Consumers are taking things into their own hands. They research brands and look to others they trust rather than ads. In fact, 82% of consumers proactively seek referrals from peers before making a purchasing decision. (Nielsen)
Every time a friend, family member, or colleague shares positive information about a brand, they act as ambassadors. Some of the best companies are monetizing this valuable touchpoint and setting up an ambassador program.
The Value of an Ambassador Program
Ambassador programs enlist people who love your brand. These individuals already promote your products and use your merchandise. They are loyal supporters on social media and YouTube. When the latest merchandise releases, ambassadors are first in line.
Managing company advocates through ambassador programs presents tremendous opportunities to build brands while maintaining authenticity. Also, organizations tap into the peer-to-peer influence that affects almost half of every purchasing decision. (Nielsen)
Salomon launched an ambassador program and reached 23 million people without a single ad. Learn more about Salomon's successful ambassador program.
How to Set up an Ambassador Program
As with every marketing practice, you need to begin with the end in mind. Planning, execution, and tracking are crucial. Below are five steps to help you set up an ambassador program.
Step 1: Create an Application Form
An ambassador program's primary purpose is to work with the fans who care about your brand. Asking ambassadors to apply makes the arrangement official and conveys your commitment to them.
The application can be a form fill on your website or a list of questions in an email. Keep the details in a Google Sheet or Excel.
Collect the following information about your ambassadors:
- Phone Number
- Social profiles
Step 2: Segment Applicants into Groups
Once you gather the basics on your ambassadors, you can chunk them into groups. Ideally, your ambassadors will be different and expand your brand's reach and influence. A mixed group helps engage with new audiences and communities.
Consider your plans and goals for ambassadors. You can group ambassadors using your organization's priorities.
One strategy is to divide ambassadors by:
- Number of followers
- Quality of their content
- Fit with your brand
- Frequency of posts
- Impressions and engagements
- Inbound traffic
- Revenue from referrals and links
Ambassadors are vital to your brand. They believe in you and love your products. Remember this and treat each ambassador as a committed partner.
Step 3: Produce Links for Ambassadors
Organizations working with ambassadors continually see their sales grow. While people ignore ads, 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations. So use your ambassadors to spread the word.
Discount links and referral codes are the perfect way for ambassadors to reward their followers and connect efforts to results. Shopify and eCommerce systems can generate these codes.
Ambassador marketing platforms like Wooly provide links and discount codes from one screen. Even better, Wooly automatically attaches links to individual ambassadors and tracks results. Motivate your brand champions to spread the word about your business with formal referral rewards that links incentives to promotional activities.
Step 4: Involve Ambassadors in Marketing Campaigns
Remember that ambassadors are your allies. They genuinely want and need to engage with their community. Building campaigns that foster engagement with their followers benefits everyone. After launching your program, it's super effective to design campaigns specifically for ambassadors.
Since ambassadors are unique, don't dictate how they implement campaigns. Instead, you should provide ideas, style guidelines, competitions, and contests. Give ambassadors plenty of latitude to adapt marketing campaigns to their communities. And don't forget to include referral codes.
Step 5: Track Results
After all the hard work, tracking results is the only way to know how fantastic your program is. Once again, consider the objectives. What activities and metrics measure progress? How often do you need to monitor results?
You can record the data in a spreadsheet and share highlights. Be prepared to spend a substantial amount of time tracking results. You'll need to find every campaign's discount code in Shopify and follow each of your ambassador's stories and posts. Also, monitor and record post frequency, followers, likes, and traffic.
A much faster and easier way to track results is through an ambassador marketing platform such as Wooly. Wooly's top-ranked platform combines social listening, a CRM, dashboard, rich user profiles, and integrations to eCommerce, social accounts, and email.
Learn how Blendtec drives 10% of new sales through their ambassador program powered by Wooly.
A Final Bit of Advice
With the barrage of commercial messages, companies are ditching traditional channels. Savvy marketers are building long-term relationships with devoted consumers by setting up ambassador programs.
Marketing through people who love you instantly expands reach, lowers customer acquisition costs, and grows revenue.
Ready to tackle your own word of mouth and ambassador program? If so, this blueprint--Launch Your New Brand Ambassador Program & Template--is certain to give you a huge jumpstart.