Ambassador Marketing 101: Boosting Your DTC Brand's Reach and Impact

Manana Papiashvili
Manana Papiashvili
Head of Growth at Insense
brand ambassador marketing

So you have a business that’s growing at an amazing rate and, of course, you’re all up for it. 

But like every thriving business, your goal is to transform the brand into a household name. 

The kind of business everyone is talking about. 

The kind that other businesses use as a template. 

The kind that influencers and celebrities are over the moon to get a deal with. 

Yeah, you like the sound of that, don’t you? 

Well, one way this can happen is if you’ve won the hearts of your customers. 

To the extent that they see themselves as important stakeholders in your company. And can’t stop talking about it. 

That’s where ambassador marketing comes in. 

It’s a strategy that can take your marketing campaign to the next level. Simply by soaring on the wings of happy customers.

Wondering how to hop aboard? 

That’s what this guide is about. 

A crash course on all you need to know about ambassador marketing. 

What Is Ambassador Marketing?

Ambassador marketing is a way for brands like yours to promote their products by embracing the word-of-mouth magic of their top customers. 

As a customer yourself, have you used a product or service that was so good you had to tell someone about it? 

GIF Source: Giphy

You spoke to your friends, colleagues, family, and everyone who cared to listen. You even got them to use the product. 

Your action then was that of a brand ambassador

Because of how much you loved the product, you just had to connect with other people ... increasing the brand’s reach and impact. 

And here’s the kicker from the brand’s point of view: it didn’t have to pay you a dime. 

The bottom line is, in ambassador marketing, you’ll be leveraging how much people like your product to amplify your impact. 

Now, anyone can be a brand ambassador. Not just customers. 

That includes celebs, bloggers, employees, content creators, and even social media influencers. 

But they need to be consumers who’ve fallen in love with your brand and understand your processes and your values. 

It’s different from influencer marketing and here’s how:

Influencer marketing vs. ambassador marketing

The way influencer marketing works is that you find an influencer in your industry who’s open to collaboration. 

They create posts and share them on their social media platforms in exchange for benefits. Cash, free products, etc. 

Sometimes, the influencers may have never interacted with your brand before. 

So it’s just a business transaction for them. Except maybe you decide to develop a relationship with them.

In ambassador marketing, however, there’s an existing relationship between the online personality and your brand.    

They care deeply about the brand and are willing to share it with their close circle. Sometimes even if there’s no incentive.

They are effectively endorsing your business to people who trust them. Free of charge.

Here’s a graphic highlighting the differences between influencer marketing and ambassador marketing.


Now that you know what ambassador marketing means, let’s give you a rundown of why it’s a necessary strategy for your campaigns. 

4 Key Ambassador Marketing Benefits

You know why ambassador marketing is becoming popular in the marketing space?

It’s simple. 

It’s word-of-mouth marketing.

When ambassadors talk about your product, it doesn’t sound like an ad. 

And from reports, we can see customers hate those. 

In contrast, ambassador ‘ads’ are more like normal conversations. You know, like, “Hey, I’ve been using this product and it’s transformed my life,” in a very authentic manner. 

Something customers can relate to.

But besides that, here are four main reasons why this strategy is on fire for so many brands.  

It gives your brand…

An authentic voice

As a business owner, one of your many wishes is to have a reputation so good people use you as a reference point. 

You want to resonate strongly with your audience. The way Micheal Jackson still does after so many years. 

But how do you pull that off?

By leveraging brand ambassadors

Customers who’ve used your product or service for a while. 

Have genuine stories to tell. And don’t look like they’re only sharing for profit 

These guys stand a better chance of giving your brand an authentic voice. 

Why did we say that?

According to a study by Nielsen, 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know more than those from other channels. 

So, when a customer talks about your product, people will listen because they can relate to it. 

Just like this video from TikTok user, @indiefyaskye, about Hollywood Hair Bar’s growth serum. 

So in this video, she tried the product and told her followers she was going to see if it works. After seven days, she dropped another video sharing how it worked. Even showing that the bottle was empty. 

She got a couple of comments from her audience who wanted to know if the product worked. 

The point is successful brand ambassadors can help you spark authentic conversations like this. Get people to trust you.

Expanded reach

With this marketing strategy, you also get to leverage the brand ambassador’s influence. 

So if they post about you, their audience gets to see it. And you get free brand awareness. 

For instance, @indiefyaskye has about 3.7k followers on TikTok.

The video she posted about Hollywood Hair Bar got about 2.6k views. That means more than half of her followers saw it. 

In other words, HHB was introduced to roughly 2.6k people.  

That’s quite the impact in the content marketing world. 

Engaging with the target audience on a personal level

Another benefit of ambassador marketing is the kind of engagement it produces. 

Because ambassadors are customers, your target audience can ask questions. Lots of them. And the ambassadors will respond to the best of their ability. 

Like when one of @indiefyaskye’s followers asked if the growth serum really works. 

@indiefyaskye made another video explaining to that follower why it does and her thoughts about hair growth. This is the kind of interaction you want for your brand. It helps develop a strong bond between your brand and potential customers. 

More high-quality UGC

Been thinking of how to get more user-generated content for your marketing campaigns?

Ambassador marketing can help you get that. 

With brand ambassadors as your foot soldiers, you’ll have an endless stream of UGC. If you play your cards right. 

They’ll create videos of the product or service in action. 

Before-and-after content. 

Reviews of the product with proof in the background. 

And more. 

Now, this content can be used across different digital marketing channels for promotional purposes. 

You just need to ensure the UGC quality aligns with your brand style. 

Okay, how do I do that?

You’ll need to set up a proper brand ambassador program. 

And these … come in different types.

Let’s walk you through some of them in the next section.

Types of Brand Ambassador Programs

If you’re going to launch an ambassador marketing campaign, you’ll need structure. A guide you and loyal customers can follow. 

But to pull that off, you need to be familiar with the different programs available. 

This will help define what your structure would look like. Anyway, here are some of the types of ambassador marketing programs you should know:

Informal brand ambassadors 

For this type of program, you have brand ambassadors promoting your product or service for the love of it. 

They’re not signing any contract, consent form, or anything. These guys have just decided your brand is too good to not share with their friends and family. 

Open ambassador program

This is also known as a requirement-driven program. Here, anyone can apply to be your brand ambassador. But only if they meet certain requirements.

And this requirement is put in place so you’re sure the ambassadors match your brand’s image. You can then decide to offer some freebies to people who meet the criteria.  

Closed ambassador program

You can decide to run an exclusive-only ambassador program. Where only people you invite can join. 

More like a VVIP thingy.

This approach will help streamline who joins the program. 

You’ll be reaching out to people you believe are the right fit for your brand. And can produce high-quality UGC too. 

It’s also a good way to build hype for your brand. Everyone will be looking forward to getting picked. 

Just ensure you’ve got exclusive freebies for the ambassadors, though.

Student programs

This is another type of brand ambassador program. And it’s ideal if your target audience is in the student age group.

You partner with students who already use your products. In turn, they promote it by handing out flyers, putting up posters, giving out samples, etc. 


Alright, with that out of the way, how do you launch an ambassador campaign?

First, you need to decide on which type of program you want to run. 

Then, you can follow the steps in the next section to begin.

How to Set Up an Ambassador Marketing Strategy 

Getting started with ambassador marketing can be pretty straightforward for you. Especially because you’ve got us in your corner. 😉

So to begin, here are the steps you need to follow…

Step #1: Define your goals and objectives

The first thing you want to do is ask yourself: 

What’s the goal here?

Why do I want to launch an ambassador marketing campaign

And then write your reasons down. 

Maybe your goal is to increase your revenue. Double conversion rates. 

Increase engagement rates across all marketing channels. Improve customer loyalty. Launch into new markets.

Whatever it is, you want to write it down. 

Why is this important?

Setting clear goals helps you: 

  • Identify the right ambassadors. 
  • Measure your key performance indicators (KPIs). 
  • Know if the campaign is a success or not.

You get a roadmap for success so you’re not running around in circles.   

When setting goals, you want to follow the S.M.A.R.T. principle. 

The aims should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.  

Step #2: Create an ambassador persona

Now that you’ve outlined all you’d like to achieve with this campaign, your next step is to create an ideal persona. 

The question to ask here is … what kind of person do I want as my brand ambassador? 

You see, a brand ambassador is like your Olympus champion. So you need to have a good idea of who they should be before the search begins. 

Ideally, that should be someone who embodies your brand identity. 

Wondering how to fish them out? 

Here’s a guide to help you get started:  

First, keep an eye out for people who know your brand inside out. 

Secondly, find out what the passions or interests of your ideal ambassador are.

What social media platforms do they use? What kind of content do they create? How old should they be? What would be their contribution to your brand?

Thirdly, put all the information you’ve gathered together in one place. 

Something like this:

Name: Gabriel Hando

Background: Creative artists / Makeup artist / Fashion designer

Demographics: Age (19-29), Gender (Male/Female), Interests 

Social media platforms: Instagram/TikTok 

Number of followers: 2k-10k 

Products used: HHB

Location: NY

Just something to help you streamline your search.  

Step #3: Search for potential ambassadors

So you now have a persona for your ideal ambassadors. 

But how or where do you find them?

As always, we’ve got you covered. 

First, you want to identify your best customers. And find out if they’re willing to become brand ambassadors. 

Next, go through your social profiles.  

Look out for people who’ve been engaging with your social media posts. Posts about your brand. 

Or have been using your favorite keywords or branded hashtags. 

You can also look at people who’ve given you great ratings on review sites like TrustRadius or online forums like Reddit.  

But if you want to avoid all of those long processes, you can leverage tools like Insense

It’s a creator marketplace where you can find ambassadors for your campaigns in real time. 

All you gotta do is fill out a creative brief and we’ll match you with experts who can produce UGC for you. Some of them have probably even used your products before. 

Tools like this help you find potential ambassadors with ease. 

Step #4: Engage and build relationships

You’ve made contact with potential ambassadors, it’s time to take things up a notch and start engaging with them

You want to build a relationship with them in a way that makes them feel excited to be partnering with you. 

How do you do that? 

Here are some strategies to consider: 

  • Personalize your messages. When you contact them, don’t send generic brand messages. Address them by name. 
  • Offer personalized benefits.
  • Interact with them outside of the arrangement. Wish them a happy birthday on social media. Repost their content. 
  • Keep them informed about upcoming events like new product launches.
  • Listen to their opinions when you ask for feedback.
  • Appreciate them any chance you get. 
  • Connect them to new opportunities if you can. 
  • Have an open line of communication with them.

Think of them as partners, not just people offering temporary benefits, and you’ll enjoy great relationships with good brand ambassadors.

Step #5: Set clear expectations and benefits

You also want to let ambassadors know how you want them to do the job. And what’s in it for them. 

Early on before there are talks about contracts or legalities. 

Be clear about everything. 

How you want the post to look. 

If you’ll be sending free products over to them. 

The quality of the content they’ll be sending. 

Essentially, everything. 

For an athleisure brand like Lululemon, for instance, one of their expectations is for ambassadors to be active members of their local community. 

To act as a bridge between the brand and their community. Organizing events like yoga classes in the area too. 

Lululemon is also clear about its benefits. 

First, they offer a tight-knit community for ambassadors where people can connect with like-minded individuals. 

They also offer a mentorship program that helps ambassadors achieve their goals by providing the resources and tools they need to make it happen. 

So you need to be clear about your benefits too.

Step #6: Provide ambassadors with resources

Here’s another crucial step. 

You see, while ambassadors are probably delighted to help spread the word about your brand, they may not have the resources to do so. 

For instance, you want someone to video themselves using your hair products. 

But they just ran out of it or can’t get it at that time for some reason. What do you do in situations like that?

Find a way to provide them with the resources they need. 

Sometimes, it may not even be the products or material resources they need. 

They might have no idea how to start shooting videos the way you’d like.  

You have to step up and offer support systems till they get the hang of it. 

Show them step-by-step what apps they need to download. How to set up their background. 

Things like that.  

Step #7: Create a hashtag and tracking system

There’s a good chance you’ll be partnering up with a lot of ambassadors. 

So, you’ll probably need a way to monitor all their activities. 

The more common way is to create an in-house CMS to handle all that. 

However, you’d have to do it manually. 

Typing in all their names. The amount of content they’re producing.  

How it’s performing.

But if you’re using an influencer management tool like Insense, you can be sure of one thing.

You get to monitor all campaigns from a single dashboard, making your collaboration with multiple ambassadors a smooth one. 

Step #8: Acknowledge and reward success

As your campaign progresses, you’ll likely find that some ambassadors are hitting the mark faster than others. 

When you notice people like that, give them cookies, aka rewards. Give them a shoutout on social media. 

Just let them know that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

It can be a tag on social media. Discount on exclusive products. Early access to upcoming products. More points if you’re using a point-based reward system.

Or even new never-before-seen brand merch. 

Step #9: Monitor and adjust

The last step to include in your ambassador strategy is to become the all-seeing Eye of Horus. 

Watching everything that goes on. 

Keeping track of each ambassador’s posts. Their engagement rate. 

Number of website clicks each of them has gotten. If they’re driving sales. 

Number of referrals that came through them. 

The whole works. 

Why is this important?

So you know whom you need to invest more resources into.  

What you need to do is increase the campaign’s impact.

Monitoring also helps you know if you need a new strategy for the marketing campaign or not. 

But if you’re going to be effective at monitoring, you need to know what to look out for exactly. 

That’s why we added this next section…

How to Measure the Success of a Brand Ambassador Program

Launching a program like this is not just about getting happy customers to talk about your product. 

You need to know if the approach you’re taking is effective. Are you on track to reaching those goals you set?

Or are all your efforts just a drop in the bucket?

Only one way to find out … by measuring progress.

Here are some metrics you want to watch out for:

  • Frequency of ambassadors’ posts. 
  • Engagement and impressions so far. 
  • Number of post shares. 
  • Number of brand mentions. 
  • Referral traffic. 
  • Discount code usage. 
  • Brand reach.
  • Hashtag usage. 

How do you measure all these?

Well, you can use software analytics tools. 

For instance, Sprout Social can help with engagement rates and social media activities, and BuzzSumo with brand mentions. 

You can also survey your customer base before and after the ambassador program. Just to see how they perceive your brand. 


And that, dear reader, brings us to the end of this guide.  

Start Looking for the Perfect Brand Ambassador

That was such an insightful crash course, wasn’t it?

Look at you all geared up and ready to launch an ambassador marketing campaign. 

Just follow our guide and you’ll be good to go. 

But if you’d like a more direct approach — you know, a way to get started that’s fast and easy to set up — here’s the next step you should take: 

Book a demo with Insense. Do a trial run of your campaign. And if you like what you see, a team member will reach out. 

Sounds like a plan, right?

See you soon!

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Manana Papiashvili

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