Brand ambassador programs are one of the most effective marketing solutions that DTC brands can leverage. Ambassador programs utilize the best people on the planet to help promote and grow your brand - your customers.
Many ambassadors start as customers and often can't wait to help their favorite brand grow to new heights.
We receive a lot of questions about how to run a successful brand ambassador program.
Starting an ambassador program involves several different elements. If you are new to ambassador marketing, beginning to launch a program from scratch might seem intimidating.
But, since we have a lot of experience helping brands start from absolutely zero to growing their program to be wildly successful, we're here to help you. 😉
We compiled the ten most asked questions that we hear during discovery calls and customer feedback and answered them.
We hope these help guide you towards a successful program launch and beyond!
Let's dive into it.
When recruiting from our email list, what percent conversion should we use as a benchmark?
Conversion rates vary from brand to brand, depending on how active their audience is and how strong of a rapport they have with their customers, a great benchmark to start with is between 2%-5%.
If you send out an invite to 5,000 people and end up with 250 ambassadors, you are at a great starting point.
You can begin to test your program, see what your ambassadors respond to best, and grow your portfolio to show that the program is fun and rewarding. That first group of ambassadors, no matter how small, are essential to planning a sustainable program.
After you have a first core group of ambassadors and test the waters a bit, you can refine your recruitment messaging and keep scaling up.
On average, how many pieces of UGC are generated by ambassadors per month?
It depends on the program size and how active you are with creating new activities for your ambassadors.
Around 2-4 per ambassador is a great goal. Some ambassadors will make more content than others, but weekly or biweekly submissions from ambassadors are a great benchmark.
Below are examples of current CrewFire brands and the amount of UGC they generated in the past 30 days with their ambassador count:
- Vitae Apparel - 1,717 pieces of content (2920 ambassadors)
- Wanchain - 2,993 pieces of content (104 ambassadors)
- Tally Weijl - 420 pieces of content (1222 ambassadors)
- SM Global - 199 pieces of content (373 ambassadors)
- SQAIRZ - 29 pieces of content (178 ambassadors)
- Supersepians - 284 pieces of content (248 ambassadors)
The more opportunities you give your ambassadors to create content for you, the more they will generate. It's also great to remember that no matter the size of your program, you will be able to collect tons of amazing content that you can repurpose on your website and socials.
On average, how much engagement do ambassadors generate per month?
We have seen brands generate 3x (or more) engagement since working with brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors on CrewFire earn points for engaging with your Instagram or Twitter content, making it a win-win for both parties.
The brand will get more exposure and a boost in reach, and the ambassadors can earn points for participating that they can put towards cash, free product, or experiences.
Brands can see, on average, between 1,000-2,000 additional comments and likes from ambassadors per month.
Does being an ambassador increase customer LTV?
Brand ambassadors are first and foremost customer advocates. Most ambassadors on your team already know and love your brand. They have bought your products before and will continue to do so.
While it's true that many ambassadors receive free products from the brand they work with to promote on their socials, it won't stop them from continuing to purchase from you when their product runs out.
Some brands provide ambassadors with a lifetime discount which encourages ambassadors to continue to support and buy from the brand.
Brand ambassadors tend to purchase from the brand they work with at a more frequent rate to keep their content fresh.
While brand ambassadors receive many exclusive benefits, it doesn't stop them from shopping. We have seen ambassadors spend between 3x5 times more than traditional customers.
What is the typical pattern of ambassador behavior once they join the program? Do they first engage with brand content, then generate UGC with referral sales, or do they get involved with all activities from the get-go?
It depends on the person and how they choose to jump into the program, but we always give brands new to an ambassador program the same advice.
You can help ambassadors ease into the program by giving them small activities that they can complete to understand how the program/software works, earn a few points, and start to feel comfortable with the flow of the program.
These active types will help set them up for long-term success and can include:
- Follow your brand on all social media accounts
- Put your discount code in your bio on social media
- Add your payment information to receive your payout
- Introduce yourself in the community
Typically, ambassadors will start by engaging with your Instagram or Twitter Engagement first. After, they usually complete those easy submission activities. Then they dive into the more labor-intensive activities, such as create content and generating referrals.
How many activities should we run at one time? What is the recommended number of UGC vs. engagement vs. share activities per month?
For most brands, the maximum number of engagement activities is two per day. But, most brands find one engagement activity to be sufficient. Since this activity type is quite simple and quick to complete, ambassadors usually don't mind doing one per day; most actually enjoy helping their favorite brand grow.
But, ambassadors will get notified each time you post, so to ensure they don't experience fatigue with notifications, one per day is a great benchmark.
For UGC and submission activities, it is good to keep things fresh without overwhelming ambassadors. A best practice is to have 1-2 new submission activities per week. Be sure that the tasks range in time spent to create.
For example, if you have a YouTube video as a new activity one week, give them something more fun and lighter to do the next week, such as a meme challenge.
You want to monitor how much time and energy it takes them to create the content. You don't want the program to feel like a chore, but rather something fun and creative they can do alongside their favorite brand.
How are brand ambassadors notified of new activities/opportunities to engage? Are they automatically notified, or do we manually have to go in and prompt them to engage?
On CrewFire, we send out notifications each time you create a new activity, and this is automatic. You create the activities, and we handle the rest. 🙂
If you use CrewFire to host your ambassador program, ambassadors will receive notifications about:
- New community posts (made by an admin)
- New sale notification
- New share activity notifications
- New submission activity
- New engagement activity
- When their submission is approved/rejected
- When their reward is fulfilled
- When their payout is on the way
How do we allocate points for activities and rewards?
Allocating points can seem a bit dicy, but our best practice is to convert your points to dollars to know exactly how much you will be rewarding an ambassador for their work.
The best benchmark is to use a 1 point=1 cent ratio.
This way, it is easy to see how much each activity will cost and how much your ambassador will earn. This conversion helps brands scale up and maintain their overhead so that the program is sustainable as you grow.
For example - if you ask your ambassador to make a TikTok, you can imagine that it might take about 30 minutes to create.
So, you can give them 300 points per TikTok, which equates to about 3 dollars.
Now, scale that up to 500 ambassadors. If all of them create a TikTok, then you will spend around $1,500 for that activity.
Additionally, you can use that same conversion when assigning points to rewards.
By evaluating the cost of goods sold for each item you want to give as a reward, you can easily decide how many points each reward should be.
For example - If you have a tote bag that you retail for $15, but it costs $10 to make it, you could make the tote bag worth 1200-1300 points (between $12-$13).
This way, you won't lose any profit, and your ambassador will get a slight deal on the tote. One of the perks of being an ambassador.
How much commission should we give per sale? Is it a flat amount per order, or does it vary depending on the value of the sale?
How much commission to give ambassadors depends on your average order value.
The average we tend to see is a 10% coupon code for first-time buyers and a 10% commission on the total sale.
But, we have also seen plenty of brands do a flat rate per sale. Typically, if your average order value is much higher, such as $200, you might consider giving a flat rate. Many brands with a higher average order value choose between $10-$14 as a flat commission rate.
You will need to find which breakdown works best for your ambassadors to motivates them to make sales.
What makes the difference between a great Brand Ambassador program and an 'ok' one? What are the key fundamentals that make the difference?
The key fundamentals that a brand needs to have when starting an ambassador program is:
- Creativity - Keep ambassadors engaged and the program fresh
- Bandwidth - You will need to create new activities, fulfill orders, approve/reject submissions, recruit, and invest in your ambassadors
- A Rich Sense of Community - The best ambassador programs are built off of community, so focus on growing a group of likeminded individuals
What other questions about brand ambassador programs do you have? Be sure to let us know, and we will be happy to answer them!
Ready to turn your customers into your army of brand ambassadors? If so, watch the epic CrewFire demo video or get in touch with us to learn how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.
Get in touch w/ Alan (Founder/CEO - CrewFire):