If you’re a business owner, especially a more experienced one, you know how hard it is to stand out from the crowd.
With every other brand out there screaming for attention on social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to set yourself apart and have a loud enough voice to gather the attention you need for your business to be successful.
That’s why it’s important to have brand ambassadors that can take a lot of this work and pressure off your hands. Because as stellar as your marketing campaigns might be, they will never be as powerful as a host of brand ambassadors who market your product for you.
Nothing is as powerful for potential customers than seeing your product used by other people in real life!
And that’s what brand ambassadors essentially do: they use your product and they enthusiastically spread the word to a host of other people.
Okay, but enrolling ambassadors in a program, following their actions, managing them and keeping them motivated is surely very time-consuming and — at least — a job in and of itself, right?
Right. And if you’ve ever tried it, you know just how intense and exhausting it can get.
And that’s where a brand ambassador management software like CrewFire comes in. CrewFire helps brands turn their customers into their army of brand ambassadors, by driving referrals and promoting word-of-mouth marketing, user-generated content, engagement, and shares on social media and beyond.
All you really need to do is recruit and enlist your customers and invite them to join your ambassador program, and CrewFire will basically do the rest. And you’re in good hands. CrewFire has helped hundreds of brands mobilize tens of thousands of brand ambassadors, and with the launch of CrewFire 2.0 in September 2020, things got even better and will continue to improve in 2021 — but more on that later.
So how does it work and what sets CrewFire apart from other brand ambassador management platforms?
Once you have recruited and enlisted your customers and accepted them into the program, they can start taking different actions that help grow your brand, like engaging with your posts on social media, sharing your content on social media, creating content for your brand, or grabbing affiliate and referral links and driving affiliate and referral sales for your brand. They then get rewarded for all of that with points that they can exchange for rewards or commissions for sales they drive. You decide the percentage of sales and rewards you want to give your ambassadors.
But let’s take a step-by-step look at the menu to get a clearer picture of the whole experience. Here is what the Activities tab looks like:
This is where your ambassadors will be able to take different actions to help grow your brand and earn money or points.
The first category here is Referrals or commissions on sale:
CrewFire integrates with Shopify, focusing mainly on brands in the US, primarily in women’s beauty and cosmetics, fashion, and apparel sectors. Here is where you can set up referral codes or links for your ambassadors, which allows them to give discounts to their friends and followers and earn referral commissions.
You set both the discount rate and the referral rate and CrewFire tracks when their discount codes or referral links are used and gives them all their stats and their history here.
The second category is for Instagram Engagement:
The goal here is to get users engaging with your Instagram content as quickly as possible every time you post something, or every time you want to boost a certain post. CrewFire will message your ambassadors and tell them to like and comment on your post to earn points. The sooner they engage, the more points they earn. They can access the post from here or click on the direct link they will get in the text message, which makes it very easily accessible from anywhere whenever they have a spare moment, with the massive potential to turn your entire community into an engagement squad.
Next in the Activities tab we have the Sharing Content category:
This is similar to the Instagram Engagement category, but for every other brand content you want to share. Every time you have a new product, announcement, YouTube video, blog post, resource, or anything you want your ambassadors to share on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can create a share campaign here.
CrewFire will message all your ambassadors with the link and instructions and you can set up different points for sharing it on different networks: for instance, a Facebook share might be worth more than a tweet, or an Instagram share might be worth more than a Facebook one, it’s for you to decide on a case-by-case basis.
Last but not least in the Activities tab is the participation in Submission Campaigns:
This basically allows you to ask your customers to do anything you want them to on TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, or even the real world, from sponsored content like YouTube videos, Instagram posts or blog posts, to images of them wearing your make-up, clothing, or accessories, to writing reviews on review websites. The only limit to what user-generated content you can get is your imagination.
Include specific instructions and tell your customers how many points they will get for each approved submission and CrewFire will gather them for your approval, whether they are links, images, videos, screenshots or other accepted files. When and if you approve the submissions, CrewFire will reward your ambassadors.
For all of these activities, your ambassadors are earning points, which brings us to the Rewards tab:
This is where your brand ambassadors can exchange all their points for rewards or get cash payouts for their affiliate and referral commissions. The great thing is that they don’t have to go to a third-party platform to cash in the money they made from sales commissions. All that happens in CrewFire. They just have to connect their PayPal or bank account and get payouts or wire transfers without leaving the app.
As for rewards, you can give your customers whatever your heart desires, from gift cards or vouchers to t-shirts or other products, to concert tickets or even meetups with your team or phone calls with your CEO.
Just don’t forget to fulfill the orders and mark them as completed!
OK, but what makes CrewFire that special among other brand ambassador programs out there?
In one word — Community!
What I haven’t mentioned yet is that when an ambassador opens the app, they don’t land on the activities section, but on the Community one. That’s actually the home screen, which includes a video welcoming them to the program, telling them what the program benefits are, what their role is, how to use CrewFire, how to represent CrewFire, and how to engage with their fellow ambassadors, form relationships and connect with one another through the program.
OK, but why is that important? Because every other brand ambassador platform and referral app out there starts on the activities menu and ends on the rewards one. No community tab in sight.
CrewFire wanted to have the sense of community right at the heart of their brand ambassador software. Because, as it turns out, just engaging in content and doing stuff for a brand in exchange for some small rewards is actually not all that appealing. It’s missing a huge social component that usually draws people to social media apps like Instagram or TikTok: the human connection, the feeling of belonging to a group or tribe. This is what keeps people coming back and what embeds a platform into people’s lives.
What sparked this idea for Alan VanToai, the founder of CrewFire, was actually his experience working as a brand ambassador for Red Bull. As part of their “Red Bull You” internal program, Alan could travel to various places in the country and in the world and connect with a local ambassador there, which helped him build long-lasting friendships, hugely improving his experience and therefore deepening his relationship with the brand.
So the Community in CrewFire gives you the opportunity to create a community of your most passionate customers, which will deepen the relationship between the customer and the brand and increase their lifetime value.
It’s like a private Facebook group, except unlike Facebook, in CrewFire you actually own your data and have access to your ambassadors’ phone numbers and email addresses that you can export at any time into your CRM. You can also communicate with your customers through this platform.
And not only can your customers connect with one another through the platform, but they can also compete with one another. Which brings us to the Feed & Rankings tab.
CrewFire wanted to make the ambassadors’ experience as interactive and rewarding as possible, which is why they also introduced a gamification component. In the Rankings feed, they can see how they rank compared with other ambassadors, which will motivate them to do better and score more points and rewards.
This also contributes to the community experience and makes them feel part of a greater team rather than an isolated individual doing random meaningless things for a brand.
I mean, who doesn’t like a good challenge. Challenges make everything more fun, right?
That is the ambassador experience, which, of course, impacts you as well — happy ambassadors, happy brand — but what other benefits does CrewFire’s brand ambassador management software have for you as a brand?
- Customizable sign-up forms — customize your logo, copy, and sign-up fields
- Text message marketing — email and SMS everybody on your team
- The possibility to send important updates and mobilize everyone when you have a new product placement or campaign
- Owning your emailing and customer list in CrewFire that you can customize or export at any time
- View of pending and completed orders
- Payouts through CrewFire
- Integration with Shopify
- The ability to turn your customers into an army of brand ambassadors
- Word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, UGC, engagement and shares on social media
- The opportunity to create a community of your most passionate customers
- High-performance super-fast loading software
So is CrewFire’s brand ambassador program a good fit for your brand?
CrewFire is mainly marketed towards e-commerce stores, specifically women’s beauty and cosmetics brands on Shopify.
CrewFire has three pricing plans — starting at $1,000 / month for the Starter plan, moving to $2,000 / month for the Growth plan and going up to $4,000 / month for the Business plan, billed annually — that constitute more of a mid-market price point for brands that have existing traction and revenue, so maybe it’s not the optimal solution for start-ups that can’t afford it at the start of their journey, although it offers immense value for money that you would otherwise spend on product photos, marketing campaigns, etc.
CrewFire plans for 2021
CrewFire 2.0 was launched in September 2020 and includes Community, Referral & Affiliate Tracking, Mobile-friendly ambassador interface, new activity types, cash payouts, and an updated brand dashboard, but there’s more to come this year:
- Major overhaul to the design and user experience for both brands and ambassadors
- The implementation of the first mobile app
- New activity types to keep the ambassadors even more engaged
- Improvements to the community tab
- Improvements to the in-app communication system and notifications
- More in-depth metrics and analytics
- Deeper e-commerce integrations, including automated rewards and metrics
For more of their 2021 plans, check out this blog post.
Main takeaways from this article about CrewFire:
- They help brands turn their customers into their army of brand ambassadors, and the value of that is referrals and word of mouth, UGC, engagement and shares on social media
- They give brands the opportunity to create a community of their most passionate customers, which deepens the relationship between the customer and the brand and increases their lifetime value
- They’re looking to focus on Shopify brands in the US, primarily in women’s cosmetics, fashion, and apparel