Forbes predicts Americans will see 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every single day this year. That’s over three commercial messages every single minute. With the sheer scale of intrusions, it’s no wonder people simply ignore most ads. Companies are noticing this, too, which is why so many are learning how to set up a brand ambassador program to tap into the enthusiasm of their existing customers.
Building a program makes sense because so many 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 establishing a program for UGC and word of mouth marketing.
Ambassador programs enlist individuals who genuinely love your brand. These are the people who already promote your products and proudly use your merchandise. They are your loyal supporters on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. When your latest merchandise drops, these brand enthusiasts are the first in line, spreading the word.
Managing company fans through advocate programs offers immense opportunities to build your brand while maintaining authenticity. Moreover, organizations tap into the power of peer-to-peer influence, which impacts nearly half of all purchasing decisions. (Nielsen)
For instance, take a look at the Salomon case study. Their successful program reached a whopping 23 million people without spending a dime on ads. With such impressive results, it’s no surprise that many other companies are following suit.
Now, you might be wondering, what is a brand ambassador program? Well, it’s a strategic initiative that leverages dedicated individuals who passionately represent and promote your brand. These brand ambassadors act as trusted advocates, authentically spreading the word about your products and influencing their networks. By harnessing their enthusiasm and influence, you can amplify your brand’s reach and impact in an organic and genuine way.
Just like with any marketing endeavor, it’s important to start with the end goal in mind. Planning, execution, and tracking are key. Below, I’ll walk you through five steps to help you set up an impactful word-of-mouth program.
The primary purpose of an advocate program is to collaborate with fans who genuinely care about your brand. Requesting people to apply not only makes the arrangement official but also demonstrates your commitment to them.
You can create an recruitment form on your website or compose a set of questions in an email. Keep track of the details in a Google Sheet or Excel. Alternatively, platforms like Roster can automatically generate a recruitment form for you.
Gather the following information about your applicants:
Once you have gathered the basic information, it’s time to categorize them into groups. Ideally, you want a diverse group of influential people who can expand your brand’s reach and influence. Having a mix of members helps you engage with new audiences and communities.
Consider your plans and goals for the marketing imitative. We’ve seen companies group them based on:
Remember, your advocates are vital to your brand. They believe in you and love your products. Treat each one as a committed partner.
Organizations that collaborate with creators often witness a significant boost in sales. While traditional ads may go unnoticed, a staggering 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations. So, why not leverage your team to spread the word?
Referral links and discount codes serve as perfect tools for advocates to reward their followers while connecting their efforts to tangible results. E-commerce platforms like Shopify can generate these codes for you.
Brand ambassador software like Roster provide a streamlined process by offering links and discount codes on a single screen. What’s even better is that Roster automatically assigns unique links to individual advocates and tracks the results. Motivate your brand champions to amplify the word about your business with formal referral rewards that link incentives to their promotional activities.
Remember, your advocates are your allies. They genuinely want and need to engage with their communities. Designing campaigns specifically for your advocates after launching your program can be highly effective.
Since each member is unique, avoid dictating how they should execute campaigns. Instead, provide them with ideas, style guidelines, and opportunities for competitions and contests. Give your participants ample freedom to adapt marketing campaigns to resonate with their communities. And don’t forget to include their referral codes!
After all the hard work, tracking results is the only way to know how fantastic your program is. Once again, keep your objectives in mind. What activities and metrics should you focus on to measure progress? How frequently should you monitor the results?
You can record the data in a spreadsheet and share key highlights. However, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time in tracking the results. You’ll need to locate each campaign’s discount code in Shopify and follow the stories and posts. Additionally, monitor and record post frequency, followers, likes, and website traffic.
An alternative, faster, and easier way to track results is by using an advocate marketing platform like Roster. Roster’s top-ranked platform combines social listening, a CRM, dashboard, rich user profiles, and integrations with e-commerce, social accounts, and email.
Take inspiration from how Blendtec drives 10% of new sales through their programs powered by Roster.
In today’s cluttered advertising landscape, companies are turning away from traditional channels. Smart marketers are nurturing long-term relationships with dedicated consumers and creators with their own ambassador programs. Marketing through individuals who truly adore your brand instantly expands your reach, reduces customer acquisition costs, and drives revenue.
Now that you know how to set up a brand ambassador program, are you ready to get started? If so, this blueprint—Launch Your New Brand Ambassador Program & Template—is guaranteed to give you a massive head start.