Top 10 Referral Program Ideas To Attract Customers In 2024

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With hundreds and thousands of businesses in every niche and a crowded marketplace, it’s not easy to stand out. That’s why smart businesses are turning to old advertising methods and aligning them with new marketing methods such as referral program ideas. 

Referral programs are one of these methods that use the power of satisfied customers to boost brand awareness and loyalty. In this article, we will show you how it works and introduce you to the best referral program ideas to try. 

So, if you want to turn your brand advertising to the next level and try new effective strategies, referral programs are what you need. 

What Is A Referral Program?

A referral program is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that encourages customers to talk about your brand and engage others. In this program, customers share their experiences and opinion with friends, family, etc instead of writing reviews. 

Also in most cases, customers are provided with unique referral links or codes to share with their contacts. When someone uses their referral link and becomes a new customer, both the referrer and the new customer often receive rewards or incentives. So, it can be a new form of local advertising that benefits brands. 

In the next sections, we will explore the benefits of referral programs and dive into 20 creative referral program ideas that can help businesses unlock their full potential.

Why are referral programs important?

Before talking about customer referral program ideas for brand advertising, you need to know why this program is important and how it can benefit your business. The best way to check the effectiveness is by looking at some case studies:

  • According to a study by The New York Times, 65 percent of companies’ new business comes from referrals.
  • Based on a study done by Nielsen, “84% of people see referrals as the most trusted and influential form of advertising”.
  • Another study done by Saas Quatch in 2019, showed that referred customers spend 13.2% more on average than non-referred customers.

Overall, referral programs can increase your business leads and help you get new customers. 

Top 10 Referral Program Ideas

Looking for the best ways for business advertisement? Referral programs help you grow your customers organically with loyal users. Here are some of the best referral program ideas in 2024. 

1. Create a Referral Contest

If you are not on a budget, one of the coolest patient referral program ideas is running a contest and rewarding your audience. You can ask your customers to recommend your business and in return, have a chance to win a large prize.

If you are a small business, you have the flexibility to set prices based on your budget. However, it is highly beneficial to invest in improving your business. Make sure to add a deadline for your contest. 

2. Set A Time Limit To Create A Sense Of Urgency 

One of the best customer referral program ideas is adding a time limit for your audience to create a sense of urgency. For example, you can only offer a discount for a day for the first 50 people that visit your website. You can even spice things up by increasing the gist for the first hours or the first users who try it. 

3. Offer Free Upgrade Products Or Services

If your business is offering a service that has multiple upgrading packs, you can offer a free upgrade instead of free gifts. One of the best examples of this client referral program was what Dropbox did. In their referral program, this platform rewarded customers with additional storage space ( 500 MB of space for each successful referral). 

4. Offer A Free Surprise Gift

While running referral contests, you need to make sure to mention the prize clearly, so everyone knows what they are participating in. However, for some excitement, you can sometimes engage your customers with surprise rewards. 

If you are having a new product launch, you can find your top referrals and send them some of the new products for test. After a while, you can ask them for their feedback and share it on your social media accounts.

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5. Give Store Credits

Have you ever faced websites that ask you for referral links while signing up? One of the best referral program ideas is giving store credits to referrals whenever someone made a purchase or signs up from their link. 

This method is similar to affiliate programs and is one of the proven advertisement ideas that many brands are using.

6. Offer Service Discounts 

Another useful gift you can consider for your client referral programs is offering discount codes. It can be a discount on their next purchase, the service they are already using, or a new offer for the package they haven’t tried till now. 

7. DonateTo A Charity In A Customer’s Name

Another great idea for your referral marketing program that also shows your social responsibility is donating money to charities. This is one of the referral program ideas that really depends on the type of your audience.  

This action can motivate your customers to refer others and introduce your business with a great purpose. That’s because customers feel good about supporting a business that gives back and it will enhance their loyalty and advocacy.

8. Reach Out To The Ones Promoting You 

You might find some customers with an established audience already promoting your name for free. So, it’s a perfect opportunity to reach out to them and ask them to join your referral program if they like. 

You can check your name on social media platforms once in a while and search hashtags to see any content related to your brand. You can also ask these creators to become your brand ambassadors or influencers

9. Collect Referrals On Your Website

If you have a website for your business, you can offer a submission form in order to collect customers’ reviews and referrals. 

As a business owner, implementing a B2B referral program ideas can greatly benefit your company. One effective idea is to create a user-friendly submission form using tools like Jotform and include your contact details. This approach allows you to not only gather valuable customer feedback but also enables them to effortlessly add and share the contact information of potential referrals. 

10. Collect And Re-share Positive Feedback

Are you familiar with reputation management tools? Using these tools you can check what users are saying about your brand all over the internet and in different social media platforms. You can collect this feedback and referrals and share the positive ones on your page to build trust for your brand. Here are some of the best tools:

  • NiceJob: A reputation marketing software that turns your customers into vocal fans to grow your local business
  • Birdeye: With this tool, you can effortlessly collect reviews, engage with customers, and grow sales.
  • Podium: Manage all of your communication(from reviews to calls to text marketing, payments, and more) with this tool.

Influencer Marketing: A New Face of Referral Programs

With the rise of social media, influencers try to establish a seamless connection between brands and their desired target audience. Influencer marketing provides an effective way for brands/businesses to tap into the trust and loyalty audience established by these influencers. But how to find influencers in your niche for referral programs?

One of the best influencer marketing platforms for finding your industry creators, with more than 500,000 active influencers across Instagram and TikTok is Ainfluencer. Ainfluencer serves as a bridge between brands and influencers, helping you establish collaborations that drive referrals and boost business growth. 


Referral programs are a game-changer when it comes to attracting new customers and boosting your business growth. By using and planning the right referral program ideas for your business, you can turn your satisfied customers into brand advocates. 

In this article, we’ve shown you some of the best referral program ideas for employees to help grow a business organically. 


1. How Do I Get Started With A Referral Program? 

To start a referral program, define your program goals, decide on the incentives or rewards, establish clear guidelines, and determine how you will track and measure referrals. Then, promote your customer referral program through various channels and make it easy for customers to participate.

2. Can Referral Programs Work For Any Business? 

Yes, referral programs can be effective for businesses of all sizes and industries. However, it’s essential to tailor your client referral programs to your specific audience and industry to maximize its impact.

3. How Can I Encourage Customers To Participate In My Referral Program? 

If you want to encourage your audience. You can try some employee referral program ideas. Offer valuable incentives, make the referral process simple and convenient, communicate the benefits of participating, and regularly remind customers about the program. Additionally, providing exceptional products or services will naturally motivate customers to refer others.


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