How IDFC FIRST Bank reduced its CPA by 75% via the InviteReferrals referral marketing software


The bank experienced a 75% reduction in the customer acquisition cost.


The bank witnessed a 120% surge in social engagement.


The bank’s ROI increased by 100%.


Organization’s Profile

IDFC FIRST Bank is an Indian private sector bank, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was formed by the merger of the banking arm of Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) and Capital First, an Indian non-bank financial institution that provided debt financing to small entrepreneurs, MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and Indian consumers.

IDFC Limited was set up in 1997 to finance infrastructure projects in India. Initially, the company focussed primarily on project finance and mobilization of capital for private sector infrastructure development, but over time the company diversified into asset management, institutional broking and investment banking. The financial institution strove to support other organizations in acquiring the best possible returns on their investments. The company’s ability to tap into both global as well as Indian financial resources eventually led it to be renowned in the business domain of infrastructure finance.

Mr. V. Vaidyanathan who had built the ICICI Bank’s Retail Banking business from 2000-2009, is currently the MD and CEO of the reputed financial institution. The organization’s vision is to build a world-class bank in India that’s guided by ethics, powered by technology, and is a force for social good.

The Objectives

  • Boost ROI.
  • Improve brand awareness.
  • Rapidly enhance customer base.
  • Significantly reduce the overall customer acquisition cost.

The Challenges

  • Unimpressive brand awareness.
  • Escalating customer acquisition costs.
  • Inefficient e-commerce marketing strategies.

Which Led To

  • Declining conversion rate.
  • Insufficient customer base.
  • Reduced profits and diminished ROI.

The Solution

IDFC FIRST Bank adopted the services of InviteReferrals in order to expeditiously acquire new customers by means of software-based digital marketing, without having to spend tons of cash on expensive and contingent traditional modes of advertising such as newspaper/magazine print ads, handouts, highway billboards, direct mail, cold calling etc. In other words, the bank sought a cost-effective way to maximize its revenue gains, boost its customer base and lower expenditure or investment on customer acquisition.

The bank was well aware that in addition to being expensive, traditional marketing didn’t offer immediate insights into consumer behavior, and as a direct consequence, it was difficult for any business that relied solely on traditional modes of advertising, to clearly ascertain its key performance indicators or KPIs, which are in turn essential to gauge periodic progress.

Properly organized, systematically presented, and exhaustive referral marketing analytics can enable any financial institution to gain a lucid idea about its economic or commercial trajectory. The bank noted that InviteReferrals endeavored to streamline and simplify the process of gauging continual progress by means of providing detailed graphical representations of tracked statistics, such as total number of referrers, invites, clicks, conversions, conversion rate etc., which in turn helped organizations to effortlessly apprehend their overall growth in terms of audience and revenue.

It was apparent to the reputed bank that it required the aforementioned blend of services in order to address its ongoing concerns. The bank had ambitious goals of enhancing its ROI, lowering its expenditure on customer acquisition and it thereby sought precisely calibrated advertising strategies that would ultimately lead to more conversions. The banking software was on a look out for a tactful means of improving brand recognition, bolstering brand identity and raising awareness about its services in order to advance conversion rate.

IDFC wanted InviteReferrals to devise a strategic referral programme that would attract numerous clients, who would eventually open savings accounts in their bank. The marketing team at InviteReferrals began with a comprehensive audit of the bank’s omni-channel marketing endeavors, systematically searching for ways to blend referral marketing within the bank’s prospective campaigns.

As part of the advertising optimization, the UI and UX of the campaigns was revamped in a manner to effectively engage customers, rivet their attention & gently tempt them to read and peruse the entire campaign. The process to avail the services advertised within the campaigns, was conveyed through easily intelligible infographics, so as to make the entire experience of reading, comprehending and browsing through the campaigns both pleasing and convenient for the customers.

The primary purpose of making the entire campaign engaging for the receivers, was to motivate them to browse through the entire campaign, since referral links were included in the footer of the dispatched campaigns, in order to tactfully promote the bank’s savings account programme without having the customers realize about the same. In order to implicitly encourage customers to click on the referral link and thereby promote the desired programme, the bank was advised to offer them the opportunity to win exciting perks & incentives such as e-vouchers, cashbacks etc. in case they referred the bank to their friends or recommended their relatives to open a savings account in the bank.

The incorporation of the aforementioned strategies along with the provision of an effective referral automation software, helped the bank exercise its marketing caliber to the fullest extent and significantly boost its brand awareness. The strategic move of implementing fresh & aesthetic content design that conveyed the process of availing the bank’s latest services in a visually appealing manner, combined with the inclusion of referral links that offered customers the opportunity to win lucrative perks, within the campaigns, ultimately resulted in the bank achieving a 100% increase in ROI, 120% surge in app/web engagement and a 75% reduction in the overall customer acquisition cost.

Here’s how the IDFC FIRST Bank leveraged the InviteReferrals marketing software to minimize its overall customer acquisition cost and boost conversions.

Subtly and ingeniously encouraging customers to recommend the bank to their friends, family and acquaintances

Nowadays, in contrast to traditional advertising, by means of leveraging digital marketing to promote products, organizations can adapt to market changes, promptly alter advertising strategies, target campaigns to specific audiences etc. Brands can easily track & quantify how many people clicked on a referral link, how many people ultimately bought the product and they can thereby ascertain the exact count of conversions.

In addition to being effective, time-saving and inexpensive, referral marketing enables organizations to accurately gauge the return on their marketing investments. As per the guidance obtained from the marketing experts at InviteReferrals, the IDFC FIRST Bank, tactfully motivated its customers to recommend their friends and family to open savings accounts in the bank. The bank implemented the undermentioned strategy to boost conversions:


  • The bank chose to employ refer-a-friend marketing within campaigns, via which organizations subtly yet adroitly encourage people to recommend an advertised product or service to their friends, family and acquaintances. The bank incorporated this particular kind of referral marketing since it holds a higher trust value because potential customers receive recommendations directly from people already known to them and as a result this particular marketing technique has a greater success rate in terms of gaining new conversions.
  • The bank revamped the UI and UX design of its omni channel campaigns, in order to effectively engage customers, rivet their attention, pique their interest, and gently tempt them to read and peruse the entire content of the notifications. The redesigned campaigns illustrated the process to avail new services offered by the bank, through visually appealing and readily intelligible infographics. Since the revamped campaigns looked intriguing and were easy to follow, the likelihood of them being browsed and read in entirety got enhanced.
  • The bank wanted customers to browse through the entire campaign, since referral links were included at the extreme end or in the footer present at the bottom of the dispatched campaigns. This was done in order to tactfully promote the savings account programme without having the customers realize about the same. Furthermore, to encourage customers to click on the referral link and thereby promote the desired programme, the bank offered them with the opportunity to win exciting perks & incentives such as e-vouchers, cashbacks etc. in case they referred the bank to their friends or recommended their relatives to open a savings account in the bank.

The bank intended receivers to remain incognizant about the fact that while intimating them about new services, it is also promoting a new programme within its campaigns. The bank wanted the receivers to focus on the opportunity and convenience of availing lucrative perks and cashbacks simply by clicking on a referral link and recommending the advertised programme to friends and acquaintances, who eventually would also earn rewards in case they open an account within the bank.

Referral marketing procedure

  1. The IDFC FIRST Bank dispatched campaigns that incorporated a referral link in the aforementioned manner i.e. at the very end or in the footer of the forwarded campaigns.
  1. Upon clicking on the referral link, customers were redirected to a webpage that prompted them to fill in details such as their Name, their email address registered with the bank and their phone number, in order to commence the referral process and consequently avail lucrative rewards.
  1. Once the customers provided their details, especially the registered email ID and subsequently clicked on the ‘Start‘ button, they were offered various social media options such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Linkedin etc. to choose from, and thereby refer the programme via the selected platform to their acquaintances.
  1. Upon choosing the desired social media platform, customers were redirected to the official website of the chosen channel and were also provided with an automatically generated referral link which they could in turn share with multiple contacts on the same platform.
  1. Once the customers’ contacts clicked on the shared referral link and subsequently opened an account within the bank, then both the primary advocate of the programme as well as the newly acquired customer became eligible to avail attractive incentives offered by the bank i.e the customers themselves along with their friends & family could now avail lucrative perks.

Referral procedure illustration


The referral procedure was alike for both desktop and mobile platforms i.e. after accessing the dispatched campaigns, one could refer the bank to their family and friends through the desktop site or through the bank’s official mobile app.

The Results

InviteReferrals overhauled IDFC FIRST Bank’s advertising strategies and consequently the bank began to witness an abrupt decline in customer acquisition costs and experienced rapid gains in revenue. Furthermore, being equipped with InviteReferrals’ marketing acumen, a powerful & effective referral marketing software, well-organized statistical data and the flexibility to promptly modify campaigns in accordance with market changes & consumer behavior, the esteemed financial institution felt confident and secure in terms of prospective growth. IDFC FIRST Bank’s decision to adopt the InviteReferrals referral marketing automation software to power its advertising campaigns brought impressive results:

  • The bank experienced a 100% increase in its ROI.
  • The bank witnessed a 120% surge in social engagement.
  • The bank secured an impressive 75% reduction in the customer acquisition cost.

In short, the IDFC FIRST Bank chose the best and the most cost-effective way of boosting its customer base. The bank witnessed significant growth in terms of both revenue and conversions, without having to spend tons of cash on traditional modes of advertising.