The Best Referral Marketing Ideas to Acquire More Customers


Referral marketing is one of the most effective ways to acquire customers, but it can be challenging to get right.

You want your program to be simple and easy for you and your customers. But how do you make that happen?

In this post, we’ll walk through some of our favorite referral marketing ideas that have helped our clients improve their programs’ effectiveness and ROI.

Leverage social gifting

Social gifting is one of the best referral marketing ideas you can implement to grow your business. This idea involves giving a gift to someone who refers to your business.

The gift can be physical or digital, but it must be something that would attract the attention of the customer and make them want to take action.

The most important thing when using this strategy is ensuring that the gift being offered is worth more than what you are asking for in return.

If you ask for a referral, the person who gets referred should not just get any old thing, but an item that has real value for them and their friends and family members (for example, an iPad).

Reward with a mystery gift

You can also create a mystery gift and offer it as an incentive to your customers. A mystery gift is precisely what it sounds like – a mysterious item the customer receives randomly when they purchase something from you.

The gift could be anything from a free t-shirt to a discount voucher for future purchases.

The benefits of offering variable rewards are:

Your customers will be more likely to make repeat purchases because they don’t know what they’ll get next time they buy something from you.

It helps build excitement around your products/services, which helps increase sales and revenue generation over time.

Reward with a charity donation

Donating to a charity of your choice is a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them.

You can also use this as an opportunity to give back to the community and impact other people’s lives.

However, there are some things you should keep in mind when it comes to charitable donations:

Don’t donate to charities that are too political or religious. If someone supports one side of an issue, don’t make him feel like his opinion isn’t welcome at your company by donating money only from one side of the spectrum. This will result in more bad reviews than good ones on Yelp.

Don’t donate to controversial charities either (e.g., Planned Parenthood). It may seem like a good idea at first glance because it gives customers who support pro-choice causes something positive about their experience with your company.

However, this donation would only cause controversy among those who oppose such organizations’ policies and practices.

Create a referral contest

Referral contests are an excellent way to drive awareness, engagement, and conversion.

A referral contest is a contest that rewards customers for referring new potential customers.

The basic concept is that you have some sticker or other item with your brand’s name on it, which a customer can give away to their friends when they purchase from your store. The person who receives the referral sticker earns points based on how many referrals they make and walks away with some prize at the end of the contest (e.g., a $500 Visa gift card for first place).

Setting up such a program is relatively simple: You can create custom labels with your logo and give them out during in-store interactions or order custom stickers from any vendor like StickerGiant, StickerYou, or Stickermule (all of whom offer quick turnaround times).

You should also include instructions in your marketing materials about participating in this program; for example, “Refer friends by giving them our branded stickers. Your friend must place an order through our website before midnight tonight (or whenever) to qualify.”

Reward with subscription credit

You can reward them with a discount, gift card, or subscription credit. If you are in a B2C (business to consumer) business and have the right kind of data, you could award your customers points they can use to buy products or services from you.

You could also run a contest and give away prizes to your customers. You can even use the best customers to test new products or services before you release them on the market.

Use your existing data for customer segmentation and create different groups based on their interests, demographics, psychographics, and so on.

Reward with an upgraded product or service

Make sure the upgrade is relevant to the customer. The customer should be able to see the benefit of upgrading.

The upgraded product or service should be a better version of what they already use. In other words, if it’s a different color or size, don’t bother with this idea in your referral marketing strategy because you can’t honestly describe its benefits (e.g., “This one looks nicer than your old one”).

Instead, offer an upgrade with tangible benefits, such as increased functionality (e.g., faster speed) or improved user experience (e.g., more intuitive design).

Lastly, don’t forget about the price. How much easier would life be if we could pay less for things we use every day?

Reduce their friction

Reducing the friction for your customers to refer is a great way to get more referrals.

Make it as easy as possible for them. Use a referral program and make it easy for them to refer on social media and in the app.

-Provide value to your customers: People will want to recommend your company when you provide value, and it’s as simple as that. If you can give people something that makes their lives easier or better, they are more likely to recommend you.

-Be consistent: If you want people to recommend your company, you need to be consistent in providing value and making it easy for them. If they refer one time but have a terrible experience, they are less likely to share their recommendations.

Optimize that headline

Make sure you optimize your headline. It should be short and catchy, clear and to the point, relevant to the audience, unique and not just a variation of the same headline (i.e., “Free Shipping” or “Buy One Get One Free”), engaging, and offer something that no one else does.

Here are some tips for writing great headlines:

-Keep it short — The ideal length for a headline is between 6-10 words.

-Keep it relevant — Use keywords pertinent to your business to attract more traffic from search engines such as Google or Bing.

Be unique: Don’t just use the exact wording everyone else uses. Instead, come up with creative ways to attract attention. Be engaging — A good headline should make people want to click on it and read more about whatever you are advertising.

Make your program discoverable.

For your referral program to be successful, it needs to be easy for customers to find. This means ensuring that your referral program is listed on the website and any other marketing channels you use.

You must also include clear instructions on referring friends through email or social media.

It’s difficult for someone to sign up for something if they don’t know what they are signing up for! Ensure your referral program has a clear call-to-action (CTA) that tells people exactly how they can participate in the promotion.

Lastly, ensure you track all of the results from your campaign so you can see which campaigns were effective and which weren’t as effective at driving referrals.

Retarget your customers

The great thing about retargeting ads is that they’re relatively easy to set up and track. You can use social media ads, email campaigns, or paid search to remind customers of your brand and entice them back into the buying process.

The most effective way to do this is through remarketing (or “remarketing”). This involves using cookies on your website that allow you to serve ads for products previously viewed by visitors based on their browsing history. Suppose someone visits your site but doesn’t buy anything during that visit.

 In that case, a cookie will be placed in their browser so that when they visit other sites online—including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram—a banner ad will appear asking them if they want to purchase a specific product from you again.


We hope you’ve learned a lot from this article. As mentioned above, referrals are one of the most effective ways for businesses to acquire new customers.

But it can be tricky to start a referral program if you don’t know where to begin. We’ve provided excellent examples and tips for implementing your referral marketing strategy to encourage customers to spread the word about your brand.