Why are well-designed referral buttons (refer-a-friend buttons) so important to your referral program’s success?

Referral marketing programs help you increase your customer base by tapping into trusted recommendations from your existing customers. But before that can happen, you’ll need to convince customers to use these programs and share your brand with their friends.

Effective referral buttons and other referral program calls-to-action (CTAs) a catch customer’s eyes and reel them in to participate in your referral program.

Designing a powerful referral program call-to-action is essential. Your CTA must be easy to find and enticing enough to convince customers to share with friends.

  • A referral program CTA includes an eye-catching referral button for customers to start the sharing process.
  • You can also create a compelling headline to attract customers and convince them to click the referral button.

But what phrases are the most effective for a referral call-to-action? And where are the best locations for a CTA?

We show you examples of the best refer-a-friend buttons and other referral program CTAs, and how you can create ones that are just as effective for your own program.

Why you need referral buttons? Benefits of referral calls-to-action

On a referral program page, banner, referral button, or pop-up, the call-to-action is a concise but catchy slogan. The text that’s easiest to find. It quickly summarizes what you want your customer to do (refer) and what they’ll get out of it (the customer incentive you’re offering).

Why are CTAs so crucial? A survey by Texas Tech reveals that 83% of happy customers are willing to refer friends to a product or service, but only 29% actually do.

Most customers need a little extra motivation to refer others, and calls-to-action may be just what they need. CTAs are meant to capture a customer’s attention and pique their interest in your referral program.

Are referral program calls-to-action the same as referral buttons?

Referral program CTAs are based around a referral button, but include more than just the button. Any headlines that attract the customer and explain what they should do next (i.e., Click the referral button and share!) are also referral program CTAs.

Referral buttons (or refer-a-friend buttons) are the main type of referral program CTA. These buttons usually appear on a referral program page, in emails to existing customers, or even in website menus. They invite customers to click or tap and refer friends, using concise text like “refer a friend here” or “share now.”

bombas referral button

But referral buttons aren’t the only type of referral CTA. Another referral CTA is the headline.

Headline CTAs boldly advertise your program with large, enticing text. They invite customers to share and often advertise the referral reward. They’re still concise, but not as short as the CTA text on the referral button.

omsom headline

Referral button CTAs and referral headline CTAs go hand in hand to promote a successful referral program.

Where to place referral program call-to-actions?

Creating a successful call-to-action is not just about the wording you choose. It’s also about where you place your CTA, finding the precise location where it’s easiest for your customers to find and share your referral program.

  • When should you ask for a referral?
  • Where along the buyer journey should a customer see your referral message?
  • In those locations, where are the best places for your CTA?

Let’s check out some of the best CTA placements.

Referral button (refer-a-friend button) on your homepage or landing page

A referral button on your landing page usually contains a very short CTA leading customers to your main referral page or pop-up. This referral button can simply say:

  • “Refer a friend”
  • “Tell a friend”
  • “Invite friends”
  • “Refer and earn”

A best practice is to place the CTA button above the fold, where it’s accessible and can be seen without having to scroll down.

Alternatively, you can also placing a “refer a friend” button in the navigation bar at the top of your landing page. In this example from Humble Bundle, the referral button CTA is in the customer’s drop-down account menu – a place that’s very easy for them to access.



In this example from Moo, this same type of referral button CTA can be accessed by anyone, even if they haven’t yet made a purchase. (While Moo places a “Refer and Earn” CTA in their Account menu, consider adding a referral CTA to your About menu.)


If your navigation bar has the referral button CTA in plain sight, without having to open a menu (as seen in the Hanna Anderson site below), even better.

hanna andersson referral menu

And your referral button doesn’t always have to say “refer.” You could also use a CTA button with just your referral offer, drawing customers to your main referral page with an attractive incentive. Sustainable shoe brand Greats nails this strategy with a “Get $25” referral button CTA that’s visible right in their navigation.


If you really want to highlight your referral program, you could put a referral button CTA on the home page and in a navigation menu. This is what Loot Crate did, adding both an “Earn $5” CTA and an invite to “Refer a Friend” in the drop-down menu.




Heading on the referral program page

You can dedicate a whole page to your referral program, which includes a CTA and all the program info. (If you pick this option, it’s best to add multiple CTAs.)

As with all effective landing pages, your referral program page will need a good headline. The best headlines grab the reader’s attention and let them know what they should do. (You could also mention the reward in the headline, but it’s completely up to you.)

In this example, MeUndies uses the CTA: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Wear Boring Undies.” The short but strong headline has an intimate feel, while also calling attention that referring friends is someone the customer should do.



Referral button on the referral program page

Your referral program page should also include another CTA – a referral button for customers to easily refer friends.

Since this is the final action you want customers to take, it’s important that this button draws the eye. Making it a color that stands out from the rest of the page is a good start.

As for the CTA button text, use a concise invitation for customers to refer. For example, “Start sharing,” “Send email, “Share on Facebook,” or simply “Share now.”

In this example from mattress company Casper, the CTA is a blue button that reads “Start Sharing.”

casper referral button

Say, you have multiple ways for customers to share with friends. You can help them share through email, SMS, referral links, and other platforms, with a different refer-a-friend button for each sharing method.

Lime Crime, for example, has four colorful referral buttons – one for each sharing method (email, Facebook, Messenger, and a referral link.)

Lime Crime referral widget

Referral pop-up CTAs

Instead of a dedicated page for your referral program, many programs will use a pop-up that appears over the current page. (Learn more about referral program pop-ups.) Capture the customer’s attention with a compelling referral CTA and eye-catching referral button.



Hero image with CTA

Why not combine your referral CTA with an attractive hero image? You can add these to your landing page (or another frequently visited page) along with a link to your main referral page or a referral pop-up.

If you’re running an exclusive referral program, you can even set up the hero image to appear only for existing customers, like home brand Tobox did.



Pro tip: Include a GIF or other animation in your hero image CTA to capture your customer’s attention even more effectively.

Headlines in emails to existing customers

When it comes to referral CTAs, there’s a lot of benefit to thinking outside your website. Why not send an email with a referral CTA to your best customers?

Here’s an example of an email apparel company Bombas sent when they first launched their program. Customers were greeted with a CTA that’s hard to ignore: “25% off for them, free pair for you.”




bombas letter


Pro tip: The email’s subject line could also be used as a referral CTA, especially if you focus the text on the action a customer should take next (i.e., “Share with friends” or “Spread the good news”).

Referral buttons in an email

Just like referral program pages, referral emails should have multiple CTAs, namely a headline and a referral button. Some emails may even have more than one referral button CTA (like in the below examples from Bombas and Little Spoon).

Emails are meant to be shorter messages, so keep your referral button text short and sweet. State exactly what action you want the customer to take when they click the button. Some examples are: “Get a free month,” “Score free undies,” “Refer a friend here,” “Share with friends,” or “Get $25.”

Of course, it’s always good to highlight the referral reward in one of your email CTAs. Although promote the rewards across all your CTAs. If you already include the reward in your headline, there’s no need to repeat it on the button.

Design a refer-a-friend button to stand out from the rest of the email, using an eye-catching color or bold font.

We love how Bombas adds one CTA button to highlight the reward (“Get free socks”) and another one (Refer a friend here”) in a bright pink to grab attention and get customers to start sharing.


In this email from Little Spoon, the first section starts with the headline “Share the love, baby!” Then, customers are invited to “Refer a friend” with a green CTA button. And finally, the email ends with a reward-centric referral button to “Get my $20!”

Little Spoon referral email

How to create a referral button?

What’s the best way to create a referral button for your website?

While you could go the DIY route and code a referral button, that option takes extensive time and energy (especially since you’ll also need to add tracking systems to measure your program’s success).

For the most seamless way to create a referral button, you’ll need referral software.

Referral software assists you in the entire process of creating a referral system and eliminates the frustration of doing everything manually.

It’s the easiest way to:

  • Embed a referral button on your site (no time-consuming coding needed!)
  • Track exactly who uses the referral button to share with friends
  • Send rewards instantly to customer-advocates when their referrals buy from you
Referral Rock software goes beyond the referral button and widget, and focuses on the entire sharing experience. It allows you to:

  • Meet customers where they are and leverage the relationships in your network
  • Keep advocates engaged with referral software that works for any business (not just ecommerce!)
  • Set up your program in days, not months
  • Integrate easily into the systems your business is already using

Learn more about how Referral Rock can help you mobilize your customers and accelerate your growth.

11 best referral CTA examples: What messaging should you use?

We’ve covered the different types of referral button and referral heading CTAs, as well the easiest way to create a referral button.

But what are the best words, phrases, and messaging to use in your call-to-action? Let’s check out these effective examples from real referral programs.

1. “Give $5, Get $5”


Colourpop’s refer a friend program uses a dual-sided reward, which makes the CTA pop.

Why this CTA works: This call-to-action frames the act of referring as a gift your customers can give to their friends. Plus, it’s so easy to understand and remember – “Give $5, Get $5.” The double-sided reward also motivates both the customer to refer and the friend to make their first purchase.

2. “They Save 20%, You Save 20%”


Lime Crime’s referral campaign shows the dual-side reward front and center and that acts as a big driver.

Why this CTA works: Similar to the “Give $5, Get $5” CTA above, this type of CTA signals a double-sided offer (this time with a percentage discount). But here, the savings your customer and friend will receive are the focus of the CTA. The giving element is mentioned in the later copy.

3. “$25 for you, $25 for your friends”

gilt call to action

Why this CTA works: Here’s yet another CTA focused on a double-sided offer from Gilt. This CTA also highlights the reward first, using a much larger font, with a monetary reward that’s likely to capture their customer’s interest right away.

4. “Get Free _______” [free product CTA]

A CTA that offers freebies works really well, as it drives people to do something for the benefit of earning something free.

Dropbox’s “Get up to 16 GB of free Dropbox space!”


One of the most popular referral programs out there is from Dropbox.

MeUndies “Get Free Undies”

get free undies call to action

MeUndies referral program really catches your attention with the word free.

Why this CTA works: Few words capture a customer’s attention faster than the word “free.” It’s hard to say no to free product, especially if it’s from a brand you already use. The “free product” call-to-action harnesses the customer’s love for your products, and their eagerness for free stuff.

Dropbox’s referral program is one of the most successful referral programs ever, largely due to their offer for free storage space right in their CTA. With a great software tool and an enticing CTA, Dropbox was able to double their growth every three months. Their users were said to have sent 2.3 million referrals in just one month.

If your referral reward is enough to purchase a product (as is the case for MeUndies), don’t be afraid to pitch your offer as “free product” in your CTA as well. This makes for a headline that not only grabs attention, but also gives your customers the flexibility to choose the free product of their choice.

And remember, offering free shipping in your CTA counts as a “free offer” too.

Here are some other CTA phrasing ideas if you’re offering something for free:

  • “Free socks when you refer a friend”
  • “Share for free stuff”
  • “Invite your friends for a free month”

5. “Get $20 for every new customer you send our way.”


Moo’s refer a friend program shows off their product and uses a nice reward amount to drive users.

Why this CTA works: Promising customers a cumulative reward is built into this CTA from the get-go. Customers get $20 for every new customer they refer. The condition of the offer (that the referral must become a new customer) is concisely woven in, too. If your referral reward is cumulative, letting people know right in the CTA can generate even more interest in your program. Plus, we like how the bright green CTA button draws your eye and tells customers where to click.

6. “Share the Love”

Using emotional language is also a great way to get people to act.

Shipt’s “Share the Shipt love.”


Shipt uses a feel-good message to grab your attention.

Ghostbed’s “Share the Love”


The referral program from Ghostbed, also uses the word “love” to create a feel-good moment.

Why this CTA works: This CTA reminds customers how much they love your product – the driving force behind any successful referral – and encourages them to pass on that love to their friends. The act of sharing a product that friends might enjoy is the motivation of this CTA, making it great for referral programs that don’t offer any incentive. Of course, it can also be used for programs with a referral incentive, as is the case with the Shipt and Ghostbed programs.

7. The friend-based CTA


Walmart Grocery’s referral program takes the feel-good moment on a different spin and let the users know that the friendly thing to do would be to refer.

Why this CTA works: This call-to-action uses friendship as a motivator. Most friend-based CTAs contain a message about how referring will benefit your friends. Others contain quick, feel-good language focused on friendship, that eventually leads into details of the referral program. Instead of touting a referral offer, this type of CTA focuses on friendship and sharing a new brand or reward their friend might enjoy.

Other examples of friendship CTAs include:

  • “Life is better with friends.”
  • “Show you care.”
  • “Want to help each other out?”
  • “Do it for your friends!”
  • “Come through for your besties.”

8. The Insider Info CTA

casper call to action

Casper’s referral program uses the word ‘friend’ to also drive their message.

Why this CTA works: This type of CTA creates an air of exclusivity and encourages customers to pass insider information about your brand to their friends. CTAs like this always carry the implicit message that the info you have is too good to keep to yourself.

Here are a few more examples of Insider Info CTAs:

  • “Don’t keep the health to yourself!”
  • “Don’t leave your friends behind.”
  • “Don’t keep us a secret.”

9. Invitation CTA

Julep’s “Invite Your Friends”


The Julep referral program lays it out plain and simple.

Evernote’s “Invite friends to Evernote”

evernote call to action

Evernote’s referral program also uses a simple message to let the user know what to do.

Why this CTA works: Don’t underestimate this CTA. It’s simple, but it tells customers exactly what you want them to do.

10. “Refer a friend, get ______.”

This simple CTA gets to the heart of the program: Referring friends and getting a reward for their efforts.

American Giant’s “Refer a friend, get $20”


American Giant’s referral program tells you what they want, and then motivates you to do it right after.

Anderson College’s “Spread the word & Get a $5 gift card”

anderson-college call to action

Anderson College provides the user with a simple, but effective message.

Why this CTA type works: This CTA gets straight to the point, but states the reward for every referral. It adds the desired action to “refer a friend” or “spread the word” right in the CTA. Alternatively, you can also put the reward first. For example, “Get 15% off when you refer a friend.”

11. The creative, branded CTA


Loot Crate plays a spin on their name and uses it to drive referrals.

Why this CTA works: This call-to-action captures attention with its own unique spin on the brand’s name. It could actually fall into any of the above CTA categories, depending on its message. (Casper’s Insider Info CTA shared in Example 8 is another great branded CTA.) As long as you give customers a reason to refer, you can always inject your own creativity into referral CTAs.

Key takeaways

Referral calls-to-action are key to your referral program’s success. After all, they’re probably the first referral message your customer sees.

A well-crafted CTA will let your customers know you want them to refer, and show them the reward they receive for sharing. But crafting an effective call-to-action isn’t just about the words you choose. It’s also where you place the CTAs so customers can easily find them.

You can even use multiple CTAs across your landing page, referral pop-up, or email newsletter. No matter what channel you choose, draw customers in with an attractive CTA that takes them to find all the information they need. If you want to see more examples, check out our other article with marketing call-to-action examples.