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Are you looking for the best referral marketing ideas to get more customers?
Referral marketing is a great way of turning your existing customers into loyal brand ambassadors. In the end, this gets you more leads and, ultimately, more profits.
But it can be difficult to get your audience engaged, especially since they’ve already found a solution to THEIR problem through your products or services.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to share 7 of the best referral marketing ideas you can use to get more leads and grow your business.
Before we dive into the list, though, let’s get clear on what referral marketing is.
What Is Referral Marketing?
Referral marketing is when your customers refer you to their friends, family members, and colleagues.
It’s a way of asking for leads from people your current customers already know. As you can imagine, these referrals provide you with high-quality leads.
The best part about referral marketing, however, is that it’s truly a “win-win-win” situation. Here’s how:
Your current customer refers your business to a friend. As a reward, you give your customer something they want (a free month of your products, a discount, gift card, and so on).
That’s the first win.
Then your customer’s friend finds that your products or services are the best solutions for the problem they’re facing. That’s the second win.
Now, you have a NEW customer without spending money on ads, content, or other paid marketing strategies. That’s the third win.
At the end of the day, your original customer, your new customer, AND your business all come out on top.
With that in mind, here are a few other benefits of referral marketing:

  • Get Warmer Leads: Your current audience knows what problem your business solves. They’ll also know who in their social circle would benefit most from that solution.
  • Improve UX: Giving away discounts and prizes is a great way to get your customer engaged and provide a better experience with your brand.
  • Reduce Churn: As customers convince others about the benefits of your business, they’ll simultaneously convince themselves that your business is the right option for themselves.

Now that we know what referral marketing is and why it’s so valuable, let’s look at 7 of the best referral marketing ideas you can use to get more customers today.
Referral Marketing Ideas
1. Create a Word-of-Mouth Popup
If you want people to know about your referral program, then you need to bring the message to them in an engaging way.
One of the best ways to do that is with a “word-of-mouth” popup.
This is a lightbox popup that appears across your site and lets your audience know about your referral program. Maybe you’ve seen these campaigns in the past.
They look something like this:
refer a friend form popup video demorefer a friend form popup video demo
It’s a simple solution for getting more referrals, yet incredibly effective.
But you may be wondering, “What’s the advantage of adding a word-of-mouth popup to my site?”
Popups are effective because you can target them to specific groups of your audience.
That means you can show your campaign to the right people, in the right places, and at just the right times in their customer journey.
Imagine getting a customer who just placed their order for your product or services. And seconds later, they see your referral program popup.
This is a crucial moment in their customer journey because they’ve just paid money to your business, and they’re excited about the solutions your company offers.
Popups are the most effective way to get information about your referral program to your customer at this exact moment.
Ok, so you can see the value in creating a refer a friend popup. Now the question remains: How?
That’s where OptinMonster comes on the scene:
optinmonster new homepageoptinmonster new homepage
OptinMonster is the world’s #1 lead generation software. It’s also your best solution for creating popups for your referral program.
With OptinMonster, anyone can create stunning and high-converting popups in minutes. That’s because there’s zero coding involved and no technical skills required.
Instead, you can start with your choice of 50+ templates, all of which are fully responsive and look great across devices:
optinmonster templatesoptinmonster templates
From there, you’ll use OptinMonster’s drag and drop visual editor to modify your popup.
This allows you to add new features to your campaigns, like:

  • Buttons
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Custom HTML
  • Chatbots
  • And much more…

You can add all of these features with just a drag and a drop:
drag and drop a button into place shopping templatedrag and drop a button into place shopping template
But the main reason you’ll want to use OptinMonster for your referral marketing popup is the targeting rules.
That’s because OptinMonster has the most advanced targeting rules of any lead generation software available. Some of the most popular rules include:

  • Exit-Intent® Technology: Reduce site abandonment by showing your popup to people who are actively leaving your site.
  • Page-level TargetingPersonalize the user journey by showing your popup based on the content your customer is reading.
  • OnSite Retargeting®: Engage users by showing fresh campaigns to your site’s returning visitors.

These are only a few of the most popular options, though there are many others.
Looking for more detailed instructions on how a referral program popup works? Check out this helpful post: How to Create a Refer a Friend Form Popup (+ Template).
Otherwise, why not see it in action for yourself? Click below to start your 100% risk-free OptinMonster account today:
Create a Refer a Friend Popup!BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value)Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE! Click here to get started →
2. Add Referral Forms to Your Website
Another method of adding information about your referral program is with a simple referral form.
You can add these forms across your site so your customers can more easily refer friends to your business.
And you don’t need to overcomplicate this, either. Your refer a friend form can be as simple as:

  • Full Name
  • Email address of the referral (or the person making the referral)

The goal is to build a reliable network of people willing to be an ambassador for your business.
Once you’ve added a referral form to your site, you’ll be that much closer to doing so.
And the best tool for adding these forms to a WordPress site is WPForms:
wpforms homepagewpforms homepage
WPForms is the best form builder plugin for WordPress. It lets anyone create and embed stunning forms for their site FAST. This includes forms such as:

  • Contact
  • Payment
  • Survey
  • Newsletter
  • Registration

And much more, including referral forms.
Plus, WPForms comes with pre-made form templates and has a drag and drop visual editor. That means you can create your referral forms in just a few clicks (and seconds).
Once you’ve created the right form for your referral program, you’ll be able to easily embed your form on posts or pages across your website.
While a simple form will have more limited targeting rules than a popup, they’re still one of the best options for getting more referrals for your business.
Try out WPForms 100% risk-free today!
3. Run an Online Contest
Out of all the referral marketing ideas on this list, running an online contest will likely be the most exciting for your customers.
Online contests are one of the BEST ways to get more people involved in your referral program.
The process is simple:

  • Choose a prize your target audience will LOVE
  • Design a contest in a way that encourages people to share it
  • Watch your new leads pour in

There’s no need to re-invent the wheel on this one. Instead, online giveaways are a proven way to get more engagement from your word-of-mouth marketing.
What’s the easiest way to make these online contests? If you’re using WordPress, then the answer is definitely RafflePress:
RafflePress homepageRafflePress homepage
RafflePress is the best online contest and viral giveaway plugin for WordPress. It doesn’t require any coding, and this tool makes it ridiculously simple to create contests in minutes.
The reason why it’s so perfect for your referral program is that it was designed to create viral contests.
That’s because you can award “entry tickets” for people to complete different actions.
So you might allow 1 entry ticket to someone if they read a blog post, another if they give their email address, and another if they share the contest with a friend.
That means your ONE candidate can have THREE entry tickets for the same contest.
This is a massive incentive for your contest participants to share your online giveaway. And as a result, you’re looking at many more referrals for your business.
Ready to see how easy it is for yourself? Get started with RafflePress today!
4. Create an Affiliate Program
One of the easiest things you can do to get more referrals is to start an affiliate program.
This is essentially like a managed referral program where you turn your audience into ambassadors.
The only difference? People recommending your product won’t necessarily be your customers.
Instead, they’ll be bloggers or content creators who find that your product is the best solution for a problem that their audience has.
Here’s how it works:

  • You give your audience a special link (called an affiliate link)
  • Your new partner creates content about your product using their special link
  • People click on your partner’s affiliate link and purchase your produce
  • You give a small commission of the sale to your affiliate partner

The process is simple, but the setup can be tedious.
That’s why we recommend using an affiliate manager like Easy Affiliate:
easy affiliate homepageeasy affiliate homepage
Easy Affiliate is the best “all-in-one” affiliate program plugin for WordPress. It allows anyone to create an affiliate program for their WordPress site without needing any technical experience.
With this tool, you’ll have helpful features like:

  • Affiliate dashboards
  • Real-time reports
  • Fraud detection
  • Ecommerce integrations
  • One-click payouts
  • No transaction fees
  • And much more…

This allows you to create and reward your affiliate partners in a matter of minutes.
And the result? You can get more people referring your business through their blog posts, web pages, emails, and more.
Learn more about Easy Affiliate today!
5. Try Social Gifting Referrals
The term “social gifting” is exactly what it sounds like: encouraging your social media following to purchase products as gifts for their network.
In many cases, you’d reward both parties involved with an incentive (usually in the form of a discount).
But that’s not always the case. Often people are more than happy to give their friends discounts or freebies just for the satisfaction of doing so.
The point is that if you’re trying to boost your word-of-mouth marketing efforts and get more referrals, social media is one of the best ways to do it.
It’s a marketing channel that’s better suited for sharing than any other, including blog posts, emails, PPC ads, and so on.
Still trying to grow your social media following? Why not consider leveraging your current website traffic to send more people to your social profiles?
For that, there’s no better tool than Smash Balloon:
Smash Balloon HomepageSmash Balloon Homepage
Smash Balloon is the world’s leading social media feed plugin for WordPress. It allows you to add social media feeds from:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook (pages and groups)
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

But you may be wondering, “How will adding a social media feed help me get more referrals?”
One thing that many marketers miss is combining their website traffic and social media strategy.
When you have social media feeds on your website, you can expose more people to your referral program’s posts. This will redirect more users to your social profiles and lead to benefits like MORE:

  • Time spent on your website
  • Followers on your social channels
  • Successful referrals

Plus, Smash Balloon is incredibly simple to use. You can customize and embed your social walls in just a few clicks with no technical skills required.
Sound too good to be true? Why not see for yourself and get started with Smash Balloon today!
6. Add a Referral Email to Your Welcome Series
One of the biggest benefits of email marketing is that your campaigns can be automated.
But one of the downsides with automation is that we sometimes forget to make updates to campaigns that are “good enough.”
With just a few minutes, though, you can add a referral email to your new subscriber’s welcome series.
That means any new customers you get will go through an automated email campaign that includes information about your referral program.
This is low-hanging fruit when it comes to boosting your referral marketing strategy. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend hours crafting this email.
Instead, add a simple email that outlines the terms of your referral program and gives links to a referral landing page (which we’ll cover in a second).
Need some help creating your email series? Check out this in-depth resource: How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign (Step-by-Step).
7. Build a Referral Landing Page
This tip might be the last referral marketing idea on the list, but it’s certainly not the least effective.
That’s because landing pages have been shown to increase conversions, which makes sense.
Landing pages are great because they allow you to focus your user’s attention on a single call to action (CTA). This is different than other pages on your site that may have multiple CTAs (such as your homepage, for example).
You should take a few minutes to create a landing page that outlines the benefits of using your referral program. Here’s a quick glimpse at OptinMonster’s affiliate program page:
optinmonsters affiliate program pageoptinmonsters affiliate program page
But now you might be nervous that you don’t have the technical skills to create a custom referral landing page.
Or maybe you’ve got the skills, but you don’t have the time.
Either way, you won’t have any issues if you’re working with the right tool. And the tool you need is SeedProd:
SeedProd landing page creation tool homepage-minSeedProd landing page creation tool homepage-min
SeedProd is the #1 landing page builder for WordPress. It lets you build all kinds of landing pages, such as:

  • Sales
  • Coming soon
  • Optin
  • Maintenance
  • Webinar
  • And much more (including referral program pages)…

The great thing about SeedProd, though, is that you don’t need any coding or design skills to build professional pages in minutes.
This tool has a drag and drop visual editor, so you can add new features and functions in just a few clicks. Plus, you can integrate SeedProd with your favorite marketing tools for even higher conversions.
Over time, you can also improve your landing page by adding social proof, testing headlines, embedding videos, and much more.
The point is that by building a dedicated page for your referral program, you’ll focus your visitors’ attention on a single CTA.
Ultimately, this will lead to more referrals for your business.
And that’s it for today! These have been 7 of the best referral marketing ideas that you can start using today.
Create a Refer a Friend Popup!BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value)Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE! Click here to get started →
We hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, then you’ll definitely want to check out the following resources:

These posts will have even more information on how you can build your online presence, get more referrals, and drive more revenue for your business!

Nathan Thompson

Published by Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson is a father, a writer, and a lover of travel (in that order). When he’s not wrestling with his kids, you’ll likely find Nathan giving his eyes a much-needed break from screens with a good book or planning a family trip with his awesome wife.