Step-by-Step Guide To Generate Referral By Running A Refer-a-Friend Ads Campaign

This is a step-by-step guide to successful refer-a-friend campaign ads that will help you skip the hassle of targeting new customers and let the loyal customers do that for you in exchange for a reward.

Abdul Wahab

Abdul Wahab

· 11 min read
Step-by-Step Guide To Generate Referral By Running A Refer-a-Friend Ads Campaign

In today's fast-paced era, connecting with customers and potential clients has become challenging. Rising advertising costs, tightening budgets, and bombardment of marketing messages only add to the difficulty level.

Did you know that 83% of people trust the recommendations of products and services they hear from friends, family, or closely knit trusted circles? Why not take advantage of this trusted circle? That's where Referral Marketing steps in.

Referral Marketing is a cost-effective intelligent marketing solution that would help deliver value by rewarding a customer base who already love your brand. Connecting brands with the right audience, who would choose your brand confidently and recommend it to others, is where loyalty is recognized and is the foundation of Refer-a-Friend Campaign Ads.

This is a step-by-step guide to successful refer-a-friend campaign ads that will help you skip the hassle of targeting new customers and let the loyal customers do that for you in exchange for a reward.

Top 5 Steps To Running A Successful Refer-a-Friend Campaign

If you have been looking to acquire new customers, refer-a-friend campaign ads are a superb opportunity to boost customer acquisition.

Also, referral campaigns work best when you want to foster customer loyalty because the lifetime value of referred customers is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers, that's the power of referral marketing.

Instead of directing your resources and energy toward converting potential customers, let the current customer do that for you. Let us walk you through this 5 step guideline on how to encourage customers to refer their friends:

Step 1 - Lay A Strong Foundation For The Referral Marketing Campaign

A solid referral system works like the backbone of a successful referral program. A referral campaign with a strong foundation of exceptional products backed by strong customer relationships and a focused marketing goal is a route to an effective marketing campaign that will be successful.

Provide Top-Notch Products

Providing exceptional products or services is the preliminary requirement for a referral program. If you fail to make an impactful first expression, you will not pop up in their minds when referring products and services to others, irrespective of how good your refer-a-friend program is.

So make sure they see through your passion with an excellent referral marketing strategy. Otherwise, you can wave goodbye to positive word-of-mouth marketing if you fail to stand out of the clutter.

Gain Customer Insight, Put Them First

Customers are kings in a referral program; if you want to launch a successful referral campaign, you should know the kingdom first.

Communicate with potential customers to develop a customer experience. Take your time to understand their pain points, listen to them with all ears, and devise practical solutions with the utmost genuineness. Put your customers through a positive experience through your brand, and they'll be delighted to share that experience.

After all, these potential customers are similar to the ones you'll target in your referral campaign, so consider them your direct contact to understand the market.

Set Clear Objectives | Goals | Incentives

Why do you want to create a referral program? Alright, boosting sales is crucial; what else do you want? Increase customer loyalty? Build brand awareness? Drive customer acquisition?

Before starting a referral program, it's imperative to identify the goals and objectives. This will help you gauge the program's progress and determine whether you meet the targets. Redirect yourself to the plan if you see yourself deviating from it at any time.

Step 2 - Structure Your Referral Rewards And Program Ideas

Now that we've covered the basics, let's see how to effectively structure a referral reward program. In addition to offering great products and excellent customer service, a well-structured reward incentive can be a nudge they need to send referrals your way. Reward incentives make your campaign attractive so build excitement around your referral.

Identify Who Will Get The Customer Referral Rewards

When designing your referral rewards program, the first thing to determine is who will receive the reward. Would you be offering these reward incentives to the existing customer (the referrer), the potential customer (the referred friend), or both?

One-Sided Incentive vs. Two-Sided Incentive

One-sided incentives are directed to the existing or the referred customer; they are not devised for both.

If you opt for a reward for the present customer, it will increase their motivation to share. As for the referred friend, they will only be inclined to purchase after some time. This approach will leave your business without a sale but more referrals.

On the other hand, if you choose to reward the referred friend, there is a high chance for a sale, but the referrals would be less, relatively.

Ideally, it's best to offer two-sided incentives in a referral program because it has the highest engagement since both parties are rewarded. You will reward the present customer for generating more referrals and encouraging the potential customer to make their first purchase. Either way, give them a unique referral as a way to get the word out.

Choose Your Rewards And Incentives

Referral incentives would vary from business to business, each with different marketing tactics; there is no one-size-fits-all here. Considering what your customers value most, work out a referral reward that suits them best and get your referral program off the ground.

Below mentioned are some questions that will make the process easier for you:

  • Who is my target audience, and what reward will they click with?
  • Will the referral rewards work for my business type?
  • Should I be offering monetary or non-monetary rewards?

Naturally, cash rewards are considered the most intriguing form of rewards, but they are not the only way to incentivize your customers.

Some customers like to receive gifts instead of cash rewards, so you can get creative and offer discount coupons, service upgrades, free monthly subscriptions, store credit, or external gift cards (Apple, Amazon, etc).

Just make sure the reward you choose offers maximum benefit so that it entices customers to share your brand. For instance, if you are a makeup brand, you may submit a store credit on your next purchase, so you will be inclined to buy again.

Sharing And Distributing Rewards

The final part of your reward structure is how you will give the reward to the customers. Let's have a look at some of the most popular options:

Standard Reward Structure

Simplest of all structures, in a standard reward structure, you offer a set amount of reward for each successful referral (say $20) and reward your existing customer as soon as their referred friend makes a purchase.

Tiered Reward Structure

As the name suggests, this reward structure has different levels, which increase with each successful conversion of the lead. For instance, a referring customer may get $10 for the first three referrals, which doubles to $20 for every converting referral.

Multi-Step Reward Structure

This reward structure breaks the reward into different steps. The customers are rewarded as they achieve each of those steps. For instance:

  • $5 when a referral schedules a consult
  • $10 when the referral books a service
  • $20 when the referral makes the payment

Ideally, this structure is chosen by B2B businesses and infrequent expensive purchases such as buying property.

Learn more about How to Create A B2B Referral Marketing Program.

Step 3 - Design Your Referral Campaign With Effective Refer-A-Friend Campaign Ideas

To design your referral campaign, you need to build your landing page; you can quickly start with a landing page builder. There are several predefined templates to choose from where you can start by setting your rewards, scoring, rules, and more. From then on, it's all about customizing and personalizing; setting up your landing page takes a few clicks.

Follow these five simple steps to get started:

  1. Choose your campaign type
  2. Select scoring according to your reward type
  3. Choose a signup source
  4. Determine post-signup flow display
  5. Select a template of your liking

Once you are done with these five steps, you will have a landing page ready for your referral campaign.

Have A Killer Call To Action

In any strong referral program, the referral call to action is the powerhouse. This is the button where the share finally happens when the customers click on it.

So make sure it's prominently placed and stands out in color from the rest of the page. Also, add some catchy words like "Share Right Away," "Get (mention reward type)," or "Invite Friends," which are some of the most attractive options.

Get Noticed With Catchy Headlines

To get a customer's referral, you need to get their attention. A catchy headline is an effective way to get referrals and would help you get started by enticing them to join.

What is a good headline? One liner depicts the program's gist while highlighting the benefits of joining.

  • "Spread the word and get free store credit."
  • "Spend $30, Get $30"
  • "Refer a Friend and Get a whooping $20."
Example of how catchy lines should be used
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Keep It Simple And Facilitate By Providing Multiple Sharing Options

Keep it informative but straightforward so that it's easier for people to refer; if a customer needs to jump hoops to send a referral, they will likely lose interest. Keep it simple: just a few clicks away to facilitate the customer since the referred customers are 4.5 cents per day more profitable than other customers. Every successful referral is a win, because every single referral counts.

Moreover, give your customers a few ways to share to facilitate sharing. Most referral marketing software tools have easy sharing options, such as text messages, social media, and email.

Choose the option your customers naturally use to share exciting things with friends. Make sharing easy with a one-click referral link so customers can easily copy and paste the link. With this unique referral link, customers will be able to refer your brand.

Step 4 - Promote Your Referral Program

Once you have structured and designed your referral program, it's time to spread the word. Generally, referral marketing works differently; let's discover some of the most effective digital marketing strategies and trending ways to promote your referral program. Below mentioned are some of the ideas you can implement via variety of marketing channels.


Word of mouth is one great example of a referral campaign. A positive connection established with each client is at the heart of a word-of-mouth referral scheme, which is earned over the years and does not happen overnight.

The simple rule of getting word-of-mouth recommendations is to focus on developing lasting connections with your customers. Please give them a fantastic experience they'll want to brag about in their social circle.

Email Marketing

The most preferred communication channel is email marketing, which is preferred by 55% of customers. Email marketing is an excellent way for brands to reach customers via digital mediums with news updates, promotional offers, and other types of information. It's a great way to boost engagement and an effective referral strategy.

Email marketing example for a referral program
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Social Media Marketing

Creating a blog to connect with your customers is another effective marketing strategy to promote your referral program.

Social media marketing gives you a voice to interact with your existing and potential customers, respond to their needs, provide customized experiences, and effectively manage a loyalty program.

Referral marketing example on social media
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The best thing about social media marketing is that the targeted customers are already on social media. You can present your refer-a-friend ads campaign to potential customers by asking your social media customers to show love and share your posts.

Influencer Marketing

Besides conventional marketing tactics, influencer marketing is trending and has gained widespread popularity in the past few years. The global influencer marketing market size is estimated to be worth $16.4 billion.

When you want to use the referral program to reward your customers, you ought to make some noise, and collaborating with influencers relevant to the industry is a fantastic way to do it.

 Influencer marketing example with influencers promoting different products
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Together, you and the influencer can devise mutually beneficial strategies. You can ask the influencers to feature your rewards on their social media.

Furthermore, you can make them a part of your refer-a-friend campaign ads and create a unique referral code for their followers. Its one the most trending referral marketing ideas as this would help you connect to their network!

Step 5 - Prepare Your Launch Strategy

Launching the referral program is all about coordination; your chances of reaching the right audience and going viral are high. Follow the tips below for an impactful launch of a refer-a-friend program:

  • Align The Teams Across Multiple Channels: Engage the sales and marketing teams to spread the word about your program and be crystal clear.
  • Pre-Hype Social Media: Influencers should be prepared to bombard social media to further their impact.
  • Execute A Well Coordinated Plan: All parties must know how the referral program works and should all be in sync with unanimous content. It's all about developing a coordinated plan of attack.

Insight Into Best Referral Program Examples To Inspire Your Own

Today's Businesses are quickly joining the trending bandwagon of referral models in traditional and novel ways to engage loyal customers. We have compiled two of the best referral marketing examples to encourage you to develop your referral program.


Paypal is an online payment platform that enables you to send and receive cash. They introduced a referral program to expand their consumer base. The platform provides what the customer needs as a reward, and since it's a payment network, the rewards are monetary.

Paypal referral program example
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Using the two-sided incentive program, Paypal has experienced an increase of 7% to 10% daily, and the clientele has surpassed 100 million. Now, that's a number that is hard to ignore!


Dropbox is a file-sharing service that encourages users to subscribe to this program. They get a chance to get additional space in exchange for referring friends to join this program.

Dropbox referral program example
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Since more storage means more money, the referral program helps them keep some cash, so they feel tempted to refer.

For instance, subscribers who use Dropbox Basic can earn 500 megabytes per referral, and this quantity has an upper limit of 16 gigabytes for the referrer.

Wrapping Up!

Always remember that a referral campaign is a marketing program, not a project. Usually, brands need to avoid launching their referral program as a project. Initially, it makes sense when you are getting it up, but it should be considered a long-term program requiring continuous work. Thats the secret to the success of their referral program.

Launching the referral program is just the beginning; real value is generated when the program is optimized over time. For a program to be successful, it requires continuous testing, reviewing, and optimization.

If done correctly, an effective referral program could materialize potential customers to actual customers. Do check out Prefinery for more details on running effective referral campaigns; they have many blogs covering different customer referral program topics in detail.


What is a refer-a-friend campaign?

In simple terms, a referral program idea is a marketing strategy that encourages the existing customer to share positive reviews about your brand in their social circle. When the referred customer (potential customer) goes through with the purchase, the existing customers get a reward from the brand for every referral.

How can I make the referral process seamless and user-friendly?

The best way to make the referral process seamless is to keep it simple. Offer personalized referral links that are easy to copy and paste, making sharing easy. Go through the referral form, minimize the requirements, and be clear about your instructions to develop a user-friendly referral campaign.

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