As a small business owner, you know the importance of building a loyal customer base. But what if those loyal customers could help spread the word about your business to their friends and followers? That’s where small business brand ambassadors come in. These customers love your business and frequently share their experiences with others, becoming the face of your brand and showing the human side of your business.
In this article, we’ll explore how to find and work with small business brand ambassadors, and the benefits they can bring to your business. So, if you’re ready to take your brand promotion to the next level, keep reading to learn more about these valuable advocates.
What is a small business brand ambassador?
Small business brand ambassadors are passionate supporters of a small business who use the company’s products or services regularly, and who frequently share their love for the company with their friends, followers, and community. They become the face of the brand and help show the human side of the business, which can be especially important for small businesses that may not have the same level of resources as larger corporations.
Small business brand ambassadors are motivated intrinsically – they are willing to share your business even without a reward because they want to help your brand succeed. This makes them a valuable asset to your company, as they are trusted sources of information and can promote your brand authentically without sounding sales-y.
Types of small business brand ambassadors
There are two types of small business brand ambassadors: formal and informal.
Formal ambassadors are hand-picked representatives who sign contracts to promote your business and complete set tasks. These ambassadors are carefully selected and have a trusted online following, making them a powerful asset for your brand.
On the other hand, informal ambassadors are any customers who enroll in an informal ambassador program, also known as a referral program. These customers refer the people they know using referral links and earn rewards for sharing when their referrals make a purchase. Informal ambassadors can share as often as they wish, making them a great way to get more customers through word-of-mouth marketing.
In both cases, small business brand ambassadors are enthusiastic about the products or services they represent and are eager to share them with others.
Are you ready for small business brand ambassadors?
Although brand ambassadors are highly beneficial, not every small business is ready to start a successful ambassador program. As a business owner, you’re only ready for formal small business brand ambassadors if:
You have excellent products and first-rate customer service: The most critical factor in finding brand ambassadors is by having products or services that are high-quality and worth recommending to others. If your products are subpar or your customer service could be better, it’s unlikely that you’ll find brand ambassadors who are willing to promote your business. On the other hand, if you have top-notch products and a customer service team that goes above and beyond, you’ll have an easier time finding brand ambassadors who are excited to share your business with others.
You’ve built up a base of happy customers: It’s much easier to find brand ambassadors among people who have already had a positive experience with your business. If you have few satisfied customers, it may be worth focusing on improving your products and customer service before looking for brand ambassadors.
Some of your customers are already talking about you positively: When people share their experiences with your business on their social media accounts, it’s a good sign that you have a loyal customer base that could become brand ambassadors.
You have a presence on social media: Having a presence on social media will allow you to connect with potential brand ambassadors and reach out to them about promoting your business.
You know of potential ambassadors who love your brand and have an online audience: Big fans of your brand with a trusted following on social media (or other platforms) are excellent candidates for formal brand ambassadors.
Even if your brand isn’t ready for formal ambassadors, you might be ready to create informal ambassadors through a small business referral program. You’re ready for that if:
You have products and customer service worth recommending: As with formal ambassadors, the most critical factor in creating an informal ambassador program is by having products or services that are high-quality and worth recommending to others.
You’ve built up a base of happy customers: It’s much easier to find informal ambassadors among people who have already had a positive experience with your business. If your customers are happy with what you offer, and are already sharing your business positively (online or offline), that’s a good sign that you have a loyal customer base that could become informal ambassadors.
Benefits of small business brand ambassadors
Brand ambassadors can be valuable assets for your company, and it’s essential to recognize how they can help grow your business. Small business brand ambassadors can bring several benefits to your business, including:
Peers trust ambassadors: Most people trust the recommendations of their peers far more than they trust ads or other marketing campaigns. This means that if you have brand ambassadors who are genuinely enthusiastic about your business and who share their experiences with others, they are likely to be more effective at driving sales than traditional marketing efforts.
Ambassadors promote you authentically: Because brand ambassadors are motivated by their love for your products or services, they are likely to promote your business in a way that feels authentic and genuine.
Ambassadors expand your reach to new and relevant target audiences: Brand ambassadors with social media followings can boost your reach to new audiences who may be interested in your products or services.
Ambassadors create online content for you: Many brand ambassadors are happy to create content for your business, such as social media posts or blog articles. They can help you generate more traffic to your website and increase the visibility of your business online. This can be especially important if you’re a small business, as you may not have the resources to create professional-grade marketing materials.
Ambassadors show the human side of your small business: Brand ambassadors can help tell the unique story of your business and show the human side of what you do. This can be especially important for small businesses – you don’t have as many resources as a larger business, but your unique story sets you apart from bigger names.
Ambassadors can try your products and give feedback: If you have brand ambassadors willing to try your products and provide you with feedback, it can be a great way to get insights into what works and what doesn’t. This can be especially helpful if you’ve just launched a new product and are looking for ways to improve it.
Ambassador programs are cost-effective: You can choose how to reward your ambassadors (such as with store credits or free products), and you only need to reward them when they meet specific goals (such as making sales). This can be a much more budget-friendly way to promote your business than other forms of marketing.
Using small business brand ambassadors can help promote your company – especially if you’re a smaller business with limited resources. They can help you reach new audiences, create online content for you, and show the human side of your business, all while being cost-effective.
8 tips for working with small business brand ambassadors
As a small business owner, working with brand ambassadors can be a great way to promote your business and reach new audiences. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your ambassador program:
Define your ambassador program goals
Setting clear goals for your ambassador program is essential in ensuring its success. Some possible goals might include the following:
- Increasing brand awareness: Brand ambassadors can help get the word out about your business and raise awareness among potential customers.
- Generating sales: If your main goal is to drive sales, you should focus on finding ambassadors who have a large following and are particularly influential in their communities.
- Driving conversions: You can use your ambassador program to encourage people to take a specific action, such as signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase.
- Expanding to new audiences: If you’re looking to reach new audiences, you should focus on finding ambassadors with a different demographic or geographic focus than your current customer base.
- Building a social media following: You can use your ambassador program to help increase your social media following and engage with your audience online.
- Fostering customer loyalty: Your ambassador program can help you build loyalty among your existing customers and encourage them to continue doing business with you.
To track your progress towards your goals, you must set measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can use to measure your success. This might include metrics such as the number of new followers you gain on social media, the number of conversions you drive, or the number of sales you generate.
Know where to find ambassadors
When finding brand ambassadors for your small business, look for people who are already passionate about your brand and aligned with your values. Some ways you can find potential ambassadors include:
Reaching out to content creators who have already talked about your business: If you know of content creators who have already mentioned your business or used your products, they may be good candidates for your ambassador program. You can reach out to them and ask if they’d be interested in becoming official ambassadors for your brand.
Using social media hashtags and tags: If you have a social media presence, you can find potential ambassadors by searching for people who have used or tagged your business in their posts. These people are likely already fans of your brand and may be interested in becoming ambassadors.
Opening an ambassador application: Another option is to open and promote it on your social media channels. This will allow potential ambassadors to come to you and express their interest in representing your brand.
Reaching out to your best customers: If you have customers who are particularly loyal or enthusiastic about your business, consider reaching out to them directly and asking if they’d be interested in becoming ambassadors.
Offering a referral program for informal ambassadors: If you need more time to be ready for formal ambassadors, you can still create informal ambassadors through a referral program. Reach out to all your customers and ask them to refer their friends to your business. Be sure to provide trackable referral links to measure your program’s success.
Choose the right rewards
Rewarding your brand ambassadors is crucial to show appreciation for their efforts and keep them motivated to continue promoting your business. Rewards show you appreciate ambassadors’ efforts, so they’re important even if ambassadors are willing to promote you for free.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right incentives:
Focus on brand ambassador rewards tied to specific goals, such as making sales or generating a certain amount of engagement on social media posts. This way, you only need to give rewards when you see results. Rewarding based on sales is best for small businesses, so you know ambassadors helped your bottom line.
Consider rewards tied to your products or services, to encourage your ambassadors to continue supporting your business. This might include store credits, discounts, free products, or branded swag.
In addition to more tangible rewards, you can also use “thanks and recognition” style rewards to show appreciation for your ambassadors. This might include shout-outs on social media, blog spotlights, or handwritten thank-you notes.
Set expectations for ambassadors
It’s essential to set clear expectations for what you expect from your ambassadors to get the most out of your ambassador program. Here are a few things to consider:
Establish what ambassadors need to do to earn rewards: Make sure your ambassadors know what they need to do to earn the rewards you’re offering. This could include making a certain number of posts within a given timeframe, talking to prospective customers at offline events, or helping you achieve specific goals.
Set guidelines for creating posts: If you have formal ambassadors, you should speak with each of them about what you expect from them. This might include how many posts they need to make, what they can and can’t say about your business, and any other guidelines for creating posts.
Have formal ambassadors sign a contract: To ensure that everyone is on the same page, have your formal ambassadors sign a contract outlining the terms of your program. This will ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and is committed to meeting your expectations.
Monitor your ambassadors: While it’s essential to understand what you expect from your formal ambassadors clearly, it’s also crucial that they know you’re monitoring their activity. This will help them feel accountable for the content they share.
Give out ambassador links
One of the key ways that brand ambassadors can help promote your business is by sharing referral links with their friends, followers, and community. Whether your program is formal or informal, ambassador links track ambassadors’ sharing and let you measure your program’s success. These links are unique to every ambassador and contain a unique tracking code.
Whenever an ambassador shares the link with a peer, and the peer clicks the link and makes a purchase, the responsible ambassador earns a reward.
It’s easy to distribute these links thanks to the right brand ambassador software.
Plus, brand ambassador software – such as Referral Rock software – will instantly give you data on all the sales made through ambassador links, and reward ambassadors when a link registers that a sale was made.
Consider giving free products upfront
If you want to get your ambassadors excited about your business and drum up excitement around a new product, and if you can afford it, consider offering free products upfront.
There are several perks to this approach, including the following:
- It helps you build a relationship with your ambassadors by showing them that you value their opinions and want to listen to what they say about your product.
- When your ambassadors try out your products, they can provide insights on quality, usability, and overall appeal. This can help you make any necessary adjustments before launching the product to the broader public and can increase the chances of success.
- It can be a great way to generate excitement and get people talking about your business. When your ambassadors receive freebies, they’re more likely to be enthusiastic about them and share their experiences with friends and followers. This marketing strategy can generate a snowball publicity effect, leading to more sales and helping build the brand’s reputation.