Whether you’re a restaurant or a real estate agency, you’re bound to have some passionate fans. These are your most loyal customers; the people who will go the extra mile for you because they love you so much.

Getting these customers to take the extra step and serve as your brand ambassadors can be a great added boost to growing your business.

When your best customers help you with marketing, they can provide you with extra brains, an extra pair of hands, and a new network of potential customers.

But how do you recruit these customers and what exactly should you look for in a brand ambassador?

Here are the key steps to recruit a core group of people to serve as the brand ambassadors for your business.

Where to Recruit Ambassadors

There are some well-known places you can look for potential brand ambassadors:

1. Use your email list.

You can send out some information about your new ambassador program to everyone on your email list or you can select a group of people that seem to interact with your emails more — essentially the people who open, click, and share the most. If they’re already interacting a lot with you, they’re likely to be open to additional asks, such as joining a brand ambassador program!

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2. Ask customers in-person or at an event.

Offline interactions are often the best places to identify and recruit potential ambassadors.

You can ask customers face-to-face when they are at your store or office. You can also take advantage of the networking opportunities that often take place at gatherings and events.

3. Use social media.

Posting on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page can be a great way to notify potential ambassadors that you’re starting a program and looking for participants. You’ll reach a broad audience of potential ambassadors, and fans might share details of the program with others who would be a great fit.

4. Reach out individually to people that have told you they’d like to help you.

We often hear from small businesses that customers have actively reached out to them asking what they can do to help grow a particular business. They might be interested in referring new customers, sharing information about the business online, or working at a booth at an event or festival. These customers are incredibly valuable and have already expressed an interest in helping you. Asking them if they’re interested in your ambassador program is a logical step.

These tactics are all helpful for sourcing ambassadors. But, there’s still the question of how you choose your ambassadors.

How to Select Ambassadors

Even the biggest brands use simple online applications to recruit ambassadors.

In general, an application does not have to be anything complex or in-depth, but a couple specific questions can be helpful with choosing ambassadors that will truly be a great fit for your business. You want to get some basic information from your potential ambassadors such as:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Contact information
  • Social media profiles (if that’s relevant to you)
  • Why they want to be an ambassador
  • Why they think they would make a good ambassador
  • Ways they want to participate as an ambassador

Here’s an example of a simple survey you can create straight from your Constant Contact account:

Svy Example

If you’re looking for extra inspiration, here are a couple of examples of applications from social media management software provider Hootsuite and from men’s shorts company Chubbies.

What Characteristics to Look For in Ambassadors

Above all, ambassadors should be passionate about your business. Look for the customer that loves to shout from the rooftop about your business or the fan that’s told all their friends about you.

There are some other traits that can be optimal for a brand ambassador program as well.

An ambassador who’s influential in the community — whether online or offline — can be very helpful in spreading the word on your behalf.

An ambassador who’s creative and has ideas for authentically spreading the word can also be a huge help.

Now You’re Ready to Recruit Ambassadors and Start a Program

To sum up, you can start by recruiting ambassadors in the places you’re already doing marketing, whether that’s email, events or social media. Then, identify a core group of ambassadors by using a simply survey application. Before you know it, you’ll have a group of 10 or 25 or 50 ambassadors that are actively spreading the word about your business and helping you bring in new customers.

Start today by letting your customers know you’re thinking about starting an ambassador program in your email newsletter, on social media or in person. You’ll already be well on your way to running a successful ongoing program with just that one first step.

Ali Hyatt leads marketing and product for Upward Labs, which creates software for businesses to build and manage brand ambassador programs to drive customer engagement and increase revenue and reach. Upward Labs participated in the first session of Constant Contact’s Small Business Innovation Program.