Referral program templates have a lot of components. But while the images and messaging may be different, most referral templates share a lot of similarities.
Below, we go over all the major components of a referral program template. We also look at some examples to help you build out your own referral templates. And if you want even more ideas, we put together a list of the top referral program examples.
Set the foundations of your referral program
Before you start your referral program, it’s important to know the best path to success. Here are some key factors we see across the best performing refer-a-friend programs:
1. The refer-a-friend program is visible: This tip seems obvious. However, you might be surprised to learn how many companies make this mistake.
Here’s a quick and easy way to see how visible your refer-a-friend program is to the public: Visit your company’s website and count how many steps (clicks or scrolls) someone has to make before they get to your refer-a-friend landing page. The fewer clicks, the better.
2. The program is easy to join: Keep in mind that people who refer your business to others do so in their spare time. If you want to get as many referrals as possible, make it as easy as possible. Of course, you’ll need to get some basic information, like their name and email address. But try not to include too many extra questions or options you don’t really need.
3. Customers have several ways to refer others: Take a minute to think about what platforms you use to communicate with your family and friends. It’s probably a handful. In a single day, you might use text, emails, phone calls, social media messengers, chat channels, and other applications to communicate. What does this mean? If you want customers to participate in your referral program, allow them to refer others using their preferred platforms.
Build your customer referral program templates
There are two key personas in every customer referral program: The advocate (who we’ll call “Mollie”) and the friend being referred (let’s call him “Robbie”).
Mollie: The existing customer (referral program advocate, ambassador, influencer)
Mollie is the person you’ll be inviting to join your referral program. She is typically your existing customer, and will be the one inviting her friends – your potential new customers – to your business.
Let’s walk through Mollie’s experience when joining a customer referral program:
- Referral program headline: The program headline is your title or main text describing the referral program. The referral program headline can be used in the invitation, on the landing page, and anywhere you promote your program. It is typically the first thing Mollie will notice about your program.
- Referral program invite (email and social media message): Every Mollie will receive a referral program invite. This is usually an email template or social media message that introduces them to the program, what they get by joining, and a link for more information.
- [Bonus] Refer-a-friend email template: Make things easier for Mollie by including a refer-a-friend template she can readily send to friends. Allow her to customize it with her own words, but a referral program email template will encourage her to refer friends immediately.
- Program description page: A program description page is the landing page for your referral program. This is where Mollie will end up after clicking the referral link in the program invite.
Robbie: The referral (new customer, friend of the advocate, lead)
Robbie is the person being invited by your existing customer (aka Mollie).
Let’s take a look at what Robbie sees as he’s referred to your company.
- Referral message: This is the message Robbie receives from Mollie. While the main points are from the business, the message should come directly from the Mollie. The referral message should also include a referral link to more information, which ties Mollie to Robbie as the advocate who referred a new customer.
- Referral landing page: If Robbie chooses to click on the link in the referral message, this is where he will end up. The landing page shares more about your business and products, and is where your referral program’s conversions take place.
These are some of the biggest considerations in referral marketing. The five components can either make or break your program. In the next sections, we dive into the details of each component and share some referral template examples to inspire your own program.
1. Referral program headline
No matter what type of program you’re running, a good headline is necessary. It should grab your customer’s attention and be interesting enough for them to keep reading.
Your headline becomes the referral program’s catchphrase, and can be used in a few different places. This includes the invitation email you send to customers, the program landing page, social sharing message, and more.
Tips for writing an attractive headline
Having trouble creating that perfect referral program headline? Here are several tips to help you catch your customer’s eye.
- Keep it simple: People don’t want to waste time deciphering a message. This is even more important if you’re trying to get someone to take a specific action. Keeping it easy to read and understand will lead to more customers clicking through to join your referral program.
- Get to the point: Your headline should be short and to the point. If your headline already explains the steps of your program, you’re already saying too much. The point of your referral headline is to get people interested. Period. Once you do that, people will be more than willing to read more about your program.
- Mention the benefits: Good referral program headlines underscore the benefits of joining. Even if there’s no monetary reward, you need to tell the customer what’s in it for them.
- Make it fun: There may be a few steps in your referral process. But don’t list them out in the headline. If something seems difficult from the get-go, it becomes even harder to persuade someone to join. But if your headline is fun and interesting, you’ve already increased the chances of people checking out your program.
2. Referral email template
We’ve described the two types of people involved in a referral program: Your existing customer who becomes a program member, and the friend of your existing customer who becomes a referral. Both of these people are sent a message inviting them to join the referral program.
What to include in your referral program invite
This is the first step in your referral program – and one of the most important. Your existing customers are asked to bring in new customer referrals, which is typically done through email and social media. Here are some points a referral program invite should cover:
Why you’re contacting them
This may be a no-brainer, but there are recommended tips on how to contact your customers about a referral program. First, the reason you’re contacting them should be evident quickly. Whether you mention it in the subject line or as your opening sentence, a customer should be able to determine the reason for your email at a glance.
If a customer isn’t sure why you’re contacting them, they may not pay attention to the email or send it straight to trash. Instead, give them a reason to open and read the email.
- Use the referral program headline as the email subject. Imagine seeing a “Give $50, Get $50” in your inbox. You’ll naturally want to know what you need to do to get $50.
- Use the subject line to draw attention to the exclusive invite. “We think you’re awesome, you’re inviting to join!” This gives customers the feeling of being part of an exclusive club – how can you turn that down?
- Use their actions to further interest them. Call out any recent purchases or customer service chats. “We hope you enjoyed your recent [order purchase]” is a great way to call attention to their personal customer experience, and shows you notice their efforts.
The benefits of joining
This is key: Customers want to know what’s in it for them. Even if your subject line tells them what they can earn, it’s always good to reiterate. Start with a short subject line like “Get $25 for helping us,” and then explain the benefits in more detail later on.
The sign-up process
So how can customers earn these benefits? Explain what they need to do to sign up for the referral program using simple, step-by-step instructions.
A clear call to action
All referral email templates need a clear call to action (CTA). This guides customers to the step they should take next. For example, “Sign up now” or “Click here for more information” lets them know what comes next in the referral process.
Refer-a-friend email templates
There are lots of referral program email templates you can use to invite customers to your program. (Some even double as program promotion techniques.) You can send out a bulk email, an individual email, a receipt email, a re-engagement email invite. No matter which you choose, setting up a referral email templates will help give a consistent experience to all your customers.
1. Mass email invites
Mass invites work well when you’re first establishing your referral program. This type of invite is more of an announcement type email and perfect for when you’re launching your program.
Mass invites share general information, like the program offer and how they can sign up. Even if your referral program hasn’t launched yet, you can send out a mass invite with a link to a pre-signup form. Here’s a mass invite example:
We want to fill you in on a secret. We’ve been working hard to create a referral program just for you. We’ve 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 email invites
These types of invites pack a punch. Sending individual invites work well, as they let customers know you really value your relationship with them. It’s even a better if these invites are sent from an employee your customer personally interacts with.
For example, a car salesman may send an email a few weeks after selling someone a car to see how they’re doing. This is the perfect time to include an invite or reminder about your referral program. This works especially well for businesses with a longer sales process. Here is a sample individual invite:
Hey [name], I just wanted to reach out and see how you’re doing with your new [item]. I also wanted to take this time to invite you to our referral program. We talked about it briefly while finishing up your paperwork, but I thought it’d be best to send over a quick reminder and some more details. If you join our referral program, you’ll earn [money/item/service] for every referral who also purchases a new [item].
3. Receipt email invites
Receipt emails (or invoice emails) are the ones you receive right after making a purchase. They basically reiterate what was ordered and might include some shipping information.
People usually read thank you and receipt emails, making them the perfect place to add some lines about your referral program. Plus, people usually feel good about a business right after making a purchase, and are more likely to accept a referral program invitation. Here is a receipt invite example:
Hi [name], thanks for your order. Want to get some more cool stuff? How does earning a [money amount] in store credit sound? Share us with your friends and when they use the [discount amount] you send them, you’ll also get [money amount] credited to your account. Thanks for being awesome and don’t forget to sign up now.
4. Re-engagement email invites
Perhaps you have a few customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while. You may already have an email template ready to send out to re-engage these customers.
Why not use that existing email as a way to also invite customers to your referral program? Including the program benefit right in the subject line may even help regain their interest. Here is a sample of a re-engagement invite:
Hi there, old friend, we haven’t seen you around in a while, and just wanted to let you know we’re still here. In fact, we started a referral program and would love your friends to know about us, too. We’ll even sweeten the deal and give you [coupon amount or dollar amount] off your next order if you send a referral our way.
Other places to promote your program
You can also use your existing drip email newsletters and other messages to promote your referral program. Simply add an eye-catching image and short headline text to the footer of the existing email template.
Don’t forget to include a link or CTA button that leads them to the referral program landing page or form. This way they can easily sign up and start referring friends and family. As long as you keep promoting your program, people will join.
Promoting referrals on social media
Today’s most successful businesses know how to use social media. Not only is it free owned media, it’s also where most of your existing and potential customers spend their time. Below are some best practices for promoting a referral program on social media platforms.
- Explain the program: Even some of your regular customers may not know about your referral program. Social media is the perfect platform to let them know what it’s all about. Share a post or a story with the key highlights of your referral program. Even a tiny bit of information is enough to make them click through for more information.
- Highlight the benefit: If you’re giving an incentive for referrals, don’t be afraid to include it in your promotions. Customers who are aware of the benefits upfront are usually more willing to participate.
- Keep your promotions fresh: This can mean changing the name or incentive of your referral program every once in a while to reflect different holidays or seasons. Plus, people will be more driven to join if they think the program is a limited-time thing.
- Use your headline: The first thing your customers will see is the headline. Use it to clearly explain what they can expect, what they’ll earn, and why your referral program is so great.
- Include a visual: Visuals are always helpful. Even your logo or a product photo can be enough to draw customers in. Visuals, especially images or GIFs, are great for breaking up chunks of text and encouraging people to read the entire message.
Social media message examples
Social media is all about imagery and grabbing attention. In most cases, businesses use the following template for their social media invites:
- A focal image
- The benefits or reasons someone should join
- A link or CTA button to a sign up page
After clicking the referral link, customers arrive at a landing page, where they can read more information and sign up for the program.
Here are some great examples of how companies invite customers on social media:
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
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
Example 3: GetStocks
Are you a GetStocks Account Holder? Refer a Friend to @GetStocks & Receive $50 worth of FREE trades. #NASDAQ
What to include in your refer-a-friend email template
Before you make an important purchase, who do you turn to? If you’re like 83% of the population, you trust the recommendations of friends and family over anything else.
Word of mouth and referrals are one of the best ways to grow your customer base. Fortunately, we have some great refer-a-friend templates examples to help in this area.
Refer-a-friend program examples
Learning about the benefits of refer-a-friend programs is great. But it also helps to see how referral programs at other companies work. Here are a few of the best refer-a-friend examples being used today:
1. Perrobox: Keeps its referral program visible
Everyone should take a page out of Perrobox’s book when it comes to making their referral program visible. Instead of a headline tucked below the fold of their website, Perrobox markets its referral program with a “Get 40% Off” headline in the top menu. After clicking the link, you are directed to Perrobox’s referral page.
2. Marin Software: A refer-a-friend program that’s easy to join
Marin Software provides a great example of a referral program that’s easy to join. Right away, customers see the bright blue and red colors that highlight Marin Software’s simple headline. The company wants you to refer your friends, and will pay you up to $2,000 to do so. Simple and effective.
3. Amazon Prime: Provides many ways for people to refer their friends
If you want customers to keep referring others, give them many ways to do this. Amazon is an amazing example of how this can be done. As you can see on their site, Amazon Prime offers four different ways to refer a friend. Members can refer via email (five emails at a time!), share a post on Facebook, send a tweet, or even copy and paste a link anywhere they want. All these options make it easy for Prime members to refer others to the service.
3. Program description page
A landing page is where someone is sent after clicking a referral link (usually on an email, social media post, or even a website menu link).
If customers arrive on your landing page, they want to find out more. Landing pages gives you the space to explain your referral program in more detail – why customers should join, the rules of the program, and any other important information. This is also where customers can sign up for your referral program. Let’s break down what goes into a basic referral program landing page.
Program description page template
1. Details about the program: Include a few short lines about any requirements, the types of rewards, and generate excitement among customers.
2. Use imagery: A few strong images can appeal to customers and help break up any large blocks of text.
3. Add a CTA: This is the whole point of the page. The action you want the customer to take. We share a few common CTAs below, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Just make sure it matches the action you want customers to take.
- Sign up
- Join now
- Buy now
4. Include FAQs: People will likely have a few questions before signing up for your company’s referral program. Adding a section or page for frequently asked questions can help to easily answer anything on your customer’s mind.
5. Add testimonials: This is a great component of a referral landing page, but one that isn’t seen too often. By showing customers real feedback and social proof, they’ll be even more inclined to join.
Program description page examples
You can learn a lot by looking at the referral pages of other companies. Here are a few great examples:
1. Fiverr: Inviting referrals after sign up
After someone creates a Fiverr account, they have the option to start referring others right away. After clicking on the “Invite Friends & Get $5” button, members are brought to this program description page. The page restates the headline, gives a little more description of the program, and provides the customer with a few easy ways to share.
2. Sock Fancy: Greets customers with a catchy headline
As soon as a customer lands on the Sock Fancy website, they already see the option to refer others. And once a customer clicks on the “refer” link, they are shown a referral widget that explains the referral program benefits with a catchy headline.
3. Budsies: Promotes the program right on its homepage
The Budsies referral program is visible right on its homepage. Once a customer is either invited or clicks on the “referral rewards” link, the program description page appears, sharing all the key information about the program.
4. Moo: Provides key information in a pop-up widget
Moo invites customers to join its referral program using an attractive pop-up widget. The widget does a good job of explaining the program benefit right in the headline, and gives customers more information at the click of a button.
5. Red Coach
When a customer is invited to join Red Coach’s referral program or clicks the referral link on the homepage, they are brought to the program description page. The page gives a clear description of the program, showing every step a customer needs to take to earn their rewards.
4. Referral message
The referral message plays an important part in your program template. After all, it may be one of the first things a potential customer reads about your business. The great part about a referral invitation message is that it comes from a referral’s friend. This means:
- The message is more casual.
- It doesn’t have to be sales-y.
- People are more inclined to click and read through.
Referral message template
We’ve rounded up a few tips to get your referral message on the right track. These focus on the two most popular referral channels – email and social media. But they can be useful for creating referral program templates across every medium.
- Use a fun intro or subject line: Start your referral message with a fun or interesting note. It also helps if you can include the referral’s first name in the subject line. This will help you stand out in a referral’s inbox or feed, and increase chances your message will be read.
- Let them know who sent the message: Whenever someone gets a message, the first thing they look at is who sent it. In this case, it’s best to let them know the message comes from a friend. Even if the referral message is about a business or product, people always trust their friends and family over other sources.
- Explain who you are: Sometimes, a referral may not have heard of your company. This is your chance to introduce yourselves and show them why you’re so great. It’s best not to go overboard, though – sharing your products and what you do is more than enough.
- Highlight the benefits: You’ve explained the benefit to your existing customers. Now, it’s time to do the same for potential new customers. If your referral also gets an incentive, it’s best to mention it at the start. This gives them an incentive to join your program and try your products.
- Add a CTA: Ending a referral message with a CTA makes it easy for anyone to take the next steps and join your program. Placing a link or a button that stands out from the rest of your referral message can ensure referrals will click through to your landing page.
Refer-a-friend email examples
1. Moo: All the information in one quick message
Moo gives 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.
2. Vinyl Me, Please: Adding some fun to the referral message
This company sends a fun email to its referrals. The email covers who they are, what they do, and goes over the details of referral program.
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.
3. True&Co: A personalized message and enticing offer
True&Co uses the referrer’s name as a starting point to the message. This works well for building trust in the brand. Then, they hook the referral with an enticing “$15 just for you” offer.
$15 just for you!
[Customer 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.”
4. The Clymb: Using the friend’s voice in the message
The Clymb does a fantastic job of explaining who sent the referral. It even adds a special note from the sender (this is a pre-filled message, but manages to gives the email a personal touch).
Check out this site, The Clymb.com. 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!
5. Fiverr: Inviting referrals with an exclusive offer
Fiverr uses a simple message to reel referrals in. They provide the name of the customer who sent the referral, as well as a little information about the company. The message also has a sense of exclusivity, which can motivate more referrals to join.
[Customer 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!
Social media message examples
This is similar to the social media message you send to existing customers. Except, the message comes from the customer or program advocate. The existing customer can send a social media message to a specific person. Or they can post their referral link as a status update or in their bio link for all their friends to see. Here are some examples of referral social media messages:
1. Julep: Lets customers add a personal message
Right away, Julep mentions the benefit of sharing its referral message. It also allows customers to add their own personal message to their referred friend.
2. Cognito Forms: Allows complete customization
Cognito Forms gives customers complete control over their referral messages. It also includes a key piece of information, which is the benefit to “Get a free month of Cognito Forms for free.”
3. Sock Fancy: A pre-filled message that sounds natural
Sock Fancy gives customers the option to use a pre-filled message, or delete the message and use their own. The great thing about their pre-filled message is it sounds like it’s coming from the customer, and is a great referral template to start from.
4. Loot Crate: Includes the benefit in a pre-filled message
Loot Crate’s pre-filled message already includes the benefit and reason why a referral should join the program.
5. Dapper Time: Gives customers control over the message
Dapper Time provides a brief description about the company, but leaves the referral message completely up to the customer.
5. Referral landing page
The referral landing page is different from the program description page. This is the page where all referrals are directed to once they click on the referral link shared by existing customers.
Referral landing page examples
Your referral landing page will depend on your type of business, and the next step you want referrals to take. Let’s look at three great examples below:
1. MeUndies: An ecommerce business
Once a referral clicks on the link in the referral message, 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, the referred customer is automatically tied to the existing customer. The referral doesn’t have to do anything at all to receive the benefit.
2. Dropbox: A SaaS company
Dropbox sends referrals to a form where they can sign up for an account. The form is simple and invites them to “sign up for free.”
3. Uber: A service-based business
Uber requires referrals to sign up in order to receive the referral incentive. Its referral landing page is simple. All the referral needs to do is fill out a short form and they’re all set.
Create your own referral program template
Now that you know about the key referral program templates, and have seen a few great examples, it’s time to create your own. Here’s a checklist you can use to plan out your own referral program:
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