With the explosion of digital marketing channels, the opportunities for referral marketing have become virtually limitless. The only problem is implementing a referral program is easier said than done.

Word of mouth isn’t a guaranteed customer response no matter the quality of your product or service. So in order to leverage its power for driving traffic and sales, you need to implement a creative campaign for your brand.

Referral Marketing Examples

Many brands have successfully run referral marketing campaigns each in their own creative way, including Airbnb, Dropbox and UBER. Take a closer look at their individual approaches.


The travel accommodations site has mastered the art of referral marketing with its two-way incentive program. Its campaign rewards both the referrer and the recipient with $25 credit when the recipient completes their first trip. The referrer would also be eligible for $75 if the recipient hosts someone. This motivates both existing and new Airbnb users to spread the word.

AirBNB referrals


Dropbox increased its sign-ups by 60% through referrals. How they did it was simple. They rewarded every successful referral with free cloud storage space – 500 MB for free account and 1GB for premium users. Since each user can invite up to 32 people, they can earn up to 32GB of extra space.


The cab and ride sharing app has incorporated referral marketing in their mobile model, incentivising both referrers and recipients with free rides. An UBER user gets a referral code that they can share with a friend, and both get a free ride after the recipient takes their first ride. The referral model is also open to drivers.

Implementing Referral Marketing

Implementing your own referral strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it is very important that you make it easy for your customers to talk about and share their buying experience. Here are some tactics you can operate today to increase your referrals and sales.

  1. Make your product or brand experience share-worthy

There are many ways to do this. You can wow your customers with creative packaging, for instance, so that their unboxing experience would be share-worthy. You can also just include a nice thank-you note in the parcel. If their package makes for a great photo, there’s a huge chance that it will show up on their Instagram or other social media profiles.

But don’t limit it to the product. Make sure you also provide exceptional customer service and a pleasant overall buying experience, both in-store and online. Look at it from a customer perspective and evaluate how your business fares in terms of those two fundamental criteria.

  1. Make your referral program noticeable

Again, make it as easy as possible for customers to refer your brand. Maybe place your ‘Refer’ button in an easy-to-locate spot on your website. Then make sure it only takes a few clicks to complete a referral, say, by pre-populating a message box so the customers don’t have to think of one. Check out this great example from MeUndies.

MeUndies referral program

  1. Tap influencers

To amplify your reach, capitalise on influencers within your niche whose following is similar to your target market. Influencers can be anyone – a blogger, a serial Instagrammer or someone who has a YouTube channel. Reach out to them and ask if they do sponsored postings and if they are interested in reviewing your product. Chances are they would be happy to have something to post or make a video about.

If your budget can afford it, you can of course pay a celebrity or someone popular to your target audience. Either way, an influencer can bring significant referral traffic and sales for your brand.

  1. Track and measure

If you can track your referrals, it would be easy to evaluate the success of your campaign as well as identify the most effective tactics. With this knowledge, you can also work out a plan to acquire even more traffic. For instance, you can reach out to the sites that bring the most traffic and create a profit-sharing referral program with them or mention them in upcoming posts.

You can ask new customers how they discovered your website or who referred them, or you can also use tools such as Google Analytics to pinpoint other sites that are linking and referring people to you.


Referral marketing is the absolute best marketing tactic. But as referrals don’t manage themselves, you have to put in place some basic tactics to encourage positive word-of-mouth and facilitate the referral process. Take this extra step to drive brand awareness and sales through the roof.