11 Email Blast Examples That Will Get More Customer Referrals

by Emma Kimmerly

October 11, 2022

Emails blasts are an effective method for securing referrals.

Tread carefully, though. Just one misdirected email blast will have your recipients hitting the spam button, hurting any future campaigns.

To help you avoid this, here we:

  • share why email blasts are an effective referral marketing tool,
  • detail email blast best practices,
  • and provide email blast examples from leading brands.


Why We Recommend Sending An Email Blast In Referral Marketing

Definition: An email blast is a mass email that allows a sender to deliver a single message to an entire customer base simultaneously.

In the context of referral marketing, an email blast is used to generate and maintain awareness around a referral program. Without regular reminders through marketing material like email blasts, awareness will quickly erode.

Your customer base soon forgets that you have a referral program at all.

Typically, email blasts lack personalization and, unlike other referral email types, aren't heavily based upon customer segmentation or targeted demographics (more on this later).

Email blasts are sent as monthly or quarterly campaigns or for yearly events. Other times, email blasts can promote a referral program launch or seasonal sale.


Tips For A Successful Referral Program Email Blast

To give your referral program email blast the greatest chance at success, follow these helpful tips.


Choose Refer-A-Friend-Email Subject Lines That Convert

A subject line allows recipients to make a judgment call about whether they wish to open and read an email or discard it.

What does an open-worthy subject line look like in terms of referral emails?

Research shows concise, punchy subject lines increase open rates. Short subject lines allow the recipient to determine what the email contains and whether it is relevant to their interests. Concise subject lines are also less likely to be cut off by an email preview, allowing the recipient to see the full message.



In this example, you may have also noticed a few emojis.

This is no coincidence.

As reported by Business Wire, when compared to text-only subject lines, emails with subject lines that contain emojis experience a higher read rate. The same research found that the use of emojis within a subject line reduced the likelihood an email will end up in a recipient's trash folder.

For example, Valentine's Day emails that contained the πŸ‘„ emoji not only drove higher open rates but experienced an 89% inbox placement rate compared with an 83% placement rate for text-only subject lines.

To help you create click-worthy referral email subject lines, here are a few examples (that you are welcome to use):

Recipient: Friend (the referred customer)

Recipient: Advocate (the referring customer)

  • "It pays to have friends in high places πŸ€œπŸ€›"
  • "Guess who we spoke to today?"
  • "You've got a friend in me 🀠"
  • "Hey [recipient's name], a little birdie told me you like discounts 🀫"
  • "[Recipient's name], we've got just the thing for you 🎁"
  • "You + [Advocate name] = πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²"
  • "Help a friend, help yourself 🀝"
  • "Get rewarded for spreading the love ❀️"
  • "Refer a friend and you BOTH get a reward 🌟"
  • "A friend in need is a referral indeed πŸ™"
  • "[Hey Advocate's name], know someone who's perfect for us?"
  • "The more the merrier πŸŽ„"


Use Proven Referral Marketing Promo Email Templates

A pre-designed email template will save you the hassle of creating a fresh referral email from scratch every time a new campaign is launched.

It will also keep your branding, layout, and tone consistent. 

Oh, and also boost conversions.

An effective referral email template contains the following elements:

  1. Image. A well-placed image will set the scene for a successful referral. You can place the image either above or below the header, whichever works for you. Something that aligns with your brand or embraces a time of year is perfect.
  2. Heading. A referral email will lead in with a descriptive yet concise title. It must be attention grabbing, like including a brief description of an attractive referral incentive.
  3. Email body. The body of the email should be to the point, well-written, and persuasive, without being too β€œsalesy”.
  4. Call-to-action. A referral marketing email will also include a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages the recipient to refer someone right away.

To help you get the good word out about your referral program, here are a couple of handy templates to get you started (feel free to copy and paste):

Email blast template 1:

Email blast template 2:

Image: πŸ–ΌοΈ
Heading: "[Discount]% off for everyone"
Body: "For every friend or family member you refer, you'll both receive a [discount]%. There is no limit to the number of people you can refer, so simply click the button below and start spreading the word!"


Heading: "Special offer: $ [amount] for you and your friend"
Image: πŸ–ΌοΈ
Body: "It's easy - simply refer your friends and family members, and we'll give you a $ [amount] credit for each person who signs up. The best part? There's no limit to how many people you can refer.
What are you waiting for? Start referring today and start earning!"


If you'd like to read more helpful tips, see our referral email template guide here.


Include A Clear Call-To-Action

By providing a clear call-to-action, you'll significantly increase the likelihood that customers will follow through with a desired action.

So what exactly should a CTA button look like?

In terms of aesthetics, color is the most important element.

Red is widely considered the best color for CTA buttons as it evokes feelings of energy and action, although this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Adjustments can be made to match your branding.

Friendbuy Example: Spanx

Spanx uses red to draw attention both to the website banner as well as the widget CTA where it says "Share It".

Just like red evokes an emotional response, so do other colors.

For instance, research has shown the color green elicits feelings of wealth and confidence. Perfect for businesses selling financial services.

Friendbuy Example: Quickbooks

Quickbooks uses green to elicit trust and confidence in their brand, making it an easy (and safe) choice to join the referral program.

For deeper insight into color psychology in marketing (and more CRO principles), see our referral marketing best practices.


Prioritize Email List Hygiene

When we talk about sending email blasts to your entire email list, it’s important to mention email list hygiene. Referring to removing invalid, duplicate, or unengaged profiles from a referral program email list can help you maintain good hygiene. Poor hygiene can negatively impact the deliverability rate and cause your emails to end up in spam folders more often than not, including your referral program emails.

If you'd like help to clean your referral program's email list, head on over to Klaviyo's guide to list cleaning.


Optimize The Email Delivery Time

Believe it or not, sending emails at different times of the day (or night) impacts open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates β€” the percentage of recipients that opened an email and subsequently clicked a link within it.

A recent analysis of over 2.85M emails by GetResponse revealed some interesting insights.

During their research, somewhat unexpectedly, GetResponse found that sending emails during the wee hours of the morning achieved the best open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates for both the US and Canada.



As for which day of the week yields the best results, Monday through Friday returned similar success. The weekends experience a slight drop off in terms of both open rates and click-to-open rates.



With these findings in mind, it's within your referral program's best interest to schedule emails early morning, Monday through Friday.

While this is helpful as a starting point, this isn't a hard and fast rule. We recommend using A/B testing to determine which time or day your customer base responds best to.

See how Tonal drives up to 7% of online revenue with a Friendbuy-powered referral program

Email Blast Examples

To be sure you're on the right path, take a look through these email blast examples.


Customer Appreciation

A customer appreciation email is the perfect way to show your loyal customers and first purchasers that you value their business. Using their unique referral link, existing customers can earn rewards while bringing new business your way.

Expressing gratitude to your valued customers will strengthen the relationship and build loyalty with your brand.

  • Subject line: Saying "thank you" with a special offer 🎁
  • Referral Reward: 50% off a future purchase
  • Who to send it to: Both loyal customers and new customers
  • Recommended send rate: Yearly


Offer A Free Product

Free product emails are sent to an entire customer base, incentivizing customer referrals with a free product rather than a run-of-the-mill cash or discount-based referral incentive.

Not only is this type of referral email an effective method for driving traffic to your website and increasing brand awareness, but it can also promote any new products you're ready to launch.

  • Subject line: Get a free trial when you refer a friend 🧘
  • Referral Reward: Free 30-day trial
  • Who to send it to: Don't discriminate. Send it to everyone.
  • Recommended send rate: Quarterly


Pay It Forward

Pay it forward presents Advocates the opportunity to share a product or service they love with a Friend while passing on a touch of charitable kindness, at the same time. For example, when an Advocate successfully refers a new customer to your business, you make a donation to a charity that aligns with your target audience's values and interests.

Not only will this make both parties feel like they are making a difference, it will shed your business in a positive light. A win-win.

  • Subject line: You give, we give πŸ’«
  • Referral Reward: 20% off for both the Advocate and Friend
  • Who to send it to: Your entire customer base
  • Recommended send rate: Monthly


Monthly Or Quarterly Referral Program Awareness

A monthly or quarterly refer a friend email campaign reminds Advocates that they can receive rewards if they refer their Friends with their unique referral code.

Friendbuy Example: Walmart

Walmart sends an email blast that reminds customers both about their quality service as well as their enticing referral program.

This type of referral marketing campaign strengthens relationships with existing customers and keeps your referral program top of mind.

  • Subject line: Good things come to those who refer πŸ’«
  • Referral Reward: Advocate receives $10, friend gets $10
  • Who to send it to: loyal and existing customers
  • Recommended send rate: Monthly or quarterly


Seasonal Event

Seasonal event email blasts take place during key shopping periods, like during a specific holiday or promotional campaign, in which a company encourages its customers to share a special offer with their friends and family.

Friendbuy Example: Flaviar

Flaviar pairs an incentive boost with a dedicated email to promote the special day or month relevant to their brand: National Bourbon Month.

This type of campaign can be an effective way to drive sales and grow your customer base during the busiest times of the year.

  • Subject line: Raise a glass to bourbon month πŸ₯ƒ
  • Referral Reward: Advocate receives a bottle of bourbon, friend also gets a bottle of bourbon
  • Who to send it to: entire email list
  • Recommended send rate: during popular or product-relevant seasonal events


Limited Time Offers

A limited time offer (LTO) email blast is a short-term promotion that drives sales and increases customer awareness of a product or service. For example, a store may offer a discount on a product for a week. Or a company may offer a free trial of their service for a month.

Friendbuy Example: Getaway

Getaway occasionally runs a Limited Time Offer with their Nominate A Friend program, offering an epic reward to one lucky Friend that is referred by a customer.

LTOs can be an effective way to boost sales and drive customer engagement, but they should be used judiciously. Overusing LTOs can lead to customers becoming uninterested in the product or services on offer.

  • Subject line: Do you know someone who deserves a getaway?
  • Referral Reward: Nominated friend receives a getaway in nature
  • Who to send it to: loyal and existing customers
  • Recommended send rate: Monthly or quarterly


Referral Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways

A referral contest email blast is an email campaign that encourages recipients to refer their friends in order to win a prize. The prize can be anything from a discount on a product or service to a freebie or gift card. In order to participate, recipients simply need to click on a unique link in the email, which will take them to a landing page where they can enter the email addresses of the people they wish to refer.


Friendbuy Example: Smile Direct Club

Smile Direct Club runs a limited time sweepstakes – for every share initiated, Advocates are entered to win a $500 gift card of their choice.

This is a great way to generate buzz and build up excitement for your products or services.

  • Subject line: More shares = more chances to win πŸ’Έ
  • Referral Reward: Advocate receives a $100 gift card, friend gets $100 off
  • Who to send it to: entire email list
  • Recommended send rate: Monthly or quarterly


Post Survey

Following a survey submission, send an email blast to all participants in order to not just thank them for their time, but also to encourage them to share their experience with your brand with friends.

Friendbuy Example: PetFlow

PetFlow says a quick thanks and returns the love, then invites their customers to share the love with their Friends. It's cute, to the point, and an easy way to get more referrals.

Post-survey email blasts usually contain a thank-you message, as well as either a unique referral link, the option to share via email, or a link to your referral landing page.

Friendbuy Example: Bouqs

Bouqs takes things a step further and offers 30% off to Advocates and Friends (after they make their first purchase). It's a quick and easy way to get the customer's attention while you've got them watching their inbox for emails about their recent purchase.

  • Subject line: You spoke, we listened
  • Referral Reward: Advocate receives 30% off, friend gets 30% off
  • Who to send it to: Customers who have completed a survey
  • Recommended send rate: Post positive survey submission


Common Questions


What Is The Best Email Blast Software?

Very little is required to launch an email blast campaign. All you really need is the ability to include in your email a CTA or banner that links to a referral program landing page.

If you are already using an email platform, there's likely no need to switch providers. Most (if not all) email platforms possess these capabilities.

Friendbuy's platform integrates with both Klaviyo and Attentive, two very capable email platforms that we can recommend for effective email blast campaigns.

How Often Should You Send An Email Blast?

How often you should send an email blast depends on a variety of factors, such as your industry, the size of your list, and the type of content you're sending. Generally speaking, it's best to err on the side of caution and not send too many emails. You don't want to risk overwhelming your subscribers or coming across as spammy.

We recommend a quarterly or monthly cadence. 

What Is A Good Open Rate For Email Blasts?

Although the figure varies slightly across different niches, through their research, industry-leading email platforms Campaign Monitor (21.5%) and Mailchimp (21.3%) both conclude that a good email open rate lies just above 20%.

If your current open rate lies below this number, it may be time to revisit your referral email marketing material and campaign strategy.

As we've detailed in this post, a focus on creating an open-worthy subject line and sending marketing emails at the right time of day will both go a long way to improving your referral email open rates.

Once you feel you have optimized these two factors, experiment with different techniques to see what works best for your audience using A/B testing.


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