You may have noticed in the social media world how advertisements have shifted from the traditional, commercial-like approach to personal accounts recommending their favorite products or brands. This has become so beneficial for businesses that companies specifically create programs that partner with their followers to help boost their followers, sales, and revenue.
In this post, we’ll explain why brand ambassador programs are important to growing your business, how to start a fitness brand ambassador program, and how to maintain positive relationships with your brand ambassadors. You’ll have all the tools you need to start your own effective fitness brand ambassador program to promote your business and grow your followers.
You can keep track of your sales, commissions, and more, in Exercise.com’s comprehensive gym management software platform, which makes managing a brand ambassador program a breeze! Book a demo today to learn more.
What Are Fitness Brand Ambassadors?
A brand ambassador is someone who promotes your brand by speaking positively about your business and recommending your products. They love your brand and want their followers to love it, too! A fitness brand ambassador might post about that killer session with their trainer, an invitation to join their group class, or the products in your ecommerce store.
Brand ambassadors are often confused with influencers. While the two are very similar, there are a few distinct differences.
Influencers tend to have a huge following on social media platforms and may not know many of their followers personally. They’re public figures whose opinions are very important to their followers and can influence the decisions, buying habits, and more of their followers. Brand ambassadors can also have a large following, but often their following is smaller. Their influence is built upon the personal relationships they have with their followers.
Influencers partner with a brand for a limited time–such as a one-time testimony or multi-post campaign–whereas brand ambassadors have a long-term relationship with the brand, upwards of several months. While influencers are often paid for their partnership, brand ambassadors receive little or no monetary compensation because they love promoting your brand.
Who Can Be a Brand Ambassador?
Luckily, they’re not hard to find and can influence customers in different ways to engage with your business. Brand ambassadors can be:
- Customers: Viewers are more likely to be influenced by the testimony of your customers because they aren’t associated with your business. These can be customers who physically use your facility, or if you use software like Exercise.com to offer online workouts through a gym ecommerce software, these can also be virtual customers.
- Employees: Employees have the inside scoop of your business. They know how everything works and how customers can get the most out of their membership, online training, and products. Employees can also add value to your brand by endearing audiences to their personalities and training specialties.
- Business partners: Organizations, charities, and other companies who promote your brand can influence your customers to purchase your products and memberships.
- Influencers: Influencers are well-known advocates, especially on social media. Influencers expand the reach of your business to all their followers.
- Niche Customers: If your business offers a specific niche, users who post about your niche are of tremendous value. This is because they connect their followers to your brand, and you offer the niche audience exactly what they’re looking for.
How Do You Find Brand Ambassadors?
There are a few ways to find brand ambassadors.
- Social Media: Someone who frequently likes, comments, and/or shares your posts is a great place to start. You can check your @mentions and #hashtags to see who regularly engages with your brand.
- CRM Data: Using a business management software like Exercise.com, identify your most loyal customers and biggest spenders.
- Application: Creating an application form narrows down your potential brand ambassadors because only those dedicated to your brand will complete the application. Sorting through extra paperwork does add extra tasks to your plate, but it can be worth it in the end.
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What Is a Fitness Brand Ambassador Program?
According to the Local Consumer Survey, 94 percent of customers are more likely to use a business if it has positive reviews. 79 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Further, 50 percent of customers (the highest survey response) agree that reviews need to be within two weeks in order to influence their decision.
We can learn a few things from these statistics:
- Positive reviews are the biggest factor in whether a customer uses your business.
- Reviews from anyone, anywhere in the world, are as influential as recommendations from trusted friends and family.
- Customers value and are influenced by new reviews, which means your business needs a steady influx of reviews.
All this means you can substantially grow your memberships, ecommerce sales, and followers, by tapping into your fanbase. This is where a brand ambassador program comes in!
A fitness brand ambassador program is the means by which you partner with your fans to promote your business. In your program, you find and connect with your ambassadors, give them assignments to promote products and/or services, and appreciate their partnership.
Benefits of a Fitness Brand Ambassador Program
A fitness brand ambassador program can be very beneficial for your business for a few different reasons.
#1 – Fitness brand ambassador programs can save you a lot of money on marketing
Traditional ads and marketing can be time-consuming and expensive. You also need a variety of ads to influence customers with various interests and needs. But with a brand ambassador program, you can receive a steady stream of positive reviews and recommendations at little cost to you. Even if you pay or reward your ambassadors, this is a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
#2 – Fitness brand ambassador programs are effective advertising methods
Nearly 80 percent of customers trust strangers’ reviews on services and products, which opens the door for effective advertising from just about any individual anywhere in the world! Having ambassadors from different regions and backgrounds is advantageous to your business, as well, because it shows that your business can benefit anyone.
#3 – Fitness brand ambassador programs build a stronger fanbase
Especially if you use an invitation-only program, your ambassadors feel like VIPs to your business. This can create more loyalty to your business–both with your ambassadors and with your fanbase. When customers see customers-turned-ambassadors support your brand, they’re more likely to support it, as well.
#4 – Fitness brand ambassador programs increase your revenue
Brand ambassadors penetrate beyond traditional advertisement space to reach customers in organic and unique ways. This increases your customer pool, and ultimately your revenue.
Are you ready to create your own fitness brand ambassador program? Let’s get started!
How to Start a Fitness Brand Ambassador Program
Starting your own fitness brand ambassador program might seem daunting, but the extra work upfront will pay off in the end! The programs aren’t time-consuming to manage, especially with software like Exercise.com that records all your stats for easy retrieval and reporting.
Determine Your Ideal Fitness Brand Ambassadors
The first thing you must do is determine what kind of ambassadors you want for your brand. As stated earlier, the most common brand ambassadors are customers, employees, business partners, influencers, and niche customers. Each type of brand ambassador has its own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, influencers might reach a bigger customer pool, but they will most likely ask for a reimbursement. Regular customers might not care about reimbursement, but their follower list isn’t as broad.
You can choose to limit your brand ambassadors to one type, use just a few, or all of them! It depends on what audience you’re trying to reach. It’s also important to decide on specifications (if any) you might have for your ambassadors. For instance, you might want ambassadors who have lost significant weight through your programs, or perhaps you want ambassadors with a minimum number of followers.
Prepare Guidelines and Reimbursement
Before you go out searching for your fitness brand ambassadors, prepare a short style guide for them. For instance, you want your ambassadors to maintain their original voice, but you also want them to include specific hashtags, mentions, key phrases, and more. Additionally, you want to set some boundaries on what is not appropriate for them to post, since they are representing your brand.
Next, determine what your reimbursement measures will be. As stated earlier, many customers don’t expect reimbursement, but it’s always appreciated and secures their loyalty! Other types of ambassadors, such as influencers and business partners, may only partner with you if there is reimbursement. This could be monetary, gift bags, or other forms of reimbursement. Deciding on your ideal and max reimbursement now will save you anxiety over counter offers later.
Find Your Fitness Brand Ambassadors
Once you’ve determined what type of ambassadors you’d like to partner with, it’s time to find them! There are a few strategies for accomplishing this.
#1 – Manually find your fitness brand ambassadors
Search for people who regularly post about your brand. This is mostly done on social media platforms by searching for mentions and hashtags. Comb through comments and likes on your posts to see who is engaging with your brand the most. Using the Exercise.com business management platform, you can also see who has made frequent purchases, which indicates loyalty to your brand.
#2 – Request influencer or business partner support
If there’s an influencer or business partner who really fits with your brand or niche, it’s only to your advantage to reach out! Sell them on your brand and how a partnership would benefit them. You can find fitness influencers through social media platforms by searching trending hashtags or you can use influencer marketing tools for more specific searches.
#3 – Create a virtual application
Creating a custom web application form helps narrow down your search to a few qualified candidates. It also adds a level of exclusivity to your brand, which makes it more desirable and prestigious to be accepted as one of your brand ambassadors.
Web applications are fairly simple to create and can be easily added to your website. Direct your customers and followers to the application by linking to it in social media posts. And be sure to celebrate your brand ambassadors when they are accepted through your application process!
#4 – Ask your employees
While a fitness brand ambassador program shouldn’t be used as an employee incentive program, passionate employees can be some of your best ambassadors! As long as your employees meet the same criteria as your other vetted ambassadors, recruiting your employees as ambassadors is a great way to promote your brand.
#5 – Make the Final Call
As you go along, catalog all potential ambassadors and take your time choosing the most promising ones. More is not always better when it comes to ambassadors! You want ambassadors who are accountable, motivated, and passionate about your brand. Having a wishy-washy or high-maintenance ambassador will frustrate you in the long run.
Since brand ambassador programs are designed to be a long-term relationship, you want to vet ambassadors the same way you would employees.
That being said, there’s no ideal number of ambassadors for the program to succeed. If you have dozens of qualified ambassadors, use them! But don’t be discouraged if you only have a handful of ambassadors. As your ambassadors faithfully promote your business, you will see your business grow. As your business grows, you’ll have more ambassadors for your program.
Recruit Your Fitness Brand Ambassadors
Now that you’ve done all the prep work, the fun can begin!
Reach out to your chosen ambassadors in their preferred method of contact. Since this is the beginning of a long-term relationship, set a friendly but professional tone early. Give a few specifics but don’t overwhelm your potential ambassador and wait to hear back.
Once your ambassadors agree to work with you, send them your style guide and agree on reimbursement (if any). Depending on who your ambassador is and the level of compensation (if any), it can be beneficial to have a brand ambassador contract. This ensures both parties are in agreement with terms and expectations.
Appreciate Your Fitness Brand Ambassadors
Regularly showing your appreciation for your fitness brand ambassadors helps maintain a positive relationship and loyalty. Some common reimbursement includes financial compensation, freebies, and giving them shout-outs on your own page to help grow their account.
You can also promote your brand ambassadors as they bring in business leads to receive greater reimbursement. Celebrating your brand ambassadors as they gain followers is another excellent way to show support. There are dozens of ways to show your appreciation, so get creative with incentives that fit your business style and budget!
Fitness brand ambassador programs are an excellent way to grow your business as a grassroots effort. While there are a lot of moving pieces, Exercise.com’s gym management software provides you with tools and functions that organize and streamline your ambassador program.
Easily manage your gym staff and brand ambassadors with our gym management and business dashboard report features! These functions give you clear, understandable data on your business, staff, and ambassador metrics. You can have a bird’s eye view of your business, zero in on certain business aspects, and even customize reports specifically for your business!
If you interested in learning how Exercise’s gym management software benefits your business, contact us today!