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There are a lot of things that make up a referral template. You see, 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. Here are a few items to help with your customer referral template. 

Referral programs can be a plug and play type of thing. In fact, many referral software companies have created this type of program for you. You fill in the blanks and voila, your program is ready. Okay, so it may take a little bit of planning, but that’s why we’re here today. We’re going to discuss what each major component of a referral program is. That way, when it comes to setup you have all the parts to build your best referral program. If you want to freshen up on some already made, and awesome referral program examples, feel free. Don’t be afraid to take ideas from those programs. You can use aspects of them to create your own rocking referral program. 

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.

Element #1: 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.

Element #2: Referral Email Template

All your Mollies will receive a program invite. This is what will help encourage them to join your program.

Element #3 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 link in the invitation copy.

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

He 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.

Element #4: Referral Message

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

Element #5: Referral Landing Page

If Robbie chooses to click on the link that Mollie sent, this is where he will end up. Typically after clicking this link, the new customer will be linked to the advocate (Robbie will be linked to Mollie).

These are some of the biggest factors to think about while creating a referral program. They are the 5 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. Onward with this free referral program template.

Element #1: 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 not uncommon to see similar headlines or program descriptions floating around. 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. So, 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:

Awesome, so what are some key factors in making a winning referral program headline?

1. Keep it simple – People don’t want to waste time deciphering a message. This is especially important if you’re trying to get someone to sign up for a referral program. The thing about referral program headlines is that they do not have to be fluff. 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 – This ties in with the first point. Short and simple and to the point. If you use this headline as an opportunity to explain the benefit of joining, you’re already a step ahead. If the headline is not interesting, people may 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. For example, who would want to click on something that said… “Do this, this and this to get a reward?” That seems like such a hassle. If something seems unobtainable from the get-go, it’s less likely to persuade someone to do it at all.

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 (ex: number 7- Share the awesome. Refer-a-friend).

5. Be Fun – If you make it interesting, you might catch someone’s eye and they may want to check out what you have to say. Plus, fun things are always good.

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.
  • You Scratch Our Back And We’ll Scratch Theirs.
  • Refer & Earn
  • Share the awesome. Refer-a-friend.
  • Pass It On!
  • Give your friends a (percent%) discount. & 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), receive ($dollar amount)yourself.
  • Can You Keep A Secret? We Hope Not!

Element #2: Referral Email Template

So the messaging aspect of a referral program is important. There are messages for each person involved. We’re going to discuss one of the most important messages there is the invitation message. Now, 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 customers, so you can see why sending your top customers an invite can be beneficial. Member invites can be done multiple ways, but for this example, we are going to cover member invites via email and social media. Here are some things that an email invite should cover. If you want another good example, here is a free email template from Hubspot.   

1. Why you are contacting them –

Okay, this may be a no-brainer. With that being 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 really only look at certain emails and either skim the rest or trash them without even opening them. Give them a reason to read the email – it will help get them interested in the program.

  • Use the referral program headline as the email subject. Use the referral program headline as the email subject. Imagine seeing a “Give $50, Get $50” in your inbox. You may just want to click it to see what you need to do to get $50.
  • Use the subject line as a quick way to mention that they are 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 too “Since you’ve already been sending us customers!” This will show that you notice their efforts!

2. The benefit of joining is –

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

3. What the process is –

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”.

Email Samples:

So there are actually a ton of different points in which you can invite a customer 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 are a referral email template, set it up once and give a consistent experience to all your customers.

1. Mass Invites

These work really well when you are first getting your referral program established with your customers. This typically occurs when you first launch your program, and you just want to invite anyone who has been a customer. This is more of an announcement type email, but hey you can roll the initial invite right in with it. Let them know about the program and get them to sign up. Even if the program isn’t quite launched, you can get them to do a pre-signup.

Here is a sample mass email message 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

Really pack a punch. Sending individual invites work really well, and it lets the customer know you really value your relationship with them. These types can be sent to customers that have had a good bit of one on one interaction 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 just 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 who 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

They just make sense. This is the perfect opportunity for you to sprinkle in your referral program and get someone who is at a happy moment to sign up.  This is that email someone receives right after they make a purchase. You know the one that simply reiterates what they ordered and perhaps gives some shipping info? Yeah, well this is 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 dont forget to sign up now.

4. Remember Us Invites

These guys are actually quite common. Perhaps you have a few people who haven’t shown face 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:

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 and sign up.

2. Provide the Benefit

Sure you can explain the program without mentioning the benefit. But, if you are giving your customers an incentive… then don’t be afraid to use it as a way of driving people to sign up. If customers know the benefits upfront, they may be more willing to participate.

Sure you can explain the program without mentioning the benefit. But, if you are giving your customers an incentive… then don’t be afraid to use it as a way of driving people to sign up. If customers know the benefits upfront, they may be more willing to participate.

3. Give a Promotional Flare

Maybe you change the name of the program every once in a while to reflect different holidays or seasons. You may drive people to join if they think the program is a limited time thing.

Maybe you change the name of the program every once in a while to reflect different holidays or seasons. You may drive people to join if they think the program is a limited time thing.

4. Use Your Headline

his 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) then they will know exactly what to expect and what they will earn.

5. Add an Image

Trust us, visual aids are always helpful. It can be just your logo or even an image of something you sell. When you use an image to break up bulky text, people will be more likely to check out what it’s all about.

Trust use, visual aids are always helpful. It can be just your logo or even an image of something you sell. When you use an image to break up bulky text, people will be more likely to check out what it’s all about.

Social Media Message Examples:

Now, this is more of a mass invite, but you can get personal and send it to people individually either by direct message or by posting it directly to their timeline. We will say that businesses who use social media as a way to invite their existing customers do get pretty lucky by posting the invite as a general post/status update/tweet. Note: this is also a great way to regularly promote a referral program as well. What are some things a social media invite should contain?

Social media is all about imagery and grabbing attention. It’s not uncommon to see a business advertise their referral program via Facebook or Twitter by adding an image and mentioning the ultimate reason someone should join. Not only that but when clicked it takes the customer directly to the landing page where they can read more information and sign up for the program.

Want to see some great examples? Of course, you do!

Example 1:

“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:

“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:

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

Program Example of Social Media Message

Element #3: Program Description

The landing page is going to allow you to explain the referral program in better details. 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:

1. Be DescriptiveThis is your opportunity to explain the referral program. Plus, the description can help get customers excited.
2. Use ImageryDon’t be afraid to use a ‘hero shot’ or a few images. Images help break up text and they make things appealing.
3. Add a CTAThis is the whole point of the page. Don’t be shy you can add a CTA or a form right on this page to get people in gear.
4. Give the FAQsYour program has some extra rules or offers. If you want to de-clutter the page, create a FAQs section.
5. Add TestimonialsThis isn’t done too often. But, when customers are able to see some real feedback they may be more inclined to join.

Page Examples:

Here are a few great referral page examples.

1. Fiverr

When someone creates a Fiverr account they have the option to start referring automatically. 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. If the customer clicks on the ‘refer’ link a referral widget appears. The widget explains the benefit of referring as well as uses a pretty catchy headline.

Referral Program Widget Example

3. Budsies

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

Referral Program Form Example

4. Moo

When Moo customers are invited to refer friends the program description page or in this case, the widget does a good job at 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 easily.

Referral Program Example

5. Red Coach

When a customer is invited to join the Red Coach 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, it shows the steps to earn the rewards and customers can sign up right on this page.

Referral Program Example

Element #4: Referral Message

The referral message is equally as important. These are the new customers, you know… your new business! The cool thing about their invitation message is that it’s designed to come from their friends. Which can mean a few things 1) you can be a little more relaxed with it. 2) It doesn’t have to be as salesy 3) Since the message is from a friend, people are more inclined to accept.

Just like members, a referral can be invited to the program in a few different ways. We are going to discuss invitations by email and social media.

Referral Message Tips:

A few easy tips that will get your referral message right one track.

1. Let ‘Em 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.

2. Explain the Benefit

This is pretty common ground, as you can tell by now. You explained the benefit to your existing customer, now you have to do the same with the new customer. 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 one of your best customers!

3. Add a CTA

Give them easy access to take part. If you provide a link or a button right in the message they may be more persuaded to check you out.

4. Create a Fun Intro or Subject Line

Starting with something fun or interesting may work in your favor. If you let the new customer know they are special from the get-go, they will be more inclined to become a customer. A loyal one at that.

5. Explain Who You Are

So, these people (referrals) may have never heard of your company before. This is your chance to give them a little insight. We aren’t saying all the ins and outs and entire history,  sharing your name and what you do are plenty.

Referral Email Template Examples:

A private email message from the program advocate can be very convincing. The referral email is the more personal option for referring someone. So this is a good opportunity to get your advocates to help you out. Remember… Most referral software allows you to create a pre-filled message. This makes it easy for your program advocates to share and it also allows you to create a uniform referral email template for all people. So here are some good referral email message ideas.

1. Moo

Sets a great example. 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

Has a fun email for 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

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 $15 just for you! – that 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

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

Uses a simple message to real referrals in. They provide who sent the referral and they even give a little information on what they do.

“(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 for this time, 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. Many referral program messages have a pre-filled message that explains the business. Sometimes, this message may also cover bits of the program. It’s very common to see a part of the message actually written by the advocate.  Here are some examples of referral social media messages.

1. Julep

Mentions the perk of joining their subscription and also allows the customer to add their own message to their friends.

Social media message for referral program

2. Cognito Forms

Allows the customer to take complete control over the referral message. They do mention an important key piece, however. “Get a free month of Cognito Form for Free”.

Social media message for referral program

3. 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

Has covered the prefilled message, they also mention the benefit of why a referral should join the subscription.

Social media message example for a referral program

5. 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

Element #5: Referral Landing Page

The referral landing page is different than the customer description page. This is the page all referrals will land on when they click on the link shared by the customer. Sometimes, the referral may land on the homepage of a website. If a coupon code or discount is offered to the referral it will be applied to the shopping cart.  The referral landing page is based on what the businesses next intended step is. So the landing page may be different based on the type of business. For instance, a service business may need a referral to complete extra steps to count as a referral (like filling out a form). Let’s take a look at some examples below.

1. MeUndies (eCommerce)

Once a referral clicks on the link from the program advocate they are 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 then automatically tied to the referring customer. The referral didn’t have to hardly do anything at all.

Referral program landing page example

2.  Dropbox (SaaS)

Leads referrals to a form so they can sign up for an account.  The form is simple and right as the referral click “sign up for free” they are given their extra storage space and they are tied to the referring friend.

an example of a referral program landing page

3.  Uber (Service)

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

Referral Landing Page

Referral Program Template

Referral Program Template

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

Remember a referral is a sort of like a favor. It’s an I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. If you want referral program engagement –  give them a reason to help you out, and it needs to be easy.  Need more ideas? Here is another list of great referral email ideas. Let us know what your referral template consists of, we love seeing new 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.