How to Promote Your Customer Referral Program – Part 1 of 2

Part 1

In our last post, we discussed the importance of maximizing the reach of your customer referral program in order to increase your social referral volume. Making referral widgets freely available to your customers — on as many digital surfaces as possible —  increases user participation in social sharing.  And, more sharing means more referral traffic.

In this post, and next week’s post (conveniently titled Part 1 and Part 2), we will describe how to get more customer referrals by adding widgets to each digital surface you control. This week we’ll cover the digital surfaces of your website. Next week we’ll cover the things you can do off site like emails, promotion on social profiles and how your customer service team can promote your referral program.



Your homepage represents a massive opportunity for sharing and referral activity simply because it’s your front door and it receives the most visitor traffic. It’s also a place with a great deal of flexibility for the position and size of your share button. Placing your share button prominently with an attention-grabbing call to action – across the entire width of the homepage — is a best practice.

Here’s an example of Naturebox’s homepage share button, which is really a banner:

Homepage Summary:

  • Homepage placements maximize your reach – exposing your referral program to a large audience
  • Use a big, attention-grabbing share button with a clear offer and call to action

Product Pages

For ecommerce companies, product pages represent another great source of overall reach – a massive bucket of visitor traffic perusing your site every day. In fact, product page sharing typically represents 51% of referral revenue for those companies who deploy sharing assets on those pages.

Plum Disctrict places a sharing button on every Deal Page and runs A/B tests to improve the sharing rate of their daily deals. Because they are using a referral program software (hint: Friendbuy) all referral revenue is tracked. From time to time, they include a referral incentives on deal pages as well.


Everyone wants their blog posts to be shared; getting the word out through social channels is the aim of every content marketing strategy (in addition to SEO value). Have you ever been able to directly track and quantify the revenue associated with your blog articles? Using a referral platform that enables referral conversion tracking and gives you insight regarding the value of your content and its ability to drive new customer acquisition.

Your blog readers should also have the ability to refer friends to sign up or purchase, above and beyond  just sharing the blog content. You can accomplish this by placing a share button in the sidebar of you blog page.

FlexJobs takes advantage of the real estate available on sidebar of their blog.

Blog Summary

  • Enable social sharing — using referral tracking software — so that you can attribute sign ups and revenue associated with your content
  • Include a referral program share button/banner on your blog, too

Stand-Alone Refer-A-Friend Page

Standalone refer a friend pages are a permanent fixture of your site, residing on a dedicated URL (i.e.

You can promote the page via a dedicated email blast on a monthly or quarterly basis, driving users to the RAF page. Set dates on a promotional calendar and stick to it! Support ongoing referrals by incorporating a banner in your newsletter template – linked to your stand-alone page – which will create a steady stream of referral reminders. In fact, all email communication, such as transactional emails, can be effectively used as a delivery system for a share banner – from registration confirmation to purchase confirmation emails. (More on email tactics next week.)

Just embed your larger-than-life-sized referral widget and position it between your masthead and footer like Dormify did.

dormify customer referral program

Stand Alone Refer a Friend Page Summary

  • Promote with a dedicated email blast, newsletters and transactional emails
  • Place a link in your main navigation and footer to your stand-alone page
  • Set a schedule in your promotional calendar to promote your page

Post Purchase / Order Confirmation Page

Post purchase sharing and referral placements are a no brainer.   Your customers found what they want.  They’re happy.  They want to tell their friends.     You can obviously use referral incentives (cash, store credit, loyalty points) or run a straight up non-incentivised campaign (great for capturing baseline metrics).

With targeting, there are few more tricks in your bag of goodies that you can test.  For example, Warby Parker promotes two elements of their business on their order confirmation page.  The first element is the Warby Home Try On – where customers may try on several frames before deciding which one suits them best.  The Home Try On service fills the top of their sales funnel with prospects with strong purchase intent.   And, ‘try before you buy’ is a novelty in the online eyewear business so it’s unique and rather ‘share-worthy.’  Warby targets two widgets on the order confirmation page, the first widget targets  Home Try On and the other targets purchases.  The purchase widget also gives users the ability to share the specific style that they bought.

Here’s the Home Try On widget:



And the purchase widget with product selection (in the case where more than one pair of frames were purchased, a user selects from a list):

Post Purchase / Order Confirmation Page Summary

  • Referral incentives
  • Brand sharing
  • Product sharing
  • Targeting (product SKUs, coupon codes)

Post Registration Page

The post purchase page’s sibling, the post registration page, is also a great place to encourage customer referral activity. If your company is in a pre-launch phase, you can do no better than getting your registrants to spread the word about your business.  Early adopters love to tell friends about the next great thing.

Dollar Shave Club not only masters the art of shaving, but they master the art of marketing by encouraging folks to refer friends immediately after sign up.  Here is an embedded share widget, served within an interstitial, immediately following registration:

Post registration Page Summary

  • Site registration
  • Buzz generation – pre-product, pre-launch initiatives such as invitation-only access
  • New product launches
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • App downloads
  • Or just sharing for the sake of sharing

User Account Page (My Account)

Remind your customers to refer friends every time they log in to check the status of their account, change their credit card, track a package or to change their plan (subscription services).

The “My Account” page represents a persistent opportunity for sharing. You can also show referrers their progress toward rewards – summarizing sharing and referral activity.

Site Navigation

It is highly desirable to have a link to your stand-alone referral page in your site’s navigation. Use the masthead and the footer. This makes the page accessible at all times.

Help Desk

Like your blog, your help desk is another ‘free’ digital surface to place sharing and referral assets.

  • Navigation
  • Sidebar
  • Masthead
  • Footer

Landing Pages

Dedicated landing pages are great for referral promotion, especially for temporary or special offers. For example, if you have your main referral program that offers a $10 bounty but want to create a special $20 offer to a select group of customers, you can build a dedicated page using a tool like Unbounce that hosts that special offer. Segment your email list and send a dedicated blast to your select group, driving them to your special offer page.

Landing Page Use Cases

  • Offer testing
  • Special offers to select groups
  • Seasonal referral initiatives (Mother’s Day, Halloween, etc.)

Expanding your refer-a-friend program using the surfaces available on your website will increase user participation in a big way.   Stay tuned for next week’s post where we will cover email, social profiles and how your customer service team can promote referral activity.  In fact, you can subscribe to the Friendbuy blot to make sure you don’t miss a beat!

Tony Mariotti

Tony Mariotti is COO at Friendbuy, the marketing platform that makes it really easy to launch a customer referral program. A/B test and optimize your refer-a-friend campaigns without developer headaches. You can follow him on Twitter.

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