeted referral marketing reaches ideal potential customers. Your brand ambassadors won’t bombard everyone on their contact list with offers of your products. They’ll most likely invite people whom they know will appreciate your products as much as they do.
For instance, if you’re in the wellness industry, your ambassadors are likely health conscious. They’ll avoid talking you up to junk food lovers and couch potatoes and sing your praises to other health buffs instead.
Other than attracting your target audience, ambassadors can raise brand awareness and drive sales with their referral marketing efforts.
How can you maximize the amazing potential of your ambassador relationships and loyalty? Keep reading for some easy-to-implement ideas!
Create a Social Media-Worthy Customer Experience
With millions of people using social media on a daily basis, the brand that wows customers by giving them a postable experience wins it all. An example is the popular unboxing video trend mushrooming all over the internet. People are naturally curious. And they want to be wowed. Watching a trusted friend or influencer unbox an exciting product checks off all the boxes. And brands that deliver become trendy.
This is exactly what happened with TrunkClub. Nordstrom’s clothing subscription service packages their deliveries in custom-printed boxes to look spectacular when they’re opened up. The moment the package arrives at the door, customers are expecting an awesome unboxing moment. Inside, the contents are meticulously laid out. And every box comes with a handwritten note from a stylist.
With a special experience like that, who wouldn’t share it on their social media channel of choice? And more importantly, after seeing a friend post something as satisfying as that, who wouldn’t be compelled to try and experience it for themselves?
Postable moments come across as authentic and organic. They can set your brand apart from similar products on the market. Luckily, you can cultivate these moments with your brand ambassadors by setting them up as ambassador activities on BrandChamp!
Drum Up Interest with Contests
Spark brand ambassadors’ competitive spirit by running a referral contest. There’s nothing like some friendly competition to fire up your loyal customers in a way that builds your eCommerce business.
This marketing strategy is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is draw up contest rules, choose desirable rewards, and promote the contest like crazy.
Before you delve into the nitty-gritty details, it’s important to define what you wish to accomplish with the contest.
Do you want more sales? Then reward those ambassadors whose referral links generate the most sales.
Do you want more followers? Enlist ambassadors to create user-generated content featuring your products, hashtag or brand. Content creators who get the most engagement win.
Offer Two-Way Incentives
Sweeten the deal for everyone involved by offering two-way incentives. This marketing strategy rewards both your brand ambassador and the new customer they bring in.
Depending on your brand, you can offer the same reward to both parties (i.e., discounts on purchases) or offer different incentives (i.e., cash reward for your ambassador, product discount for the new customer).
HelloFresh has this strategy down. The well-known meal kit delivery service offers $20 in credit to ambassadors and $40 off of a referred customer’s first purchase.
Aside from providing an offer that’s hard to refuse to potential customers, this strategy keeps ambassadors from looking self-serving.
Make Your Brand Ambassador Program Visible
Make it easy for your customers to see that you have a referral program. Some eCommerce brands relegate their referral program link to fine prints at the footer of their website. Don’t make that mistake.
Research has shown that the top-left corner of your website gets the most attention first. Then, eyeballs move right and down from there. Footers rarely get attention. So, if you want to jumpstart your referral program, make sure you have a banner on a visible part of your website that lets visitors know they can refer their friends and enjoy incentives in the process.
Aside from your homepage, mention your referral program in your email newsletters, blog posts, thank you page, and social media accounts. The more visible your program is, the more likely it is to convert existing customers to brand ambassadors.
Donate to Charity
The best incentives may not necessarily be what you expect. Being altruistic can be just as compelling of a reward as a cash incentive. There are certain niches wherein giving to charity as a reward works like a charm.
For instance, if you’re selling pet products, many of your customers are pet parents who are passionate about animal welfare.
So, if you donate, for example, a percentage of each purchase to PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, or a no-kill animal shelter, that kind of reward might resonate more than a cash incentive. And guess who they will share your philanthropic brand with? Their fur parent friends, of course!
A real-world example of this is LoveWithFood. This company sells organic and healthy snack boxes. They also have a compelling offer: with every snack box you buy, one meal will be donated to food banks. You can even earn points with every referral and every box you buy. These points can be converted into free snack boxes. Talk about a win-win for everyone!
Consider Giving Perpetual Incentives
If you have the resources, consider giving recurring rewards to your ambassadors. This works best when you’re selling monthly subscriptions. Your ambassadors continue to enjoy incentives from a referral for as long as they stay subscribed to the service.
One way to make sure that your program won’t get abused is to only allow existing clients to become brand ambassadors. In addition, instead of giving cash rewards, you can give credits instead.
iControlWP is one company that uses this strategy to build its brand. This WordPress site management software company offers perpetual recurring account credit as referral rewards. So, it’s quite possible for clients who have referred many people to their service to not pay anything for their own subscription as their credits accrue.
Don’t Forget Your Past Customers
When introducing a new referral program, don’t forget to inform your past customers. Think of this as hitting two birds with one stone. Aside from letting them know of your new referral program, you can also stir their interest to visit your website again.
You can get in touch with past customers through email or social media ads that are targeting people who’ve purchased from you in the past.
Pimp Your Website with Great UX Design
Signing up for your referral program should be a simple, maybe even fun experience for your customers. This is why having a great UX design is imperative if you want to attract more brand ambassadors.
Think of how visitors experience and work with your website. Is the journey seamless for them? Can you make it even simpler?
From your homepage, landing page, check-out page, and even until your thank you page — the whole experience has to be as frictionless as possible. And if you want people to rave about you to their friends, a website with great UX design is something you can’t do without.
What If Someone Circumvents the System?
Brand ambassador programs are like affiliate marketing programs in some ways. They can be taken advantage of by people who use deceptive tactics just to rack up incentives for themselves.
Even if your program has clear guidelines, exploitative people can still find a way to game the system. They can use multiple accounts for self-referral or spam referral codes. And being associated with those practices is the last thing you need when you’re trying to build your brand trust.
A great way to work around this problem is to use a brand ambassador management software like BrandChamp. Aside from tracking referral codes and brand ambassador activities easily, this software makes building a thriving ambassador community hassle-free.
A brand ambassador program is a powerful way to grow your business without breaking the bank. You establish a team of loyal customers along the way. Plus, there are so many unique ways you can go about it that reflect who you are as a brand.
BrandChamp makes this process as smooth as possible for eCommerce companies. To ramp up your referral marketing with brand ambassadors, get in touch with us today!