Entering into an agreement with someone in your industry to represent you can be a huge boost for visibility. In order to make this work for both parties, let’s break this down a little more.
Select someone who competes in your customer base area. Want more dressage-based sales? Find a higher level competitor on the circuit. Selling pony rider gear? Rodeo tack? Go there.
Some things to consider before pulling someone on board.
If you don’t know this person well already, do a little work to see if they have been an ambassador or representative already. How much effort did they put in? Did they post infrequently or in a non-professional manner? Are they generally chatty and comfortable talking with strangers? Talk to their past sponsors to see if there were any issues. You are essentially hiring a spokesperson, so be selective.
Approach someone who is already doing a nice job. Up and coming riders often will take on multiple brands. If you have noticed someone that is active and doing a great job, they may be very interested in adding you to their stable (Bad pun, couldn’t resist!).
What are you willing to give for the effort?
Sponsorships are different from ambassador positions. Knowing ahead of time what you are offering and what it is worth is important and should be fully understood before approaching someone. Generally, sponsorships involve payment or products (or both) and involve a representative at the top of the game.
Get it in writing.
Ambassadors are usually volunteers. I really like the way the AQHA Foundation has set up their program clearly so that everyone can see at the outset what it entails.
Be clear with expectations, such as driving sales and how much, or how much social media work will be expected. Do they need support or some training to be social media savvy? Will they need to make special appearances? Make sure everyone is on the same page.
As the company offering the opportunity, give yourself an out if things are really not going well as part of the agreement and stipulate what those deal-breakers are specifically. For example, if you are an edgy brand, using profanity may be fine. If you are a family-owned business, it may never be considered acceptable. Be specific and thoughtful about how you are being represented.
Once you have an agreement, don’t give away the keys and not check the car. Follow along and see how things are going. It may take a few tries to get everything where it needs to be.
Share ideas, sometimes creativity takes some back and forth to reach a good landing place. If your ambassador is struggling, find out why. Maybe they just need some help with how to take better photos or learning how to post a video to Instagram. Share your best hashtags to get them started in the right direction.
Support your ambassador team.
Post photos on your own site and social media channels. Let them know how excited you are to have them as well.
Ambassadors can be a huge help in building excitement and love for a product line or brand and it can be a very worthwhile effort.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda MacDonald, Founder of Full Gallop Communications, is a marketing veteran that works with equine-based businesses on improving brand communication, marketing strategy, and content marketing. With over 17 years of experience and a lifetime of riding behind her, MacDonald loves to work with the companies that enrich the lives of her riding partners.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how your marketing efforts can become more successful.