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The Most Comprehensive Referral Marketing Guide Ever (2021)

Referral Marketing Guide

Explore 40+ referral marketing resources and lessons, hand-picked from everything GrowSurf has learned from the hundreds of referral programs we’ve managed over the years.

Referral marketing is one of the most cost-efficient growth channels. Period.

Leveraging your existing, loyal customer base to bring in new ones is a sure way to bring in new users and revenue for your business.

Whether you’re getting ready to launch your first referral campaign or looking to optimize your referral program, you’re in the right place.

  1. Do You Need a Referral Program?
  2. Your First Referral Marketing Campaign
  3. Messaging and Promoting Your Referral Program
  4. Referral Program Inspiration: Ideas and Examples
  5. Referral Software and Tracking
  6. Why Referral Programs Fail
  7. Referral Program Case Studies

# 1. Do You Need a Referral Program?

Some businesses are better equipped to launch a successful referral program than others. Not every company needs a referral program, after all.

Although modern referral software makes it easier than ever to launch a referral program with Stripe and HubSpot integrations, it’s worth assessing if referral marketing is right for your business.

Would your business benefit from referral marketing? Read these resources to find out!

12 Reasons Why You Should Launch a Referral Program

12 Reasons Why You Should Launch a Referral Program

Why is referral marketing so powerful? Here’s our top 12 reasons why.

Why Every SaaS Needs a Referral Program

Why Every SaaS Needs a Referral Program

SaaS companies are a perfect fit for referral marketing and we believe that every SaaS can benefit greatly from it. Don’t believe us? Read more and let us change your mind.

Why Referral Programs Work: The Psychology Behind Referrals

Why Referral Programs Work: The Psychology Behind Referrals

Why does referral marketing work? In this blog, we go over 6 psychological principles that drive referrals and how you can leverage them in your marketing.

Referral Programs vs Affiliate Programs: Which Is Best For My Business?

Referral Programs vs Affiliate Programs: Which Is Best For My Business?

Although they have many similarities, there are clear differences between referral programs and affiliate programs.

Loyalty Programs vs Referral Programs: Which Is Best For You?

Loyalty Programs vs Referral Programs: Which Is Best For You?

Some business models are better suited for referral programs than others. Is yours a good fit?

5 Indicators Your Brand Will Have a Successful Referral Program

5 Indicators Your Brand Will Have a Successful Referral Program

How can you know if your referral program will be successful? Here are the top 5 leading indicators that your business is prime for referrals.

# 2. Your First Referral Marketing Campaign

Interested in designing and launching a referral program for your business? This section includes everything you need to get started, from important referral marketing terminology to choosing referral rewards.

How to Choose Referral Program Incentives and Rewards

How to Choose Referral Program Incentives and Rewards

Learn about the different types of referral rewards, how they’re structured and what types are best for your business.

Designing Your First Referral Program

Designing Your First Referral Program

Build your first referral program in 5 easy steps, from choosing incentives to automating referrals with software.

How to Choose the Best Referral Software for Your Brand

How to Choose the Best Referral Software for Your Brand

BIn this article, we break down how to choose referral software that best aligns with your company's goals.

How to Build a B2B Referral Program

How to Build a B2B Referral Program

B2B and B2C companies operate quite differently and referral marketing is no exception. If you’re a B2B company looking to launch your first referral program, this is the resource for you.

The Referral Program Template That Drives Conversions

The Referral Program Template That Drives Conversions

This is your blueprint for new business on autopilot. From running hundreds of referral campaigns, we've discovered common successful elements and compiled them into one referral template for you.

Building a Referral Program FAQ Section

Building a Referral Program FAQ Section

Before joining your referral program, your customers will likely have questions that need to be addressed. Here are the most common questions to include in your referral program FAQ.

The Referral Marketing Glossary

The Referral Marketing Glossary

The most comprehensive resource on referral marketing and referral program terminology. Make sure to bookmark this one, it comes in handy!

How to Build a Referral Program for a Subscription Business

How to Build a Referral Program for a Subscription Business

Referral programs are a perfect fit for subscription companies. Whether you're a monthly goodie box or a SaaS, referral marketing could be a game changer.

Referral Program Costs & Referral Program ROI Explained

Referral Program Costs & Referral Program ROI Explained

Learn how to calculate your referral program costs and calculate expected ROI from new referrals.

Unconventional but Effective Referral Incentives

Unconventional but Effective Referral Incentives

Choosing the right referral rewards can be tricky. We encourage you to experiment and test new incentives, so here are some creative ideas that are already proven to work.

# 3. Messaging and Promoting Your Referral Program

If you want your referral program to be a success, people have to know about it. Communication is the key to referral marketing, so take some time to learn how to spread the word.

Referral Message Best Practices and Tips

Referral Message Best Practices and Tips

Learn about the importance of a strong referral message, how to write one that converts, best practices and examples that will inspire.

How to Write a Referral Email Your Customers Will Love

How to Write a Referral Email Your Customers Will Love

Emails are direct, personal and something you don’t want to mess up. Invest your time in learning how to write effective referral emails and watch the leads pour in.

Designing a Landing Page That Get Customers to Join Your Referral Program

Designing a Landing Page That Get Customers to Join Your Referral Program

Landing pages are one of the most overlooked referral program elements. You can choose the right incentives and write incredible emails but if no one joins your referral program, what’s the point?

How to Promote Your Referral Program

How to Promote Your Referral Program

If you’re excited about your new referral program, you should let everyone know about it! Not sure how? Here’s 12 ways you can promote your referral program.

11 Refer-a-Friend Email Examples (and Template)

11 Refer-a-Friend Email Examples (and Template)

Email marketing can be daunting when you’re first getting started, but it doesn’t have to be. Get inspired by these 11 high-performing refer-a-friend email examples.

10 Tips for Promoting Your Referral Program

10 Tips for Promoting Your Referral Program

One of the most common questions people ask us is, “How do we spread the word about our referral program?” To make it easy, we’ve compiled a handy cheat sheet of recommendations.

How to Use Social Media in Referral Marketing

How to Use Social Media in Referral Marketing

Social media goes hand-in-hand with word of mouth marketing, making it a perfect fit for referral marketing campaigns. Learn how you can drive social referrals.

How Reviews Boost Your Referral Program Results

How Reviews Boost Your Referral Program Results

Can reviews boost your referral program results? Yes, they can! Reviews are an important part of the buyer process so it’s no surprise that they can drive customer referrals.

Gamification in Referral Marketing

Gamification in Referral Marketing

Adding gamification elements to your referral program can be a unique way to increase your engagement and conversion rate.

How to Make Powerful Referral Partners

How to Make Powerful Referral Partners

Building a successful referral program can be sped up by cultivating referral partner relationships.

# 4. Referral Program Inspiration: Ideas and Examples

Following examples is one of the easiest ways when trying something new. Referral marketing is no different, so we’ve covered high converting referral program examples and ideas for you to try out.

40+ Referral Program Examples by Industry

40+ Referral Program Examples by Industry

Study the best referral programs of all time and take notes on how you can build the best referral program in your industry.

12 Referral Program Ideas You Can Steal

12 Referral Program Ideas You Can Steal

Referral marketing has plenty of room for creativity, which is why we've compiled some of the freshest and most interesting referral program ideas out there.

8 Referral Marketing Best Practices

8 Referral Marketing Best Practices

Running a referral program can get complicated, fast. Thankfully, there are many tried-and-true methods of turning your referral program into a winning channel.

Insurance Referral Program Examples

Insurance Referral Program Examples

Looking for insurance referral program examples to copy? Here are 10 insurance companies who got it right.

Financial Referral Program Examples

Financial Referral Program Examples

Need referral program ideas to generate leads for your financial firm? Here are 10 financial referral program examples to inspire you.

# 5. Referral Software and Tracking

Is automating your referral program the right approach for your business? Learn about how referral software works, how to automate referral marketing and why.

5 Reasons Why You Need Software to Manage Your Referral Marketing

5 Reasons Why You Need Software to Manage Your Referral Marketing

Referral software can help your team automate referral tracking, test new strategies and maximize the ROI of your referral campaigns. Learn how referral software saves you time and money.

How to Set Up Referral Tracking

How to Set Up Referral Tracking

Tracking your referrals can be difficult as you scale up, but some careful planning makes it easy.

How to Automate Your Referral Marketing Program

How to Automate Your Referral Marketing Program

Scaling up your referral program can be time-consuming and expensive if poorly managed. Automation is often the solution, so here’s how it works.

Compare 40+ Best Referral Program Software Tools

Compare 40+ Best Referral Program Software Tools

Finding the right referral software for your company gets complicated when there's 40+ tools on the market. We’ve saved you the time by compiling the best of the best to compare.

Why Referral Software Beats Building a Referral Program Yourself

Why Referral Software Beats Building a Referral Program Yourself

Referral software comes with all the bells and whistles you need to grow your business on autopilot. Here are some of our favorite reasons why referral software is better than doing things manually.

What Is A Referral Link And Why Does It Matter?

What Is A Referral Link And Why Does It Matter?

Everything you need to know about referral links and how to integrate them into your referral program.

# 6. Why Referral Programs Fail

Learn why referral programs fail and how to prevent these common mistakes.

Top 5 Mistakes That Kill Referral Programs

Top 5 Mistakes That Kill Referral Programs

Although the concept of a referral program is simple, there are many elements at play that need to work together.

How Blue Apron’s Referral Program Costs Ate Them Alive

How Blue Apron’s Referral Program Costs Ate Them Alive

Choosing the right referral incentives is a key component of a successful referral program. But what happens if your incentives cost too much? Blue Apron found that out the hard way.

# 7. Referral Program Case Studies

Case studies are a great way to learn from the best. We cover the referral programs of many types of companies on our blog and also go in-depth on how customers use GrowSurf to run successful referral programs.

GrowSurf Customer Case Studies

GrowSurf Customer Case Studies

GrowSurf is the modern referral software for tech companies. Our customers enjoy results like these: 312% ROI, 30% new leads via referrals, 15% ARR growth.

The Dropbox Referral Program: 3900% Growth in 15 Months

The Dropbox Referral Program: 3900% Growth in 15 Months

Dropbox has one of the most famous referral programs of all time, netting over 3900% growth.

How Morning Brew's Referral Program Grew to 2.5 Million Subs

How Morning Brew's Referral Program Grew to 2.5 Million Subs

If you’re running a (company) newsletter, this is the case study for you: Morning Brew attributes over 30% of their subscribers to its referral program and we’ve outlined exactly how they did it.

Bench Accounting's B2B Referral Program Breakdown

Bench Accounting's B2B Referral Program Breakdown

Bench Accounting is the perfect example of purpose-driven marketing bringing in customer referrals. People are more likely to support and recommend purpose-driven brands, after all.

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