8 essential strategies to catapult growth with customer referrals

Reading time: 13 mins

Brands can boost growth through referral marketing, with 55% of people discovering new brands via word-of-mouth (RRD Survey). Despite its effectiveness, many referral programs are underused due to lack of visibility. Here are eight tips to increase customer referrals.

Kellie Davis


partner marketing strategy

Muzio Pesaresi


Brands often find the golden ticket to amplifying growth in the hands of current customers. It’s no secret that referral marketing holds immense potential. According to an RRD Survey, 55 percent of people discovered a new brand through word-of-mouth. 

This underscores the undeniable power of referrals in influencing purchasing decisions. Yet, despite its proven track record, many brands still find their referral programs lurking in the shadows, underutilized by the very customers who could champion their services.

Why is this the case? The answer is simpler than you might think: visibility. If your customers are unaware of your referral program, their participation ability is null. So, how can you ensure customers actively engage with your referral program? We’ve distilled eight actionable tips to boost customer referrals. 

Key takeaways from this blog

  1. Visibility is key: No matter how well-designed or generous the referral rewards may be, participation will remain low if customers are unaware of the program.
  2. Leverage communication channels effectively: Sending out an announcement email, writing a dedicated blog post, sharing information through social media, including referral program details in email signatures, and reminding customers during invoice statements are effective ways to ensure your audience is informed. 
  3. Capitalize on positive customer experiences: Timing the promotion of your referral program around “magic moments” — when customers are most satisfied with your product or service — can dramatically increase participation.


1. Elevate your customer referral program visibility

Keep your referral program from lurking in the shadows of your website’s navigation. Visibility is key. A prominently placed call-to-action (CTA) on your homepage or a dedicated spot in your app ensures higher discovery rates. If direct placement isn’t feasible, consider ad-like CTAs in strategic locations within your user interface.


Create a dedicated landing page for your referral marketing program 


A powerful way to boost visibility is by creating a dedicated landing page for your referral program. This page should be easily accessible from your homepage through the main navigation menu or a noticeable banner. Ensure this landing page highlights the benefits of your referral program, how it works, and what rewards are in store for those who participate. A clear, concise FAQ section can also address common queries, making the process as straightforward as possible for potential referrers.

Bombas clearly explains how its referral program works so customers know exactly what to do. 

Feature your program in regular communications

Leverage every communication channel with your customers to mention your referral program. This includes transactional emails, newsletters, and post-purchase ‘thank you’ page. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to remind your customers that your referral program not only exists, but it also offers them tangible benefits. For instance, embedding a brief message about the referral program with a link to the dedicated landing page in the footer of your emails ensures continuous visibility without being overly intrusive.


2. Craft an engaging email announcement


Never underestimate the power of a well-crafted email to kickstart your referral program. Your announcement should outline the benefits for the user, explain how the program works, and provide a direct link to participate. This initial touchpoint sets the tone for your engagement strategy.


An email template to announce your referral program


Here’s an example of how you can communicate your new program in an email:

Subject: Exciting News: Earn Rewards by Sharing the Love! 

Dear [Customer’s Name],

You’ve been such a vital part of our community, and customers like you inspire us to keep improving every day.

Today, we’re thrilled to share some exciting news with you! We’re launching our brand-new Customer Referral Program, designed to thank you for spreading the word about [Your Product/Service]. 

It’s our way of showing appreciation for your support, and guess what? It comes with some fantastic perks for you!

Here’s how it works: 

  • Spread the Word: Share your unique referral link with friends, family, or anyone you think would love [Your Product/Service] as much as you do.
  • Earn Rewards: For every successful referral, you’ll earn [mention the reward – could be discounts, credits, free months, etc.], and your friend gets [mention the benefit for the new customer] on their first purchase.
  • Keep Sharing: There’s no limit! The more you share, the more rewards you can earn.


Ready to get started? Click here to join and get your unique referral link: [Insert direct link]

We’ve made it super easy for you to spread the love and get rewarded for it. Whether you want to share your link via email, on your favorite social media platform, or even in a text, how you share is up to you.

If you have any questions about our new referral program or anything else, just hit reply. We’re here to help.


[Your Name & Position]


3. Keep readers up to speed on your blog


A dedicated blog post can serve a dual purpose—it informs your regular readership about the program. It ranks well in search engine results for those actively seeking your referral program, and is a long-term asset that keeps giving.



Adzooma explains their referral program in a detailed blogpost. 


Dos and don’ts for blogging about your referral program


Do Highlight the Benefits: Make sure to clearly articulate the value both the referrer and referee will get from participating in the program. Whether it’s discounts, exclusive access, or free products, emphasizing what’s in it for them can significantly increase participation rates. Use real-life examples or case studies to illustrate these benefits, making the offering more tangible and enticing.
Do include clear instructions: Provide a step-by-step guide on how to join and utilize the referral program effectively. Simplify the process by breaking it down into easily digestible steps. This makes your blog post more user-friendly and reduces any potential confusion that could deter participation. A clear call-to-action (CTA) directing readers to where they can sign up or learn more is crucial.
Don’t neglect SEO: While your primary aim is to inform current customers or readers about the referral program, take advantage of the opportunity to attract new participants through search engine traffic. Avoid overly technical jargon that might confuse readers or deter search engines. Instead, use relevant keywords naturally throughout the post to ensure it ranks well for those searching for referral programs or related incentives.
Don’t overcomplicate the message: While detailing the benefits and procedures of your referral program, make the content manageable and manageable. Don’t overload the post with excessive information that could overwhelm the reader. Keep sentences short and to the point, and use bullet points or numbered lists to make key details stand out. Remember, the goal is to encourage participation, not to provide an exhaustive manual on your referral program.


4. Capitalize on social media dynamics


Social networks are fertile ground for sharing. Their momentary content nature means you can regularly post about your referral program without overwhelming your followers. Encourage sharing by linking directly to the referral program and by creating shareable, branded content.


Verity Credit Union promotes its referral program on social media accounts. 


Dos and don’ts for sharing about your referral program on social media


Do create engaging, shareable content: Craft content that naturally encourages your audience to share it within their networks. This might include eye-catching graphics, compelling success stories from current participants, or even short, engaging videos highlighting your referral program’s benefits. Ensuring your content is visually appealing and easy to understand increases the likelihood of customers sharing it.
Use hashtags and mentions wisely: Incorporate relevant hashtags that align with your referral program or campaign to extend your reach beyond just your followers. Mentioning participants or using branded hashtags can foster a sense of community and make your posts more discoverable to potential new customers.
Don’t spam your followers: While it’s important to maintain the visibility of your referral program, avoid over-posting or bombarding your followers with repetitive messages. This can lead to follower fatigue, where users become desensitized to your posts or, worse, unfollow you due to perceived spam. Balance is key; ensure your content calendar includes various posts catering to different aspects of your brand and customer interests.
Don’t forget to monitor and engage: Simply posting about your referral program isn’t enough. Don’t neglect the engagement aspect of social media. Monitor comments, answer questions, and engage in conversations related to your referral program. Ignoring user interactions can lead to missed opportunities to convert interest into participation and can negatively impact the perceived value of your program.


5. Integrate your program into email signatures


For brands with significant email outreach, embedding a link to your referral program in your signature can drive continuous awareness. It’s a subtle reminder that comes into play precisely when your product or service’s value is top-of-mind for your customer.


Design a catchy CTA


When embedding your referral program link in your email signature, it’s crucial to accompany it with a short, enticing call to action. This CTA should be more than “Check out our referral program.” 

Instead, consider what makes your referral program attractive and summarize it in a brief phrase, such as “Earn rewards by sharing the love!” or “Invite friends, get exclusive perks!” The goal is to make the reader curious enough to click through by highlighting the mutual benefit clearly and concisely.

Mailerlite makes it easy to refer friends via its email signature. 


Use visuals that pop


While text can be effective, integrating a small, visually appealing icon or button next to your referral program CTA can significantly increase its visibility and click-through rate. This could be as simple as a brightly colored “Refer & Earn” button or an icon representing rewards or benefits. 

The visual component serves as a visual cue that draws attention to the referral program without overwhelming the signature’s overall layout. Remember, the key is subtlety. The visual should enhance the CTA, not overshadow the professional tone of your email signature.


6. Remind customers during invoice time


Invoices can be a bittersweet moment for customers. Sweeten the deal by reminding them that your referral program can offset some of their costs. This strategic timing aligns financial savings with your program’s discovery.


How to message the right way with invoices


Here’s a quick message you can send along with your invoice to introduce your referral program. 

Subject: Make Your Next Invoice Even Sweeter

Dear [Customer’s Name],

We understand that reviewing your invoice isn’t always the highlight of your day, but what if we told you there’s a way to make it a bit more rewarding?

Introducing our Customer Referral Program – a simple way for you to enjoy [Your Product/Service] even more, by reducing your next invoice amount.

Here’s how it works:

  • Share the Love: Recommend [Your Product/Service] to your friends or colleagues.

  • Earn Rewards: For every successful referral who signs up because of your recommendation, we’ll offer you [Specify Reward, e.g., a discount, credit, etc.] off your next invoice.

  • Enjoy More for Less: The more friends you refer, the more you save. It’s our way of saying thank you for spreading the word. 

Getting started is as easy as [briefly explain how to refer, e.g., [“clicking this link to share your unique referral code”].

Thank you for being a valued member of the [Brand Name] family. Here’s to making those invoices a little sweeter, together!

Warm regards, 

[Your Name]


7. Enhance drip campaigns


Include your referral program in your onboarding or regular customer communication drip campaigns. Timing is crucial—align these mentions with milestones where customer satisfaction and engagement with your service peak.


Strategic placement of referral program mentions


When enhancing your drip campaigns with mentions of your referral program, it’s vital to consider the timing and placement of these mentions carefully. The goal is to introduce the referral program when customers are most likely to feel positive about their experience. 

This could be after they’ve achieved a significant milestone using your product or service, such as completing a successful project, reaching a specific usage level, or celebrating an anniversary with your brand. By aligning the mention of your referral program with these positive moments, you increase the likelihood of participation, leveraging their satisfaction to fuel referrals.


Personalization and relevance


Tailor the messaging around your referral program to fit the context of each customer’s interaction with your service. Personalization goes beyond just including the customer’s name; it involves making the referral program relevant to their specific achievements or the benefits they’ve gained from your service. 

Use data insights to understand what aspect of your service each customer values most, and highlight how sharing this benefit with others through the referral program can be mutually advantageous. This personalized approach ensures that the referral program feels like a natural and valuable extension of the customer’s positive experience with your brand.


8. Identify and utilize magic moments


Every product has its “magic moments”—instances where the customer feels the maximum perceived value. Identifying and triggering your referral program prompts at these junctures can dramatically increase participation. These are moments of peak satisfaction, where customers are most inclined to share their positive experiences.


8 Strategies to earn more referrals

How do customer referrals increase sales?

Customer referrals naturally drive sales by leveraging the power of trust and personal relationships. When a current customer recommends your product or service to someone they know, that recommendation comes with a high level of trust.

This trust significantly lowers the barrier to purchase for the new potential customer, as they rely on the referrer’s positive experience. Statistics show that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend, indicating the high conversion potential of referral marketing. Furthermore, referred customers tend to have a higher lifetime value and are more likely to become loyal customers themselves, creating a virtuous cycle that significantly boosts sales over time.

How do you increase customer referrals?

Increasing customer referrals involves a strategic and multifaceted approach:

  1. Create an exceptional customer experience: Customers are more inclined to refer your brand when they are delighted with your product or service.
  2. Promote your referral program actively: Make sure your customers are aware of your referral program through various channels, including email, social media, and within the product experience itself.
  3. Educate your customers: Provide clear instructions and information on how the referral program works and the benefits of participating, eliminating any confusion that might act as a barrier.
  4. Leverage multiple touchpoints: Integrate referral prompts across various customer interactions, such as during purchase confirmation, within transactional emails, and on your website.
  5. Gather feedback and iterate: Regularly collect customer feedback on your referral program and use this data to make improvements, ensuring the program remains appealing and user-friendly.

How do you incentivize customer referrals?

To effectively incentivize customer referrals, consider the following best practices:

  • Offer compelling rewards: Provide valuable incentives for both the referrer and the referee. This could include discounts, credits, free products, or other perks that align with your customers’ interests and needs.
  • Make it a win-win: Ensure that the referral program benefits all parties involved, creating a positive experience for both the referrer and the referee.
  • Keep it simple: Design the referral process to be as straightforward and frictionless as possible, with clear steps and minimal barriers to participation.
  • Communicate regularly: Keep your customers informed about their referrals and rewards status through timely and transparent communication.
  • Vary the incentives: Consider offering different types of rewards based on the number of successful referrals, adding a layer of gamification that encourages ongoing participation.


Gain more visibility with customer referral marketing

Visibility, engaging communications, strategic timing, and leveraging peak customer satisfaction moments are critical to getting the full potential of your referral marketing efforts. While you can strategically implement some strategies immediately for quick wins, other strategies build a foundation for sustained growth and engagement. When customers know about and can easily find your referral program, coupled with being reminded at opportune moments, participation soars.