Happy ambassadors are productive ambassadors.
In order for any ambassador program to be successful at scale, your ambassadors and influencers need to be engaged, enthusiastic and incentivized to create the kind of content your brand thrives on.
Engagement strategies and tactics vary brand to brand, industry to industry, but a common thread runs through: rewarding.
Designing rewards for your brand ambassadors’ hard work is a great way to boost engagement inside of your program – and get newly onboarded ambassadors excited about what lies ahead for each of them. In the end, it’s all about nurturing long-term relationships with those ambassadors, recognizing their efforts and incentivizing them to do more.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the various ways you can reward ambassadors and provide some real-world examples to get your creative juices flowing.
How to Reward Ambassadors
When you’re thinking about designing reward tiers for your ambassadors, start simply.
A reward can be as simple as product discounts and cash payouts, company swag, or a gift card. As the ambassador puts in more time with your brand, up the ante with higher discounts, free product and exclusive access to early releases or experiences.
Get the idea?
The driving forces behind any reward tier are participation and engagement. As you start to sketch out reward ideas for your own program, ask yourself these questions to focus your efforts:
- What does the first reward look like?
- Do the rewards encourage ambassadors to level up their activity?
- Do the rewards reflect what the ambassadors want?
Remember: brand ambassadors are human beings, and such, motivated by very human needs and wants.
Utilize a variety of reward types – cash, free product, recognition, exclusive experiences – to keep things fresh and exciting, and don’t be afraid to ask your ambassadors directly what motivates them to show and stay committed.
Pura Vida Bracelets’ ambassador program is a great example of diverse rewards. Visit their ambassador page and see.
Reward Brand Ambassadors Through Cash Payouts
A key element to most programs, cash payouts are an easy motivator and a great place to start rewarding your ambassadors.
Give your ambassadors an opportunity to earn some money. Personalized referral links can be the fuel for your rewards program and are easy to implement.
Pay particular attention to the language below. Clear, concise and *immediately* conveys to brand ambassadors what rewards await for their active participation in the program.
A Point System Gamifies Rewards for Brand Ambassadors
A common approach to rewards and tiers is a point system, adding a layer of gamification to the entire ambassador experience.
Utilizing a points system is perhaps one of the easiest ways to reward inside your program. Any ambassador-related activity, be it creating UGC, sharing brand content or any challenge you’ve created carries a point value.
More activity, more points. More points, bigger rewards.
Gender-neutral and size-inclusive apparel line DapperBoi launched The Boi’s Club as a way to give their best customers exclusive, tier-based benefits.
Free samples and free products are magic. We all love getting our hands on some free product from our favorite brands.
You can gift free product to your ambassadors in a variety of ways:
- As a onboarding gift as they first joint the program. Sweeten the reward by seeding their account with some points, too.
- As a points-based reward.
- Product development/feedback. For some ambassadors, having a hand in product development can be a huge motivator. Give them a voice to offer feedback on upcoming product releases and work alongside your brand in a more intimate way.
Recognition as an Exclusive Perk
Lululemon’s ambassadors help connect the brand to communities around the world and provide them valuable insights and feedback into how they continue to innovate and grow.
At the store level, these ambassadors have the opportunity to test-drive gear and connect with other ambassadors.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Lululemon invites top-performing ambassadors to an annual ambassador summit. These exclusive three-day getaways give ambassadors the opportunity to connect with one another beyond their local stores.
As a special perk, Summit attendees get business coaching and personal development training.
Exclusive Event Access
One of the most unique selling points of an ambassador program is the opportunity for your customers-turned-ambassadors to become more intimate with you and your team.
HOG is Harley Davidson’s take on an ambassador program boasting 325,000 members. To become a member, one has to own a Harley Davidson motorcycle. HOG members act as tiny marketing points for the Harley Davidson brand resonating its heritage and luxury.
The success of HOG is down to exclusivity.
The ambassador program is full of ambassadors who love Harley Davidson and want to communicate with others who share the same views. Harley Davidson enhance this effect by running HOG member exclusive events, publishing a quarterly magazine and a touring handbook. The events they host are legendary word-of-mouth.
Get creative and use the events to grow your community and help your ambassadors grow their connections.