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Referral program gifts, ideas, tips and recommendations

referral marketing earlyparrot

What are the best referral programs tips that you can follow? Which referral program gifts should be given out and when?

Referral Program marketing is desirable for many reasons.  

Firstly, it’s cost-effective and doesn’t involve any huge upfront investments.

Secondly, it can drive customer acquisition at a rapid pace when executed correctly.

All in all, referral leads outperform other leads by 16% in terms of lifetime value.

What you should know about referral marketing? 

Referral marketing has benefits for your business, some of which are:

  • Statistically, you get 9 referred customers for every happy customer.
  • 92% of customers trust referrals more than traditional advertising. 
  • 86% of businesses that implement structured referral programs see revenue growth within the first 2 years. 

When customers are incentivized to refer others, they’re more likely to trust your brand increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases.

This is all great!

But how can you have your referral program? How can you get your audience to engage with your referral program? How can you achieve a good referral rate?

5 Best Referral program tips on how to make it better

To get the best Return on Investment from your referral program, you need to lay down a referral strategy. Such a strategy should have as little friction as possible for your existing customers to refer others.

Here are the top referral program tips we recommend you follow.

Tip N1. Identify your goal

A clear roadmap is always a good place to start. 

For example, if your goal is to increase traffic, then you may want to offer discounts for referrals that convert into paying customers. 

You can also use the referral marketing channel for various reasons:

  • to grow your sales,
  • increase the lifespan of your customers,
  • or even improve the quality of your product.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you always have it in the back of your head. 

Tip 2. Use reliable referral marketing platform

Once you know what your objectives for your referral program are, it’s time to think about automating referral tracking and referral program gift distribution.

You will need a system to manage your referrals and let people know about the opportunity you’re giving them. 

When choosing a referral program software there are several considerations that you have to keep in mind.

Powerful referral marketing software is likely to allow you to perform actions like: 

  • brand pages and emails 
  • import and invite customers 
  • stack up various referral program gifts for your referrers
  • integrate it with your already existing software stack
  • offer a detailed analysis of what is going in your referral program

It should also be able to help you integrate referral links into all of your communication channels (email, social media, etc.), track clicks on those links, and find out which of them work the best. 

Overall, with a good referral marketing platform, you will keep an eye on the performance of your campaigns and make adjustments as needed to increase conversion rates.

Tip N3. Explore the location of your audience

One of the most important considerations when implementing referral marketing is to be where your audience is. 

It’s crucial that you are where your potential customers are, for example on our blog, so that we know how and when to reach them. 

Other examples of where you could find your existing customers most of the time include: 

You can’t just put a referral campaign on your site and expect that customers will come. You need to be where your customers are and use their preferred channels and devices in order to get them interested in what you have to offer.

Otherwise, all your efforts may go to waste. 

Tip N4. Always be grateful 

In order to make the customer journey a positive one, it’s important to make sure that ‘thank you’ messages are sent out to customers who have finished a purchase or interacted with your company. 

There are many different ways that these messages can be sent out, but what is important is when they are sent. 

To ensure that these messages are being sent in a timely manner, it is a good idea for companies to set up an automated system.

All in all, such systems can send appreciation notes to your customers once they complete certain actions, e.g. make a purchase. 

This way, there will be no delay in the customer receiving the message and they will be able to leave feedback about their shopping experience straight away. 

Most importantly, they will want to give that feedback to you because you’ve just thanked them and showed your gratitude. 

Another reason for paying attention to showing your thankfulness is because it can significantly improve relationships with your customers. Happy customers who feel appreciated will be more likely to participate in your referral program. 

Tip N5. Pick valuable referral program gifts

Speaking about making your customers interested and feel appreciated, our next tip for you is to choose the referral incentive. 

The use of desirable referral gifts is essential to improve the success of your referral marketing campaign. 

When marketers offer something that attracts prospects, they’re more likely to make a purchase with you.

Research shows that up to 79% of Facebook users will like a product page or brand to get discounts and other perks.

Which are some of the best referral program gifts that you can give out? 

5 Best referral program gifts to keep in mind

While referral programs are one of the most effective ways to grow your customer base, it can be hard to find incentives that will resonate with your customers.

Picking the best referral gift can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow the tips below.

There are many options to choose from and we’re here to inspire you with some of them.

Gift N1. Free gifts from your partners

Number one on our list is freebies. People love receiving free stuff, especially when they come to them for very little effort. 

Remember that giving out your products for free doesn’t have to be unprofitable or costly for you. You can start with as little as product samples, which usually aren’t for sale anyway. 

If possible try to source these freebies through your business partners, giving them extra exposure and freeing you from having to fork out a referral gift.

Gift N2. Product or service upgrade

If you run a SaaS or a membership program, a great and highly cost-effective referral program gift to incentivize your referrers is to give them a temporary upgrade for their current subscription plans. 

The reality is that it probably won’t cost you much. Looking from the perspective of your customers though will give them the motivation to refer your business to as many people as possible.

Subscription plans are a genius way to use the power of referral marketing on potential customers too.

When someone new signs up for your service, you can offer them an upgrade to a higher tier of service for free or at a discounted rate. 

In such a scenario everyone is happy: you, your current customers, and your new customers. 

This is a real-life example of a win-win situation. 

Gift N3. Charity donations as a referral gift

People don’t like businesses that exploit their customers or that are simply greedy. 

For this reason, many companies turn towards charity donations in their efforts to make referral marketing work.

When it comes to charity donations, people may be hesitant about taking advantage of this incentive. 

We can think of two reasons for this. 

One, people may not want to give money away without knowing how the donation would be used – fair enough. Two, they may feel uncomfortable with the idea that their donation could be used by an organization to generate funds without having any contact with the beneficiaries – understandable. 

Luckily, it’s not a problem without a solution. 

As long as you’re completely transparent about your actions, everything should be fine. Try to use your communication channels as a way to provide proof of your donations.

Doing this will dispel any doubts. Moreover, it will add that extra bit of confidence and motivation to your customers that will be profitable for you in the end. 

Gift N4. Discounts as a referral gift

Moving on, you can’t go wrong with offering discounts or vouchers. 

Research shows that consumers are 4 to 5 times more likely to purchase from you when you offer free shipping as an example.

One is certain, though. Customers do love the words ‘discount’ and ‘voucher’. So, don’t miss out on this fact and take advantage of it. 

Gift N5. Double-sided referral gifts 

Finally, we have already indirectly mentioned yet another type of incentive earlier – double-sided gifts. 

Double-sided gifts are a form of gifts that provides both sides of the referral with a gift. 

In such scenarios, both your existing customer and your potential customer get something. 

The basic idea behind double-sided gifts is that when you give something to your referring customer, the person who they promote you to gets something as well. 

It’s a great tactic that promotes building good relationships with not just 1 person, but also with everyone to who they refer your business

This’s a rapid customer base expansion waiting to happen. 

So how to start your referral program? 

If you know what your goals are, the first step for referral marketing that we recommend is to choose a tool that will help you manage your referrals. 

Referrals are an excellent way to generate leads and revenue if you know how to execute and manage them correctly.

A great piece of software is EarlyParrot – an extremely easy to integrate and fully brandable referral marketing solution for SaaS companies, courses, webinars, email lists, E-commerce stores, and more. 


Referral marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy for businesses. It’s a way to generate leads and revenue not only from existing customers but also from those who have never been exposed to your business before. 

It’s also one of the best types of marketing strategies because it comes from people who have already been exposed to your brand.

So chances are they trust it enough to make recommendations about it to their friends and family. 

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