The 10 Referral Business Ideas to Earn More Customers

The 10 Referral Business Ideas to Earn More Customers

It’s tempting for founders to want to try out every modern growth hack when startups raise millions of dollars daily. Even though large corporations have the money to experiment, smaller businesses do not. Sticking to tried-and-true customer acquisition methods is better, and referral marketing is as reliable as it gets. There are a number of referral business ideas that can help you increase your referral business.

Even though large corporations like Dropbox and Airbnb achieved big success with their referral programs, copying their identical strategies and referral messages may not be the best approach for your company. Your company’s referral program should resonate with your target clients to promote your specific product offerings.

There are many ways to offer a referral program. You may provide discounts, product giveaways, exclusive deals, gift cards, QR code menus, and even cash, among other things.

Small businesses might find these referral business ideas to be inspiring.

10 Best Referral Business Ideas You Should Follow

1. Build up the anticipation

Bandier, an activewear brand, incentivizes repeat purchases through a referral program.

When a friend makes their first Bandier purchase, happy customers earn $25 in points. The friend also gets $25!

In addition, customers will continue to earn points for every purchase their referrals make.

Any existing customer would be extremely attracted to such a program. If they are loyal to your brand and believe it is one of the best, then telling their friends about you is a no-brainer.

An advocate who wants to earn rewards must make more than one referral because making just one referral doesn’t earn enough points. Naturally, making more referrals leads to more referrals and, thus, more chances of acquiring new customers.

It is also a great way to reward customers with a limited budget. The key is ensuring the “exchange rate” is worthwhile for you and your customer.

2. Helping them get something done is what I want to accomplish.

Upserve sells restaurant management software, and it comes with point-of-sale, worker scheduling, and rewards for regular diners’ multiple customizable modules. Both large and small restaurants widely use Upserve.

The referral program at Upserve has an interesting twist. Whenever a user refers to a friend and that friend signs up, the company donates $200 to the Clean Water Fund.

An incentive to act on behalf of others rather than oneself is the source of motivation that this approach appeals to the masses. It has been scientifically established that giving to others results in greater personal satisfaction than just giving for oneself.

It’s true that ‘giving is better than receiving.’ According to Upserve, their referral program is a natural extension of one of their values, which is “to impact our community in a meaningful way.” Most people would be willing to contribute to a charity if given a chance.

Some people choose a company for its products or services and what it stands for.With this program, your business can help make the world a better place while simultaneously gaining customers if you have a specific mission, thus making it one of the best referral business ideas to get more customers.

3. Sure, money is the reason to become a scribe.

Scribe Writing, a book publishing company, offers $2,000 for every referral. Authors who have already published a book with the company can refer to other authors. If they sign up, the referrer receives the money in cash or applies it as a credit to their Scribe Writing account. There is also a third option to donate the referral reward to charity.

Scribe Writing uses its customers’ networks to get more authors to publish with them because Scribe Writing is leveraging its customers’ networks to get more authors to publish with them.

The monetary reward is motivating; new authors are more likely to trust other authors who have used the service and can vouch for it. 

The referral program’s ability to pay real money is a huge game-changer. A Harris Poll survey says that 77% of Americans prefer cash as a reward in exchange for referrals.

There is no doubt that this program is not affordable for most small businesses, so you must have a well-developed strategy if you want to succeed with it.

4. Give credits generously.

When the new customer makes a purchase using the referral link, Greats rewards both the referring customer and the referred friend with $10 in credits. Greats advertise to millennials, who are known for being socially motivated and generous.

It’s a great gesture from a firm that recognizes its customers and how to keep them by awarding credits to both parties rather than just the referrer. It’s a fantastic alternative to cash or other product giveaways, whether credits are given to either the advocate or the referrer. Moreover, they will end up using the credits at your store, resulting in a new customer!

Customers will always appreciate a price cut, no matter how big or small the credit is. If they are pleased with your product or service, free credits might just be the push they need to encourage their friends to try your enterprise.

5. Use social media to amplify your product giveaways.

Simple referral programs are great. Riff Raff, a toy company, ran a Facebook referral contest in which lucky winners received customized sleep toys. Individuals who made five successful referrals via email, Facebook, and Instagram were eligible for a free customized toy worth $80.

Riff Raff’s approach was certainly mindful of its customers—hectic parents occupied at work or caring for their children. Riff Raff understood that these people are not too busy to check Facebook or Instagram and can certainly spare a minute or two – especially if there’s a desirable reward. Parents of young children, in particular, tended to talk to other parents, sharing resources, knowledge, product referrals, and recommendations. Mum’s words can be really powerful.

A clear understanding of your customer’s online behaviour and motivations is critical for the success of your referral program. You must know where these consumers spend their time and who is there for them.

6. Sam’s Club wants you to show your love with a gift card.

Sam's Club wants you to show your love with a gift card.

When signing up for Sam’s Club online shopping, members are encouraged to refer friends to earn gift cards for both parties. An existing member can receive a referral link and share it with friends. For each friend who joins the Club, the existing member receives a $10 gift card, and the referral receives a $20 gift card.

A gift card program can keep customers returning for more purchases and referring others since it can only be used at your business and not anywhere else. Credits are better than cash incentives because they can only be used at your business and not anywhere else.

A gift card (which usually has an expiration date) is also a way to generate a quick sale. Even if a person has no plans of buying, he might still do so because he has a gift card.

Gift cards are the next best thing if your company doesn’t have the money to give away widgets or monetary rewards.

7. Give your customers a free sample with a premium experience.

Skillshare offers free online education in exchange for a compelling referral program. When a Skillshare student refers to a friend, the friend gets two months of free Skillshare Premium membership. The referring student receives a free month if the friend chooses to continue with a paid subscription.

Learning anything has never been easier than it is today, thanks to online courses. Using this generous referral program, Skillshare makes it even easier to refer friends. Even if the referral does not turn into a paying customer, that person will still become familiar with Skillshare’s service and might even recommend it to others. Offering a free sample of your product or service is one of the best referral business ideas to win over a customer.

8. Free webinars can help you establish your authority.

Free webinars can help you establish your authority.

Bloggers and business influencers particularly favour ConvertKit as an email marketing service provider. They are also well-known in email marketing, regularly publishing helpful content. A ConvertKit subscriber can share a webinar hosted by ConvertKit’s marketing team as part of the referral program.

For a reward, the member who referred people to the webinar will pitch ConvertKit’s service during the webinar. Even if the participants don’t sign up for ConvertKit after taking part in a free training webinar, it’s still a fantastic offer. It may be free, but it provides valuable content that ConvertKit is renowned for and can demonstrate through the training.

Instead of offering bargains, ConvertKit is sharing information here to slowly build consumer confidence. People might not believe they require ConvertKit’s services, but they do not recognize the advantages or how much they can benefit them. It makes sense if your business helps people solve a specific problem by offering free consultations, webinars, or coaching in exchange for a referral.

9. Just give away awesome stuff, the Radio Academy.

The Radio Academy is a non-profit organization committed to radio development. To acquire new members, the Association holds regular raffle draws. Members must refer their friends to participate. Upon completion, the member and his or her friend are entered into the drawing for an Amazon Echo.

Having the right audience can make raffle draws and giveaways exciting, particularly when the prize is something they desire.

A giveaway can help you achieve your business goals, especially if done well. It may be worth the monetary investment upfront to get new leads and sales, even if the amount is small.Make sure to pick a great prize when hosting a giveaway, make it easy for people to participate, and find the best way to inform your audience. It is one of the best referral business ideas to get started

10. Reward them with your best stuff, and raze them to the ground.

Threadbeast delivers curated wardrobe services to new clients, enticing them with fantastic bonus packages both for the referring client and the referral. Referrals are unlimited, so the referring client will receive a free package for all future referrals.

It’s wonderful that both parties can benefit for free from this program. It’s a generous gesture, but it’s also a smart way to entice existing customers to bring in tons of new customers.

People want free stuff. If people are already buying your products, they want more of them. That may be enough to get them to participate in your referral program.

Make it even more appealing by giving them best-sellers or limited edition items. Make them feel that this giveaway was made especially for them for taking the time to refer a friend.

Take Away

The correct referral program can be crucial to your organization’s development, but you have to get it right.

Looking at these referral business ideas, you might say that a successful referral program combines creativity, customer research, and excellent product offers. Having identified these core elements, you are well on developing your program if you can nail them.

To launch an incredible referral program, consider using InviteReferrals referral program software. Our software lets you build easy-to-refer programs so that you can engage and retain customers easily.


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.