REFERRAL MARKETING STRATEGY

23 Best Referral Program Ideas for Every Business Type

by Emma Kimmerly

September 19, 2022


Planning to kick-start a referral program (or refresh your existing one) and want proven industry-specific examples as inspiration?

We’ve got you covered.

To help you build a strong referral marketing program for your business, let’s look at examples of successful programs run by businesses of different types and across different verticals. 

Jump ahead:

Best Referral Program Ideas by Industry
Best Referral Program Ideas by Business Type
Best Referral Program Ideas by Opportunity

Tips For A Successful Referral Program 

Before we jump into all of the impressive referral programs that our customers are running, we want to make sure that you have everything you need to set up your own referral program.

First, you’ll need to set up your incentive structure:

  • Double-Sided Offer: both Advocate and Friend get a reward
  • One-Sided Offer: only one person, either Advocate or Friend, gets a reward

You’ll also need to decide on a referral reward to offer Advocates and Friends. The most common referral rewards are:

  • Loyalty points
  • Cash back
  • Coupons
  • Store credit
  • Free month (subscriptions)
  • Gift cards
  • Discount (10% off for you and 10% off for friend)
  • Access to special content (White papers, ‘How To’ guides, etc.)
  • Upgrades - access to special features (SAAS and web apps)
  • Donation to charitable cause
  • Special events (in-store/brick and mortar)
  • Premiums or Gifts (physical items like a tote bag or store merchandise)

Not sure where to start? Let’s take a close look at what our best performing Friendbuy customers are doing with their referral programs.


Best Referral Program Ideas by Industry

We’ll show you what others in your industry are doing, which referral incentive structures work in your niche, and different ways to offer referral rewards.

 

Finance and Insurance Referral Programs

Businesses that offer financial or insurance solutions don’t always have straightforward products or services to offer discounts on. That’s where cash rewards come in.

Rewarding Advocates with cash for every Friend they refer makes the referral process quick and easy.

Let's look at three brands that do this well:

  • Metromile - $25 Gift Card for Every Referred Friend Who Signs Up
  • QuickBooks - Give 50%, Get $30

Further reading: Review our guide for financial and insurance referral programs for more tips and examples.


Metromile — $25 Gift Card for Every Referred Friend Who Signs Up


Industry

Insurance

Incentive Type

One-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – $25 gift card for every referred Friend that signs up.

Promotion Type

Website & Mobile App

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get paid for your referral.


Metromile, a car insurance company, gives its Advocates a $25 gift card for every referred Friend who signs up. Advocates can only enroll in the program once they’re logged in to their accounts. 


Once Advocates sign in, they’ll see a “Refer a Friend” option in the top navigation bar. Over 46% of referral revenue comes from this placement. 



As they click on it, they’ll be asked to submit their and their Friend’s emails. Alongside this placement, some other placements include:


  • Landing page with an embedded referral widget - 30% of referral revenue comes from this placement:

  • Post quote submission overlay - 24% of referral revenue comes from this placement:


  • Mobile app integration - Customers see as much as 50% of referral conversions coming through the mobile app (depending on mobile app engagement): 


QuickBooks — Give 50%, Get $30

Industry

B2B, Finance

Incentive Type

Double-sided

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $30 for every successful referral.


Referred Friend – Give 50% off for 6 months

Promotion Type

Website widget

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Give 50%, Get $30.


QuickBooks, an accounting software business, offers $30 in Amazon cash to Advocates when their referred Friend gives QuickBooks a try for 60 days.

The referred Friend receives a whopping 50% discount for 6 months when they sign up.





This incentive structure ensures that rewards aren’t paid out until the Friend becomes a true customer, keeping the brand’s cost per acquisition (CPA) low and its referral rates high.


Apparel Referral Programs

The only thing more exciting than getting a new outfit, pair of shoes, or jewelry is getting a discount from your favorite brand where you buy them from.

Even better than that?

Your Friend gets a discount, too.

This is why two-sided referral programs work so well for fashion and apparel brands. People love a good deal and love sharing good deals with others.

Here are two popular apparel brands that have smartly implemented their two-sided referral marketing programs:

  • Bonobos - Refer a Friend, Get 25% Off
  • Joie - Give $25, Get $25

Bonobos — Refer a Friend, Get 25% Off


Industry

Apparel

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get 25% off once the referred Friend has ordered. 


Referred Friend – Get 25% off their first purchase. 

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Refer a Friend, Get 25% Off.


Bonobos, a popular Menswear brand and Friendbuy user, encourages its customers to refer them to their friends, family members, and other people in their network by giving them 25% off on all their products. 

Here, the Advocates will get 25% off only when their Friend makes their first purchase. The referred Friend gets 25% off their first order, which makes them more likely to make a purchase.

To enroll in Bonobos’ “Refer a Friend, Get 25% Off,” referral program, Advocates need to head over to their program page powered by Friendbuy and enter their email. 



As soon as they enter their email, they’ll get a referral link along with the option to share it via:

  • Email 
  • Messenger
  • Facebook

One functionality of Friendbuy software used by Bonobos is the option for Advocates to tick-mark the “Send my Friend a reminder in 3 days” option to send a reminder email to their Friend(s). 

One functionality of Friendbuy software used by Bonobos is the option for Advocates to tick-mark the “Send my Friend a reminder in 3 days” option to send a reminder email to their Friend(s). 


Advocates don’t even need to launch their email, Facebook, or Messenger applications to refer their Friends to Bonobos. Instead, they can do it directly from their referral page

They can use the default message template or customize it to fit the needs and pain points of the people they’re referring. 

Or they can just share their referral link across social media platforms of their choosing, maybe even their fashion blog or YouTube channel.


Joie — Give $25, Get $25


Industry

Apparel

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $25 for every successful referral.


Referred Friend – Gets 25% off their first purchase of $100 or more.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Give $25, Get $25.


Joie, a luxury women’s fashion brand, runs its “Give $25, Get $25” referral marketing program to encourage customer referrals and spread the word about the Joie brand via word-of-mouth marketing

When Advocates refer someone, the referred Friend instantly gets $25 off their first order worth $100 or more. And the moment they make their first purchase, Advocates will get $25 in points. 

To be a part of their referral marketing program, all they need to do is head over to their “Give $25, Get $25” program page, enter their email address, and proceed forward. 



Then, they’ll enter their Friend’s email address. 



Or they can just copy the referral link or share their message on Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, or WhatsApp. 

Rather than giving their customers a percentage-based discount, Joie credits both parties a fixed $25 off. 


Beauty Referral Programs

The global cosmetics market value stands at a staggering USD$80.73 billion, making it an industry ripe for discounts. Whether it’s body care or oral care or hair care products, people love trying new products. 

Especially when they come with a discount. 

Here are two popular brands that use Friendbuy’s referral marketing software to reward customers (and potential customers) with free products or a deep discount for every successful referral:

  • OLAPLEX – Share the OLAPLEX Love
  • Herbivore – Give 15%, Get 20% 

OLAPLEX — Share the OLAPLEX Love


Industry

Beauty

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get a free healthy hair maintenance kit for every referred Friend that purchases. 


Referred Friend – Gets a free healthy hair kit (no additional costs for shipping) with their first purchase.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Share the OLAPLEX love.


OLAPLEX’s wide range of hair care products focuses on helping people repair, protect, and strengthen their hair. To encourage their customers to spread the word about their brand, OLAPLEX runs a “Share the OLAPLEX Love” program. 


For every Friend Advocates refer (and after their first successful purchase), the Advocate will get OLAPLEX’s health maintenance kit for free—shipping included.


All they need to do is head over to their program page, enter their info, and click “Start Sharing.” 



As soon as they do that, they’ll get a dedicated referral link, which they can share anywhere they’d like or just add emails of people they’d like to refer. Or they can share their message across Messenger, Facebook, or Twitter at the click of a button.

Advocates can either use OLAPLEX’s default referral email template as is, or they can customize it to make sure they’re putting the right message in front of the right people, targeting their specific pain points or problems. 

With one of Friendbuy’s referral page features, Advocates can even select the “Send my friend a reminder in 3 days” option to send a reminder email to the people they referred. 


Herbivore – Give 15%, Get 20%


Industry

Beauty

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get 20% off their next purchase on orders exceeding $100 before shipping and taxes. 


Referred Friend – Get 15% off their first purchase on orders exceeding $75 before taxes and shipping. 

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Give 15%, Get 20%.


Herbivore, founded in 2011, sells safe, natural, and highly effective beauty products that are original, and created and tested by the brand on real people. Herbivore’s “Give 15%, Get 20%” referral program encourages their customers to share 15% off with their Friends while giving them 20% off on their next purchase. 



To join their referral program, Advocates can just head over to their program page and add their name, email, and phone number (optional). 



The higher offer (20% off) to the Advocate—who already knows and loves the brand—is an extra little incentive to show customer appreciation and thank them for their loyalty.


Home Goods Referral Programs

Many e-commerce referral programs find success with store discounts and free gifts, but for many businesses, a store discount or a free gift can be costly. To keep your cost per acquisition (CPA) low in a high-priced business (like the home goods niche), try giving monetary rewards to Advocates and a flat rate discount to referred Friends.


Burrow Referral Program —Get Rewarded for Sharing Your Style


Industry

Home Goods

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get a $50 Amazon gift card upon the referred Friend’s first purchase. 


Referred Friend – Get $75 off any order over $300.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get rewarded for sharing your style.


Burrow, a popular furniture brand, rewards its customers with a $50 Amazon card for every successful referral. This means that Burrow doesn’t restrict its customers to their online store as they reward them with Amazon gift cards rather than online store credits. 

When Advocates refer someone, the referred Friend gets $75 off their order when they spend over $300. And when the Friend finally makes their first $300+ purchase, Advocates will earn a $50 Amazon gift card. 



To get started, Advocates need to hop onto Burrow’s referral page and submit their name and email. 

As soon as they do that, they’ll get a referral Link that they can share anywhere. Next, they can:

  • Enter their Friends’ email addresses to send an invite directly to their Friends’ mailboxes. They can even customize the default email message template. Upon tick-marking the “Send my Friend a reminder in 3 days” email, they can roll out an automatic reminder email to the people they referred.
  • Share their message across Messenger, Facebook, and/or Twitter at the click of a button. 

Food & Beverage Referral Programs

Referral marketing works well for the food and beverage industry because it allows you to target a relevant audience without any paid advertising or promotions. 

Whether you run a meal delivery service, a restaurant, or a food subscription box service, your referral program can bring in new customers and engage existing customers.

Two food and beverage brands that have knocked their referral marketing program out of the park are:

  • Naturebox - Get $20 When You Share Naturebox
  • Flaviar - Get 50 Store Credits for Every Friend You Bring to the Club

Naturebox — Get $20 When You Share Naturebox


Industry

Food & Beverage

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $20 in-store credits for every successful referral. 


Referred Friend – Get 25% off your first order. 

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get $20 when you share Naturebox.


Naturebox creates and offers high-quality, healthy snacks that taste delicious. Their goal is to provide healthy and delicious snacks in the most convenient manner possible—directly at their customers’ doorsteps. 

The brand uses Friendbuy to get new customers through referral marketing. Food brands can take inspiration from Naturebox’s referral program idea.

Naturebox’s referral marketing program allows its current customers to earn $20 for every referral they make that converts. 

Every customer that Advocates refer will get 25% off on their first order. And when the referred Friend successfully places an order for the first time, Advocates will earn $20. 



Forty-six percent of Naturebox’s referral revenue comes from the “Free Snacks” placement in the menu bar. 



When Advocates click on it, a pop-up will launch requesting them to enter their name, email, and phone number (optional). 



As they click on “Start Sharing,” they’ll get a dedicated referral link which they can share anywhere, add their Friends’ emails while also customizing their email message template, or just share it across Messenger, Facebook & Twitter. 

It’s low-maintenance and effective, hitting the sweet spot for referral incentives that convert.


Flaviar — Get 50 Store Credits for Every Friend You Bring to the Club


Industry

Food & Beverage 

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get 50 store credits as soon as the referred Friend joins the club. 


Referred Friend – Get 50 store credits as soon as your Friend joins the club. 

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get 50 store credits for every Friend you bring to the club.


Flaviar, a fine spirits and whiskey club, has a year-round referral program that customers is part of their post-purchase flow. For every successful referral, the customer Advocate will get 50 store credits. The people they refer will also get 50 store credits, which they can easily use as soon as they join the club.

Here's what Flaviar’s post-purchase referral marketing placement looks like:



Flaviar places the referral widget right on the website immediately after a customer makes a purchase. The brand uses catchy copy to get the customer’s attention while making it clear what’s being offered.

Advocates submit their emails to refer people. Not only does this customer’s email allow them to monitor their rewards, but it also gives the business another customer email that can be added to their email marketing list.

Once they enter their emails they’ll get a dedicated referral link. 



Advocates can either send a customizable email, or they can send a referral message directly via Facebook Messenger or post it on their Facebook feed.


Best Referral Program Ideas by Business Type

If you have a unique business type, such as a subscription model or B2B business, then your referral program might look a little different than some of the ideas we shared above. Here are our favorite referral programs for unique business types for you to sink your teeth into.

 

Subscription Referral Program Examples

Many referral marketing programs offer store discounts, cash back, and store credit as an incentive to bring in more customers. But a great referral program idea for subscription-based businesses is to upsell to their existing customer base and grow their subscription base with referral marketing. 

Here are two brands that do exactly that:

  • Tonal - Refer a Friend, Get $50
  • Yoga International - Invite friends and get free courses!

Tonal — Refer a Friend, Get $50

Industry

Fitness

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – For every successful referral, get $50 to spend on Tonal. 


Referred Friend – Get $100 to spend on Tonal. 

Promotion Type

Instagram Stories 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Invite your Friends to get 20% off on their first order and get store credit in return.


Tonal has a “Refer a Friend, Get $50” referral program. For every successful referral, Advocates will earn $50 to spend on Tonal and the referred Friend will get $100 to spend, enticing them to subscribe. 


When logged in to the Tonal application, Advocates can select the “Refer a Friend” option under “Settings.” 


From there, they can copy their dedicated referral link and share it with people in their network. Once their referred Friend purchases a Tonal subscription, Advocates will receive a reward email with their gift card to spend in the Tonal Gift Shop.

This not only brings a new customer (the Friend) into their subscription model, but it also brings a new customer (the Advocate) to their shop, effectively upselling their existing customer base.


Yoga International — Invite Friends and Get Free Courses!

Industry

Fitness

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – For every successful referral, get a free course. 


Referred Friend – Signs up for a 30-day trial. 

Promotion Type

Website widget

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Invite friends and get free courses!


Yoga International is a fitness subscription business that provides yoga classes online to its subscribers. Advanced yoga courses can be purchased for an additional fee.

But if customers refer their friends to a 30-day free trial, they receive access to a free course that is not included in their membership.



Once the Advocate submits their Friend’s details, the Friend receives an email that invites them to a 30-day free trial. Since Yoga International only offers a 7-day free trial to everyone else, it’s a pretty good deal.



When the Friend signs up, completes the free trial, and begins their paid membership, then the Advocate receives a link to choose their free course.


Offering a free product to the Advocate makes the referral process easy for the Advocate because all they have to do is invite a Friend. 


Referral Programs for Small Businesses

Referral marketing keeps cost per acquisition under one dollar and can be automated, making it the ideal customer acquisition channel for small businesses.


Tomlinson Bomberger — Want to Make an Easy $50?

Industry

Home

Incentive Type

One-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – For every successful referral, get a $50 credit in your account.

Promotion Type

Website

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Want to make an easy $50?


Tomlinson Bomberger, a small lawn care, landscape, and pest control business, has a simple and sweet referral program

For every successful referral, you’ll get a $50 credit in your account. From its enticing CTA to community-driven messaging to positive, feel-good copy, we loved Tomlinson Bomberger’s referral program. 



To enroll in the program, you need to fill out a few fields, including both your and your Friend’s information. 

This one-sided reward is perfect for businesses that offer quality service that new customers will be happy to try.

 

B2B Referral Programs

Referring friends to your business is always a good idea. Referring other businesses to your business? An even better idea.

Here are two brands that tapped into their existing customer base to recruit new businesses to their referral program.

Here are two brands that do exactly that:

  • NatureBox - Advocate Receives $200 Credit for Every Business That Signs Up
  • Afterpay - Get $175 for Every Retailer You Refer

NatureBox — Advocate Receives $200 Credit for Every Business That Signs Up

Industry

B2B, Food and Beverage

Incentive Type

One-sided

Referral Reward

Advocate - receives $200 for every successful referral.

Promotion Type

Website widget

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get $200 when you refer a business to NatureBox.

NatureBox reappears on this list of referral program ideas thanks to its clever approach to targeting both individuals and businesses.

The brand makes it easy for customers to discover its referral program for businesses by placing both the Refer-A-Friend and the Refer-A-Business widgets side-by-side on the referral landing page.



When the Advocate refers a business, they receive 10% off their next purchase—even if the business doesn’t sign up.

And if they do?

Then the Advocate receives $200 in NatureBox credit, making the referral incentive even sweeter. The Advocate is rewarded twice in this B2B referral program, giving an extra push for customers to refer businesses to NatureBox.


Afterpay — Get $175 for Every Retailer You Refer

Industry

B2B, Finance

Incentive Type

Double-sided

Referral Reward

Advocate - $175 gift card.


Friend (Retailer) - 3% introductory rate.

Promotion Type

Website widget - accounts for 46% of referral revenue comes from this placement

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get $175 for every retailer you refer.


Afterpay, a buy-now-pay-later app, offers $175 cash to Advocates who refer new Retailers to the app.



By rewarding the individual Advocate with a not-so-small cash incentive, Afterpay is cashing in on new contracts with other retailers. The 3% introductory rate is a nice extra nudge to get retailers onboarded quickly.


Ecommerce Shopify Referral Programs

Friendbuy integrates with Shopify seamlessly so that you can automate your entire referral program with just a single click. From coupon code generation to purchase validation, Friendbuy makes it easy to run–and grow–a Shopify referral program.

Here are two brands that use the Friendbuy-Shopify integration well:

  • FIGS - Give $20, Get $20
  • Thinx - Give $10, Get $10 

 

FIGS — Give $20, Get $20

Industry

Apparel 

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $20 for every successful referral.


Referred Friend – Give $20 off on any purchase above $100.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Give $20, Get $20. 


FIGS, a popular apparel brand that serves healthcare professionals, set up and runs its ”Give $20, Get $20” referral program using Friendbuy’s Shopify Integration. 

FIGS has made it easy for its customers to refer their Friends throughout their customer journey as they have a strong CTA on their referral landing page and across other strategic placements. They even incorporate referrals into their product reviews and Net Promoter Score surveys. 

When compared with other acquisition channels, FIGS achieves outstanding referral metrics with: 

  • exceptionally higher customer lifetime values (LTV) 
  • higher average order values (AOV) 
  • lower cost per acquisition (CPA) 

So what do they offer?

For every referred Friend who makes $100+ in purchases from FIGS, Advocates receive $20. In addition, if the referred Friend’s cart value is $100+, they will also receive a $20 discount. 



To enroll in their referral program, Advocates can head over to their referral page, add their email address and click on “Start Sharing.” 




Thinx — Give $10, Get $10 

Industry

Feminine Hygiene 

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Earn $10 for every successful referral.


Referred Friend - Get $10 off their first order. 

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Give $10, Get $10.


Thinx is another popular Shopify merchant that set up its referral program with Friendbuy’s Shopify integration. Using Friendbuy helped them switch from single-use coupon codes as their advocate reward to stackable store credit. 

Advocates get a $10 credit when the referred Friend places their first order. The referred Friend also receives $10 off their first order, which means it’s a double-sided offer. To enroll in the referral program, Advocates need to log in to their account and start spreading their love. 

Learn how to integrate your Shopify store with Friendbuy.

 

Best Referral Program Ideas by Opportunity

These referral marketing opportunities are easy and can be used by most business types. They’re also extremely effective. Let’s take a look at a few more referral program ideas that anyone can use.

 

Holiday Refer-a-Friend Program Ideas

Seasonal referral campaigns are a great way to make the most of your referral program and boost revenue. To make the most of your referral program, run your customer referral program during certain seasons or holidays that encourage customers to join with simple referral rewards.

The key is to up the incentive of your regular referral marketing campaigns with special holiday season offers to create a sense of urgency and excitement.   

Let's look at three brands that do this well:

  • byte - Doubled their Referral Program Reward During the Holiday Season
  • Nuuly - Sharing is Caring
  • Flaviar - Taste Together with a Free Bottle

Further reading: Review our guide to holiday referral ideas for more clever referral program ideas that you can run this holiday season.


byte — 2x its Referral Program Reward During the Holiday Season


Industry

Dental Care

Incentive Type

Double-Sided Offer

Referral Reward

Advocate – $200 Amazon Gift Card when the referred Friend purchases their aligners.

Referred Friend - 75% off on impression kit and $100 off their aligners.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get $200 for every Friend you refer.


byte, an invisible braces company, doubles its referral program reward during the holiday season. How? The brand gave its Advocates a $200 gift card as opposed to the usual $100.



This offer was not only engaging for byte’s existing referral program members but also for customers who hadn't enrolled in their program yet. 

Since the chance to earn a $200 referral reward was only available for a limited time (holiday season), it created a sense of urgency – which made the brand’s Advocates share it even more. 


Nuuly — Sharing is Caring


Industry

Apparel (Subscription-Based)

Incentive Type

Three-Way-Offer

Referral Reward

Advocate – $20 off a month’s subscription when the referred Friend subscribes.


Referred Friend - $20 off your Friend’s first subscription. 


Donation - $20 Donation.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Gift $20. Get $20. Give $20. 


While almost every single one of us loves to give gifts to our friends and family members during the holiday season, many people increase their charity donations during the holidays as well. 

To take part in the gift-giving fever, women’s clothing subscription brand Nuuly ran a brilliant referral marketing campaign that not only rewarded the Advocates and the referred Friends but also rewarded a charity.



Upon enrolling in their “Gift $20. Get $20. Give $20.” referral program, for every successful referral, Advocates could:

  • Get $20 off a month’s subscription
  • Give $20 off your Friend’s first month’s subscription
  • Gift $20 to a chosen charity for every converted Friend in December

Flaviar — Taste Together with a Free Bottle


Industry

Food and Beverage (Subscription-Based)

Incentive Type

Double-Sided Offer

Referral Reward

Advocate – A free bottle of whiskey.


Referred Friend - A free bottle of whiskey.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Get a free bottle of whiskey for every friend you bring to the Club.


Flaviar once again makes the list. The business already has a solid referral program that runs year-round, offering both Advocates and Friends 50 store credits for every referred customer. This was working so well that Flaviar asked Friendbuy for help launching a “supreme program” by duplicating widgets and offering unique rewards to customers based on certain holidays and seasonal events.

Flaviar’s two most successful seasonal referral campaigns were:

  • Father’s Day - Advocates received a discount when they referred their fathers “so they could taste together”
  • National Friendship Day - Advocates and Friends received a free bottle of whiskey to taste together (even if they couldn’t be together)

The results?

Traffic to the referral widget during Father’s Day increased by 75 percent for Advocates. The free bottle of whiskey increased sharing by 24 percent.

Overall, Flaviar saw a whopping 256% increase in referral revenue year-over-year.

Further reading: How Flaviar Grew Referral Revenue by 256% Year-over-Year with Friendbuy.


Social Media Referral Program

At Friendbuy, we recommend that brands promote their referral programs to their existing audience either every month or every quarter via email marketing and social media. 

This allows brands to capture potential customers who may not have made any purchases yet, though they already follow the brand on social media. 

Two popular social media referral programs we fell in love with are:

  • Bulldog – Give $5, Get $5 with Facebook Ads
  • MeUndies – Get $20, Give $20 with Instagram Stories

Further reading: Read our guide on how to use social media to drive referral program awareness for more ideas.


Bulldog — Give $5, Get $5 with Facebook Ads


Industry

Skincare

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $5 off Bulldog skincare when the referred Friend makes their first purchase. 


Referred Friend – Get $5 off on Bulldog skincare. 

Promotion Type

Facebook Ad 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Refer a Friend and you both save $5.


Bulldog, a men’s skincare brand, taps into Facebook ads to promote their “Give $5, Get $5” referral program. 


Using Facebook Ads, Bulldog targets a “lookalike audience” that is similar to their existing audience. This allows Bulldog to expand its reach exponentially periodically throughout the year.


MeUndies – Get $20, Give $20 – Instagram Stories

Industry

Apparel

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Get $20 store credit for every successful referral. 


Referred Friend – Get 20% off on your first order. 

Promotion Type

Instagram Stories 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Invite your Friends to get 20% off on their first order and get store credit in return.


MeUndies, a creative underwear brand and Friendbuy user, has over 422k followers on Instagram, as of this writing. The brand does a great job at tapping into its follower base with Instagram Stories to promote its “Get $20, Give 20%” referral program. 


While we recommend a quarterly email blast to remind your audience of your refer-a-friend program, a monthly reminder on Instagram can help attract new customers from your following—after all, not all followers are paid customers…yet.

Those converting followers will also bring in a Friend as a new customer for double the impact. It’s a low-cost, low-effort way to promote your referral program with a high return on investment.


Referral Programs That Pay Cash

If you’re selling high-ticket items (or no items at all), a small store discount may not be an effective incentive for joining your referral program. Rewards that pay cash may be a better option for your business. 

Chase gives its customers an exciting opportunity to earn up to $50 cash for every successful referral.


Chase — Refer Your Friends, Get a Cash Bonus Up to $500

Industry

Finance

Incentive Type

One-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – For every successful referral, earn $50 cash.

Promotion Type

Website

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Refer Your Friends, Get a Cash Bonus Up to $500.


Chase, a company that offers a wide range of financial services, rather than offering discounts or crediting them with non-redeemable in-store credits, runs a referral program that pays cash. For every Friend you refer to Chase, you’ll receive $50 in cash when they open a qualifying Chase checking account. Advocates can earn up to $500 annually. 



A one-sided offer works here because Chase’s cashback scheme on qualifying activities motivates the referred Friend to open a Chase account.


Best Brand Ambassador Programs

If you have a few high-performing Advocates already referring Friends to your brand or a tight group of loyal customers who know and love your business, you can enroll them in your brand ambassador program. 

Similar to influencer marketing, brand ambassadors refer their audiences to your brand with a simple commission for all referred purchases.

Pura Vida’s brand ambassador program does this well with the #puravidacrew ambassador program.


Pura Vida – Become a Brand Ambassador Program

Industry

Jewelry

Incentive Type

Double-sided offer 

Referral Reward

Advocate – Earn 10% commission on all referred purchases + additional benefits.


Referred Friend – Get 20% off their purchase.

Promotion Type

Website 

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Become a Brand Ambassador!




Pura Vida, a brand that sells hand-crafted jewelry and bracelets, runs its dedicated brand ambassador program. The brand invites select customers to apply to their program via an online form. Once they get accepted, they’ll earn a 10% commission on all the purchases they help generate. And when they meet certain goals, they’ll also get free products from Pura Vida. In addition, Advocates’ friends and family members will also get 20% off their purchases. 

Apart from this, some other benefits include:

  • Access to Community Channels
  • VIP Giveaways
  • Access to Exclusive Content 

 


Next Steps

Customer referrals may be your most important customer acquisition channel yet. Get more referrals with one of these customer referral program ideas. Here are a few articles to support your referral marketing strategy:

Don't have a referral campaign yet and you're ready to launch your own customer referral program? Here's where to get more referral program information:


Maximize word of mouth at scale