How to Create Email Referral Campaigns that Works

How to Create Email Referral Campaigns that Works

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Accomplishing marketing goals and growth month over month, year over year can be challenging. However, marketers usually ignore one of the most useful forms of acquiring new customers: referral marketing. A Neilson Study indicated that referrals are the most trusted form of advertising by a huge margin: with almost 50% of customers preferring service-based businesses upon the recommendations of their friends, you’re only harming yourself if you don’t include referral marketing into your strategy. In this blog, we will see how to create email referral campaigns that generate valuable outcomes.

What are referral emails?

Referral emails are a simple way to inform people about your referral program. Loyal customers can be excellent advocates for your business. In today’s time, prompting your fans to recommend your brand is not easy, but with a referral program, it may be easier than you think.

A referral program enables you to incentivize customers to refer others. According to referral marketing statistics, people are four times as likely to buy when referred by a friend. In addition, you can send an informative email to your opt-in email list to get the word out about your referral program.

Your audience may not be aware of your referral program, so make sure you use an attention-grabbing subject line like ‘Invite Friends. Make Money.’ Once your subscriber has opened your referral email, the deal must be exciting and lucrative enough to share.

Give cash rewards, free products, and huge discounts for your customer and their friends. Your customer may likely recommend your company, but 39% of people are inclined to refer to a brand that presents incentives.

So, don’t forget to include a referral link in the email. Then track how successful the email is. You might even experiment with two different referral emails to notice which one works better. 

Now move forward and understand what kind of strategies you should use to create email referral campaigns a hit. 

How to create Email Referral Campaigns?

1. Inform your customers about referral programs.

Inform your customers about referral programs.

This is the first and the most crucial thing that you need to keep in mind, as without informing your customers, you can proceed. You have to tell those who’ve never heard of a referral program before so that when these advocates receive a referral link with a special offer, they can share it with their friends, family, or social network. Every friend referred or new purchase made in this way earns a reward.

For instance,  ZooShoo elegantly spreads out the referral rewards and how the program works. ZooShoo informs its customers by sending referral emails that explain the program in emoji-inspired graphics, and we agree that a graphic illustration makes things clear. Now that their consumers comprehend the referral program and what’s on offer, it’s the best time to strike. Right under the explanations, ZooShoo shows three different ways to share, with the referral link and Facebook/Twitter sharing buttons. Their call to action could not be more explicit.

2. Make a compelling first impression.

First impressions are important. For instance, POPRAGEOUS makes persuasive design choices to represent its brand story. and much like their leggings, POPRAGEOUS creates a striking first impression. POPRAGEOUS’s referral emails are not only striking but also vivid and eye-catching.

In LA, POPRAGEOUS presents trendy printed apparel inspired by art and pop culture. Their solid visual designs are colorful, energetic, and eye-catching. Moreover, they make use of bold branding. The fashion eCommerce landscape is quite competitive, and branding becomes challenging when just so many brands and clothing designs can be copied or mimicked. However, POPRAGEOUS stands out with its graphical style (how they look) and personality (how they speak to their customers.

POPRAGEOUS allows you to look good in front of your friends, not just with the stunning outfits you’ve got on, but also when you show them a POPFERRAL to look great.

People who buy from POPRAGEOUS identify with their brand identity; youthful, energetic, and full of flair. 

3. Catch your customer at the right time.

Riff Raff & Co makes special toys for toddlers which engage with three of their most important senses; sight, touch, and sound. So instead of glancing at their email layout, we’re going to tear down something special they do—the timing of their referral offer. Riff Raff & Co uses the right time to send their referral email that offers the maximum response rate.

Right after when a customer completes checkout for a purchase, a pop-up occurs with their referral offer; at the same time, this email is sent.

Riff Raff & Co captures their customer’s attention with an email after purchase, presenting an exclusive referral reward. Some companies decide to send out referral offers after the product is obtained because it takes time for the customer to acquire the product via shipping and start using and falling in love with the product. However, Raff & Co turns it all on its head by reaching out to customers right after the purchase when their parental pride and identity are strongest.

The customers’ will have a strong connection with the brand right after their purchase. So reaching out to them during this time will make the most significant impression on them—and even if they don’t share the links instantly, they will return to the email after having some time with the product.

Riff Raff & Co presents a subtle twist on their referral program with tiered rewards. Advocates don’t acquire any benefit for the first four referred purchases – they are only rewarded for the fifth purchase. This adds a bit of momentum for the parents to share more widely—they’ll require to reach five purchases for their reward. 

4. Stack the benefits of referrals

Stack the benefits of referrals

Likewise, Riff Raff & Co, YouFoodz dangles the most appealing reward tier in the lead image and the explainer graphic. Of course, the user will seek the big prize, but even if they don’t hit three referrals, they will be reassured that they will still get something if they make a successful referral.

The minimum reward of one free lunch appears incredibly achievable, considering the price point (10 AUD), the immediate value to the friend (who doesn’t love a free lunch?), and the attraction to a broader audience (people who need to eat lunch), compared to parents of young children.

A pre-written message makes a copy and pasting easy—and clicking the Facebook Share button easier! To facilitate users that rewards are within reach, YouFoodz follows up with a pre-written message and a Facebook share button so that users don’t have to think – they need to click. With the lead image featuring YouFoodz meals and swearing a week of free lunch, the call-to-action is set up for success and maximum conversion.

Whereas ZooShoo utilized the space in its email to explain a referral program, YouFoodz bets on their audience being familiar with such programs instead of concentrating on the multiple reward tiers available. YouFoodz presents the escalating reward tiers and makes claiming a free lunch as simple as one click. But there’s an even better referral email that contains all of the above, making an offer that’s not just electric but Stupid.

5. Offer an unbeatable value proposition.

Offer an unbeatable value proposition.

Tesla built their referral program and has run through multiple iterations. Tesla is a highly tightly-knit group of enthusiasts, many of whom have a genuine interest in the car and have shared it through word-of-mouth. It makes you an incredible offer you won’t refuse.

To this small group of committed, involved customers, Musk delivers the right message. He consumes the first four paragraphs laying out his thought process and motivation for the program and reaffirming that Tesla does not spend on marketing.

The referral rewards aren’t cited until the final two paragraphs, only as an afterthought. In doing so, Musk concentrates on Tesla’s brand mission and the goal of expanding the community of Tesla Owners. While the first tier reward ($1,000 off) is negligible, the second tier reward (tour and party at the Gigafactory) will be attractive to the community.

Of course, presenting an exclusive Founder Series Model X (not available to the public) is just the icing on the cake. This top-tier reward (which was claimed!) was so compelling the second iteration of the program presented an exclusive Ludicrous enabled Model S P90D.

How effective was this referral email letter? From Tesla’s point of view, though, if each customer referred a friend, their customer base will have at least doubled. Turning it into a contest with fabulous prizes was one aspect, but the key takeaway from Musk’s email must be the way he appealed with emotional, motivational language.

Wrap up

Five different email referral campaigns from five brands concentrate on a distinct aspect of the customer-brand relationship and add their tweaks to the referral email. After reading all these examples, you may understand how to create email referral campaigns that work for your business.

A readiness to try something new and find a new angle for persuasion supported these five brands to write effective emails that moved customers.



Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.

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