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There are a lot of things that make up a referral program template. Referral templates all have a certain level of similarity. Though the imagery and messaging may be different, the whole is made up of similar components.

We’re going to discuss what each major component of a referral program is. If you want, feel free to check out out awesome referral program examples. Don’t be afraid to take ideas from these programs. Now, let’s look at how to build your customer referral template.

Table of Contents

Customer referral program template overview

We’re going to be talking about a few different people in this article. There are two key personas: “Mollie” the advocate, and “Robbie” the friend being referred. So, let’s break down each section by the persona it corresponds with.

Mollie the referral program advocate (existing customer, ambassador, influencer, friend)

She is the person you are inviting to the referral program. She is going to be the one who invites brand new customers to the business.

Referral Program Template - Advocate Experience

Let’s take a peek at what Mollie will experience.

Referral program headline: The program headline is the main text or title that describes the referral program. The referral program headline can be used in the invitation, on the landing page, and anywhere you promote your program. This is typically the first thing Mollie will notice about your program.

Referral email template: All of your Mollies will receive program invites. This is what will help encourage them to join your program.

Refer a friend template: You can also make it easier for Mollie by creating a refer a friend template for her to use. This way she’s able to refer all of her friends, especially Robbie!

Program description: A program description page is the landing page for your referral program. This is where all the Mollies will end up after clicking the referral link in the invitation copy.

Robbie is also known as the referral (new customer, the friend of advocate, lead)

Robbie is the person being invited by your existing customer (Mollie).

Referral Program Template - Referral Experience

Let’s take a look at what Robbie will see.

Referral message: This is the message Robbie will receive from Mollie. This message is usually curated from the business. However, it’s meant to feel like it’s coming directly from the advocate (Mollie).

Referral landing page: If Robbie chooses to click on the link that Mollie sent, this is where he will end up. After clicking this link, the new customer links to the advocate (Robbie will be linked to Mollie). This is also where your referral program’s conversions occur.

These are some of the biggest factors to think about while creating a referral program. They are five areas that can either make or break your program. Don’t worry, we’ll break them down further. Let’s go into further detail about each of the main points discussed in the infographics. We will expand on what each component is and we will even provide some examples.


Referral program headline

Let’s kick off the referral template. Headlines may come in a few different shapes and sizes. And, no matter what type of program you are running, they are very necessary.
It’s common to see similar headlines or program descriptions floating around as part of referral program templates. There is no sense in fixing what isn’t broken, right? You can tweak things as much or as little as you want. So, where does this headline go? The headline sort of becomes the referral program’s catchphrase, and it can show up in a few different places. These places include the invitation email to your customers, the program landing page, social sharing, and emails. Let’s take a look at some popular headline examples. Feel free to use or alter them to your liking.

Headline tips

Having trouble creating that perfect headline. Don’t worry, here are several tips for creating a winning referral program headline.

1. Keep it simple

People don’t want to waste time deciphering a message. This is important if you’re trying to get someone to sign up for a referral program. Don’t hedge, keep it simple, and easy to understand. This will be more convincing to a prospective program member.

2. Get to the point

Your headline must be short, simple, and to the point. If you use this headline as an opportunity to explain the benefit of joining, you’re a step ahead. If the headline isn’t interesting, people might not take the time to see what the program is all about.

3. Don’t make it seem like a chore

Though there may be many steps in your referral process, don’t list them out in the headline. This is the place to entice someone, not turn them away. If something seems unobtainable from the get-go, it’s less likely to persuade someone to do it.

4. Mention the benefit

Good referral program headlines mention the benefit of joining. Even if there is not a monetary reward, you need to provide a reasonable benefit.

5. Be fun

If you make your headline fun and interesting, you might catch someone’s eye and they might want to check out what you have to say. Plus, fun things are always good.

14 great headline examples:

  • Earn FREE (insert item) with your own personalized referral code!
  • Be a hero. Invite your friends to (insert company name) and they’ll get 20% off.
  • Get ($dollar amount) in credit when your friends receive their first purchase.
  • Get free (insert item), again and again.
  • Friends and family program. ($dollar amount) for every sign-up.
  • Refer a friend, earn some dough.
  • Refer & earn
  • Share the awesome. Refer-a-friend.
  • Pass It on
  • Give your friends a (percent%) discount and you get a ($dollar amount) gift card when they make a purchase.
  • Give ($dollar amount), get ($dollar amount).
  • Refer a friend and get some cash to spend.
  • Share the love, give a friend ($dollar amount), and receive ($dollar amount) yourself.
  • Can you keep a secret? We hope not!

Referral email template

Remember, there are 2 types of people involved in a referral program. You have your existing customer who will become a program member. Then you have the friend of your existing customer who will become a referral. Both of these people are sent an invitation, and you need to make sure you send an email they will like

Program invitation message tips

Inviting members to your referral program is important. These are the people who will bring in new customer referrals, so you can see why sending your top customers an invite is beneficial. Member invites can be done multiple ways. For this example, we’re going to cover member invites via email and social media. Here are some things that an email invite should cover.

1. Why you are contacting them

Okay, this may be a no-brainer. With that said, making contact doesn’t happen all the time, so be sure you contact customers about your referral program. The reason you are contacting them should be evident quickly. Whether you mention it in the subject line or use it as your opening sentence, a customer should be able to determine the reason for the email quickly.

If they aren’t sure why you are contacting them, they may not pay too much attention to the email. Let’s face it, customers only look at certain emails and either skim them or trash them. Give them a reason to open and read the email, it will help get them interested in the program.

  • Use the referral program headline as the email subject. Imagine seeing a “Give $50, Get $50” in your inbox. You’ll want to click it to see what you need to do to get $50.
  • Use the subject line as a quick way to mention they’re invited. “You rock, so you’re invited to join!” This will make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club, how can you turn that down?
  • You could use their actions to further interest them. This shows that you notice their efforts.

2. The benefits of joining

Obviously, this is essential. Customers want to know what’s in it for them. Even if your subject line tells them what they can earn, be sure to reiterate it. If you sent a simple subject line like “Get $25 for helping us,” be sure to explain what you’re talking about.

3. The sign-up process

Simply explain what they need to do to sign up for the referral program.

4. The next step they should take

You need a quick and clear CTA. “Sign up now” or “click here for more information” are great examples.

Email samples

There are lots of ways to invite customers to your referral program. Some of these actually double as program promotion techniques! You can do a “mass” invite, an “individual” invite, “receipt” invite, or a “remember us” sort of invite. Think of these as referral email templates, set them up once and give a consistent experience to all your customers.

1. “Mass” invites

These work well when you’re first establishing your referral program. You’ll want to send these our when you launch your referral program. This type of invite is more of an announcement type email. Let them know about the program and get them to sign up. If the program isn’t quite launched, you can also get them to do a pre-signup.

Here is a sample “mass” invite in action:

We want to fill you in on a secret. We’ve been working hard to create a referral program just for you. We have just launched our referral program, and since you’ve been an awesome customer we wanted to invite you to join. The best part is, you will earn (money amount) for every referral that makes a purchase! Sign up now for more details.

2. “Individual” invites

These types of invites pack a punch. Sending “individual” invites work really well, and it lets the customer know you really value your relationship with them. Considering that, it’s also a good idea to send these invites to customers who regularly interact with a specific salesperson or individual from your business.

For example, a car salesman may send an email a few weeks after selling someone a car to see how they are doing. This is also the perfect time for that salesman to either invite or remind the customer about the referral program. This could work well for a lot of businesses that have a longer sales process.

Here is a sample “individual” invite:

Hey (name), I just wanted to reach out and see how you like your new (item). I also wanted to take this time to invite you to our referral program. I know it was mentioned briefly while we were finishing up your paperwork, but I just wanted to remind you about it. Remember if you join our referral program you will earn (money/item/service) for every referral that you send and that also purchases a new (item).

3. “Receipt” invites

This is the email someone receives right after they make a purchase. It simply reiterates what they ordered and might provide some shipping information. It’s also the perfect place to drop some lines about your referral program. People tend to read thank you and receipt emails, so this is a prime time for inviting a customer to become a member. Plus, people are usually pretty happy right after making purchases, which may work in your favor.

Here is a sample “receipt” invite:

Hey (name), thanks for ordering. Want to get some more cool stuff? How does earning a (money amount) store credit sound? Share us with your friends and when they use the (discount amount) you send them, you’ll get (money amount) credited to your account. Thanks for being awesome and don’t forget to sign up now.

4. “Remember us” invites

These types of invites are quite common. Perhaps you have a few people who haven’t shown their faces in a while. You may already have an email aimed towards these folks, so why not use that existing email and add a bit about your referral program? You can even mention the reward they can earn in the subject line to help regain their interest.

Here is a sample “remember us” invite:

Hi, there old friend, we haven’t seen you around in a while, just wanted to let you know that we’re still here. In fact, we started a referral program and would love your friends to know about us too. We’ll sweeten the deal and give you (coupon amount or dollar amount) off your next order if you send a referral our way.

Alternatively, you can use your existing drip emails and messages and simply add a simple image that explains the referral program. As long as you are getting it out there, and inviting people to it, people will join. It also helps to provide the customer with either a link or a CTA to the referral program landing page or form. This way they can easily sign up and start referring friends and family.

Social media tips

If your business isn’t taking advantage of social media’s power, now is the time to start. Check out these awesome tips for implementing a referral program on social media platforms.

1. Explain the program

Some of your customers may not know about your referral program. This is your chance to give them a taste of what it’s all about. This tiny bit of information should make them want to click to either find out more information or sign up.

2. Provide the benefit

If you’re giving your customers an incentive, don’t be afraid to use it as a way of driving them to sign up. If customers know the benefits upfront, they may be more willing to participate.

3. Give a promotional flair

This can mean changing the name of the program every once in a while to reflect different holidays or seasons. You can also drive people to join if they think the program is a limited time thing.

4. Use your headline

This is the perfect way to get people to easily understand why your program rocks. If the first thing they see is the headline (see the beginning of the article if you need a refresher), they’ll know what to expect and what they’ll earn.

5. Add an image

Trust us, visual aids are always helpful. It can be your logo or even an image of something you sell. When you use an image to break up text, people are more likely to check out the entire message.

Social media message examples

What are some things a social media invite should contain?

Social media is all about imagery and grabbing attention. It’s common to see a business advertise their referral program by adding an image, mentioning the ultimate reason someone should join, and adding a link for them to sign up. After clicking the link, this takes the customer directly to the landing page where they can read more information and sign up for the program.

Here are some great examples of how companies pull this off.

Example 1: RedCoach

“Love RedCoach? Share it!
Join our referral program and share it with your friends to score some savings. Earn up to $50 off on your next trip for every referral. Share on social media for a chance to win 2 tickets to Orlando, Fla. for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. Double your chances to win by sharing on Twitter as well. Limited time only: Promotion ends on October 21, 2016”

Referral Program Social Media Message

Example 2: Fairfax Insurance

“Ask us about our #referral #program and we’ll let you in on a simple way to make some extra cash #insurance #relationships #clients #weho”

Referral Program Example of Social Media Message

Example 3: GetStocks

“Are you a GetStocks Account Holder? Refer a Friend to @GetStocks & Receive $50 worth of FREE trades. #NASDAQ”

Program Example of Social Media Message

Refer a friend template

Before you make an important purchase and need recommendations, who do you turn to? If you’re like 83% of people, you trust the recommendations of friends and family over anything else. But, there’s a problem. A recent Texas Tech study found that only 29% of survey respondents who enjoy a product or service actually recommend it to others.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure your brand has much more than 29% of happy people referring it to others. Fortunately, we have several great tips and examples of actual refer a friend templates.

Program tips

Before you start your company’s refer a friend program, it’s important to learn how to do this the right way. Here a few awesome tips to create a refer a friend program that everyone will want to use.

1. Ensure that your refer a friend program is visible

At first, this tip seems obvious. However, you might be surprised to learn how many companies both large and small make this mistake.

Here’s an easy and fast way to see how visible your company’s refer a friend program is to the public. Visit your company’s website and take note of how many steps (or clicks) your visitors have to make to access your company’s refer a friend page. The fewer clicks, the better.

2. Make it easy to join

It’s important to note that people referring your business to others do so out of their spare time. If you want to get as many people to do this as possible, your refer a friend process must be easy to join.

Of course, you’ll need to cover all of the essential bases when gathering information from users. However, try not to include too many frivolous questions or options that you don’t need.

3. Give customers lots of ways to refer friends

Take a minute to think about what channels you use to speak with all of your friends. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to assume that you use more than one platform to talk to people you know. In the course of a single day, you might speak with people by text, phone calls, social media, emails, and other applications.

So, if you want to have a successful refer a friend program, it’s wise to make sure your customers can reach others through all of these channels.

Refer a friend program examples

Learning about the benefits of having a refer a friend program is great. But, you might also find it helpful to see how other companies’ refer a friend programs work. Here a few great refer a friend template ideas to think about.

1. Perrobox makes its program extremely visible

You can take a page out of Perrobox’s book when it comes to making your referral program visible. Instead of a generic headline, Perrobox markets its referral program with the “Get 40% Off” headline in its website’s top menu. After clicking that link, you go to Perrobox’s referral page. By referring a friend to this company, you and the friend both receive 40% off.

perrobox refer a friend program

(Source: Perrobox)

2. The ease of joining Marin Software’s refer a friend program

As previously mentioned, your company’s refer a friend program must avoid being over-complicated. Marin Software provides a great example of how to pull this off.

marin referral program template


(Source: Marin Software)

Right away, customers see the bright blue and red colors that detail Marin Software’s simple request. This company wants you to refer your friends and it will pay you up to $2,000 to do so. It’s simple yet effective.

3. Amazon offers many ways for people to refer their friends

If you want to offer many ways for customers to refer others to your business, give them many ways to do this. Fortunately, Amazon provides an amazing example of how to achieve this goal.

Amazon prime refer a friend program

(Source: Amazon)

As you can see, Amazon Prime gives its customers several ways to create referrals. Amazon allows people to use email, social media, and even a website link for customers to refer others to its Prime service.

Program description

The landing page is going to allow you to explain the referral program in better detail. If you have gotten people this far, then you’re doing something right. This means you have promoted your referral program, and people want to find out more.

So where exactly does this landing page come into play? This is where someone will land after clicking on a link you have shared either via email or social media. It may also be a menu item on your website. This is the page where your customers come to sign up or to take part in your referral program. The page helps emphasize why they should take part, as well as discuss the rules. It’s also helpful to link the program terms and conditions to this page. So, let’s break down a referral program landing page.

Description page tips

Need a refresher on how to create an awesome description page. We’ve got you covered with these great tips below.

1. Be descriptive

This is your opportunity to explain the referral program. Plus, the description can help excite customers.

2. Use imagery

Images help break up text and make things appealing. It’s difficult for text-only ads to grab a consumer’s attention.

3. Add a CTA

This is the whole point of the page. Otherwise known as a call to action, this is where you list the action you want the customer to take. Common CTAs include:


  • Sign up
  • Subscribe
  • Join now
  • Buy now

These are just a few examples of commonly used CTAs. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you place here, just make sure it matches the action you want potential customers to take.

4. Give the FAQs

Most likely, people will have questions before signing up for your company’s referral program. Having a page that’s dedicated to frequently asked questions should answer most of your customer’s queries.

5. Add testimonials

This isn’t done too often. But, when customers are able to see some real feedback they may be more inclined to join.


Page examples

You can learn a lot by checking out how companies create excellent referral pages. Here are a few great examples.

1. Fiverr

After someone creates a Fiverr account, they have the option to start referring others right away. As soon as someone clicks on the “Invite friends & get $5” button they are brought to this page. The page restates the headline, gives a little more description of the program, and provides the customer with an easy way to share.

Referral Program Landing Page

2. Sock Fancy

As soon as a customer gets to the Sock Fancy website, they will see the option to refer others. If the customer clicks on the “refer” link a referral widget appears. The widget explains the benefit of its referral program and uses a pretty catchy headline to do it.

Referral Program Widget Example

3. Budsies

Customers are able to easily find Budsies’ referral program as it’s visible from its homepage. Once a customer is either invited or clicks on the “referral rewards” link, the program description page appears. It gives valuable details about the program and encourages customers to sign up.

Referral Program Form Example

4. Moo

When Moo invites customers to join its referral program, the widget does a good job of explaining the benefit within the headline. Of course, they give their customers more information with an easy click of a button. But, for the most part, a customer gets the gist and knows that they can start referring others easily.

Referral Program Example

5. Red Coach

When a customer is invited to join Red Coach’s referral program or happens to click on the referral link from the homepage, they are brought to the program description page. This page gives a good description of the program by showing the steps customers need to do to earn their rewards.

Referral Program Example

Referral message

The referral message is equally as important. After all, these are potential new customers for your business. The cool thing about an invitation message is that it’s designed to come from their friends. Which can mean a few things:

  • You can be a little more relaxed with it.
  • It doesn’t have to be as “salesy.”
  • Since the message is from a friend, people are more inclined to accept.

Referrals can be invited to this type of program in a few different ways. Let’s look closer at invitations by email and social media.

Referral message tips

One of the most important aspects of any referral program is the message it contains. A few easy tips will get your referral message on the right track. Keep the following tips in mind when creating the dialogue of your referral program templates.

1. Let them know who sent the message

It’s always a good idea to fill them in on who is referring them. When potential customers associate a business with a friend, it’s easier for them to trust. Let’s face it, people trust friends and family over most other sources.

2. Explain the benefit

This is pretty common ground, as you can tell by now. You’ve explained the benefit to your existing customers, now you have to do the same with new ones. If your referral also gets an incentive, try to mention it to help drive them to take part in the program. They may end up being some of your best customers.

3. Add a CTA

A CTA makes it easy for everyone to join your program. If you provide a link or a button right in the message they might be more persuaded to check it out.

4. Create a fun intro or subject line

Consider starting your referral messages with fun or interesting subject lines. This helps ensure you stand out, especially when lots of other companies are trying to get your customers to join their referral programs.

5. Explain who you are

Certain referrals might not have heard of your company. This is your chance to give them a little insight. We aren’t advising you go overboard, sharing your name and what you do is enough.

Referral email template examples

A private email message from a program advocate can be very convincing. Fortunately, most types of referral software allows you to create a pre-filled message for advocates to use. It also allows you to create a uniform referral email template for all advocates to follow. Here are several good referral message ideas.

1. Moo

Moo sets a great example of how to send a referral email. They mention who they are, what they do, and what the new referral will earn.

“Hey, we’re MOO.
You’ll love MOO! They’ve awesome print products and cool design finishes. Get $15 off your first order. A friend of yours thinks you’ll like what we do: premium Business Cards, Postcards, Stickers and more. Choose triple-thick Luxe paper, modern design templates, and ultra-jazzy finishes like Gold Foil and Spot Gloss. Shop now and get $15 off your first order! Your friend who referred you will get a reward too.”

Referral email example

2. Vinyl Me, Please

This company has a fun email for its referrals. The email covers who they are and what they do and goes over what the referral program is all about. It’s a great word of mouth example.

“Hey, Amigo! I just joined the best damn record club called Vinyl Me, Please. If you sign up, we both get a $10 VMP account credit for use in the member store or account renewals.”

Program email

3. True&Co

True&Co uses the referrer’s name as a starting point to the message. It works well for building trust in the brand. They hook the new customer with a “$15 just for you” offer. This is a quick way to get someone excited.

“$15 just for you!
[User_name] wants to give you $15 to try True&Co. — the wonderful new way to shop for lingerie.
Your friend wrote: “I just found my best fitting bra at True&Co. and wanted to give you $15 to find yours too! Offer ends Apr 24, 2017.”

Sample of referral program email

4. The Clymb

The Clymb does a fantastic job of explaining who sent the referral and then even adds a special note from the sender (this is a prefilled message, but it gives it a personal touch).

“Check out this site, The It’s a members-only website featuring premium Outdoor brands at up to 70% off retail prices! Membership is free, and since I invited you, you’ll receive an instant $10 shopping credit towards your first purchase of $50 or more!”

referral program email sample

5. Fiverr

Fiverr uses a simple message to reel referrals in. They provide who sent the referral and they even give a little information on what it does.

“(Name) is tired of keeping Fiverr a secret. Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for services, where you can get everything you need at an unbeatable value. Sounds too good to be true? See for yourself!”

referral email example

Social media examples

This is like the social media message that goes out to the existing customer. Except, it’s done by using the voice of the existing customer. Program advocates may choose to send a referral to a specific person. They may post their referral link as a status update for all their friends to see. Sometimes, this social marketing message may also cover bits of the program. Here are some examples of referral social media messages.

1. Julep

Right away, Julep mentions the perk of sharing its message. It also allows the customer to add their own message to their friends.

Social media message for referral program

2. Cognito Forms

Cognito Forms allows the customer to take complete control over their referral messages. It also mentions a key piece of information: “Get a free month of Cognito Forms for free.”

Social media message for referral program

3. Sock Fancy

Sock Fancy provides the option to use a prefilled message, or a customer can delete and use their own. The cool thing about the prefilled message is that actually sounds like it’s coming from the customer.

a sample of a social media message for a referral program

4. Loot Crate

Loot Crate uses a prefilled message that also mentions the benefit of why a referral should join.

Social media message example for a referral program

5. Dapper Time

Dapper Time leaves the referral message up to the customer. They do provide a brief description of what they do, but they leave the creativity up to the customers.

Facebook message for referral program

Referral landing page

The referral landing page is different from the customer description page. This is the page all referrals will land on when they click on the link shared by the customer. The referral landing page is based on what the company’s next intended step is. So, the landing page may be different based on the type of business. Let’s take a look at some examples below.

Examples of landing pages for your brand’s referral program

It’s always helpful to see examples, especially if you need a little more help understanding landing pages. Here are three awesome examples you can consider using for your company’s referral program.

1. MeUndies (eCommerce)

Once a referral clicks on the link from the program advocate, they’re brought to the MeUndies homepage. As you can see, the referrals coupon code is automatically added to their shopping cart. Best of all, that customer is automatically tied to the referring customer. The referral barely has to do anything.

Referral program landing page example

2. Dropbox (SaaS)

Dropbox leads referrals to a form so they can sign up for an account. The form is simple and right as the referral clicks “sign up for free” they are given their extra storage space.

an example of a referral program landing page

3. Uber (Service)

Uber requires referrals to sign up for the service to receive the referral incentive. The referral landing page for this program is simple and drives word of mouth to happen. The referral just needs to fill out a quick form, and they’re all set.

Referral Landing Page

Referral program template

Now for the fun part, here is a template you can use to plan out your own awesome referral program.

Referral Program TemplateRemember a referral is a sort of like a favor. It’s an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” situation. If you want referral program engagement, give them a reason to help you out and make it easy. Need more ideas? Here is another list of great referral email ideas.

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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.