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Proven Refer-A-Friend Programs: Ideas

Jun 28

Programs that reward referrals can help you gain new customers and build credibility. Not all referral scheme ideas, though, are successful.

A program that rewards existing clients for referring their friends and relations to your company is known as a refer-a-friend program. The trust and relationship already present make this type of campaign one of the most successful marketing strategies.

What is the efficiency of refer-a-friend programs?

Does referring a friend earn you money?

The success of the client referral programs at Tesla, Dropbox, Uber, and Airbnb shows that the answer is unquestionably yes. if you follow the guidelines set forth by your industry.

Social proof makes it possible for a properly executed refer-a-friend campaign to foster customer loyalty, boost word-of-mouth, and speed up client acquisition.

The following statistics show how successful the referral marketing strategy is:

Nielsen reports that while only one-third of people trust advertisements, 90% of people believe recommendations for a brand from friends, family, and peers.
A purchase is influenced primarily by word of mouth for 20 to 50 percent of consumers, according to McKinsey. (According to a study by Ogilvy and Google, word-of-mouth affected overall customer behavior by 74%.)

How can a refer-a-friend campaign be launched effectively?

A refer-a-friend campaign needs certain pre-existing elements to be effective. in particular, a devoted customer base and a top-notch product or service.

As soon as these are established, you can start putting your referral campaign together.

To plan and run a successful referral program, adhere to these guidelines:

  • Have an idea for a referral scheme? As a reward, will you give customers money or gifts? For each and every referral, will you offer rewards? Having a central theme in mind can help you steer any marketing effort.
  • To encourage your customers to tell their friends about your business, choose referral marketing incentives. The best campaign incentive ideas and their supporting rationale are discussed below.
  • If you have a referral program, make sure it is simple to find. In as little as three clicks or taps, users should be able to suggest friends.
  • Recognize the appropriate times to request referrals from clients. The best time is usually when you ask your clients when they are feeling the happiest.
  • Make the referral process distinctive. Give customers a variety of marketing channels to choose from and give them an easy-to-share, individual referral link.
  • Promote your referral program and encourage viral sharing by incorporating social media into your campaign.
  • Utilize referral marketing tools (like our very own Referral Rock platform!) to monitor your referral progress and conversion rates.
  • The top ten suggestions for a referral program are as follows: That work pays off.
  • One of the most crucial components of successful referral marketing is the incentive. What kind of incentive should you offer to customers who join your referral program? The most effective referral incentives are ones that appeal to and help your customers.
  • The best refer-a-friend marketing strategies are listed below. Continue reading to learn how some of these strategies might be applied to your own recruiting campaign.
  • Payments or subscription credits.

For businesses that sell digital products like software, courses, or ebooks, credit-based referral programs are especially advantageous. According to your product, it might not even cost you anything.

Reasons why this advertisement is successful

Store credits or subscription credits will draw customers who want to save money and will entice them to continue doing business with your business.

Due to the credit only being used for a portion of the total transaction, this type of incentive is also reasonably priced.

Numerous digital businesses already include the cost in their processes or goods. Contrarily, customers continue to find store credits to be of great value.

Monetary donations to charities

Decide on a cause that is important to both your business and your target audience, and then pledge to make a donation on behalf of each new client.

For instance, HealthyPaws donates money to an organization that works to end pet homelessness when a customer recommends a friend to the business.

Reasons why this advertisement is successful.

The commitment of consumers to positively impacting society and their local communities is growing. Furthermore, they are eager to support businesses that share their commitment.

Your refer-a-friend program requires little effort from the customers who participate in it. On the other hand, including a charitable incentive may be exactly what your clients and referrals want to spread the word about your business.

Social interaction through giving

Social giving, which has been a long-standing practice, has made a comeback as a result of refer-a-friend marketing initiatives.

A one-way incentive known as social giving encourages your customers to thank their friends and spread the word about a company they like (you!). You could use anything associated with your company directly as a reward, including a discount, a free item, a gift card, etc.

In social giving, there is no payment made to the current client (the referral). The new customer instead receives all the advantages (the referred buddy).

If you use this referral program idea, make sure your referral marketing places a strong emphasis on the social gifting element. Share-motivating phrases like "Share the love" or "Give to your friends," for instance.

However, exercise caution when offering significant discounts as part of your rewards program. Only if they receive a sizable discount can referrals (who eventually become new customers) develop a buying habit.

This can be avoided by setting a cap on the number of social gifts that a client can send or a time limit on when they can use the discount.

Additionally, you can extend the same social gift to the new client's family and friends. This fosters a sense of reciprocity and, in turn, results in more referrals down the road.

Reasons why this advertisement is successful.

Why would anyone suggest other people if there was no financial reward? This idea of social gifting is based on people's desire to share an experience with others or simply to give something that is too nice to keep to themselves. If your product is something that customers want to talk about or that their friends would find useful, they will actively participate in your refer-a-friend campaign.

Three categories of referral bonuses exist

More rewards are awarded for each successful referral in refer-a-friend programs with tiers. This shows that customers are more likely to profit from the refer-a-friend program if they participate as often as possible.

This strategy was used when Harry's, a manufacturer of razors, first launched their online store. From free shaving cream to a year's worth of free blades, they offered a wide range of incentives. In just one week, they received 100,000 emails, which is amazing!

In addition, you can provide discounts by using a tiered incentive system. By way of illustration, your refer-a-friend program might pay 20% for the first five referrals a client makes, and 40% for each additional referral.

Reasons why this advertisement is successful.

The potential to create super-advocates is quite alluring, and the prospect of earning more money with stacked incentives for more referrals is very alluring. In the majority of tiered systems, customers are also given a progress bar that displays the number of recommendations they still need to make in order to move on to the next tier. A game's mechanics are similar to how this added motivation works.

It is possible to join an exclusive club

To help your refer-a-friend program succeed, give special rewards to customers who send in the most referrals. Invite these customers to join a special club that offers outstanding benefits like invitations to VIP events, early access to store deals, and freebies.

If you sell software or other digital goods, you can make your products more exclusive by including pricey add-ons or offering priority customer service for a limited time.

A refer-a-friend promotion that offers a unique prize is one found in The Morning Brew's newsletter. A customer will automatically be added to the business's premium Sunday mailing list — free of charge — once they receive a certain number of referrals.

Reasons why this advertisement is successful.

Exclusive recognition can boost referrals and give your top clients' lives a little extra spice. It's a win-win situation because customers will be thrilled to get a peek behind the scenes, and you'll gain even more client loyalty as a result.

Your exclusive membership might also grow as your referral marketing campaign does. For instance, you could create elite prizes for the top 10 or 20 members of your club and offer them even better benefits.

Promoting your refer-a-friend program is also important

The best refer-a-friend campaign idea is not enough. Additionally, you need to frequently promote your program for getting recommendations from friends and family. Set up the pillars of your referral program (referral message templates, a motto, and a landing page) and actively market it to your clientele after that.

In addition to social media, email marketing, SMS, and other channels where your target audience spends the majority of their time online, promote your campaign across all of your top digital marketing channels. To enable people to quickly share your offer with their friends, including a referral link in it.

If you have a physical presence, you might think about having employees hand out flyers about your referral program to all customers.


One of the most effective marketing strategies is a campaign to get people to refer others. It's an excellent way to let your current customers know how much you appreciate them and to give your business a steady stream of new referrals.

As you can see, most of these referral program ideas are scalable and can easily grow along with your business. Your ideas to advance your business will increase as you receive more recommendations.