As a business owner, you’re well aware of how much referrals can boost your bottom line. You may even be inclined to give an incentive to the people who shared you, as a token of appreciation. This, in its simplest sense, is the basis of a referral program.

Referrals are the most recommended form of marketing. As Forbes notes, they “require almost no financial investment, but they bring in very valuable warm leads.” (Learn more about creating a full referral program in our comprehensive Referral Marketing 101 article.)

Once you decide to launch a referral program, the next step is figuring out how to let your customers or employees know. One of the most effective ways is through referral program flyers, or simply referral flyers. The following post details how to create a referral bonus flyer, using real life examples.

These tips are meant for customer-to-customer referral programs, as well as employee referral programs where employees refer new customers or employment candidates. 

Referral bonus flyers: What are they?

Referral program flyers are exactly what they sound like – flyers designed to share the details of your referral program, including the bonus or incentive for referring new customers (or employees). By combining both text and images in a single layout, referral bonus flyers give readers all they need to know at a glance.

What sets referral flyers apart from your everyday flyer, however, is where and when you choose to distribute them.

For example, will you post them on your site’s home page? Include them in your weekly newsletter? Hang them up in your store or workplace? Is your referral program ongoing or only for a limited time?

All these decisions determine the number of people who will see the flyer and, ultimately, the overall success of your referral program.

To be effective, a referral program flyer should be part of a well-planned referral program strategy. In fact, flyers can even work in tandem with other mediums – an eye-catching social media post, a dedicated space in an email, or a quick text message.

Pretty much any means of communication you have with your customers can be used to spread the word about a referral program. Referral flyers, however, remain a popular choice. And with the following tips, they can also be relatively simple to make.

How to create a referral program flyer

Before even thinking of flyer template designs, color schemes, or fonts, it’s best to settle all your referral program details. The following are some basic points to cover:

  • Set your goals: Get contact details, grow brand awareness, increase sales, etc.
  • Decide on the incentive you’re offering: Discounts, free products, store credit, cash, physical gifts, etc.
  • Define any parameters: Number of incentives you’re giving out, duration of program
  • Set up a way to track progress: A spreadsheet can do the job, but there are also several great referral programs (us being one of them!) that come with a lot of added features

For some more referral program ideas, you can check out our roundup of the top referral program ideas used by experts.

In most cases, only the incentives and parameters will be included on your referral flyer. For example, you may be offering a $50 incentive for every friend referred by a customer for the month of December. This information, at the very least, should be found on your referral flyer.

Tools to design referral program flyers

Any graphic design tool (or even a Word document, really) can be used to mock up a functioning referral program flyer. Photoshop isn’t the only option. Many online tools are more economical, and some even offer free downloads. Here are a few of our favorite flyer tools below:

  • Canva: This is a well-known design tool, and it’s even got some AI-powered elements. Although it doesn’t specifically have referral program designs, it does offer a lot of flyer inspiration and ideas. (Free to design and use free-level assets in your flyer, or subscribe for $120-$300+ per year to access premium features)
  • Marq (formerlyLucidPress): Designed specifically for brands and businesses, this tool has templates for a number of business needs and formats – and yes, flyers are included. (Free for 3 flyers with basic assets, or  $10-$12/user/month for premium templates and features)
  • Appy Pie Design: Ideal for designing flyers for events, advertising, business promotions, and much more. The AI-generated flyer maker allows you to create beautiful flyers in minutes with editable templates.
  • (Free for a limited amount of flyers and basic features, or design unlimited flyers for $8/month)
  • Poster My Wall: A repository of every template imaginable, from menus to bible studies. And yes, this includes a good selection of referral program flyer templates, as well. (Free to try, $2 to download, or purchase a subscription with unlimited downloads)

You might also consider flyer templates from a site like Etsy, but these might not be as customizable. 

Examples of successful referral program flyers (and why they work)

As with most visual applications, it helps to see referral bonus flyers in action. Below are two effective examples of a digital referral program flyer – one shared through an app, one through a newsletter:


Tesla Flyer Website


Although not as attractive as their previous $1000 discount, Tesla still offers customers a chance to earn awards every time their specific referral link is used (shared through the Tesla app).

For instance, the company offers 1,000 miles of free Supercharging for both parties (the referrer and the referred) with the purchase of a new Tesla car. Each car referral also comes with a chance to win a Model Y each month or a Roadster supercar each quarter. Referral links used to purchase a solar panel or solar roof will earn each party $250 after system activation.

Why it works: Tesla’s referral program hopes to “transition to sustainable energy and grow our community,” which is already a great incentive in itself. It also offers double incentives, rewarding both parties involved in the referral. The company shares referral updates and awards through its own app, only adding to the luxurious feeling of being a Tesla driver.


Casper Newsletter


As one of the first entrants in the bed-in-a-box game, how does Casper manage to remain competitive? Aside from convenience and competitive pricing, the company also employs a well-crafted referral program.

In this example, sent through the company’s newsletter, customers enjoy catchy copy, a simple layout, and a sweet $50 Amazon Gift Card for every referred friend. Plus, the friend gets $75 off their new Casper mattress and an additional product.

Why it works: Being one of the first companies to sell mattresses without the middleman, Casper was already something worth talking about. The referral program flyer it used was also easy on the eyes, with a soft, inviting blue and simple text. The brand even managed to use familiar idioms in a fresh way, which further emphasized its novel brand.

Bonus referral flyer tip: Tie an offline flyer into an online program

Physical referral bonus flyers are an underrated way to promote a referral program, assuming they’re done right. If they catch the eye, someone might take a picture of the flyer for future reference.

You may plan to place physical customer referral flyers in your physical location, or physical employee referral bonus flyers in your workplace. If so, you’ll want to add some connection to your online referral program. That way, it’s easy for your customers or employees to start referring, and you’ll be able to track the referrals they make.

One of the best ways to combine offline flyers with an online program is by adding a QR code. Make sure the QR code activates a direct link to your referral program page. This way, employees or customers won’t have to type in or remember a long, detailed link on their own. Once they point their camera lens at the flyer, they’re just a tap away from instantly sharing with friends.

jenks public schools employee referral program

Key takeaway

Referral flyers are a great complement to your referral program promotions. They’re concise, visual, and can easily to grab your customer’s attention.

Make sure to outline the information you want on your flyer (stick to the essentials) and follow the key steps to create referral flyers for your business.