A referral email is a type of email you send to happy customers, which encourages them to refer their friends to your business.
There are many different ways to source customer referrals, but a referral email tends to be one of the easiest methods – especially when you have pre-written and pre-formatted referral email templates ready to go.
Where to find these templates? We’ve got you covered with 15 proven options to swipe for yourself – including several successful ones straight from top brands.
In this article, we will cover:
- Why you need referral email templates
- The two main types of referral email templates you can use
- When you should use a referral email template
- 5 personal referral email templates
- 10 mass referral email templates
- Referral email template best practices to follow
Why referral email templates are invaluable
Referral marketing is a vital part of any brand’s customer acquisition toolbox.
Potential customers trust their peers’ recommendations, so they are more likely to purchase when their friends refer them.
There is plenty of widely quoted referral marketing statistical data to back this up:
- 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know – meaning that personal referrals are the most effective type of advertising
- People are 4 times more likely to purchase a product when a friend refers them, as Nielsen reports
- According to an Ogilvy/Google/TNS study, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision
But existing customers often need motivation – a “nudge” or reminder to refer friends. Usually, this involves rewards, incentives, or referral bonuses that customers can earn in return for sharing.
That’s where referral email templates come in. They can easily be deployed to promote your referral program and its rewards.
You can easily swipe, update, or customize ready-made referral email templates to suit your audience. You won’t have to spend time creating them, deciding how to write them, or brainstorming how to make them super-effective. It’s a quick win.
Types of referral email templates
There are two types of referral email templates you can use to source new referrals:
Personal referral email templates:
- These are sent out to individual loyal customers to ask for referrals
- Each personal email includes specific details about the customer’s relationship with the brand
- The content in these emails is warm and empathetic, and is meant to make loyal customers feel valued and appreciated
Mass referral email templates:
- These are used to promote your referral program to many or all customers at once
- Since they are oriented for mass communication, they are designed to promote the program in a more general way
- They won’t feel as warm or exclusive as personal templates, although they are still beneficial to rapidly get new referrals
Both types of templates work well in conjunction with a referral program, but you need to know which to use and when.
Personal referral email templates are your best bet to invite your highest-value customers to refer their friends.
- This includes inviting top clients to join the program before you’ve formally launched it.
- These templates work best for B2B or SaaS businesses, as well as any other type of business with recurring or subscription-based services.
Mass referral email templates are a quick option to get the word out, without the need to segment your customer base.
- These emails are ideal if your business wants to inform many or all customers about a referral program, all at the same time.
- They work best for B2Cs, ecommerce businesses, and B2B businesses that don’t operate on a recurring model.
Remember that you don’t have to stick with just one referral email template type. You could combine both types of referral emails throughout your program – and many businesses do.
When to use a referral email template?
You’ll need to have several steps in place before you send a referral email to achieve optimum results. Use the checklist below to guide you.
You’re ready to use referral email templates if:
1. You have a healthy base of active customers.
- Check reviews and feedback to ensure that plenty of customers love your product and enjoy your exceptional customer service.
- It’s even better if customers are leaving positive reviews or comments – or organically referring friends – without you having to prompt them.
2. You have a way to reliably track the referrals customers make.
- The easiest option is to use a formal referral program, set up with referral software.
- Referral software can automate much of the process, and give you front-row seats to the analytics that influence your success rates.
- All sizes of businesses can benefit from using referral marketing software.
3. Your company is ready for an influx of new customers.
- Make sure your customer support team can handle a potential avalanche of new customers effectively, while maintaining exceptional customer service levels for your existing customers.
- This is especially important if you’ve chosen a mass referral email campaign.
If using personal referral email templates
Personal templates work best when you target long-standing customers loyal to your business. These customers are the ones who have had positive experiences with your brand, are repeat buyers, or have shared glowing reviews about your products or services.
Certain times are more ideal than others to send personal referral emails.
You’ll want to send personal referral emails when your customers have just completed a positive interaction with your brand, or an action that affirms their commitment to your business.
For example, you could send your email:
- Shortly after a purchase (especially if that’s a renewal)
- Shortly after they’ve given you positive feedback
- Shortly after they’ve left a positive review or social media comment
- After a high NPS score (Net Promoter Score) or a high score on another customer satisfaction survey
If using mass referral email templates
Don’t send mass referral emails too often. You don’t want to annoy your customers.
Aim to promote your referral program 2-3 times per year using mass referral email templates.
Besides this cadence, you should also send mass referral emails whenever you’re launching a new referral program or making significant changes to your current program (such as overhauling the rewards). Customers will appreciate the heads up.
Personal referral email templates
Use these personal referral email templates to engage your most loyal customers so they’re motivated to join your referral marketing program.
Here are some of the most common referral templates you can use at various key stages of the customer journey:
General template for personally inviting loyal customers
Use this template when you want to start the referral conversation without sounding overly salesy or pushy.
- Aim for a light, friendly and engaging tone.
- Build rapport by talking about how much the customer means to you, before asking for your referral.
- Close by offering an incentive, and by once again highlighting the value of the relationship.
After a loyal customer makes a repeat purchase
When a customer has made a repeat purchase, that’s a good indication that they have a preference for your products or services over other options. It also shows that the customer wants to stay with you, as they believe in the value you’re offering.
Shortly after a repeat purchase is a good time to follow up with the customer using a referral request email.
The following referral email template can get the conversation going:
After a positive review or social media comment
For the most part, customers don’t usually leave public feedback unless they’ve had a significant experience with a brand (whether that’s negative or positive).
Thus, when your customers leave a positive review or social media comment, they’re so satisfied with your products/services that they can’t help but let the world know.
This also means they’re already primed to share your brand through an individual referral!
Use this referral email template to thank your customers for the extra effort, and then move to your referral request.
After a high NPS score
When your customer gives you a high NPS rating (Net Promoter Score) – 9 or 10 out of 10 – it’s a confirmation that they love your brand so much, they’re highly likely to recommend it to others.
Use this template to acknowledge their appreciation, then connect the dots to promoting your referral program and how it can benefit them.
After a high customer satisfaction survey score (besides NPS)
High ratings on other customer satisfaction surveys can be addressed in a similar way.
Talk about the specific survey results, and remember to briefly touch upon any feedback they’ve given so they know you’ve paid attention. Then, ask for the referral.
Mass referral email templates
Since you’ll usually only send a mass referral email two to three times per year, you’ll need to maximize the emails you send to generate the most referrals.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with these tried and tested mass referral email templates. Many of them are inspired by top brands’ real referral emails!
The ‘don’t let your friends miss out’ email template
When you couple fear of missing out (FOMO) with the altruistic value of helping out friends, you’ve got a winning formula for a conversion-friendly referral email template. Here’s a great referral email template you can use to leverage both.
The “don’t let your friends miss out” template “in the wild:” Brain.fm
The quick bullet list template
Bullet lists are a godsend for busy customers who want the meat of the content without wasting time.
This template starts out in a fun way to capture your customers’ attention, and then lists out your referral program in a way that:
- Is easy to make sense of
- Doesn’t need a lot of time to understand
- Makes it easy to take action and go through the referral process from start to finish!
The quick bullet list template “in the wild:” BOMBAS
The ‘sharing pays’ email template
The ‘sharing pays’ email template is a feel-good template. Connecting sharing, friendship, and mutual rewards in a single email is an easy way to develop positive brand association.
It’s also a great motivator for customers to want to take action and start referring straight away!
The “sharing pays” template “in the wild:” Rocksbox