A large part of having a business is gaining customers. After all, without them, it wouldn’t be long before your company starts to face some real issues. Attracting new customers in exciting ways is a constant challenge businesses face; continually trying to work out how best to maintain a solid customer base.
What if you knew that one of the most effective methods, both in terms of keeping costs down and bringing in new customers, is by creating brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors have already built up relationships with those around them, gaining credibility, reliability, and trust. Although these qualities are possible for brands to build up to an extent, no amount of marketing campaigns will gain that level of intimacy with customers. Besides, why not tap into the already available resource that is your customers?
With a bit of care and attention, it’s easy to encourage buyers to become brand ambassadors.
What Is a Brand Ambassador?
Creating brand ambassadors means your business essentially encourages customers to become marketers, targeting friends and family with similar needs, providing insightful recommendations and first-hand experience. 90% of people trust recommendations from their friends, so tapping into this style of marketing has huge implications for your business.
Yes, they do sound pretty similar to influencers, but with one key difference: brand ambassadors are customers who freely choose to do commerce with your business. Influencers tend to be individuals you have picked out and asked to engage with your business, either by giving them a free trial, a sample of your product in return for a review, or in exchange for a monetary fee.
This makes brand ambassadors an even more authentic perspective, with no motive to exaggerate.
It does take a bit of input from you though – brand ambassadors have their reputation of honesty for good reason. The rise in review culture means that they’re not going to sugarcoat a shoddy product, questionable customer service, or confusing landing pages. So, you need to make sure you’re giving potential ambassadors a great experience worth talking about.
10 Ways to Transform Your Buyers Into Brand Ambassadors
There isn’t one fixed route for all businesses to put loyal customers in and arrive at the other end with shiny new brand ambassadors. Part of it is down to how your business already functions and part is due to the customer. If you treat your customers well across the board, at least some of them will likely become ambassadors for you.
To put it simply, what turns customers into loyal ambassadors is consistently brilliant experiences with your brand in all areas of your services. Anything you do to benefit the customer experience is certainly going to help with creating brand ambassadors.
However, that’s a pretty broad scope to be working on, so we’ve listed ten points that you can easily get started on, even if you’re a newbie to marketing, unsure of the answer to even the simplest of questions, like “what is performance marketing?”
1. Focus Your Target on Specific Customers
Not everyone is prime brand ambassador material so, in some cases, it’s worth focusing on a select few customers. Of course, good customer service is non-negotiable whether or not the buyer has ambassador potential but, in some areas, you can save energy and resources by focusing your target group a little.
Identify your target group by using customer satisfaction scores, picking out regular buyers using a sales automation system, and looking at recommendation scores. You can spend hours looking into different metrics and analytics to select those most likely to become ambassadors, but as long as you’re aware of these previous three methods, added metrics are bonuses.
Besides, no amount of stats and figures can guarantee a customer will eventually become an ambassador.
2. Go Above and Beyond With Customer Service
It’s not news that customer service impacts how your customers view your brand. 58% of consumers from the USA say they would sever a connection with a company if the customer service is not up to scratch. If you not only want to retain your customer base but also convert some of it into brand ambassadors, you’re going to have to consistently go above and beyond for your customers.
Listen carefully to your customers and show each one the respect they deserve. Tune into their needs and challenges they face, providing insightful and useful information on your products and services. Rather than putting the onus on your customer support team, customer service should be at the core of your company, so ensure high-quality experiences for every customer through test automation, efficient response times, and comprehensive knowledge bases.
3. Keep Customers in the Know
Whether you’re delivering a product to a buyer or developing a new service, customers like to know what’s going on. It also helps them to have the information needed to be the best brand ambassador possible – being able to answer questions and fill others in on what your brand is all about.
It doesn’t demand much of you, except that on occasion you pull the curtain back and show customers what’s going on behind the scenes.
As part of your services, send regular updates about products, new designs being trialed, or even information about deliveries. Getting customers to vote on new features and interact with the creation process can encourage rapport between you and your customers. Similarly, customer support automation can help inform buyers about your products and services and the process behind them.
4. Be Honest With Your Buyers
Honesty is always the best policy, whether managing the fallout of a company mistake, making claims about your company standards, or setting targets based on the values you hold. Customers are surprisingly good at seeing past a facade, and 64% are willing to boycott brands. But avoiding this fate isn’t tricky – being realistic in your goals and honest about the progress you are making is all customers are asking for.
Be ready to take responsibility for your shortcomings by being open with customers about how you intend to address issues. It’s a great way of showing integrity and building up a sense of trust with your buyers. Also, when using visual merchandising online, include specifications to create a rounded image of the product. If customers can respect your honesty, they’re far more likely to recommend you to others and become that brand ambassador you need.
5. Personalization Makes All the Difference
Everyone likes to be noticed now and again and personalization is the perfect way to do this. It shows you care about them individually and can have an enormous influence on their buying and estimations of your brand. Again, it makes your customer feel like they are a part of your valued community, making them more likely to want to rave about it.
There are so many opportunities for personalization – picking out recommendations of products or features that would be ideal for their scenario, offering discounts just for them, even something as simple as using their name on a call or in an email shows that you’re looking out for them specifically. It builds the relationship you have and treats them as an individual, not lumping them into slightly relevant mass emails.
6. Gather Customer Feedback
We know, feedback isn’t always the nicest word to hear, but it’s an essential part of your prm marketing with customers. It gives buyers input into how you run your business, brings up any issues that need to be addressed, as well as celebrates your successes. Feedback isn’t a one-way street though – once you’ve collected it, you need to act on the feedback you’ve been given by making improvements and ensuring the best experience with your brand possible.
Use chatbot pop-ups to get feedback at key points in the customer journey or send out a link to a survey after a purchase is made. It provides a channel away from public ears for those who want to vent and is a great way of collecting customer testimonials of a brilliant service or product. However, be aware of how long you make your surveys – the more questions you ask, the less time participants tend to spend on them.
7. Create a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are named so for a reason – they drive customer loyalty to your brand and boost customer retention by keeping customers engaged with your products and services. There isn’t one set design of how a loyalty program works, so it’s up to you to find something that works with your business setup.
Coffee shops worldwide have hopped onto the stamp cards, while some brands give customers points with every purchase they make. Ultimately, points mean prizes. The important thing is to make your program accessible and active. Give customers a head-start with a sign-up reward or a couple of stamps to get you going and convince them they are already halfway there, making them far more likely to participate in your program.
8. Make Use of Customer-generated Content
The more people that are using a product or service, the more people then want to – so tap into this on your social media and through your marketing campaigns.
Anything that comes from a customer counts as customer-generated content. Get your hands on those customer testimonials. Be it artsy pictures of your product and packaging or even promoting your brand on TikTok – these are all superb examples of customer-generated content.
Repost customer social media updates, set online challenges for customers to take part in, and share testimonials across your website, newsletter, and other advertising platforms. This makes it easy for customers to be ambassadors for your brand, as well as allowing them to be featured in your company communications with the outside world.
9. Highlight Your Referral Scheme
If you’re still asking what is an affiliate program, it’s time to study up on it. Referral schemes and affiliate programs reward both newcomers and ambassadors, through exclusive discounts, bonus loyalty points, and access to additional features. In the age of influencers, this gives your ambassadors a taste of the influencer benefits all whilst promoting your brand and attracting potential new customers.
Promote your referral scheme particularly with those who have already made a purchase and are familiar with your processes. This makes them more likely to have success in referring. Every time a referral is made, thank the referrer as well as the new customer, building the brand-customer relationships and fostering future referrals.
10. Thank Your Customers for Their Business
It seems a bit like the instruction a mother might give to a child but something as simple as saying thank you can really help. It shows you care about your customers and appreciate their involvement with your business. It’s also another chance to personalize and spread your branding a little further.
You can do this as a follow-up email or send it via physical mail which brings its own unique benefits. Where an email expressing gratitude might be read and subsequently deleted, a note is physical and more likely to stand out in your customers’ memory. It’s a great talking point for your potential ambassador and gives them something to hand around to interested peers. Either way, make sure to build it into your post-purchase best practise.
Build Up Your Brand Ambassadors Today
It’s all about partner relationship management with your customers so they feel like they’re an actual part of the company. When you succeed, they feel pride, and when the customers celebrate you, your company feels the benefits. Finding ways to strengthen this bond and give customers the opportunity to easily recommend you to their peers leads to a brand ambassadorship that lasts.
As with any relationship, creating brand ambassadors takes time and commitment. Long-term ambassadors can fall off the wagon if you become lax and forget to keep providing them with great reasons to recommend your business. Build this goal into your marketing strategies and you’re sure to have a lot more success. Keep trying, keep improving and make a brand ambassadorship that carries your brand further.