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Brand ambassador programs, a type of influencer marketing, have become a popular way to expand your brand awareness, grow your business, and make more money. And here’s the proof: sixty-eight percent of brands said that they planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2023.
But what is a brand ambassador program, and how could it benefit your brand? In this blog, we’ll answer those questions and give you five examples.
What Is An Ambassador Program?
A brand ambassador program is a promotional strategy that involves recruiting individuals—customers, social media influencers, or celebrities, for example—to represent and promote a brand.
Ambassador programs are similar to referral programs. Both types of programs leverage existing customers to promote a brand or product to a wider audience.
Ambassador programs, however, leverage people who are influential in a pre-existing community. Often, these two programs can be blended together to maximize the effectiveness of both.
Why Brand Ambassador Programs Work
Ambassador programs are a powerful way to get in front of many new potential customers at once and often have a lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA) than other marketing efforts.
Here are some of the most notable reasons why brand ambassador programs work:
- Authenticity and trust: Recommendations from genuine fans and loyal customers come across as more authentic and trustworthy than traditional advertising.
- Targeted audience: Ambassadors are often chosen based on their alignment with the brand's target audience. This ensures that the message reaches potential customers who are more likely to be interested in the product or service.
- Engagement and interactivity: Ambassador programs encourage active engagement between the brand and its customers. Ambassadors often create content, participate in discussions, and answer questions from their followers.
- Loyalty and long-term relationships: When customers become ambassadors, they often develop a deeper connection with the brand, which can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business.
- Cost-effective marketing: While there may be expenses associated with rewards and incentives, the return on investment (ROI) is often high because the program leverages the personal networks and influence of the ambassadors.
How to Create an Ambassador Program
Your ambassador program needs to appeal to your future customers and your future brand ambassadors. Here’s how to create an ambassador program that pleases them both.
Set goals for your brand ambassador program
Start with your why. Your first step in creating an ambassador program is to determine what success looks like for your brand.
For example, are you looking to increase conversion rates, grow revenue, or build ROI? There are endless metrics for you to choose from. But it’s important to choose metrics that work best for your brand.
Set up your criteria, requirements, and compensation structure
Next, who do you want to represent your brand? Are you targeting loyal customers, celebrities, or social media influencers? Consider the size and demographics of potential ambassadors’ followings and whether their audience is suited to what you’re selling.
You’ll also need to decide how you will compensate ambassadors. Will you offer gifted products or direct compensation? Eighty-three percent of influencers are willing to work with brands just for free products.
Reach out to would-be-ambassadors or set up an application process
Once you’ve put together a list of potential ambassadors, it’s time to start reaching out.
To make your job even easier, create an application process for interested candidates to express their enthusiasm and qualifications. This means that ambassadors come to you. And all you have to do is vet them.
Alternatively, if you would like to actively recruit brand ambassadors, have someone on your team reach out to potential ambassadors on social media who fit certain criteria. As a very broad example, micro-influencers have <10k followers on Instagram. Anyone with 5,000 to 10,000 followers and “fashion” in their bio could be a potential ambassador. A quick invitation to apply for the ambassador program can get things started quickly for newer brands.
Enter into a formal agreement with selected ambassadors
Before reaching out to potential ambassadors, decide on some guidelines for your ambassadors to follow.
These guidelines should outline the expectations and responsibilities of ambassadors. This includes the frequency and type of content they should create, how they should represent the brand, and any ethical considerations.
Run a referral program too
Running referral programs alongside your ambassador program enables ambassadors to give their audience special offers. They may say something like “Use the code AMBASSADOR10 to get 10% off your next purchase”.
A/B test offers and other elements of your program
Take a breath: your ambassador program is up and running! Now it’s time to track its performance.
Not all brand ambassador programs are created equal. The reality is that some will start strong and some may need a bit of experimentation and determination. Even if you’re experiencing success, A/B testing is a great way to maximize the success of your program.
But what can you test? The answer is everything! Test email copy, subject lines, calls to action, and hero images. The A/B testing possibilities are endless.
5 Examples of Successful Ambassador Programs
Let's review a few examples of successful ambassador programs to see what all of this looks like in action.
Byte’s ambassador program was aimed at US influencers with an Instagram following of over 25k.
And according to Byte, it helped them grow the business: “Being able to run unlimited referral, influencer, and ambassador campaigns gives us the breathing room we need to try different things. It’s imperative—and it’s helped us triple in size over the last year.”
Lululemon’s ambassador program enables fitness enthusiasts to try out their latest gear, partake in experiences, and connect with like-minded individuals. It’s all about community-building at Lululemon!
According to Gymshark’s CEO and co-founder, the most important quality of a Gymshark Athlete is personality. This means they welcome ambassadors with any number of social media followers.
Gymshark’s program is invitation-only, however. There is no application process.
Boohoo’s ambassador program is open to all. All social media users need to do is sign up for Boohoo’s ambassador program and post a minimum of three Boohoo-focused posts per month. Users must tag the brand and use their hashtag. Then, at the end of the month, ambassadors receive a $200 voucher.
Xbox’s ambassador program aims to be inclusive, safe, and fun. Ambassadors partake by making friends on Xbox Live and creating welcoming communities.
Rewards for ambassadors include editorial spotlights, chances to enter sweepstakes, and exclusive physical and digital swag.
Build Community and Revenue with an Ambassador Program
An ambassador program paired with a referral program could be just the thing to help generate sales and build brand awareness. Recruit the right ambassadors, put worthwhile rewards in place, and continually improve to get the ball rolling.