4 Examples of the Best Customer Referral Programs for 2021

by Friendbuy

May 4, 2021

Although there are some common best practices for referral marketing, every brand is different. Understanding your audience and what they respond to best will help you optimize your strategy through every step of the referral funnel. Whether you want to get more exposure for your program, improve your conversion rate, or both, our team has the referral marketing expertise to help you develop and implement a strategy.

If 2021 is the year you decide to implement a referral program or improve the one you already have, it will help to have some inspiration. These four customer examples show how brands can optimize engagement at various points in the referral funnel.

Afterpay Prioritizes Promotion with Multiple Channels

Afterpay, a company that allows customers to buy products online and pay later in installments, uses three primary channels to promote its referral program and grab customers’ attention early in the referral funnel. 

Afterpay customers use their mobile app to shop with participating retailers. This is the perfect time for them to refer friends who might enjoy the same experience, so the company encourages referrals while customers are actively engaged with the brand in the app. With a $10 incentive for referrals, Afterpay customers have ample motivation to share with multiple friends. The referral CTA is presented in multiple ways to catch customers’ attention, including:

  • In app-notifications
  • Banners throughout the app 
  • CTAs throughout the app

Afterpay is a mobile-first brand, so it makes sense that it would also promote its referral program through SMS push notifications. For customers who prefer to engage on mobile devices, Afterpay makes it easy for them to refer friends and sends periodic reminders via text. 

With a growing email list that gets good engagement, Afterpay makes sure to include personalized URLs (PURLs) in its emails to advocates. The PURLs can be copied with a single click and pasted into any channel the customer prefers, including text message, social media, and email. Advocates can also take action directly from the email to make sharing even easier.

Afterpay Prioritizes Promotion with Multiple Channels.    Afterpay Prioritizes Promotion with Multiple Channels.    Afterpay Prioritizes Promotion with Multiple Channels

Getaway Boosts Engagement by Optimizing Email Promotions

Vacation rental brand Getaway recognized that most referral engagement was coming from email promotions, so in addition to following all best practice placements, it has optimized this channel to encourage even more sharing in the middle of the referral funnel.

Because the company gets such good engagement through email, Getaway emphasizes email marketing with at least three emails a month. Every email communication customers receive from Getaway includes a CTA for the referral program, making it truly part of the brand experience. With a CTA in the header of every email, the referral program is front and center when customers open an email from Getaway.

Customers are continually reminded that they can share a $25 discount with friends and get $25 off their next vacation booking. Getting constant reminders about the Getaway referral program and having easy mechanisms to take advantage of it also encourages impulse sharing.

Getaway also sends one dedicated email each month that is solely about its referral program. With no other competing content, dedicated emails see better engagement and higher share rates.

Getaway Boosts Engagement by Optimizing Email Promotions.    Getaway Boosts Engagement by Optimizing Email Promotions

Wine Insiders Wins Referrals with Limited Time Offers and an Elite Program

Premium wine club Wine Insiders uses multiple approaches to get the most out of a highly shareable vertical. The evergreen referral program, which gives both friends and advocates a $25 discount, encourages advocates to share through emails and PURLs.

The company also leverages the referral channel to promote limited time offers. For example, it ran a one-week only anniversary campaign to celebrate its 39th anniversary, sweetening the friend and advocate offer to $39.

During this same period, Wine Insiders also teamed up with some of their celebrity partners for a give-a-box campaign. Personal URLs for each celebrity were created and posted on Instagram. Customers simply pay taxes and shipping, and receive free wine. This approach also creates an opportunity to upsell additional wine during the referral flow, increasing the average order volume. 

Wine Insiders Wins Referrals with Limited Time Offers and an Elite Program

Hill House Home Prioritizes Referral Offers

Lifestyle brand Hill House Home has a highly visible referral program that gets top priority among their other marketing channels. The evergreen program was launched with a strong 20 percent discount reward for advocates and $20 coupon code incentive for friends. This has led to a high advocate reward redemption rate and a growing customer base.

In addition to promoting the referral program on the website and through targeted emails, the company also leverages Friendbuy’s integration with Attentive to send PURLs via SMS messages, capturing attention from customers who prefer to communicate with mobile devices. Hill House Home uses these multiple communication methods to capitalize on product launches, which drives up the share rate and conversion rate. 

The company uses multiple channels and strategies to promote its brand and boost sales, but the referral program is always a top consideration. For example, it adjusts the referral offer to account for other promotional periods, ensuring that referral is always the richest offer. This is because Hill House Home knows that growing its referral program will not only increase sales in the short term but also support long-term growth goals by continuing to generate repeat sales, capturing new customers, and paying for itself over time. 

Hill House Home Prioritizes Referral Offers

Friendbuy Can Help Refine Your Referral Funnel

Whether you’re just getting started with referral marketing or have an established program you want to improve, the team at Friendbuy can help analyze your referral funnel and implement changes that will produce measurable results. Understanding what resonates most with your customers will help you gain more loyal advocates and grow your brand. 

To learn more about Friendbuy and the features that will help you increase engagement throughout the referral funnel, read Referral Marketing: The Essential Guide.

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