Share this article
Table of Contents
A referral program officially starts when a customer fills up a referral widget, like an online form, and begins sharing their referral links.
This is the main entryway for your most loyal customers to join your referral program. These referral widgets must be highly visible on a website or app and super easy to use.
Let’s explore how this vital tool of referral program marketing can help you.
What Is A Referral Widget? Do You Need One?
A referral widget is a form where customers sign up for your referral program. The refer a friend widget is also a simple way for users to share referral links. It is embedded into a website or application, or it can be a pop-up window with a form where customers input their information, sign up for the referral program, and share their referral link.
In Friendbuy’s system, Advocates (the current customer) share their referral link by email or social media to promote your product or service to their Friends (the potential customer). Each Advocate has their own unique referral code that is tracked at every stage of the referral process, from when the referral link is shared, when the Friend converts into a customer, and when the Advocate receives their referral reward.
Referral widgets should be placed at customer touchpoints for maximum visibility and to make it easy for customers to share and join a referral program. These are some of the locations to add a referral widget:
- Homepage / site-wide navigation
- Standalone referral page
- Product pages
- User account page
- Order confirmation page
Referral Widget Best Practices
It is important to maximize the design and placement of a referral widget for a successful referral campaign since it is the backbone of your referral program. Within the Friendbuy dashboard, you can easily create a widget from any of our templates. Below are our tips for creating referral widgets.
Make it easy to find and use
The first place to add a referral widget is on your website’s homepage. Our customers add a “refer-a-friend” button, typically at the top or sides of a homepage.
The referral button clicks through to a referral widget window or standalone referral page. You can choose between different locations on the page, the color of the button, and call-to-action text to maximize the chance of catching a customer’s attention.
You could also use a pop-out overlay displaying the referral widget over a product page.
One item on your website’s main menu could link to a standalone referral landing page. Aside from the referral widget (or sign-up form), include a short explanation of how the referral program works on the webpage so customers understand the mechanics of the referral program.
To lessen the “friction” of joining a referral program, use open access sharing where Advocates can easily sign up and share their referral link without having to log in or register. Take it a step further and make it easy for them to share their referral link through email, social media, or text message.
Trigger the widget at the right moment
One of the best times to ask for a referral is when a customer is happy with your product or service. And, of course, that would be right after they make a purchase! A post-purchase overlay or embed widget takes advantage of their “shopping high” and increases the chance they will join a referral program. Offering rewards and incentives also help with increasing the likelihood of successful referrals and repeat purchases. The widget can be an overlay or lead to a standalone referral landing page. In the post-purchase email that you send customers with their receipt and shipping information, you can also include the referral widget or referral link.
Add a button on your homepage if you offer discounts or account credit for your referral program. It is best to put it “above the fold” or at the top of the homepage so visitors see it first. Our customers say that they get 45% referral revenue from this placement. Plus, it encourages impulse referrals and repeat purchases from Advocates.
You could also promote the referral program after a customer gives a review or completes a survey. This is especially useful if they give positive feedback about your brand; it wouldn’t take much convincing for them to join your referral program and start sharing their links with friends and family.
Offer rewards and incentives worth sharing for
One of the keys to a successful referral program is figuring out the right reward to give customers so they take part in the program. The right reward pushes Advocates to share their referral link and helps convert Friends into new customers. Advocates receive rewards, while Friends receive incentives in Friendbuy’s system. The types of rewards and incentives you can choose to give away when you set up your referral program are:
- Dollar amount discounts
- Percentage discounts
- Free subscription months
- Free trial periods
- Free shipping
- Free products or samples
- Gift cards
- Branded swag
Sometimes offering one-sided rewards is the right move if you want to promote brand awareness or if you are in a regulated industry. Though one-sided rewards aren’t used that often since only the Advocate or the Friend will receive a reward. It may not be enough of a push for them to join a referral program. We recommend offering two-sided rewards to give the referral program a slight edge to becoming successful. People love receiving free stuff or discounts, which may be enough for a Friend to become your customer and make a purchase!
Things to consider about your customers are how often they make purchases, what they purchase, what they like, what is important to them, etc. You can access customer reports on the referral program’s dashboard in the Friendbuy app. Take advantage of any data you have to make informed decisions on rewarding customers and get one step further to a successful referral program.
Use clear action words in your CTA
A call to action, or CTA, is a phrase that encourages readers to take a specific action. In marketing and advertising, it is the copy used in ads where customers are encouraged to make a purchase. CTAs directly impact converting customers, so having an effective copy is super important.
The must-haves for a good CTA are:
- It starts with a verb
- It includes a 'what’s in it for them' statement
- It is clear about a benefit or other desired action
The CTA phrase is typically included in a button that people can click on. The copy in the CTA button should be short and sweet, like “Learn Now”, “Download Now”, “Get Your Free Quote”, etc.
Aside from excellent copy, the images, colors, and placement of the CTA button of a referral program widget have to be considered too. On the Friendbuy dashboard, you can personalize and A/B test any campaign to tweak images, fonts, and buttons.
Use A/B testing to find the right widget for your business
A/B testing is a method to compare versions of a referral program widget to see which one performs the best. We highly recommend A/B testing because It is a data-driven way to improve your referral program's performance.
A/B testing is easy to do with Friendbuy. You can change CTAs, images, and other elements of the referral widget on the referral campaign’s dashboard. You can do the A/B testing yourself and do not need a developer to make the changes.
First, set up and create the A/B test:
- Select the variable you want to test (Advocate Reward, Friend Offer, or both).
- Name the test, enter the number of variants you want to test, and the purpose of your test.
- Assign weights to determine which percentage of customers will see the control variant and challenger variant.
- Click Finish.
Then, edit the new draft campaign:
- Edit the variant (the control or challenger).
- Update other campaign content (widgets, emails, and OG tags).
- Review the draft and click Start Test Now.
- Track real-time results of the A/B test in the Analytics section of the campaign.
Any referral links created before the test will remain the same and whoever clicked on those links will not be counted in the A/B test results. They will continue to receive their original offer. While customers who received referral links from the A/B test will continue to receive their offer even after the A/B test ends or is paused.
You can also test and optimize each part of the referral funnel. At the top of the funnel, you can change the share button’s size, call to action, position, and color. You can also test the subject line, email content, and CTA for email.
In the middle of the referral funnel, you can optimize the advocate share rate and the friend click rate by testing the primary call to action to the sharer, the widget header, the background hero image, ways to share, or the advocate rewards.
A/B testing the bottom of the referral funnel can optimize Friend conversions by altering Friend rewards, product recommendations, and referral codes that are applied automatically at checkout versus a link that needs to be copied and pasted.
We recommend changing one element at a time to see its effect: the image, the copy, or the offer. Sometimes increasing the size of a font and changing it to an eye-catching color is enough. Also, start at the top of the funnel and make data-driven changes instead of testing random ideas.
Get Back Necklaces first had a “Give $10, Get $10” offer and saw a 320% increase in their revenue. After eight months, they decided to test a new offer “Give 50%, Get 50%” and saw their revenue double. Based off their results we now recommend to use a percentage-based discount for offers that are less than $100 - it is more appealing than a dollar-based discount.
Types Of Referral Widgets
When you are setting up a widget, you can choose between an “overlay", meaning it will pop up over your content, or as “embedded,” so it will appear within your content or webpage. Friendbuy has many widgets you can use out of the box for your referral campaign.
Embedded referral program widget
A referral program should have its own landing page that includes an embedded referral program panel and the referral program description. As with anything within Friendbuy’s easy-to-use system, you can create a landing page yourself in a couple of minutes:
- Create a page on your site like yoursite.com/referral-page
- Pick a referral template and edit the widget on your Friendbuy account
- Configure the widget settings to "embed"
- Paste the corresponding widget snippet into the unique page you just created.
Numerous templates are available so that you can plug and play the page. Or, if you want a custom design, you can also develop one that matches your brand image. The example below is our Fairfax landing page template used by two different customers.
The best practices of good referral pages are that they look good, have a clear call to action, provide a great user experience, and never force a user to log in or register before sharing.
User account referral widget
Friendbuy’s customers found that referral program engagement is high whenever a customer signs into their account to manage their subscription. The easy access makes customers refer on impulse. By including a box with an invite to join a referral program, our customers reported 36% of their total revenue came from referral shares on account pages. You could also add a link to the referral widget whenever a customer’s subscription plan renews. If they renew their subscription, they must be happy with your service, so a nudge to refer your product is the right move.
Standard pop-up widget
A pop-up widget is a window that appears over a webpage. Sometimes it appears once a webpage is opened, or it appears after a certain amount of the webpage is scrolled through, or when a button is clicked. Pop-up widgets are used for many different reasons, to collect email addresses, offer new products or services, or promote a referral program.
Within the Friendbuy system, a pop-up widget can appear after a customer makes a designated action, like when they are logged into their account or after they make a purchase.
Floating button widget
A floating button widget is a button that appears in the same spot on every webpage of your website. It includes a CTA such as “Get $20” or “Refer a Friend”. A customer will see the floating button widget in the same spot no matter which page they visit or scroll through. When clicked, a pop-up window will appear with the referral widget that customers can fill up to start sharing their referral link.
In the Friendbuy dashboard, you can set up a referral ribbon that acts as a site-wide overlay. The referral ribbon is a small button placed along the edges of a webpage and includes a few words of promotional text. When clicked, it leads to a pop-up window with the referral widget.
Website banner widget
A banner’s main purpose is to draw attention to a certain product or service. In the case of referral programs, it captures a customer’s attention and leads them to the referral widget so they can join your referral program.
It is usually located along the top of a webpage in the main navigation area or in a rectangular hero image with the CTA and links to the referral widget once clicked.
A great point in the customer journey is to promote a referral program right after they make a purchase. The post-purchase widget takes advantage of a customer’s excitement over their purchase. You can create an overlay where the pop-up includes the referral widget and appears automatically after the Thank You page. In the Friendbuy app, you can also choose to embed the post-purchase widget into the Thank You page.
Post-purchase widgets can account for 15% to 25% of your total referral revenue. Using auto-pop, you can achieve 10x sharing and referrals versus without auto-pop.
Customize And Activate Your Referral Widgets Now
A robust referral program includes referral widgets that will supercharge referrals and encourage Advocates and Friends to join. With Friendbuy, you can easily set up referral widgets and A/B test them to help ensure your referral program is successful. By making referral widgets easy for customers to discover, add their details, and start referring, you will surely seize those warm leads and maximize your refer-a-friend program. Our referral experts are ready and waiting to help you get started with effective widgets for your referral program!