spokespersonHave you noticed how inundated your inbox and banner ads have been with Marie Forleo’s B-School lately? If you’ve been in business and marketing online for more than a year chances are you’re in the midst of a B-School blitz, and love it or not, it paints the picture of how powerful it can be for your income and your brand when you use the enthusiasm and support of others.

I haven’t been through B-School myself, but for the past few weeks I’ve received promotions, offers and insights for it on a daily basis. It’s fun to see and it’s a powerful tool that you can use in your business as well, no matter where you’re starting out at.

Whether your business sells products or services, online or brick-and mortar you have options to leverage ambassadors to grow your business too. Sales make business work, and the more sales you have, the stronger your brand becomes.

So what is a brand ambassador? Simply put, they are people who are already fans and supporters of the products you sell and the work you do. They can be friends, family or former clients but the best ones are those who intimately know your capabilities inside and out. They can speak from first hand experience, due to proximity, about your value and increase the likelihood of a purchase by 400%. (now I’ve got your attention, eh?)

Ambassadorship can show up in many ways. Here are a few to help you activate it in your business:

1) Enlist current and former clients to share their experience: Every time you have a client say “I love the work you did” or “this was fabulous” it’s time to get a great testimonial and offer them the opportunity to be in your ambassador program. When a client is excited and fulfilled, they naturally want to share their experience and give back. It’s a win-win for you both.

2) Develop an affiliate program: One of the most effective ways to build a network of ambassadors from clients, friends and strangers as well is to develop an affiliate program. By offering commission incentives you get the benefit of their effort and network at a cost much less than market rate for acquiring new clients. Be sure to outline the details and opportunity for the program clearly so that you make it an easy decision for them.

3) Start an advisory board: A common tactic for non-profits and institutions is to develop an advisory board. The advisers serve to help guide decisions that are in alignment with current trends and needs, and also are expected to promote and petition the business on their behalf. It’s a smart tactic that has worked well across the board for all types of industries.

4) Appoint a spokesperson: Like the reference to Matt Damon above, one way to garner massive visibility for your business is to appoint a spokesperson. They can be paid or unpaid, but must be a true believer in your service and core values. As the spokesperson for your brand they become “one of the faces” of your brand and bring with them the power of their personal brand. Be mindful when you appoint a spokesperson, their lifestyle on and off duty will greatly impact your brand’s reputation.

5) Create a community.

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