11 + Top Referral Marketing Ideas To Achieve Your Goal In 2022

11 + Top Referral Marketing Ideas To Achieve Your Goal In 2023

Acquiring new customers is crucial for businesses to grow and expand themselves. One of the most affordable ways to achieve this is referral marketing. Referral marketing refers to getting your existing customers to recommend your brand to their friends, folks, and colleagues. Here are referral marketing ideas to achieve your customer acquisition goals in 2023. 

Why do you need referral marketing ideas?

You need referral marketing ideas because referral marketing works, and that too in a cost-effective manner. Here are referral marketing statistics to prove our claims. 

  • 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people than brand advertisements (Neilson).
  • 32% of online customers trust a stranger’s opinions on public forums and blogs over brand advertisements (Forrester). 
  • 84% of B2B decision-makers begin the purchasing process with a referral (Sasquatch).
  • B2B firms with referrals have 70% higher conversion rates (Extole). 
  • 65% of new business for a brand comes from referrals (Entrepreneur).
  • Referred customers have an 18% lesser churn than customers obtained through other sources (Wharton University).
  • 74% of consumers report that their purchasing decisions are propelled by word-of-mouth (Think with Google).
  • Referred customers can surge your profits by a minimum of 16% (Harvard Business Review).

11 + Best Referral Marketing Ideas for Your Business in 2023

You need to take some effort into referral marketing to get your customers to preach the gospel of your brand to people who need your offerings. We’ve discussed 12 referral marketing ideas to help you in this regard. 

1. Have a formal referral program in place

Have a formal referral program in place

Launch a formal brand ambassador program to get your customers to recommend your business to others. For, most customers are ready to refer after a positive experience to a brand, and having a referral program in place makes it easy for them! Let it be simple and frictionless. 

Besides, don’t just assume that your visitors and customers know of it. Let your program be easily discoverable on your website. Prominently feature the ‘refer’ tab on your site. Also, integrate the sharing CTA into your customer’s journey. For instance, if you’re a custom t-shirts retailer, pick a business that sells accessories or provides tailoring services. 

2. Eliminate perceived “reputational risk”

Eliminate perceived “reputational risk”

Oftentimes, people stay away from referring others in fear of losing their reputation in case the brand performs poorly. So, you need to find ways to help your customers overcome reputational risk. It should put them at ease and assure them that they won’t risk their reputation by referring you to their friends. 

Here are some tips to help you in this regard-

  • Make your site secure. This will convince people that you’re trustworthy. 
  • Feature the legitimacy of your referral program prominently on your website. So, people who reach your site through referral links will easily access the information. 
  • Keep your referral program simple so that people don’t suspect it to be a scam. 
  • Keep your referral program’s design trustworthy and promote a positive brand image.

3. Tap into the power of incentives 

Tap into the power of incentives

A study says that 70% of people open emails from brands anticipating deals or coupons. (Campaign Monitor). Yes, people love being incentivized. So, reward customers for sharing your brand and its offerings with others. Your reward should be something they’d love and value. So, choose a suitable one from the following-

  • Cashback on the next purchase
  • A discount code or coupon 
  • Access to exclusive deals and limited-time offers
  • Discounts on products 
  • Freebies
  • Feature upgrades to products or services (in case of subscription-based services)
  • Cash rewards
  • Entry to events 
  • Exclusive memberships
  • Charity donations

4. Ask for referrals at the right time

Timing is the most critical factor for any marketing tactic. This holds true for referral marketing as well. Put in some effort to find the right moments in your customers’ journey where they’d be willing to refer your brands in their circle.  These would be the times when they’d be feeling happy with your brand and its products or services. 

Here are some occasions that could serve as good opportunities to ask for referrals-

  • Immediately after purchase. 
  • Post a favourable customer engagement on social media. 
  • Soon after a positive customer service experience
  • While communicating with loyal customers
  • Post a high NPS rating or survey

5. Leverage social media

Today, social media marketing has become indispensable for creating brand awareness, engaging customers, and delivering customer support. You can leverage social media for viral marketing. Here are some referral marketing ideas in this regard. 

  • Enable the sharing of the content you post on social media platforms your customers use.  Promote your referral program regularly on social platforms.
  • Promote your brand ambassador program in your social media profile. 
  • Announce double-sided referral incentives.
  • Personalize sharing messages with the referrer’s name, profile picture, and message.
  • Customize your referral message’s design to suit each channel, so that it looks and feels like the other posts there.
  • Use compelling images in your referral program social media promotions. 
  • Optimize your referral program for mobile devices.
  • Highlight your best brand advocates on social media networks.
  • Use a good referral tool like InviteReferrals for seamless social media integration. 

6. Send Targeted Emails

Send Targeted Emails

Despite the emergence of trendier channels like apps, push notifications, etc. email marketing hasn’t lost its charm and effectiveness. As per the 2020 DMA Email Marketing Report, email marketing generates about $46 USD for every USD spent on it. The report also projects that email is the most favoured marketing and communication channel for many brands. 

Here are some successful referral marketing ideas to promote your program through emails. 

  • Let the subject line convey your message concisely
  • Keep the email simple
  • Make your call-to-action compelling
  • Stress on the motivation to buy
  • Spotlight the benefits of referring
  • Include the additional conditions for your referral program, if any. 

7. Remind previous referrers to refer again

Remind previous referrers to refer again

Customers who have recommended you in the past are the right candidates to refer again. For, they’ve already earned rewards from referring to you. Besides, they know that they won’t be losing their reputation by referring to you. 

So, if you find some previous referrers who haven’t recently referred anyone, reach out to them personally asking for new referrals. A gentle reminder to get them to actively participate in your referral program again. However, communicate in a friendly and personal tone to see the best results. You can reach out through email to facilitate a more personal targeting.

8. Ask product reviewers to be your referrers

Another group of right candidates for referring to your brand are your product reviewers. So, approach those who have positively reviewed your products or given those high ratings on your e-commerce website. You can automate this process, where you send a “thank-you” message followed by an invitation to join your referral program to a reviewer soon after he/she leaves a review. 

This will help recruit your happy customers to your brand ambassador program. They’ll be only pleased to participate in it as they’ll be earning rewards for something that they’ve already been doing (recommending your products to others via writing great reviews). 

9. Encourage user-generated content

People look for social proof for getting assurance that your brand is good enough to buy from. 

User-generated content in the form of reviews, testimonials, ratings, social sharing, etc. convinces and encourages them to buy from you. So, motivate your customers to post more user-generated content. 

Let your customers be your brand advocates by asking them to share videos and images of your products and how they use them. Come up with branded hashtags to encourage referral marketing over social media. When people see your products being recommended by their friends, they’ll start trusting you and buying from you.

10. Run sweepstakes or contests

Referral programs based on sweepstakes or contests work by stimulating a competitive spirit amidst your customers. When they see that the winners will be rewarded, they become enticed to refer your brand to others. Make it a point to use highly demanded rewards, something that will be worth competing for.

Another idea is to also offer a range of prizes than just a single first prize. This will drive more active participation as contestants would feel that they have more chances to win a prize. And, the prizes don’t have to be big, a simple discount can work wonders. So, it should be something like “The best 200 referrers will get a discount of Rs.200 on their next purchase”.

11. Launch a seasonal campaign

Another wonderful technique to really stimulate excitement around your brand ambassador program is to run a seasonal campaign. These work just like sweepstakes or contests by leveraging hype and excitement to drive success. The best part about it is the number of holidays or events throughout the year. You get to choose from plenty of occasions such as Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, World Peace Day, etc.

And whichever event you choose, just make sure that the prize is grand enough to attract enough entrants. The prize should also be something that represents the spirit behind the event or holiday concerned. Further, start promoting the campaign some days before the seasonal event so that people have the time to enter the contest. 

12. Use your invoicing software

If your invoicing software lets clients submit referrals online, it will help save your time and effort. So, use it to refer their friends over text, email, or social media, as soon as your job gets done. Incorporate a button asking for referrals in the invoice you send. It should let them refer to a friend just in one single click. 

This will help simplify the job for them and help you win new customers via referrals. Besides, this will also ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make referrals.

13. Partner with other complementary businesses

Partner with another business in your niche so that you can increase your customer base by cross-promoting each other. Just ensure that the business you choose to tie up with is complementary to yours. For instance, if you’re a clothing retailer, pick a business that sells accessories or provides tailoring services. This will facilitate a solid mutually beneficial association. 

You can spread the word about where your customers can get matching accessories to go with their clothing or where they can get their clothes stitched. Likewise, they can promote your business. 

Referral Marketing Ideas Infographic

Referral Marketing Ideas Infographic

Wrapping up

Referral marketing is a great way to increase your customer base, sales, and revenue. This blog has discussed some of the best referral marketing ideas to help you earn more referrals, and thereby, stay ahead of the competition. Put these creative techniques to use soon to realize the benefits soon. A referral marketing tool like InviteReferrals can help you efficiently create and manage your referral marketing campaigns. Signup here to try it for free!


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.