Customer Acquisition & Growth Referral Marketing
July 11, 2023

Referral Programme Template: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Referral Program Template

Looking to supercharge your customer referrals? Our customer referral programme template has got you covered! Discover how to incentivise, track, and communicate effectively to drive successful referrals. Unlock the power of referral marketing and boost your business growth with our comprehensive template. Don't miss out on this valuable resource for accelerating your customer acquisition.




Kudos on taking the wise step to start a referral programme for your business. 

Referral programmes stand out among other marketing strategies for their cost-effectiveness and unique approach to customer acquisition. It’s the ideal option for businesses that are committed to delivering a positive customer experience. 

However, many referral programmes fall short of the projected goals. These programmes often become more confusing and hard to manage as they grow in size. So, how can you unlock the potential of referral programmes while avoiding the common pitfalls?

You need a clear strategy. 

Your path to effortless lead generation starts with a robust referral programme template. We’ll provide a step-by-step rundown of the referral programme template and give you a free, downloadable template to help you customise your referral journey. 


How Do Referral Programmes Work?

A referral programme is a reward structure that encourages existing customers to refer new customers to a business. Customers earn a reward for each customer they recommend to the business. These programmes can significantly influence a buyer’s purchase decisions. 


Over 87% of consumers agree that personal recommendations from friends and family are the most reliable source of information on brands.


Here are some key terms related to referral programmes:


  • Advocate: An existing customer who refers others to your business.

  • Referral: A new customer who has been referred to your business by an existing customer.

  • Incentives: These are the rewards that customers earn for referring others. Rewards could be in the form of discounts, cashback offers, exclusive benefits, loyalty points, or gift cards.

  • Referral Link or Code: Each member of a referral programme gets a unique link or code they can share to refer new clients. This unique identifier makes it easy for the business to track and attribute successful referrals to their sources.

  • Referral Process: Brand advocates share their referral link or code with their contacts through email, word-of-mouth, or social media. The contacts use the link or code to make a purchase or sign up for the business’s products and services.

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Referral Programme Template & Structure

A well-designed referral programme is one of the most powerful marketing tools for customer acquisition. With consumer trust in traditional ads declining, leveraging the credibility of personal recommendations can significantly improve your marketing performance.

Nevertheless, creating a robust referral programme requires careful planning.


Referral Mechanics & Programme Management

This section should clearly explain each step in the referral process. It should include information on how advocates can make referrals, whether it’s through a link, email, code, or sign-up form. It also informs customers of any requirements or restrictions associated with the programme such as offer timing, eligibility criteria, and referral limits.




Referral Programme Guidelines: T & Cs


Provide clear guidelines and rules for participants to understand how the referral programme operates. Outline any restrictions, limitations, or terms and conditions associated with the programme to ensure transparency and avoid confusion.

Programme Duration

Programme Duration: Determine the duration of the referral program, whether it is ongoing or for a specific period.

Programme Enrolment

Allow customers to easily enrol in the referral programme, either through an online registration form, in-person sign-up, or through their existing customer accounts.

Unique Referral Codes 

Assign each participant a unique referral code or link to track their referrals accurately. This ensures that they receive proper credit for successful referrals.

Using a referral programme tool will auto generate this for you

Referral Conversion Criteria:

Clearly define the criteria for a successful referral and outline the specific actions or conversions required for a referral to be considered valid. This can include making a purchase, signing up for a service, or completing a specific action.

Communication and Notifications:

Establish a process for communicating with participants, such as sending automated referral confirmation emails or notifications when a referral is successful. Keep participants informed about the progress and status of their referrals.


Participant Communication and Engagement 

Your programme should leverage automated communication and notifications to keep participants informed about their referral progress, rewards, and programme updates. This can be done through email notifications or in-app messaging. Effectively communicating and engaging with participants in a customer referral programme is essential to keep them motivated, informed and active. 




Clear Programme Introduction:

Clearly introduce the referral programme through multiple channels, such as your website, email newsletters, social media, and in-app notifications.

Loyalty Programmes Integration:

Integrate the referral programme with your existing loyalty programme, offering additional incentives to loyal customers who refer others.

Gamification Elements:

Incorporate gamified elements like leaderboards, badges, or points to make the referral process more enjoyable and competitive

Exclusive Rewards and Contests:

Offer exclusive rewards or run referral-related contests to keep participants excited and engaged.

Engaging Content:

Create engaging content, such as videos, infographics, and success stories, to explain the programme's benefits, rewards, and how it works.


Keep participants informed about their progress, referral status, and any programme updates through periodic emails or notifications.

User-Friendly Interface:

Ensure that the referral programme's interface is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for participants to track their referrals and rewards

Milestone Celebrations:

Celebrate participants' achievements, such as reaching a certain number of referrals or earning specific rewards, with personalised congratulatory messages

Referral Tips and Best Practices:

Provide tips and best practices on how to successfully refer friends and family, helping participants increase their referral count.

Easy Referral Sharing:

Make it effortless for participants to share their referral links by providing pre-written messages and sharing options for various communication channels.

Responsive Support:

Offer responsive customer support to address any inquiries or issues participants may have related to the referral programme.

Mobile App Integration:

If applicable, integrate the referral programme into your mobile app to provide participants with a seamless and convenient experience.

Surveys and Feedback Loops:

Gather feedback through surveys to continuously improve the programme and align it with participants' preferences.


Incentives & Rewards

By designing thoughtful, attractive, and balanced incentives and rewards, you can create a referral program that not only drives customer engagement but also enhances the overall customer experience and strengthens brand loyalty.




Value Proposition:

Clearly communicate the value of the rewards for both the referrer and the new customer. Highlight how these rewards can enhance their experience with your brand.

Alignment with Audience:

Tailor the rewards to align with your target audience's preferences, interests, and needs. Different segments may respond better to different types of incentives.

Dual Incentives:

Offer rewards to both the referrer and the new customer to create a win-win situation that encourages participation from both sides.

Tangible and Desirable:

Choose rewards that are tangible, valuable, and desirable. This could include discounts, cash rewards, free products/services, exclusive access, or gift cards.

Multiple Tiers:

Implement a tiered reward system where participants receive increasingly valuable rewards as they refer more customers. This can encourage greater engagement.


Consider offering exclusive rewards that are only available through the referral program, making participants feel special.

Milestone Rewards:

Offer rewards for reaching specific referral milestones, such as referring a certain number of friends or achieving a certain level of engagement.


Recognise and celebrate top referrers through public acknowledgment, leaderboards, or badges.


Promote a sense of reciprocity by offering a reward to the new customer as well, making them more likely to take advantage of the referral.

Easy Redemption:

Ensure that the redemption process for rewards is straightforward and hassle-free for participants.

Clear Communication:

Clearly outline the details of the rewards, including how they can be earned, redeemed, and any expiration dates.

Surprise and Delight:

Occasionally include surprise rewards or bonuses to create excitement and encourage ongoing engagement.

Personalised Offers:

Use data to personalise reward offers based on individual customer behaviour and preferences

Compliance and Legal Considerations:

Ensure that the rewards offered comply with legal and regulatory requirements in your industry and region.


Referral Tracking & Attribution

Your referral programme should have a robust tracking mechanism. This ensures that your advocates are adequately rewarded for each referral they make. It also makes it easy for you to manage your programme and make adjustments if necessary.




Clear Objectives and Metrics:

Define specific goals for your referral programme, such as customer acquisition, sales increase, or brand awareness. Choose relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress toward these goals.

Tracking Tools and Technology:

Utilise analytics and tracking tools (such as Google Analytics or customer referral solutions) to monitor referral programme performance accurately.

Attribution Methodology:

Decide how you will attribute referrals to participants. Common methods include unique referral codes, referral links, or dedicated landing pages.

Referral Source Identification:

Track the original source of each referral to understand which channels (social media, email, website, etc.) are driving the most successful referrals.

Conversion Rates:

Monitor the conversion rates of referred leads/customers to measure the programme's impact on your sales funnel.

Referral Volume:

Keep track of the total number of referrals generated over time to assess the program's reach and growth.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC):

Calculate the cost of acquiring a new customer through the referral programme compared to other marketing channels.

Return on Investment (ROI):

Evaluate the programme's ROI by comparing the revenue generated from referred customers to the costs associated with the referral rewards.

Referrer Engagement:

Measure how actively participants are referring others. Track the number of referrals per participant and identify your top referrers.

New Customer Behaviour:

Analyse the behaviour of newly acquired customers, such as their purchasing patterns, engagement with your brand, and retention rates.

Feedback and Surveys:

Gather feedback from participants through surveys or interviews to gain insights into their experience with the referral programme.

Monitoring Fraud and Abuse:

Implement mechanisms to detect and prevent fraudulent or abusive referrals to ensure programme integrity.

Communication Effectiveness:

Evaluate the performance of different communication channels and messages used to promote the referral programme.


Compare referral programme performance to industry benchmarks and your own historical data to assess progress.


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Additional Factors to Consider 

Customisation and Branding

Your programme should allow customisation to align with the brand's visual identity and messaging. This includes options to customise referral pages, email templates, and other program-related elements.

Integration with Existing Systems 

For seamless operation, your programme should integrate with other systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), customer loyalty platforms, or e-commerce platforms, to sync referral data and streamline the referral process.


Fraud Prevention

To ensure the integrity of your programme, it should have fraud prevention measures in place. This can include referral validation mechanisms, fraud detection algorithms, and manual review processes to identify and prevent fraudulent activities.


Mobile-Friendly Experience

Your referral programme should have mobile-friendly features and interfaces to enable easy participation and referral sharing on smartphones and tablets.


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Promotional Referral Programme Templates


Referral Programme Headline

The headline is the main text that describes the referral programme. It’s included in all promotional materials such as the initial programme invitation you send to advocates and the referral landing page.

The programme headline is usually the first point of contact for advocates and referrals. An engaging headline will encourage advocates to join your programme and attract new customers.

Let’s explore some tips for writing a captivating headline, along with examples:


1. Use Clear and Concise Wording 

Ensure that your headline is short, simple, and easy to understand. State the benefits of joining the referral programme in clear and concise language.

Example: "Refer a Friend, Get Rewarded!"

2. Highlight the Incentives

Emphasising the rewards that participants will earn is a great way to grab the reader’s attention.


Example: "Earn £20 for Every Successful Referral!"

3. Create Urgency

This is another effective attention-grabbing strategy. Use time limited offers to create the fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) and encourage customers to take action.  


Example: "Refer Now and Receive Double Rewards for a Limited Time!"

4. Leverage Exclusivity

People want to feel special and appreciated. Leverage the power of exclusivity in your headline to encourage customers to sign up. 


Example: "Unlock VIP Status and Enjoy Exclusive Benefits with Our Referral Programme!"

5. Use Action-oriented Language

Use “power words” and compelling language to boost engagement and encourage participation.


Example: "Supercharge Your Rewards: Refer, Earn, and Win!"


Finally, align your headline with your brand's tone of voice and your target audience. Maintaining consistency across all communication channels is a crucial part of building a successful marketing strategy.


Your call to action (CTA) must inspire your customers to take action. It must be inviting and convincing to get them to follow through. The CTA should create a sense of excitement and include a clear benefit. Using eye-catching design elements can also help your CTA stand out on the referral programme landing page.

Here are some examples:

  • Refer a friend and unlock exclusive rewards!"

  • "Join our referral programme and earn valuable benefits."

  • "Get rewarded for sharing the love—refer now!"

  • "Start earning rewards for every successful referral."

  • "Invite your friends and enjoy exclusive perks together.


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Advocate Templates:

Referral Programme Invitation

As you can imagine, this is a crucial step when launching your referral programme. Getting it right will often make a huge difference in your programme.

Your invitation must successfully convince customers that referring others is worth the effort. Doing that usually starts with knowing the best communication channel to use. The choice will vary depending on the audience, but here are two common channels to consider.


Email Invitation

Using email invitations is a great way to ensure that customers pay attention as you introduce your referral programme. 

Email is the preferred communication channel for over 46% of smartphone users

This approach is particularly effective for brands that share monthly or weekly newsletters. Having a strong email readership base increases user engagement with your invitation and, consequently, the referral programme.

Your referral email invitation must include:


  • Engaging headline 
  • Programme overview
  • Programme benefits
  • Personalisation
  • Relevant contact information
  • CTA


Subject: Earn Rewards by Referring Friends to [Company Name]

Dear [Advocate’s Name],

At [Company Name], we believe that our customers are our best advocates. That's why we're excited to introduce our new [Referral Programme], designed to reward you for sharing the love with your friends and family.

Here's how it works:

  1. Refer your friends: Think of someone who would benefit from our [product/service]. Share your unique referral link with them, or simply pass along their contact information to us.
  2. They sign up/purchase: When your referred friend signs up for our [product/service] or makes a purchase using your referral, they'll receive a special discount as a token of our appreciation.
  3. You earn rewards: As a thank you for your referral, we'll credit your account with [reward details]. You can redeem these rewards for [list some examples of rewards, such as discounts, gift cards, or exclusive perks].

But that's not all! The more friends you refer, the more rewards you earn. There's no limit to how many referrals you can make, so start spreading the word today!

To get started, simply visit our Referral Programme page [include the URL] or reply to this email with the contact information of the person you're referring. We'll take care of the rest.

Thank you for being a valued customer and for your continued support. We're thrilled to have you as part of our community, and we can't wait to reward you for your referrals.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our customer support team at [email/phone number].

Happy referring!

Social media invitation 

With the number of social media user identities hitting 4.80 billion earlier this year, it’s clear that social media is a powerful marketing tool.

Businesses with younger audiences will benefit from promoting their referral programme on social media. You can share a post on your social media pages informing users of the benefits of joining your referral programme. Add a link to the referral landing page to close the deal

Remember that social media is about creating engaging content. So, ensure that you use appealing visuals and a friendly tone of voice.



🌟 Exciting News! Join Our Referral Programme and Get Rewarded! 🌟


Hey there, valued customers! We have something special just for you. Introducing our Referral Programme, where sharing is caring, and rewards await!


🎁 Here's how it works:

1️⃣ Refer a friend: Know someone who would love our [product/service]? Invite them to join the [Company Name] family.

2️⃣ They sign up/purchase: When your friend signs up or makes a purchase using your referral, they'll receive a fantastic discount!

3️⃣ You get rewarded: As a thank you, we'll shower you with awesome rewards like exclusive discounts, freebies, and more!


💥 The best part? There's no limit to the number of referrals you can make! The more friends you bring, the more rewards you'll unlock.


Ready to join the referral fun? Here's what you need to do:


1️⃣ Visit our website [or app] and find the Referral Programme section.

2️⃣ Generate your unique referral link or personalised code.

3️⃣ Share it with your friends through social media, email, or word of mouth.

4️⃣ Sit back and watch the rewards roll in as your friends become part of our amazing community.


🚀 Spread the word, and let's create a network of happy customers together. Start referring today and enjoy the perks of being part of our Referral Programme!


If you have any questions or need assistance, our friendly customer support team is here to help.


Thank you for being a part of our journey, and we can't wait to reward you for spreading the love!


#ReferralProgram #ShareTheLove #RewardsAwait

Referral Programme Landing Page 

Your referral landing page is the homepage of your referral programme. It’s the first place your customers visit to get information about the programme. This is where you make your final stand; convincing your customers to become advocates.

Here are some tips to optimise your referral programme landing page:

  • An engaging headline
  • Compelling visuals
  • CTA
  • FAQs
  • Programme overview
  • Social proof

Finally, add a link to your referral programme landing page on your website’s homepage. Use pop-ups, sliders, or banners to make the link easy to find, or create a dedicated section for the referral programme. 

Advocate Follow-up Emails

Ongoing engagement and participation are crucial components of any successful marketing strategy. Keep your advocates informed of their progress in your referral programme. Share relevant updates when their referrals sign up, make their first purchase, or if there are any programme updates.

Providing regular follow-up messages encourages advocates to get even more referrals for your business. It’s important to show them that you appreciate their efforts. 

Here's an example of a thank you email to an advocate:



Subject Line: Your Referral Made a Difference - Here's a Token of Our Appreciation!


Dear [Referrer's Name],


We wanted to extend our heartfelt thanks for referring [Referred Person's Name] to our [product/service]. Your trust and confidence in recommending us are truly appreciated. We are delighted to offer you [incentive/reward] for your valuable referral.

[Provide details about the incentive/reward, such as how the referrer can claim it or any terms and conditions.]

Your referral has made a significant impact on our business, and we are thrilled to have [Referred Person's Name] as a valued customer. We hope you continue to enjoy our products/services, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance.

Once again, thank you for your support and for being part of our referral programme!


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Referral Templates:

Here are some referral templates to help you promote your referral programme.


Referral Invitation

Some advocates might be recommending a business for the first time and could be unsure how to go about it. So, provide a template that they can customise for their audience. This makes it easier for them to reach more people and drive more referrals.

Here’s an example of a referral invitation email:


Subject: Join me in [Company/Product] and enjoy exclusive benefits!


Hi [Friend's Name],


I hope this message finds you well! I wanted to reach out and share an exciting opportunity with you. I've recently become a part of an amazing community called [Company/Product], and I think you'd love it too.


[Company/Product] offers [briefly describe the benefits or features]. It has been a game-changer for me, and I believe it can make a positive impact in your life as well.


The best part is that [Company/Product] has a referral programme, and I can invite a limited number of friends to join. By using my referral link below, you'll receive [incentive for the friend]. Plus, when you join, I'll also receive [incentive for the advocate].


[Insert Referral Link Here]


Take advantage of this opportunity, and let's embark on this journey together. If you have any questions or need further information, feel free to reach out to me.


Looking forward to sharing this amazing experience with you!


Best regards!

Customise the message to match your referral programme and the rewards you offer. Advocates can personalise the message to make it authentic and engaging for the referrer.


Here's an example of a social media post that advocates can use to refer their friends:


🌟 Exciting Announcement! 🌟


Hey friends! I have some amazing news to share with you all! 🎉 I recently stumbled upon an incredible [Company/Product] that I’m excited to share with you. 🚀✨


[Company/Product] offers [briefly describe the benefits or features]. 🙌🌈 It's been an absolute game-changer for me, and I believe it can do wonders for you too! 💯


But wait, there's more! 😍 [Company/Product] has a fantastic referral programme, and I've been given the opportunity to invite a select few friends to join. By using my referral link below, you'll receive [incentive for the friend]. Oh, and here's the best part – when you join, I'll also receive [incentive for the advocate]. It's a win-win situation! 🎁🤝


🔗 [Insert Referral Link Here]


I genuinely believe in the power of [Company/Product], and I know it can have a positive impact on your life too. So why wait? Seize this incredible opportunity and let's embark on this journey together! 🌟💪


If you have any questions or want to learn more about my experience, feel free to reach out. I'm here to share all the details and insights with you! 😊✉️


Join me in this incredible adventure with [Company/Product]. Let's make a positive change and embrace the possibilities! 🚀✨

See the ROI of a referral programme

Supercharge your customer acquisition strategy and growth potential with referral marketing. Launching a well-designed referral programme can be a game-changing move for your business. Harness the power of word-of-mouth recommendations and turn your existing customers into brand advocates. 

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