by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 8 March 2013
The new economy is all about networking and referrals. We are connected through an ecosystem of networks that, if used correctly, can multiply the effect of your business. This week, we will look at a solution that uses an innovative tack to help you benefit from networks.
In this review we will discuss Ambassador, a SaaS solution that leverages brand ambassadors to build a referral network. We will explore its interface, features, and see how it can be of use to you.
In its offline avatar, scaling and tracking of a network of Ambassadors and Partners occurs through individuals. As the network scales, you can track new referrals through previous individuals invested in the network. However, referral networking can be confusing and complicated in an online setting.
Part of the problem is because of the nature of online networking: Links can often get lost in a maze of multiple sites and social networks. In turn, that can be a significant deterrent for referrers to recommend the product.
getAmbassador.com puts an Internet spin on referral tracking and partner tracking. It uses the concept of "personal Ambassadors" to track sale links. Ambassadors are rewarded once these links are tracked back to a given Ambassador.
Campaigns are the basis of marketing of Ambassador. Setting up a campaign is fairly easy and includes tasks such as configuring metadata related to the campaign. The metadata consists of specifics related to your campaign such as time periods.
One of the things I liked about the solution was its flexibility. Ambassador is flexible as far as reward types are concerned. You can configure monetary (cash) or non-monetary (points-based) rewards system. In addition, depending on your cash position, you can configure set amounts or revenue percentages as rewards. In order to track user flow across multiple channels, you need to integrate it into your small business. Once you have figured out campaign specifics (and associated rewards), Ambassador assigns unique, personalized URLs to users signed on with the system. They are your brand Ambassadors or referrers assigned to promote your product. The brand Ambassador, then, use these personalized URLs across multiple forms of communication, including social media networks and email. After your brand Ambassadors get into the act, you can use the solution to track and manage your marketing efforts.
Here are some examples taken from the recently launched Ambassador Portal:
There are several interesting benefits associated with the solution. Let's look at some of them:
Ambassador cuts through the swathe of cluttered social media posts and updates to provide you with a streamlined and clear view of your social media efforts. In the process, getAmbassador.com makes e-marketing simple, easy , and affordable for small businesses.
Because the nature of industries they serve differs, the solution's developers have thoughtfully integrated several customizations into their solution. For example, as I mentioned earlier, you can configure custom rewards for your brand Ambassadors. In addition, Ambassador also offers a plethora of custom integrations through its API that enable you to craft and track Ambassador referral programs to suit your needs. Specifically you can embed the Ambassador URLs into each email as you can see from the Lootcrate example below.
Ambassador has a rich and extensible tool set to determine statistics related to your marketing efforts. For example, using the solution, you can tally the effectiveness of each channel and brand Ambassador and allocate priorities accordingly.
While the solution already offers several benefits, there is one area where Ambassador could improve. A simpler technical implementation would go a long way in winning them more customers. However, the Ambassador has had clients implement an API integration in a matter of hours. You should give it a try to see how it works for you.
Ambassador has five tiers of pricing. You can opt for either tier, depending on the budget, support and level of customization required. For example, the "Starter" tier offers you API access and the "Refer a friend" widget. The solution's founders recommend this program for small businesses to implement an online referral strategy. The "Custom" plan on the other hand provides a plethora of options to customize your referral program from custom integration to an unlimited number of user accounts and priority support.
The app's menu simplifies tasks associated with Ambassador into five items, including a dashboard that displays analytics for each campaign. Clicking on an individual menu items reveals a list of options for that item. For example, you can view details related to each campaign using the Campaign option.
Campaign Dashboard figure 1
Campaign Dashboard figure 2
The solution has an excellent and comprehensive support library that details each aspect of the solution. In addition, Ambassador also has instant chat help available for users. In addition, you can access help from its staff and through support forums.
The utility of Ambassador lies in its ability to simplify your online marketing to clicks. That, in itself, is reason enough for you to invest in the solution.