Now more than ever, consumers crave authentic reviews and recommendations before making a purchase decision. In fact, 91% of consumers trust online reviews and product recommendations from their peers.
Consumers don’t want self-promotional messages from brands, they look to their friends and family for their opinion on brands instead of the brand itself.
Current consumer buying behavior has taken many traditional marketing strategies off the table and eCommerce brands are scrambling to keep their online sales high. But there is good news. Building a network of brand ambassadors can cater to what consumers crave and promote your brand effectively.
In this post, I’ll explore the strategies that I’ve implemented when helping my eCommerce clients build their solid brand ambassador programs. Let’s explore some secrets of the trade from my own experience, shall we?
What a Functioning Brand Ambassador Program Looks Like
An effective brand ambassador program is full of people posting on social media positioning your brand in a positive light. These people post about your brand often and write articulate social media posts with accompanying images of your product. Their experience with your brand increases brand awareness and sales.
A functioning brand ambassador program should not be viewed in the traditional campaign mentality where it’s “one and done.” Rather, your brand ambassador program should be an ongoing strategy that you implement so that the earned media is consistent.
This requires a lot of organization and creativity. In order to keep up with your brand ambassador program, consider ditching old marketing tactics like banner ads and retargeting so that you can make room for a more powerful strategy—your brand ambassador program.
Your Untapped Gold Mine of Ambassadors
So, the biggest secret when it comes to a brand ambassador strategy is that your most valuable brand ambassadors are your consumers.
Your consumers have an already established genuine relationship with your brand. It’s not a lot of extra work on their part to post about your brand.
Some marketers get hung up on recruiting influencers as brand ambassadors. And don’t get me wrong, influencers are great, and I whole heartedly believe in them. But, they should be a separate strategy. Influencers have to be recruited, educated and have high fees for posting. Meanwhile, working with a lot of current consumers is a quicker and more affordable route to take.
Identifying the Right Ambassadors
Not all of your consumers are the right fit for your brand ambassador program. You need to identify your happiest consumers and there are a few ways to go about this. These ways include:
- Consult with your client services team and work with them to identify your strongest brand fans
- Send a survey out to your consumers about their brand experience and uncover the happiest of your consumers
- Look at the previous social media posts your brand has been tagged in and identify consumers who already post about your brand
Recruiting Brand Ambassadors
Once you’ve identified your happy consumers it’s time to formally recruit them into your brand ambassador program. No functioning relationship is one sided so be sure to convey the value that your happy consumers will get from posting about your brand.
Send personalized emails to your target ambassadors thanking them for being a loyal customer and invite them into your brand ambassador program.
This is Actually a Scalable Strategy
For eCommerce brands, Facebook and Instagram are the best channels to have your ambassadors post on. Your average person has a few hundred followers on each of these channels so imagine the impressions your brand will get if you work with at least 50 brand ambassadors!
To scale your brand ambassador program takes a lot of organization so I always have my clients use CrewFire because it enables brands to run their brand ambassador program in their all-encompassing software.
How to Get Your Ambassadors to Post Regularly
As I mentioned, a brand ambassador program can’t be one sided where your brand is asking for posts but not giving anything in return.
It’s crucial that you incentivize your ambassadors for their posts. Here is what that can look like:
- Discounts on your products
- Small monetary compensation per post
- Commission on the sales generated from their posts
- Free products
Results You Can Expect
Obviously, the primary goals with your brand ambassador program is brand awareness and sales. And you’ll achieve these goals with ambassadors. But, the earned media is valuable in other areas too including:
- Images and quotes to use on your website
- Content for your marketing materials
- Fodder for your brand’s social media channels
- Material to use in your email marketing
Consumers love social proof so part of your job is to put your ambassador’s posts front and center for your target consumers to see.
Consumers don’t convert from self-promotional messages from brands. They prefer to hear about new products and services from their peers and that’s where a brand ambassador program comes into play.
The valuable word of mouth marketing that brand ambassadors can spout about your brand are more effective than many marketing strategies. However, a functioning brand ambassador program requires a lot of organization and attention to detail in order to scale it.
Happy consumers make the best brand ambassadors so be sure to offer a structure that rewards them for posting about your brand. Afterall, one sided relationships never work.
Do you have any tips on running a successful brand ambassador program? We’d love to hear all about your strategy in the comments below!
Author Bio: Kristen Matthews has been helping brands with digital marketing for 10 years. She specializes in influencer marketing, content creation, content marketing, social media marketing, lead gen, and email marketing. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com to talk strategy or follow her on Twitter to have access to all of her marketing content she puts out.