A new year is creeping up on all of us. In e-commerce marketing, that presents an opportunity to mentally start anew and implement a strategy that will have your brand(s) thriving for years to come.
So, where should you start with your new direction? Well, you’d be wise to heed the advice of the greatest basketball player of all time (sorry, LeBron James fans).
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
Your approach to e-commerce marketing in 2019 should be no different.
I know, you’re probably telling yourself: “But my brand can get wins with quality products, giveaways, discounts, and low prices. That’s my talent. Why do I need to do anything else?”
And yes, that may be true. However, none of those things come with any sort of guarantee that translates into long-term success. You need to take a timeout and think deeper about what you’re doing to truly grow your brand toward a sustainable future.
In order to attain many victories over a long period of time — something like a 72-10 season — you need to rely on your teammates. You need to teach them, value them, motivate them, and do it all in an with a well-informed approach.
In this case, your teammates are your best customers. It’s those who spend the most and have the highest level of affinity for your brand. They are willing to serve as affiliates or ambassadors to your brand, but it’s on you to mobilize them into action.
And that — the mobilization of your affiliates — is one of the most important e-commerce marketing practices a brand can start doing in 2019 to grow for the future. Before we go any further, let’s lay out the difference between affiliates and ambassadors.
An affiliate has a strong influence on their inner circle of close friends and family. They are all stars in word-of-mouth marketing. The expansiveness of their impact can be incredibly deep. Their five best friends turn into the five best friends of those five best friends and so on.
“If you can penetrate the peer-to-peer communications that individuals have and mobilize your customers to influence those conversations, you have the potential to become a massive brand.” — John Max Bolling
An ambassador is someone who has influence within the communities where your consumers exist. They can be the face of your brand. The close personal connection isn’t the same as with an affiliate, but the right ambassador can nonetheless be extremely effective. Think of LeBron James and Nike or Hailey Baldwin and L’Oréal.
Both affiliates and ambassadors can lead to significant growth, you just have to set them up with an assist. With that in mind, let’s focus on how to get your program off the ground.
A very important place to start is finding ways to incentivize action from affiliates. This could be free giveaways, discounted items, or even access into the company. When you’re doing this, remember people don’t ever get used to free but they do get used to discounts.
For a great example of mobilizing consumers, look at how the beauty brand Glossier has used its blog Into the Gloss to attain a booming community of affiliate marketers. The blog encouraged users to share tips and tricks, creating an interactive community in the process. That dedicated community quickly blossomed into Glossier’s word-of-mouth marketers.
With ambassadors, you have to find ways to make your brand visible to those you would like to serve as the face of your brand. You can look to PSD Underwear as an example. The brand had an NFL wide receiver promoting products in the early stages of doing business simply by showing up at events relevant to the consumer base. PSD now has a very healthy list of high-profile ambassadors promoting its underwear. Was PSD a little bit fortunate? Absolutely. But, more than anything, the growth of its ambassador program has been about a quality product and a lot of hustle.
Essentially, if your brand wants to start dunking on the competition in 2019 and beyond, it’s time to start relying on your teammates to help you get that done.