AMBASSADOR MARKETING

The Ultimate Guide to Ambassador Marketing

Daniel Cruz

By Daniel Cruz
19 min READ | Dec 8 2021

Ambassador marketing programs are the present and future in advertising. We live in a world where brand-to-consumer messages can’t have much success unless they’re customer-centric.

Ambassador marketing helps you personalize your communication and get out of the crowd.

As a result, both your potential and existing loyal customers will see your brand’s authentic self unfold. They’ll connect with your values easier, and they’ll turn to your products increasingly more.

Besides being lucrative (yes, we have the numbers to prove that), ambassador marketing programs are easy to measure. We all know accurate tracking of your results is essential in planning, but many marketers have problems measuring their online marketing campaigns.

We’ll help you solve that problem, too, so keep reading below.

What Is a Marketing Ambassador?

A marketing ambassador, aka brand ambassador, is your brand’s bullhorn. The official phrase you’ll read in most expert sources is that these brand ambassadors represent your company.

We prefer to say that they embody your brand.

These people should identify with your company’s intrinsic values and what you stand for; they should be passionate about your products and eager to recommend them further.

If someone like this talks about your brand with actual real-life passion, you’ll appear trustworthy and genuine. Thus, this will attract more people to your brand.

The result is creating an engaged, loyal audience of people who are more likely to become your brand’s ambassadors. Thus, you could increase your reach exponentially at a meagre cost.

You just need a solid strategy and reliable software to get the job done.

But first:

What Different Brand Ambassadors Are There?

The specialist literature defines two main types of brand ambassadors:

  • Paid content creators whose audience you want to target. However, your relationship will be strictly business, although some influencers can be passionate about your brand and speak from the heart about your products. The good part is that this relationship is easier to manage and that the content is better honed.
  • Regular people who advocate for your brand because they believe in it. Although they address a smaller audience, usually formed by their loved ones and colleagues, these loyal fans are credible. As such, their authentic reviews are more trustworthy and have a high conversion rate.

Why You Need to Build an Ambassador Marketing Campaign

Programmatic advertising doesn’t cut it anymore—that’s the harsh truth. People don’t trust ads nowadays, even if you sell relevant and effective products that focus on their needs. A grain of mistrust will always be there because traditional ads aren’t authentic.

That need for credibility and connection to others is puzzling in a world governed by mass media.

These channels have taken regular people from the midst of their small social circles and thrown them into a cold, global market.

Social media was the game-changer.

Joining groups, reading reviews, and connecting to similar-minded individuals grow that need for authenticity.

Thus, your brand can’t survive in this world unless it leverages real people’s recommendations. Here are the numbers we promised in the introduction:

Stats about the effectiveness of referrals, which explain why ambassador marketing is reliable.
Referrals are influential; stats don't lie.

Let’s discuss what these figures show us.

Ambassador Marketing Advantages

Benefits of ambassador marketing include:

Increased Trust

It’s clear that peer recommendations are more effective than traditional advertising because those reviews are honest. Here’s how customers minds’ work (you’ll probably recognize your own subconscious process here):

  1. Person X knows nothing about a brand, meaning they’re impartial towards its products.
  2. Person X needs a product in that category, such as a new skin-friendly soap or a driving instructor.
  3. Person X goes online to find a product that would suit them. However, brand messages are general and thus, feel impersonal, even though these messages focus on customers’ needs.
  4. Person X goes to a dedicated group, asks friends, or reads online reviews. These sources offer more detailed information about the product/service of interest. Person X can read detailed insights of people who’ve actually tried that product. Thus, they learn unique uses and (hopefully) minor problems others have had with that item.
  5. These details render the recommendations credible. Also, they solve buyers’ remorse even before purchasing that product/service because Person X knows what to expect after buying that item.
  6. Person X starts trusting this solution and thus buys it.

Increased Brand Awareness

Ambassador marketing programs aim to increase brand awareness because you’ll get more conversions if more people know about your brand. That makes sense.

Here’s something else that makes sense:

Traditionally, brands would try to appeal to larger masses by using a few celebrities with a large following. The reasoning behind that strategy is that it’s better (read more cost effective and persuasive) to target a gigantic mass of people through similar and consistent messages.

That may have been true some years ago, but things have changed today.

Now, people crave authenticity and connection. You can’t achieve that without personalizing your messages.

That’s why you need smaller influencers or brand ambassadors.

Increased Sales

Ambassador marketing programs get sales because people with distinct backgrounds talk about your products/brand from unique perspectives. That creates buzz and trust.

Obviously, that combination ensures more conversions.

If you want to take things further, you can give your brand ambassadors promotional codes that they’ll share with loved ones or followers. Those discounts act as incentives because they:

  • Create fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Decrease potential buyers’ remorse

What Do Brand Ambassadors Do Exactly?

Now you understand that brand ambassadors speak on your company’s behalf about your products, bringing you more trust, sales, and a loyal brand community.

But what exactly do brand ambassadors do?

1. User-Generated Content

Regular people, not brands, produce user-generated content that includes any sort of:

  • Video
  • Image
  • Blog post
  • Social media post
  • Story

UGC is how brand ambassadors reach their audiences, and it’s very effective because 79% of customers make a purchase decision based on it. That happens because UGC is authentic, and therefore trustworthy. Just look at this graph:

A graph showing UGC is trusted more than traditional media, as it seems more authentic.
UGC is trusted more than traditional media.

How can you leverage user-generated content? We explain more in this article here, but here are some basic steps to start with:

  • Provide clear outlines.
  • Share that content throughout all possible channels.
  • Fill your content calendar with UGC.
  • Use UGC in your e-commerce strategy.

2. In-person Events

In-person events include:

  • Small parties for a select target audience
  • Training programs
  • Conferences
  • Classes

You can use this strategy if you’re:

  • Creating an ultra-local campaign, for example, if you’re opening a new store
  • Promoting an event
  • Getting into a new market

In this case, lululemon is an excellent example because its brand ambassadors are local trainers. These fitness experts use lululemon stores in different neighbourhoods to teach classes and have workout sessions.

That way, potential customers get to know and experience the products intimately, right at local lululemon locations. Besides, these potential customers will feel a stronger bond between themselves because they’re from the same area.

That connection is immediately associated with lululemon because it’s the brand that facilitated it.

A lululemon in-person event related to the brand's ambassador program.
A lululemon event.

3. Online Reviews

Your brand ambassadors can write online reviews on specific platforms, not just on social media. That strategy improves your reputation and trust level, but these reviews have to:

  • Be very insightful and honest; they must bring real value to your customers.
  • Be reposted on other channels where they have more visibility.

4. Ambassador/Affiliate Software

A brand ambassador program that uses affiliate software is scalable, making it much easier to track and manage.

This software allows you to:

  • Organize your campaigns
  • Make specific requests
  • Incentivize your brand ambassadors
  • Evaluate results
  • Reassess your strategies

Types of Brand Ambassador Programs

Based on what we discussed above, you can create the right brand ambassador program for your needs. “All” you have to do is harness your customers’ passion for your brand by giving them free rein to produce content according to your guidelines.

Easy-peasy.

It all starts with a personalized word-of-mouth marketing scheme that suits your company and products. When you embark on such a strategy, it’s essential to remember that what worked for other companies may not work for you.

Still, it’s essential to have a framework for that program and understand some successful examples.

This next section discusses six types of brand ambassador programs and how they worked for different companies.

1. Affiliate Brand Ambassador Program

This strategy starts from a partnership that your company creates with content creators. They are probably paid influencers or bloggers, so you’ll have to give them an incentive or commission to promote your products.

These influencers recommend your brand and include an affiliate link with a discount code in their posts as a rule of thumb. Each time someone buys your products using that link, the influencer gets a commission.

Win-win.

inBeat has worked with numerous companies to create effective brand ambassador programs; Mogo is one of those examples.

A screenshot of a YouTube video of a young woman showing how she uses the Mogo app.
An example of an inBeat YouTube campaign with Mogo.ca

We make it clear to potential brand ambassadors that Mogo.ca is working on an affiliate basis, so more referrals entail increased earnings. Interested influencers have to:

  • Fill out a form
  • Download the Mogo.ca app and register
  • Send us the email address used for registering in the app so we can keep track of referrals
  • Make a genuine post within three days after downloading the app

Another fantastic example is Pura Vida Bracelets because of the great incentives they include. At the same time, the use of a warm tone of voice shows they will nurture a long-term relationship with its influencers.

Why use this strategy?

Using influencers as brand ambassadors in a large-scale affiliate program is cost-effective and easy to manage. However, you’ll have to create clear content guidelines and explain to your influencers what’s expected of them. Include best practices, do’s and don’ts, and let your ambassadors speak their minds.

Here’s another reason this strategy is a win-win.

Brand ambassadors are motivated to create more posts and get more referrals because those sales translate into commissions. On the other hand, you have budget flexibility.


But you have to be careful about who you’re choosing to be part of your program.

You want brand ambassadors who feel a personal connection with your brand and who really love your products. These people have to find a unique perspective about your company to mobilize their peers.

Otherwise, if they don’t see results, they’ll opt out of your brand ambassador program.

And while it’s normal for all programs to have their share of opt-outs, it’s also essential to minimize them as much as possible. After all, ambassador marketing cannot create long-term trust if your spokespeople are always leaving you. Check out our infographic on how to keep your brand ambassadors engaged for expert tips on the subject.

2. Gamified Brand Ambassador Program

Gamification is a strategy that works in ambassador marketing because it’s based on challenges and rewards. Your brand ambassadors are more likely to stick to your program, working through those steps if there’s something in it for them after each stage.

This strategy sounds similar to the affiliate program, but there’s an essential difference.

It feels like a game, and you don’t need to hire professional content creators.

Let’s take this example: You have a driving school and want to get more students. You’ve decided to use existing customers as brand ambassadors.

Thus, you can ask those customers to post the most challenging parking maneuvers they learned from your instructors.

That strategy works because people want to:

  • Show off their abilities
  • Talk about their challenges and share them with a community
  • See how other people tackle difficult situations
  • Get inspiration and motivation
  • Make fun of what they can’t master (yet)

At the same time, you position your driving school as:

  • An expert. These people that post about your brand have learned those parking techniques with your instructors.
  • A binder. Your driving school is the figure around which this community of like-minded people forms.

Pro tip: If you want this program to work, choose a platform or an app with built-in gamification. That way, you can post new challenges seamlessly and also track your brand ambassadors’ progress.

3. College Brand Ambassador Program

Getting college students to become your brand ambassadors is a strategy that works well for your audience. Students are primarily motivated by their peers because they have a more vital need to belong to a like-minded community. They want to be part of a group that brings change into the world without losing their identity.

Besides, students are social, and they network almost exclusively with other students.

That means you’re leveraging acute awareness and belongingness in just one go.

Bumble is an excellent example, with a transparent student-oriented ambassador program. Just look at the keywords they picked:

  • Hand-select
  • Talented
  • Change-seekers
  • 15 countries
  • Elite
  • Move-making

These words:

  • Leverage the students’ need to be part of a larger ambassador community.
  • Allow students to advocate for change.
  • Make young people feel unique.
A screenshot of Bumble's ambassador program web page.
Bumble ambassador marketing program.

You, too, can use this strategy if students represent (part of) your audience. You can ask them to:

  • Wear specific outfits
  • Host on-campus events
  • Hand samples

You can motivate college ambassadors either with affiliate marketing solutions or gamification programs. This strategy works so well that even big names like Red Bull and Coca-Cola have used it.

4. Employee Ambassador Program

Using your employees as brand ambassadors is a brilliant idea because:

  • They’re insiders, so they know how your brand and products work
  • They have a deep understanding of what customers want to see
  • They know your marketing goals
  • They’re very credible for their audience

Besides, your relationship with your employees is tighter. You can speak to them at a different level, from outlining your expectations to discussing results.

You’ll have to:

  • Shortlist a few employees that you think would fit.
  • Tell them about the extra income/rewards they can win by doing these brand ambassador activities.
  • Ask for specific content (blog posts, Instagram stories, reviews, etc.).
  • Pay them as they complete tasks.

5. Informal Brand Ambassador Program (Referral Marketing)

This program isn’t as well structured as the others discussed above because basically anyone can join it. Sure, some companies will select only people who’ve proven their brand loyalty, but most brands accept anyone.

That’s because referral marketing participants aren’t official brand spokespeople. These individuals represent the company as customers but aren’t your brand’s faces.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Spread the word that you’re looking for participants.
  • Assign a different code to each person registering.
  • Communicate clear guidelines.
  • Follow the sales made with each code and give the agreed rewards to your brand ambassadors. These can include:

- Money

- Discounts

- Store credit

The Uber referral marketing program for riders is an excellent example that you can copy.

Here’s why:

  • It’s straightforward. The conditions are simple, and the program is easy to access.
  • It makes you use the Uber services. You need to create an account to get those cash credits that you can use when you take the first Uber ride.
  • It’s based on constant rewards. Each time you refer a new friend with your unique code, you get more credit rewards.
  • It’s mobile-friendly. People are using their phones to call Uber, so this referral program should be easy to use on people’s phones.
  • It gives customers many sharing options. Uber lets people connect to others how they wish. Imposing a specific channel can deter some people from your program.

Of course, Uber has a separate program for drivers that’s equally successful and pretty hands-off.


6. Combined Ambassador Marketing Strategy

The world of marketing isn’t in black and white. Marketing people blend different strategies all the time, and the same is true in this case.

You want to personalize these frameworks so they can suit your brand’s needs.

This approach allows you to scale your brand ambassador program and think of more efficient solutions. For instance, you can blend all of the five strategies below to address a broader market.

Pro tip: If you’re going down this road, you’ll need a good platform to manage and track your ambassadors.

How to Set a Brand Ambassador Marketing Program

As you can see from the examples above, ambassador marketing works—and you have plenty of strategies to try.

Here’s how to arrange a program that works:

1. Research Stage

Advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. First, make sure that your brand delivers top-quality products to people. Second, you want people to have a smooth experience on your website and perfect marketing funnels.

Here’s what to check:

  • Security and privacy
  • Ease of applying
  • Ease of purchasing
  • Search functionality
  • Website speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Check-out and payment features

2. Goals

Any campaign should rely on clear objectives that allow you to:

  • Establish KPIs
  • Track results
  • Measure success
  • Make the necessary campaign adjustments

It’s worth noting that many marketers wrongly focus just on awareness and perception goals through their ambassador marketing campaigns. But don’t forget that your brand ambassadors have a high potential to increase your sales exponentially, so tap into it.

We’ll talk more about that below.

3. The Right Ambassador Program

We’ve outlined various ambassador marketing programs above, so choose the one that suits you best or personalize different ones until you get a framework that suits you. Consider these factors:

  • Goals
  • Budget
  • Timing
  • Your target audience

4. The Right Brand Ambassadors

Of course, you’ll need the best brand ambassadors to help you advance towards those goals. Here’s where you can find these people:

  • Your social media: Think of your social media posts. Is there anyone who constantly replies to your content and gives you accurate feedback? Is there someone with incredible insights that seems to understand what you’re doing? Hit them with a message. If they engage passionately with your brand, they’ll likely want to become your official brand ambassadors.
    Tip: Too many posts to sift from? Try searching by hashtags, keywords, or mentions.
  • Product review websites. We’ve mentioned these platforms before, saying that you should get your brand ambassadors to post positive reviews here. But you can also go at it the other way around. Open a few specialty product review websites to find people who willingly wrote detailed evaluations about your brand before.
  • Forums and groups. Search by keywords through different communities to see who’s always mentioning your brand. Here’s where to start:

- Facebook groups

- LinkedIn

- Quora

- Reddit

  • Company databases. Look through your mailing lists or existing databases of clients, customers, and employees. If you notice any positive mentions or advocacy actions about your company, chances are you’ve found a winner.

After making a long list of potential names, it’s time to pick the best potential ambassadors. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is the content they post up to par with what you’re expecting? Does it reflect your company’s values? Is this person a talented content creator?
  • Is this person a thought leader? Do others treat this person as an expert, or do they constantly challenge their opinions?
  • Is this person picky about the brands they write about? Do they only feature promotional content on their social media, or do they have the right mix of personal and sponsored posts?
  • Could this person represent your brand?

Ticking all these boxes seems exhausting work—and it is. That’s why it’s best to choose an efficient platform that would get you in touch with the best brand ambassadors for your needs.

That’s inBeat.

We’ve worked with many customers over the years, so we know what the market trends are. Besides, we have a comprehensive database of influencers and brand ambassadors.

Oh, and that database is free. You can get it here or set up a meeting to discuss strategy.

5. Incentives

According to the type of ambassador marketing campaign you’re going for, decide which incentives would fit the brand ambassadors you've shortlisted.

For example, many people just want recognition or the sense they’ve contributed to a higher cause. In other cases, free products and in-store discounts work best. If you’re doing an affiliate program, consider a commission/referral bonus.

6. Reaching Out

Once you have those details established, start sending messages to potential brand ambassadors. If they don’t reply at first, don’t worry because they often reply after two emails. However, it’s wise not to be too pushy and stop after two messages to avoid situations like these:

A Twitter screenshot published by an annoyed influencer after a brand was being too pushy.
If you get ignored, stop pushing.


Pro tip: To increase your response success rate, ask these people for their feedback and mention why you think they’d be an excellent fit for your brand.

7. Resources

Offer your brand ambassadors the resources they need to complete your projects:

  • Image databases with various product shots or Instagram stories
  • Detailed briefs
  • Campaign guidelines
  • Background information on your brand
  • Support channels, such as phone numbers or emails, in case they ever reach a problem
  • Prompt feedback each time they have a question or post new materials
  • Motivation to follow through, including rewards

8. The Right Platform

You need to get the best software, because managing a comprehensive ambassador marketing program requires extensive analysis. Imagine keeping track of everyone’s activities, following all the codes, engagement rate, clicks, sales, and so forth.

Focus on scalable software that allows you to set clear objectives, incentivize your brand ambassadors, and follow results. You also want a platform that helps you be flexible enough to adjust your strategy if something doesn’t work, like inBeat’s Pulse tracking software for Instagram and TikTok.

A screenshot of inBeat's tracking software, a useful tool for your ambassador marketing campaign.

9. Measuring ROI

Marketers say they’re having a hard time measuring ROI from brand ambassador campaigns. That usually happens when you haven’t mapped out a good strategy.

That strategy includes:

  • Setting clear goals. We’ve talked about objectives a few sections above, but we can’t stress enough how important these are. Goals give structure to your entire plan, and you don’t want to wing your campaign. Otherwise, the data that ultimately gets to you during or after your campaign won’t be helpful at all.
  • Setting KPIs. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are based on your goals. These quantifiable variables easily measure the success of your campaign according to your goals. For example, tracking impressions (likes, comments) is excellent if you’re building an awareness campaign, but not essential if you’re aiming to increase sales. Pro tip: Make sure you have realistic expectations when you set these KPIs.
  • Consider your budget. Having a clear budget will help you figure out the number of brand ambassadors, payment methods, and additional tools. Don’t forget to consider tax implications as well.
  • Tracking metrics. You can use different tools to track and measure these metrics:

- Affiliate links and promo codes: best for monitoring sales and referrals and measuring conversions

- UTM codes and Google Analytics: best for measuring website impressions

How to Leverage Ambassador Marketing

Ambassador marketing is an effective solution because you’re leveraging an audience that already trusts and loves your brand. These people have unique perspectives about your products and understand why they’d be so helpful to their peers.

There’s a problem:

Many companies don’t know how to leverage the power of ambassador marketing. Often, marketers will stick to one-off campaigns that use commissions as their only repayment method.

However, ambassador marketing done right can take your brand to new heights. Real-life ordinary people understand your brand’s messages and values.

They make your products part of a larger picture—their lives, their businesses.

Thus, the solution is finding the people who share the same ideals as your company. Next, empower your brand ambassadors so they can do their jobs well. That’s how your ROI will soar.

You can do this massive work by yourself, or you can use a brand ambassador platform like inBeat to pick the right people, reward them, and follow their results in real-time. Now, you can say we’re a bit biased here because inBeat is our platform—but you have the option to try our software for free, and you can also set up a complimentary meeting to see if we click.






















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