If you’ve been in business for more than 10 minutes, you’re already familiar with the maxim “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

And you know your ecommerce store customers… but you don’t know their friends.


Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful ways to capitalize on the “who you know” phenomenon. Luckily, you don’t have to sit back and wait for the magic to happen.

You can transform your existing customers into willing, loving salespeople just by offering them more of what they already love: your products!

Today’s simple tip is all about referral discounts, AKA incentives for your devoted customers to tell their friends about you.

Keep reading to see how to do it right (plus swipe an email template that you can start using right away).

How to ask for a referral

Referral requests don’t need to be long or complicated. You’ve only got to do three things:

  1. Thank your customer
  2. Clearly explain what he’ll get when he refers customers (and, if applicable, what those new friends will get)
  3. Give him an easy way to go ahead and do it!

In fact, you don’t even have to write a dedicated referral-ask email. You can work a referral ask into one of your regular ol’ email newsletters.

So when’s the right time to pop the question?

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know…

When to ask for a referral

Technically, you can ask for a referral right away — like in your receipt email for the customer’s first purchase.

There’s nothing stopping you. And you might see some new customers from it.

But personally, I recommend waiting to send a referral-ask email until the customer comes back for their second (or third, or fourth) purchase.

Why? Well, you’ll know they really like your store and that their first purchase wasn’t a fluke. That means that when they DO refer their friends to you, the language they use is likely to be more persuasive and genuine.

… Which means more referral sales, more loyal repeat customers, and (say it with me now) more beautiful revenue.

Why do referrals work so well?

Simply put, we trust referrals from our friends because we trust our friends. So don’t underestimate the value of a few whispers or email forwards or social shares here and there.

“Ey Jimmy, you gotta try this new sushi place I found”

Plus, referral discounts play a double role in ramping up your revenue. Along with bringing you excited, brand-new referral customers, they encourage the referring customer to make more purchases once they get their reward.

Talk about a win-win!

Swipe this friendly referral email copy template, if you please

Subject line: You’re the best! Here’s [DISCOUNT $ OR %] off your next order


Thanks so much for being a fan of [STORE NAME]. We’re pretty big fans of yours, too.

Got a second to share your love for us? Use the links below to refer your friends and followers to [STORE NAME], and you’ll get [DISCOUNT $ OR %] off your next order!

[Social Share Buttons]

Stay awesome,
Your friends at [STORE NAME]

(P.S. If you use that template, leave a comment and let me know how it works for you?)