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Referral cards are incredibly popular. They are a great and simple way to give a business reference to a friend. In fact, you have probably given or received a business or referral card at some point yourself. 

Types of referral cards

There are several types of referral cards that could work for your business. These are:

Use Referral Cards as Business Cards

Most business cards are used to help a customer remember the store, a phone number, address or even an appointment. But, business cards typically do double duty and act as a referral card too. Some of you may know exactly what I’m talking about. You start venting to a friend about something you need or want to try. Then bam they give you a business card. Not only do they give you a business card, but they explain why you should try that store or business. Talk about awesome and free advertising.

This is why some businesses have begun to give multiple cards to their customers and clients. A happy customer will gladly use word of mouth to spread the word about you. This includes giving out your business cards! Think of it like this… referral cards are basically invitations for friends.

business cardIf you have a referral program or if you’re the referring business, success starts by integrating the program throughout your entire business. Just like a product you may sell, a referral program needs to be promoted. One of the easiest ways to promote a referral program is to mention it throughout all your business copy. Meaning, it should be on your website, emails, social media profiles, answering machine, and even on your business card. The more a referral program is seen, the more likely it will succeed.

Using your business card to promote your referral program can be a quick way to gain new leads. Not only are you advertising the program to your customers, but you are providing customers with something that they can give to their friends. Trust us, someone is much more likely to remember something in a pinch if they have a hard copy to back it up. For example, pretend you’re a car salesman who just gave a customer a business card. That customer is much more likely to remember your name. This means your name will be mentioned when they tell their friends what salesman to see when they go car shopping. See that’s word of mouth. Not only will they mention your name to their friend, but they will probably give them your card too.

Sending referral cards is another great way to get engagement. When you need to physically send mail to customers, offer a referral card or two and mention what the benefit of the program is. Be sure to include any gift details whether the gift is a coupon or gift cards.

Employee referral forms

Your employees can be a surprisingly good source of referrals too. You may want to design forms which your employees will distribute among their network. Remember that they have the advantage of understanding your business, product, and services pretty well. They are as a result able to explain the product/service or business to the prospective customers and make them see why they should choose your company over the competition.


This is quite an interesting approach. You could print out postcards and place them at your office. You could then ask the clients to email a postcard to someone. This will feel like a really kind gesture to your customer, making them more likely to refer more customers.

Referral newsletters

Your newsletter needs to provide value to the user and capture content in an interesting way. A referral newsletter is an avenue for referrals as it keeps your brand top-of-mind. Your brand stays fresh in customers’ minds, as they keep seeing it. Some of your newsletter’s content could include industry insights, and tips, depending on your industry. You could have a page that

recognizes the customers with the most referrals. You could even have a contest section where your customers compete to give referrals, with the customer with the most referrals winning. Of course, your newsletter should include a referral card or form.

Community referral cards

Your business can support projects or groups in the community. You can ask your customers to refer a friend and a certain amount of money will be sent to that particular community or group. Since there is a humanitarian aspect to the referral, the customers might be more willing to make referrals. Include the branding of the organization or group that you are supporting in the referral card. Your business can replicate this idea even for other causes, for example, environmental causes.

Partner referral cards

69% of referral partners remain active for the better part of the year. Better still, referral leads from partners are high quality, based on the fact that they are mostly one-to-one interactions. Printed referral cards have a 67% conversion rate.

The cards can be printed and kept at a partner’s office, where the partner brand can help their customers to fill them out. They could also be emailed together with a partner’s products.

Want to learn more inventive ideas for your partner program?

Referral card ideas

people having ideas and questions

What can make this a more surefire referral?

Use your business card as a referral card too!

Or you can make it even easier by providing clients with prepaid mailer referral cards like Dan Kennedy mentions in his article about raising referral rates.

Even if you are using referral software, you can still use old school forms of promotion.


In fact – you can add the new lead to the software quite easily in person or if your card contains a link the customer can easily go to the link, sign up to start sharing.

Either way, just knowing that your business has a referral program can increase the chances of that business card being shared.

You don’t have to do anything too fancy when it comes to referral cards or invitations. You can add a section to your already existing business card, or you can create a designated referral card to give out. Either way, your referral program is being promoted – which is key.  You don’t have to mention incentive like gift cards. But if you are giving out incentives, it may work to your advantage to mention the gift.

So, what are some referral card ideas? Well, take a look at the list below for some ideas and how to create the best referral card for your business.

How to create a great referral card

Let’s go deeper into how you can create your referral program while reminding customers of your information. We have already seen that your referral card doesn’t have to be different from your business card in terms of design, size, and messaging. So what makes a great referral card?

Design aspect to consider

In order to make it stand out you could, for example, use a different shape, size, color, and font. You could go for a 3.5 x 4-inch referral card. If you want to hand out printed cards, you could have them printed on heavyweight card stock and have them have a different feel or texture.


There are several aspects of messaging when it comes to referral cards:

The referral proposition

Your referral card needs to have a referral proposition, a reason why your customers should actually give the referral card to someone else. This proposition increases the chances of your customer giving the card to another potential customer or forwarding it. It is also likely to help the customer refer your brand over your competition. The proposition needs to be short and catchy.

Referral Card Quotes

quotation mark

Remember you don’t have to give out separate referral and business cards. You can designate a corner, the bottom, the top, or even the backside of your business card to talk about the referral program. It isn’t necessary to list all the rules of the referral program on the card, especially if you mention where they can find the rules or see more info. You can provide a spot for the referrer to write their name, you can provide the URL to the referral program, or you can simply state “Ask about our referral program” or “refer a friend”.

Here is a list of some good quotes to use on your referral card

  1. Refer A Friend
  2. Tell your friends about me
  3. Tell a friend about us, and we’ll reward you both.
  4. Give this card to a friend – you both get a discount
  5. Join our referral program – call or visit our website for more info.
  6. Give a friend $10
  7. Turn this card into cash!
  8. Give $, Get $
  9. Send us friends and be rewarded
  10. Want $50? Refer a friend.

Referral card wording

After seeing the referral quotes listed above, you probably have a general sense of what a referral card needs to say.

Here are some sample images of business cards that double as referral cards. They are great ideas that you can take ideas from.

As you will see there are a variety of referral card options. There are some referral cards that mention the referral program right on the front, while others utilize the entire back of the card. Be sure you design a card that will make a referrer want to share. Here are some examples:

The business-referral card combo

Just referral related cards

The referral card/form

Call to action

You need to have a persuasive call to action, for example:

  • Tell your friends about us
  • Want $50? Refer a friend
  • Give a friend $10

As you can see, the call to actions prompt action. There is also the element of reward for taking that particular action. Sometimes, you could use your referral card to get people to sign up for your referral program. In this case, your call to action would then be:

  • Sign up for our referral program and earn $10
  • Sign up a friend and each of you earns $20

Other aspects to consider

You can have space for the referrer to fill their details, especially if there is a reward. You may want to have the customers sign a document that their personal data will be protected, in the wake of personal data protection issues. You could also include a short paragraph about your business.

If your referral card is online, you may need to use a specific email address to handle these referrals for easier tracking. If your referral card is meant for people to sign up for your referral program, then you need to include the referral program’s URL on your referral card.

Referral card template

If you’ve noticed. The best referral cards always have a few things in common. Here is a basic template to help you create a top-notch referral card.

referral card templates

Where to print your referral cards

If you need ideas or want to design your referral card on your own, you can check out sites like Zazzle who has a few referral card templates to choose from. There are also sites like GotPrint and Moo, who have many options so you can customize referral cards, or you can come up with your own design! Also, be sure to check out Creative Market for some good card inspiration.

One of our favorites is actually Canva. You may already use Canva for all your designing needs, but to sweeten the deal, they have recently launched an easy-to-use print service. This means you can create designs and then with a click and have them shipped to your door (within as little as 4 days).

More referral card tips

We have looked at referral cards, defined them, looked at the different types, and what it takes to create a great referral card. Here are more tips:


  1. Ensure that you have established a rapport with a customer before giving them a referral card.
  2. Timeliness is important. The best time to give referral cards is when the client is happy and excited about a service or product.
  3. Do not give away unnecessary referral cards.
  4. Have a way to track the effectiveness of referral cards, and keep making improvements. You can, for example, A/B test to see whether the print or online cards have a higher conversion rate.
  5. Thank everybody who brings referrals to your business. A simple thank you email will do. Make the message as personalized as possible. If the message is handwritten, it is even better.

In conclusion

Referral cards are a great way to get referrals, keeping in mind that they combine word of mouth and referral marketing, two powerful marketing approaches. You can start using the above types in your business. Test and see what will work best for your customers. You may end up coming up with even better ways to use referral cards in order to gain more referrals.

Want to share another referral card with us? Let us know, we love seeing what referral card templates are out there!


Posted by Megan Mosley

Megan Mosley is a writer for Referral Rock. You can find her poking around online or tweeting about marketing, small businesses, SEO, or even sharing funny memes. She is addicted to coffee and uses it as a fuel to keep her going through the day.