Referral Messaging Examples: Best Practices You Can’t Afford to Miss

Why do you need a referral message? We explain its importance and go over some examples and best practices to help create your own referral messaging.

Updated September 16, 2020


The goal of any referral program is to get customers to share your brand with others, and get others excited to try your products or services.

What can help you achieve this goal? Strong referral messaging. While a referral slogan will help draw customers in, it’s the referral message they share that will help you earn quality leads.

We discuss the definition of referral messaging, how to create the best referral message for your program, and stellar examples of referral messaging to inspire your own.

What is referral messaging?

Simply put, referral messaging is what your customer shares to others. It’s the message sent to the referral – whether it’s a friend, colleague, or family member – and oftentimes an introduction to your business.

This message is essentially the starting point of the relationship between the referral and your business. As such, a referral message should be clear and convey key information about the program, the reward, and what the referral should do.

Why is your referral message important?

A strong referral message is necessary for any successful referral program. Think of the referral message as your introduction – it gives insight to people about what your business is about and what you offer. It’s also an opportunity to share what sets you apart from the competition.

A referral message plays a major part in drawing people to visit, use, or purchase from your business. While a well-written referral message can bring in new customers, not having a clear referral message often causes a program to fail.

How to create the best referral message? 3 essential elements

The main thing to remember when writing your referral message is to show value – and keep it short and to the point. People aren’t looking to know everything about you at this point. Rather, just give them a taste of the benefits and value you offer. This should persuade them enough to want to learn more about you.

Let’s go over what elements are needed to craft the best referral message:

1. Your company logo

Why not bake in some easy advertising into your referral message? Including your logo will help increase brand awareness every time a customer shares your message with others. Every time your logo is shared and seen, you establish a connection you might not have been able to make on your own.

Even if the referral doesn’t end up in a sale, they will still become familiar with your brand. And if that referral ever needs your product or service one day, you might be the first business to come to mind.

2. The referral offer

robinhood's referral messaging

This is the main point of your referral message – what’s in it for the referral? This message is your chance to reel in a potential customer with an offer they can’t refuse, whether it’s a monetary reward, a free trial, or bonus swag. It should convince them to move forward and take the next step with your company.

Remember, people get a lot of emails and messages every day. Show the value you offer and make sure your message stands out.

3. Your business value

Great, your customer just shared your referral message! But without a little context, their friend may not have any idea about your business. Make sure you properly introduce yourself and give a short description of your mission, values, and what makes you different from competitors.

Examples of referral messaging

Now let’s look at these referral message elements in action. Here are a few examples of referral messaging from the top brands today:


Evernote’s referral program is quite popular, and includes a simple referral message. In two short paragraphs, the company explains who they are and what they offer. Let’s review their message and see why it works.

evernote referral message

[Referrer Name] has invited you to try Evernote

Evernote is the one workspace that syncs across all of your devices. Individuals and teams all use it to organize to-do lists, share documents, and complete projects.

Sign up for Evernote today and both you and your friend will get a complimentary month of Evernote Premium.

Notice how Evernote used its brand logo to better ingrain its brand image. It’s nice to see the logo together with the name of the company, which makes it a lot easier to remember down the road. Evernote has become one of the most well-known brands in their niche, thanks in part to this stellar referral program.

Score: 3 out of 3 (of the essential elements are in the message)


The Zulily referral message doesn’t include a specific reward for the referral, aside from showing them where they can find good deals every day. Let’s break down their referral message to see why it works.

zulily membership referral messaging

Join the fun!

Savings up to 70%

Your favorite brands

Zulily membership is your ticket to discovering fabulous treasures at amazing prices, every day of the week.

The real benefit of this program is hidden from the referral message. (The original Zulily customer earns $15 for referring their friend.) But the message still works because it introduces the new customer to Zulily and what they can expect from them.

Score: 2 out of 3


The Casper referral program has played a big part in why the brand grew so popular in a relatively short time. With great branding and a referral discount, Casper has been on a roll. The referral message is straightforward, but also shares a little more detail than some other companies.

casper referral messaging

Your friend just sent you 10% off toward great sleep!

Casper makes outrageously comfortable sleep products, like an award-winning mattress, adaptive pillows, and even a bed for dogs.

Use your friend’s referral link to get 10% off the purchase of your first Casper mattress. Then, your friend will get a $75 Amazon Gift Card in return. So you snooze, they snooze, and everybody wins.

You’ll also notice the message is followed by a clear call to action. Every referral knows where to go when they want to start shopping for a new mattress.

Score: 3 out of 3

Best referral messaging practices

Aside from the three elements already covered, there are a few other best practices to consider. While they aren’t necessary to every referral message, the following are a great way to add excitement to your referral message.

Include an engaging image or video

Adding a visual complement to your referral message can help to catch other’s attention, especially with social shares. Plus, your choice of image or video is a great way to showcase your brand personality.

Oftentimes, you only have a split second to catch someone’s attention. While short text is key, an image can make the entire message pop.

In Casper’s referral message above, you may have noticed a small image before the text. The Casper coin puts a nice spin on their logo and alludes to the offered discount. But, the image is also a GIF! Adding movement in their referral message is a fun element that we see often in Casper’s modern branding.


Add in a bit of personalization

When a customer sends a referral message to others, it’s a good idea to include a bit of personalization. For instance, you can insert the customer’s name, the referral’s name, or both. These small touches makes the message seem less like a mass email and more personal. Here’s an example of a personalized email message:

“Hey Jessica,

Your friend, Reuben, thought you’d like our pool cleaning service. Here’s a coupon for a free filter change and pool sweep.”

Of course, this may not be necessary for referral messages sent through social media. Inserting the referral’s name may be difficult for large groups, while sending direct messages on someone’s social page doesn’t require adding the customer’s name into the text.

Want to know which referral reward delivers the most results?

Let your customer do the talking

Instead of doing the talking for the customer, you can write the message as if it’s coming directly from them. For example, instead of saying “your friend Reuben,” like in the pool example above, change it to first person – your customer. Here’s what the message above would look like when written in the first person:

Hey Jessica,

I wanted to share Pool Paradise with you. I use them to clean my pool regularly, and I think you’d like their services for your pool, too. Here’s a coupon for a free filter change and pool sweep, if you want to give them a try.

This covers all the key elements of referral messaging, but does so in the voice of your customer. Letting your customers do the talking also helps strengthen your relationship, as they’ll feel more inclined to match the statements being said and continue to be a customer.

Finish with a call to action

Many businesses leave the referral without knowing what to do next. If you want people to click through, make sure you’re clear about what their next step should be. Being clear about the call to action makes all the difference.

In the three examples above, each brand used different wording to convey their message. But they all let the referral know the next action to take, making it a successful referral message closing. As many marketers will tell you, your call to action is one of the most important ways to increase conversion rates.

Perfect your referral message

If you want a referral program that works, you’re going to have to put in the work. Craft a clear referral message telling referrals who you are, what you accomplish, and what’s in it for them. Referral messaging plays a big part in helping your referral program – and your business – grow.


Watch referrals roll in automatically instead of hoping they magically appearFind out how
Copy link