Are you seeking a form of marketing that can x10 your customer base as well as increase customer lifetime value at the lowest costs? And you found referral marketing as a solution to your pain points? 

Yes, it’s true that referral programs have long been considered as an effective growth hacking method. But the fact is: for referral programs to help us get more customers and boost sales, potential customers need to be aware of your referral program’s existence first.

Quite challenging, huh? Don’t worry! Let us walk you through 11+ referral program best practices, and you will know how to promote referral program in the blink of an eye!

The fact (of new referral programs) is…

Sadly, Referral programs don’t promote themselves. 

This common knowledge makes small and new-to-market businesses entangled in an unproductive loop:

You use the referral program as a solution to expand the customer network > not promoting or promoting it in the wrong way > only a few consumers ever heard of your referral program > back to the starting point: a poor customer base.

We told a true story. Have you ever heard of the Airbnb referral program booming? Do you know what Gustaf Alströmer, the former head of growth at Airbnb, talked about their very first referral program? 

“Our biggest problem was that it wasn’t promoted. Most people on the site, and even the people who were employees never heard of it.” That’s what he said. No matter how big your company is, referral program promotion is a must to reach more potential customers.

For it to be successful, a referral program must satisfy the following formula: referral success = awareness + conversions

Do you want conversions? Overcome the awareness first! Just so you know, the more consumers know about your offerings, the higher chance of achieving desired results from your referral program.

Below we show you how to promote referral program effectively.

Well-prepared for Successful Referral Program Promotions

1. Attractive refer a friend discount ideas

64% of consumers say that rewards impact how much they spend.

Thus, before heading out to promote your referral program, make sure you’ve evaluated enough types of referral program incentives to choose one that best fits your business resources and appeals to your target customers.

Rewards play a vital role in enhancing the willingness of brand ambassadors to share your brand with others.

You can refer to a few pros and cons of the following refer a friend discount ideas to pick the best option:

1-sided for referrer1-sided for referee2-sided incentivesNo incentives
ProsImprove customer engagement & brand loyalty.Encourage a prospect to become a customer. Give both sides of customers a reason to join your referral program. Save costs. Earn qualified customers (who aren’t drawn into rewards). 
ConsThe business doesn’t seem authentic. Cannot motivate current customers to promote your brand for you (cause they don’t see any benefits).It may generate more costs because you have to reward both parties. Lack of motivation. People don’t find the reason why they should share your brand with friends. 
Best forFor new companies who are on a tight budget & sell affordable products. Stores that use subscription models, frequent purchases, or are considered luxury purchases.All business types with fundamental resources to incentivize both referrers & referees. Companies can’t afford rewarding people or have an exclusive/ luxury product line.

2. Good product quality and customer service

You know, no one is willing to share a piece of cake that they find not delicious, right? Even in case you haven’t come up with an attractive reward strategy, good product quality and enthusiastic support will make customers give you an A+.

Customer support flat  illustration Free Vector

Once a customer is satisfied with your products, the chances of them returning to purchase are higher. At this point, with just a little CTA on your site about joining the referral program, they are bound to share your brand with friends and relatives to receive discount codes for future orders.

Moreover, brand advocates who spread a good brand don’t feel as guilty as when introducing a poor quality product to their acquaintances.

Third, both referrers & referees feel safe knowing they have a customer care team ready to answer their questions at any time.

For the above 3 reasons, you should spend time refining to show a professional referral program in your store. A separate referral page showing some short content, outstanding images and a brilliant CTA would be a good idea, right?

If you're selling on Shopify, let's install BLoop Referrals & Rewards to visualize your wished referral program.

3. A number of potential leads & customer pools

After increasing product quality, building dedicated customer care, and offering appealing rewards for your referral program, you need to gain a list of existing customers or leads.

It will be easier if you already have a group of customers to promote your referral program link. Existing customers will tend to refer to their friends because they have bought from you before and know how good the product is.

Even if you don’t have a pre-existing customer base or that base is too small to help your business drive more sales, you can still find potential audiences at your competitor’s store, on social channels, marketplaces, or forums. Don’t hesitate to get as much customer information as possible.

Want to reinforce your referral marketing? Read the best referral marketing practices to achieve it!

11+ Best Practises: How to Promote Referral Program

As there are many ways to serve the how-to promote a referral program, we divide it into 5 main channels with specific actions for each. From here, you can segment campaigns and analyze which one contributes the most:

1. On-site referral program promotions.
2. Email marketing.
3. Social media.
4. Teaching customers how to promote referral program effectively.
5. Paid marketing.

On-site referral program promotions

Survival tip: Create as many touchpoints as possible.

1. Leverage a referral popup to promote referral program to All visitors

Yes, we literally mean it. The referral program has long been considered as one of growth-hacking tools that help expand the customer network at a fast pace.  

To maximize its efficiency, we highly recommend you to show it as a popup at the corner of your Shopify store. That place would raise the chance of customers noticing and joining your program. This, thereby, enhances the spreading potential of your brand. 


The reward costs can be considered as an initial investment. 

2. Create a referral page and insert its URL to prominent places

Referral popup strikes the eyes of customers first, but a referral page empowers your marketing strategies and is easier to spread out. 

Just a small example: You want to promote your referral program via email, do you prefer inserting a link to your referral page or one to your home page? Which one will be more oriented? 

  • Option 1: Customers can directly click the link and visit your referral page. There is no distraction for sure. 
  • Option 2: Customers are redirected to your home page, and they have to look around and find the referral popup at the bottom of your store. 

Yes, a referral popup is great for people coming to your store by chance, and a referral page is great for marketing campaigns. You can choose both or one of them depending on your referral program’s orientation.

And the best Shopify referral app should be able to cover the two of them. 

BLoop Referrals & Rewards app helps you achieve that. Freely design and launch a referral page and popup on your store. You can choose which one you want to show to match with your own strategies. You should try BLoop to build a powerful referral program at no cost.  

You can choose some of these places on-site to insert the referral page URL to:

  • Header & footer menu, your navigation bar.
  • Sticky promotion bar.
  • Linking in related blogs. 

3. Promote your referral program on conversion pages of your store

Also, try to introduce your referral program on converting pages of your store, where the customers clearly know and use your products. 

For example, you can add a CTA to join the program on the post-purchase page (where they’ve just placed an order) or customer dashboard (if any). 

How to promote referral program by Email marketing 

Survival tip: 

  • Reach out to your existing customers first, or a collection of leads to invite them to register your referral program.
  • Don’t stick to a type of email content; instead, conduct A/B testing to see how your customers react and choose the best CTA. 

4. Notify all customers about your referral program

If you have run your business for a while and collected a set of customers, don’t hesitate to encourage them to share your brand and earn rewards.

Since they’ve already purchased from you, they are a terrific source of referrals. They are more inclined to promote your products to friends if they enjoyed your brand.

Furthermore, the incentive may persuade them to make another buy.

A massive way to do that is by sending them an invitation email with the referral page URL attached. That’s why we always suggest our clients (both old and new) install a referral app that can create a page. It serves marketing purposes well. 

The BLoop Referrals app facilitates this process. It auto-creates a referral page link, and you can just simply paste it into your email content. The link is formatted as yourdomain/pages/referral-program. You can go to Pages of Shopify admin to find it. 


Your invitation email should flow like this: 

> Introduction: Tell them that you’ve launched a referral program 

> Description: Highlight your program benefits, what they can get if joining it 

> Instruction: Guide them on how to join it 

> CTA element: Insert a JOIN NOW button to call them to action. 


How easy it is!

5. Keep testing the effectiveness of your email campaign

Our big advice is to test as much as possible. Stick to a content type would never be a good idea. 

Let’s assume you have a group of contacts that you want to send emails to. 

  • Segment them to smaller groups like 10 20 30 … contacts. 
  • Send a different email to each of those groups: Vary your subject line, email description & delivery time.
  • Personalize your email: Use merge tags to make customers feel more special.   

Then you can choose the email at the most performance!

6. Try to mention your referral program in other newsletters

Surely you will use email marketing to engage with your customers regularly. So, how to promote referral program? Add a CTA to your referral page in related newsletters. It helps tell people about what you’re running. 

7. Add the referral program link to specific touchpoints in emails

In case you want to boost the referral program as the strongest campaign in your store, let’s insert a short widget to your business email signature & order confirmation email.

Referral program promotions on Social Channels

Survival tip: The post on social media should

  • Stay short, on-point and intriguing and include benefits.
  • Be up in the golden time (for more reactions).
  • Use happy icons and images.

8. Post about your refera-friend program on social media

Aside from email marketing, where else can you impress audiences? Exactly, we’re talking about social media.

Running an eCommerce business, you’re definitely aware that social networking is an effective marketing tool. Therefore, you’ve most likely established a sizable following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other channels.

Make use of them!

Via those channels, inform your followers that you’ve launched a new referral program and urge them to participate. Want others to share your brand? Share it first!

Your social post should be concise and inviting, as SNS users tend to surf briefly. Strive to grab their attention in less than 3 seconds. 

 What must be included in your social post:

  • An impressive headline 

Ex: Hooray ⚡️ Our Referral Program is OUT NOW! ⚡️

or  🔥 New way to save: Join our referral program to Get 20%! 🎁

  • Short descriptions that offer the benefit of joining and how to register:

Ex: Make your earnings 2x by Referring your friends to [storename]. Simply leave your email to get a unique sharing link and invite your friends. 

  • Your referral link with a CTA.

Ex: Register Now storename/pages/referral program.

  • Hashtag (optional)

Ex: #referralprogram #referral #joinus #ReferAFriend #ReferandEarn 

  • Image.

Educating your customers on how to promote referral program

Survival tip: Tell your customer how to promote your referral program effectively

  • Share the link on your profile and on social media (yes, the easiest way).
  • Send to acquaintances via email.
  • Make a note of it in the comments section of your YouTube (or Facebook) videos.
  • Mention your referral program on a permanent page, such as a website or blog.

9. Guide customers on how to promote a referral program

When a customer registers your referral program, one of the most common blunders merchants make is assuming he/ she knows how to share their referral link.

Your advocate will, in fact, be asking you the same questions: What is the best way for me to share my referral link with others?

Thus, suggest the advocates some fixed words so they don’t have to think about what to say. Plus, it helps them speak your brand voice louder. 

BLoop app allows you to customize your own sharing messages on each channel. You can change the content on Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp so ambassadors can use that to wow their friends. 

This way, brand advocates won’t have a headache, while you can enhance your brand identity through your words.

How to educate your customers to promote your referral program?

Create a blog post that teaches advocates smart sharing tactics, so they can benefit from your referral program. Once they see the benefits, they will be more eager to invite others to your program and both of you can earn more. 

Make sure the blog post can show the referrer step-by-step on how to promote referral programs.

You don’t have enough resources to deliver a long article? Then simply attach bullet points in your promotion emails that give customers some pieces of advice on how/ when/ where/ who they can share the program to. 

Shot a brief, make a big leap. By teaching customers how to promote referral program, they will bring you a fortune. 

Joining the paid game

Survival tip: Small businesses shouldn’t overuse paid marketing. Check your budget regularly, and closely monitor your ads campaigns.  

10. Run advertising

Define where your customer pool is. This is important to maximize the rate of potential advocates spotting your referral program. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else that the majority of your customers search for shopping?

If you figure out which channel, focus on running ads there.  

Google Adwords & Facebook ads are 2 mostly-used paid methods. 

Google Adwords

This is not the article about how to make the most of Google Adwords, but about how to promote referral program. What we try to say is just make sure that long-tail keyword research must be done with caution, and the message must be clear.

“Give 20% & Earn 20% by joining our referral program!” for example.

Maintain consistency between your message and the content of the referral page to which you’ll direct visitors. It gives you a better chance of getting high conversion rates since customers will get what they expected when clicking the ad.

Facebook Ads 

A clever idea about how to promote referral program is running Facebook ads. 


Let’s build a lookalike audience by entering the email addresses of your existing clients. That way, your ads will likely reach individuals who have similar interests to your customers, which will resonate with their buying behaviors.

Jon Loomer, a Facebook advertising guru, concluded that “People are more likely to perform an action if a friend did, too!” That implies you have a chance to work with the friends of your Facebook fans.

Although the audience has been bound to engage with your content, it would be best if you add some layers to ensure that your advertising sticks to their preferences.

11. Invite influencers for your referral program promotions

Influencers have a large number of social media followers and may put a significant impact on your referral program if they tell followers about your brand. With their experience, influencers know how to promote referral program effectively. 

Invite influencers to join your referral program to help you make this sort of impact. They may charge fees for spreading out your name, but it is worth working with them. 

In a Nutshell…

Working with multiple store owners, we notice that although they are small businesses and all installed the same referral app, let’s say BLoop Referrals & Rewards, some successfully increased their referral rate while others didn’t. 

What was the distinction? The difference was that those with a booming referral program finally got around to incorporating their referral program into their overall marketing strategy.

Overall, how to promote referral program? To cut it short, they inserted a link in their store’s navigation bar, highlighted it in their monthly marketing emails, and shared it on their popular account.

The moral of the story is clear: If you’ve set up a referral program and craving recommendations, promote it to skyrocket the number of people who know about it. 

Fortunately, once you launch a referral program and start marketing it, it should run itself then.

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