Referral Marketing Examples To Dramatically Boost Leads


August 2, 2021

Referral marketing remains one of the most popular and effective strategies for drumming up new customers. Here are some examples of amazing referral marketing tactics.

Referral Marketing Examples To Dramatically Boost Leads

According to a Nielsen Harris online Poll, over 80% of Americans seek recommendations from others before making a purchase. This is very important for brands and businesses to keep in mind because you want people to talk about your brand online in order to influence the purchasing behavior of your target consumers. This is why referral marketing remains one of the most popular strategies used by businesses in terms of digital marketing. 

In this guide, you will find referral marketing examples that you can use as a point of inspiration when building your own marketing strategy.

Best Referral Marketing Examples You Can Follow

The best way to learn about the most effective referral marketing strategies is to look at the ones that have had success. This will save you time from determining what works and what doesn’t. Get inspiration from the best brands if you want to earn more customers and improve your bottom line.

1. Dual Incentives

A dual incentive strategy is when both the referrer and the new customer get a reward. This is also one of the most proven incentive structures in the world of referral marketing. The beauty of the dual incentive program is that there are several ways to implement it that would fit into any business.

A good example is Dropbox. They implemented the dual incentive system by offering free storage space for the referrer and the new customer. As a result, they got up to 60% more signups! 

AirBnB also has this type of referral program. The referrer will get $20 worth of travel credit while the new customer gets $40 into their travel credit. 

2. Social Gifting

This is another unique reward structure that you can implement in the referral marketing program. Unlike the dual incentive program, where both the referrer and the new customer are rewarded, social gifting rewards the referred friend only.

This is very common with subscription box companies. Try the World, for example, implemented the social gifting strategy. For every box that an existing owner subscribed to, they give away three boxes to their friends. While the referrer did not get any reward for themselves, the act of gifting their friends serves as the reward.

A person holds a cellphone with a referral marketing program

3. Giving Away Free Products

This is one of the most unique strategies in the world of referral marketing – and it must be executed properly to work. Girlfriend Collective did it superbly. 

The brand specializes in eco-friendly leggings and bodysuits. As part of their referral marketing program, they offered to give away free leggings to their customers. It shows their confidence in their product that anyone who was able to try them on would buy from them again. They made this offer available for a limited time to create a sense of urgency, as well as to encourage more people to tell their friends about the brand.

4. Mystery Gift

There is a sense of excitement when receiving an unknown gift. This is part of the reason why this referral marketing strategy works. 

MeUndies is a brand that executed it to perfection. They offered their customers a free gift if they shared the brand with their friends. Meanwhile, the referred friend gets a 20% off coupon.

5. Out-Of-The-Box Rewards

Cash is king, but switching up your rewards can be just as enticing to customers. T-Mobile’s referral program is the perfect example of this. 

Instead of offering their users cash or other similar rewards for referring a friend, they offer to give them shares in the company. It’s something no other company has done before, and it definitely stirred up curiosity!

6. Free Stuff

Getting something for free is always something that consumers are keen to exploit. Thus, Uber executed their referral marketing program perfectly by offering users free rides for every new user they refer to the app. This free ride concept is something that a lot of other ride-sharing apps have picked up on, as well.

7. Charity Donation

Leveraging social currency is one of the best strategies to implement in developing a winning referral program. Aside from the act of gifting to your friends, giving a donation to a charity of your choice is another way to encourage people to refer your business to others.

You can pick the charity that the donations will be given to. However, make sure that the charity is still aligned with your brand. That way, you can ensure that the charity will also appeal to the needs and emotions of your target demographic.

You might also like to read: Business Exit Strategy - Everything You Need to Know

8. Referral Contest

If you are going to give something away to your customers, why not make it exciting in the form of a contest? People like contests because there is a certain level of thrill that goes with being chosen as a winner! 

Huckberry ran a contest that offered $1000 in prize to the top referrer. Since there is a huge prize, there is more incentive for your customers to refer as many people as they can. It is also one way to drive brand engagement, especially on social media.

9. Reward with an Upgrade

Another smart way to boost your referral marketing strategy is to offer an upgrade to your customer for referring a friend. Instead of giving them something new, why not offer them a better version of the products that they have brought from you. 

Dropbox is another good example of this. They offer up to 500MB more of storage space for any successful referral. This means that the more people you refer, the more storage space you can get (though they have a limit of up to 16GB of storage).

10. Leverage an Influencer

The use of influencers is commonplace in social media marketing strategies today, especially with Instagram. But it was a company known as Hawkers, which sold sunglasses worldwide, that innovated this approach as a successful referral marketing strategy.

They gave away free sunglasses to users with a massive following on social media. But they did not stop there – they also incentivized social media influencers by providing them with a commission for every sale or referral they generated. The influencers are given a unique code that new signups and customers can enter during their transaction, which will be traced back to that specific influencer. For the newly referred customers, they also get an incentive in the form of discounts through the code shared by influencers. 

Key Takeaways from the Best Referral Marketing Examples

The list of the best referral marketing examples above will give you an idea of strategies that you can implement. However, it is still important to understand your target demographic and know your unique business model. Just because certain marketing strategies worked on some businesses, it does not mean that it will be as effective with you. 

You should always test out different strategies and keep track of performance. This will clue you in on what strategies bring in the best results.

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