The goal of any referral program is to get your customers to share you, and get their friends excited to see what you have to offer.

It’s the messaging you use that will help you achieve this. Your referral slogan will help drive customers in, and the referral message you have them share will help you earn quality leads.

Let’s discuss referral messages.

What is referral messaging?

To simply put it, referral messaging is what the customer’s friend will see on their end of the referral program. So it is the message shared from your customer to their friend that introduces them to your business.

This message is essentially the first point of contact this lead will have with your business. So it must accomplish a few things (we will cover those later). But as a general note, this message should be clear and convey who you are, and what you want. And is necessary for any functioning referral program.

Why is your referral message important?

As you can probably assume, this message is important because it is what will help you convince people to visit, try, or use your business.

This is your introduction. Literally, this gives the insight to people on who you are, what you’re offering. This also is a way for you to build your brand recognition. As you’ll likely include some key identifiers in your message.

It’s like a 30-second speed date! A referral program acts as a way for promotion and communication with your customers. And without the right message, your referral program can fail.

How to create the best referral message?

By now you’re probably placing together certain pieces that might belong in your referral messaging.

The biggest thing you should remember is to make sure your message provides value. The message itself should be short and to the point. People aren’t looking to thoroughly get to know you at this point. This just gives them a taste of what you can offer, and why your solution is of value to them. Your message should provoke them to want to check you out and learn more.

So when creating the best referral message, remember that your main goal is to address how you can be valuable to them.

Elements needed to create the best referral share messaging

Let’s cover what elements are needed to craft the best referral message possible.

Your company logo

It’s a no brainer, right? Talk about free advertising. When your customers share, if your logo is clearly visible it acts as an advertisement for your brand.

This is a good thing because even if the referral doesn’t go through on their end, become ingrained in their mind. These impressions can help you down the line. Because one day that referral might need your service, and you might come to mind first. Also, each time your logo is shared and seen you establish a connection that you might not have been able to make on your own.

What the offer is

This is your chance to reel them in with an offer they can’t refuse, whether that be a monetary reward or simply an introduction to your product.

Your message really should be all about what’s in it for the referral. It needs to cover why they should move forward with you.

Remember people get emails, social media messages and a variety of comments every day. So this is your chance to prove your worth.

If you are an eCommerce store, for example, you might lead with your offer and desired goal. For example, “$10 off your first purchase”. This covers what they get and what you want. Simple.

Who you are

Neat, your customer just shared you, but without a little insight, their friend will not have any idea who you are or what you do. So, this is your chance to give them a heads up. You can give them a general description then flow into the rest of your message.

Remember referrals may not have ever heard of you before, so they may need a little priming before they commit to buying.

Examples of referral messaging

Let’s dive into a few examples that cover all the elements we’ve covered.


Score: 3 out of 3. They have used 3 of the elements needed

The Evernote referral program is quite popular, and its referral message is simple. They do a good job at explaining who they are and what they are offering. They even cover who is introducing them to their product.

Let’s review their message.

“So-So has invited you to try Evernote.

Evernote is the one workspace that syncs across all of your devices. Individuals and teams all use it to organize to-do lists, share documents, and complete projects.

Sign up for Evernote today and both you and your friend will get a complimentary month of Evernote Premium”.

Here’s a breakdown of why it works.

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If you notice they have also used their logo to help ingrain their brand image. It’s nice to see the logo with the name of the company, it makes it a lot easier to remember down the road!

This brand is actually doing quite well, and have actually become one of the most well-known in their niche!


Score: 2 out of 3. They used 2 of the 3 elements needed, but the message still works

The Zulily referral program doesn’t necessarily offer an added reward to the referral, other than letting them in on where they can find good deals everyday.

Let’s take a further look at their referral message.




Zulily membership is your ticket to discovering fabulous treasures at amazing prices, every day of the week”.

Here’s why it works

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The real benefit of this program is hidden from the referral. The original Zulily customer will earn $15 for referring. But, this referral message still works because it lets the new customer in on who Zulily is and what to expect from them.


Score: 3 out of 3. They used 3 of the 3 elements needed and it really works

The Casper referral program works well because the product itself has been increasingly popular. So to combine that with a referral discount, the brand has been on a roll. The referral message is straightforward but also dives into a little more detail than some others.

Let’s see why the message works.



Casper makes outrageously comfortable sleep products, like an award-winning mattress, adaptive pillows, and even a bed for dogs. Use your friend’s referral link to get 10% off the

purchase of your first Casper mattress. Then, your friend will get a $75 Amazon Gift Card in

return. So you snooze, they snooze and everybody wins.”.

Here’s a breakdown of what works.

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You’ll also find that the message is followed by a clear call to action. Meaning the referral knows what to expect if they click the button to “shop now”.

Best practices

There are a few elements you should consider if you want to make a big punch. These ones can take your program to the next level but aren’t exactly necessary either. They are definitely important to consider, however.


Not needed, but can definitely make an impact (especially with social shares). You want to showcase who you are, and an image can do that for you. Remember you have just a split second to catch someone’s attention. So short text is key, but to make it pop, an image is necessary.

Your image can help keep your message relevant to your brand. And it can show off what potential customers are to expect.

In the Casper example, you may have noticed a small image. It’s a nice touch and alludes to the Casper cash/discount you can earn. But what you may not know is that it moves! Creating a great visual element for the overall aesthetic.

A tiny bit of personalization

Okay, so if your customer is sharing as a comment or as a status update on social media you can skip this as it would be difficult to personalize for a large group of people. And if the customer is sharing directly to someone’s page, it’s pretty evident who the message is aimed for (and it was personally put there).

But, when a customer sends a referral email from your program, you may want to include a bit of personalization.

You may want to mention the customer’s name, as well as the referrals name. This makes the message seem less mass email like, and more direct.

For example, you might say…

“Hey Jessica,

Your friend, Rueban, thought you’d like our pool cleaning service. Here’s a coupon for a free filter change and pool sweep”.

As you can see there is personalization along with the offer. Winning combo!

Or make the message from the customer themselves

Instead of doing the talking for the customer, make the message seem like it’s directly from them.

You may find that when using “me”, “my”, and “I” are more effective for you. Instead of saying your friend, like in the example above you could change it so that your customer Rueban is doing the talking.

“Hey Jessica,

I wanted to share Pool Paradise with you. I use them for doing my pool’s deep clean, and I think you’d like them to help with your pool too. Here’s a coupon for a free filter change and pool sweep, if you want to give them a try”.

This covers all the key elements but does so in the voice of your customer. This can also keep your customer’s accountable as a customer as they will feel more inclined to match the statements being said (AKA continue to be a customer!).

Finish with a call to action

Many businesses forget to tell the customers their next. So if you want people to click through, make sure you make it clear what their next action should be.

In the examples above, each used different wording to convey their message. But, the reader knew exactly the next step to take. Making it a successful referral message closing.

As many marketers will say, your call to action is important for increasing conversion rates.

Perfect your referral message

If you want a referral program that works, you’re going to have to put in the work. The biggest thing we should mention, is that no matter how hard you try, becoming viral shouldn’t be your expectation.

Yes, a referral program will help you grow, and part of that has to do with your referral messaging. But, your program will only do well, based on how well your business is beforehand. As a healthy business is the only way a referral program can truly take off (regardless of how awesome your messaging is).