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Referral card examples: Foster customer loyalty

Referral cards are a great way to do word-of-mouth marketing. They help spread the word about your services or products. They do this by leveraging the trust between customers. This article will dive into some of ...

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Referral cards are a great way to do word-of-mouth marketing. They help spread the word about your services or products. They do this by leveraging the trust between customers.

This article will dive into some of the best referral card examples. You’ll learn how to create referral cards to boost customer loyalty and attract new clients.

Whether you’re a small startup or a well-established company, these examples will give you the fundamentals you need to improve your referral strategy.

Let’s discover it!

What Is A Referral Card And How Does It Work?

A referral card, whether in physical or digital form, acts as a tool to enhance your brand’s visibility. It leverages the power of word-of-mouth.

It motivates customers or employees to tell their friends and family about your business by offering rewards. These rewards can be discounts, money, or free things, which makes it appealing for both the person who shares and the one who gets recommended.

Digital messages are easily overlooked. But, a referral card is tangible and visually engaging. This makes it more likely to capture attention.

Physical cards can be saved. Digital referral cards benefit from graphics’ appeal over text.

By spending time on your referral card design, you ensure it catches people’s eyes.

Referral cards help happy customers share about your business. They do this by giving them a physical or digital push with rewards.

This way, you get your brand out there and encourage new customers. It makes your marketing more personal and effective than traditional online advertising.

Best Referral Card Examples

Now, let’s move to some of the best referral card examples. These top picks will inspire your own designs.

Standard referral cards


Beautycounter is a famous beauty and skincare brand. It uses referral cards to get more customers. These cards often accompany purchases or are handed out during in-store events.

They give referral cards to friends who help the business grow. They send thank-you cards to their long-time customers to show thanks.

referral card examples 1

Looks Salon and Spa

This is a unisex hair salon chain that boasts over 95 branches both in the country and abroad.

Referrals are crucial for salon business success. The Looks Salon & Spa offers gift cards in personalized greeting cards, which are available for online purchase via Treat.

referral card examples 2

Postcard as a referral card

Fleet Feet

Fleet Feet is a global sportswear retailer from California. It has about 170 locations worldwide. It is improving its referral program with eye-catching postcards.

These postcards remind current customers of their connection to the brand. They also entice new ones who get the cards from friends. This boosts the program’s success through appealing and memorable design.

referral card examples 3

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club is an American warehouse club. It is membership-based and offers many products, including electronics, home goods, and groceries.

They incentivize referrals by giving gift cards to customers. They give cards to both new and existing members who get referred. This method is effective because it ensures the incentives are spent within Sam’s Club, making it more beneficial than cash rewards.

referral card examples 4

Referral card in email


Uber is renowned for its ride-sharing and food delivery services, like Uber Eats.

To promote its fresh fruit delivery service, Uber leverages email referral cards featuring the vibrant Uber Eats logo. The cards are visually appealing. They include promo codes. The codes simplify signup and encourage new user referrals.

referral card examples 5


Postable usually sends personalized cards for holidays and events. It promotes its referral card program through emails with clear illustrations.

The emails are short. They explain how to earn money by inviting friends. They have a “Learn more” button for extra details.

referral card examples 6

Referral card for community


Vena uses community referral cards in its referral program. It allows individuals to earn by referring customers to Vena’s products.

Such individuals can make charitable donations via referrals. The community-focused approach helps Vena expand its business and create social impact.

referral card examples 7

Inner City Library

Inner City Library received gift cards from a related referral program. The program holder allows existing customers to refer new ones and gives the project a $200 gift card for each successful referral.

referral card examples 8

Referral cards for employee


Booking.com is a popular site for reserving accommodations. They are available in many countries and languages, so they require a lot of customer service representatives.

They use their employee referral program to facilitate the recruitment. They enable employees to post job openings on social media and receive credit for clicks. Employees can also make referrals through email or face-to-face. Also, they raise bonuses for more in-demand positions.

The brand received great results through this channel. In 2015, 41% of customer service representatives in the US were hired through referrals. Employees hired through referrals stay 12% longer and are 9% more engaged.

referral card examples 9


Google taps into the power of employee networks through referral programs and referral cards. In their forms, they ask Googlers specific questions related to the hiring roles. They also raise their referral bonuses from $2000 to $4000.

It makes their employees bring many more referrals. Then, it helps them boost the number of referrals by more than one-third.

referral card examples 10

What are Common Types of Referral Cards?

  • Referral business cards

Business cards that also act as referral cards are a popular choice in the traditional paper format.

On the front, they usually display striking colors and a noticeable logo of your brand. The reverse side provides details about the referral program. It includes instructions on how to refer customers and the types of rewards they can get.

People often use business cards to help customers recall a store’s contact info or appointment. But they can also act as referral cards.

This approach turns normal recommendations among friends into effective advertising. Businesses can use word-of-mouth marketing well. They can do this by putting referral program details on their business cards.

Happy customers share good experiences or great products. They do so with their friends. They often give out these special business cards. It’s a simple method to attract new leads.

You’re telling your customers about the referral program. And giving them a tool to spread the word.

The cards also act as a reminder. It increases the likelihood of your business being remembered and recommended.

  • Employee referral forms

Employee referral forms empower you to leverage your current team to expand your business. Offering a referral bonus to employees encourages them to recommend your services or vacancies to prospective customers.

When these contacts engage with your business or apply for a job, presenting the referral card simplifies the process. In this case, the referrals trust the employees have a deep understanding of the company. So, the method is swift and budget-friendly.

Your employees are potential referral sources. They have firsthand knowledge about your products and services. They can convincingly introduce your business, highlighting what differentiates you from competitors.

To maximize the effectiveness of employee referrals, don’t forget to make your team informed of the incentives. It can be gift cards, cash rewards, points, etc. Also, they should know how to access the referral forms.

This referral strategy fosters a culture of growth within your organization. It also leverages the trusted relationships employees have with their circles to benefit your business.

  • Referral newsletters

Newsletters serve as a great channel for referral promotion. That’s due to their direct delivery and ability to keep your brand front and center in the minds of your customers.

By incorporating referral cards or action buttons within these newsletters, businesses can directly promote their referral programs.

For a newsletter to be effective, it must offer more than just promotional content. It should provide substantial value and include content that your audience finds engaging and relevant.

For instance, you might feature industry insights, tips tailored to your small business, or even highlight customers who have made the most referrals. Seasonal promotions related to your referral program can also be mentioned to keep the content fresh and interesting.

Setting up a dedicated email sequence with this approach allows you to clearly communicate the benefits customers can receive by recommending your business. Don’t forget to include a referral prompt in every newsletter to continually encourage your audience to make referrals.

Using referral newsletters helps to foster customer engagement and loyalty. It also helps to promote your referral program in a manner that feels integrated and valuable to the reader.

  • Referral postcards

Referral postcards offer a unique and personalized way to market your referral program. By incorporating a handwritten touch, these postcards stand out as a memorable form of advertisement.

Referral postcards can be distributed in various ways. You can mail them to potential customers, display them in-store for easy access, or hand them out personally.

For instance, you can have your customers or members of your referral program write and send them to their friends and family.

Their format allows enough space to detail your referral program and highlight exclusive offers for those who refer others.

The personalized experience of referral postcards makes them attract engagement. They provide a tangible reminder of your brand and program, enhancing the likelihood of participation.

This approach not only expands your reach but also adds a personal touch that digital methods lack, making your message more impactful.

  • Community referral cards

Community referral cards integrate social responsibility into referral programs.

These cards ask customers to refer friends to your business with promises to make a donation to a chosen community or nonprofit cause. That means your business will donate for each successful referral.

This approach adds a humanitarian aspect to the act of referring. So, it can motivate customers to participate more actively in the referral program.

Remember to incorporate the cause you support on the referral cards. It allows the recipients to recognize the contribution they’re making by participating. That helps to potentially increase the connection and response rate from both existing and potential customers.

This strategy not only helps in boosting your referrals but also positions your business as socially responsible. So you can enhance your brand’s image and appeal.

Community referral cards, therefore, serve a dual purpose: they aid in growing your customer base while contributing to societal causes. They create a win-win situation for your business, your customers, and the community.

  • Partner referral cards

Partner referral cards are a strategic tool for leveraging business collaborations to boost your customer base and enhance sales. You can extend your reach by utilizing referral cards in both physical and digital formats when partnering with other businesses.

Physical cards can be placed at the partner’s location, making them readily available to potential customers who visit. Alternatively, digital versions can be integrated into emails or on websites. It helps provide an effortless way for partners to refer clients to your business.

This method of cross-promotion benefits all parties involved. It drives high-quality leads to your business while adding value to your partners by offering their clients or customers additional resources or services.

By adopting this method, you can expand your visibility and potential customer engagement through the networks of your business partners, vendors, or suppliers.

  • Referral Coupon

Referral coupons are a popular method within referral programs. They are designed to benefit both the individual who makes the referral and the new customer being referred.

These coupons usually provide a reward, such as discounts or complimentary products and services. They act as a strong incentive for participation in the program.

When a current customer recommends your business, they pass these printed referral coupons to their referrals. Such coupons encourage new customers to try your products or services.

Referral coupons motivate existing customers to share your business with others. They also make the offer more appealing to potential new customers, who receive value upon their first purchase.

Thus, they enhance higher response rates and attract new clientele. They can boost your brand’s visibility and strengthen customer loyalty.

  • Donation-based referral cards

Similar to community referral cards, these cards add a special touch by incorporating a way to help others.

Through these cards, customers are given the chance to support their preferred causes or charity organizations in exchange for referring new clients to your business.

They create a triple-benefit scenario: your business gains a new referral, the chosen organization receives a donation, and the customer experiences the satisfaction of contributing to a good cause.

By linking referrals to charitable donations, you not only incentivize customers to share your business but also align your brand with values of community support. This can enhance your company’s image and appeal to socially conscious consumers.

Why Should I Use A Referral Card?

Using referral cards is an effective and affordable way to promote your products or services. Let’s explore the detailed reasons for integrating referral cards into your marketing strategy:

  • Boost brand awareness: Referral cards act as a constant reminder of your brand. When customers carry or share these cards, they’re more likely to talk about your business with friends and family. It helps spread awareness organically.
  • Cultivate customer loyalty: When customers recommend your business, it shows they trust and support you. By participating in your referral program, they’re likely to stick around longer, turning into loyal customers over time.
  • Drive sales: These cards make the referral process straightforward. It encourages customers to spread the word, which can directly lead to increased sales.
  • Cost-effective: Compared to traditional marketing tactics like paid ads, the creation and distribution of referral cards are usually more budget-friendly.
  • Expand your reach: Referral cards make it simple to spread the word about your business, helping you reach more people through your current customers.
  • Enhance marketing insights: The data gathered from customer referrals can provide invaluable insights. It helps you refine your marketing strategies and tailor your customer experience more effectively.

Practices to Create A Great Referral Card

So, how do you make great referral cards? Let’s follow the steps below!

Design how your card looks like

When building referral card ideas, it’s essential to focus on its design elements. That’s to make sure it catches attention and reflects your brand accurately. The card can also act as a visual reminder of your brand.

Firstly, consider the size, shape, and materials. Depending on the type of cards you choose (printed or digital), pick the suitable elements. For instance, a printed card can be 3.5 x 2 inches in the traditional form and have high-quality card stock, while there are no restrictions for digital cards.

Secondly, it’s crucial to incorporate your brand’s logos, taglines, and dark or bright colors into your referral cards. These elements enhance brand recognition and convey a professional image. Consistency in your brand’s appearance across different materials helps build your reputation in the minds of your customers.

Thirdly, depending on your industry, add creative touches to your referral cards to make them stand out. Tailoring the design to suit your industry not only grabs attention but also aids in conveying what your business does.

Include your referral message

The referral messaging on your referral cards is a key component. They support the cards’ fundamental purposes: advertising, enhancing brand recognition, and calling for action.

  • Advertising: Your referral card needs strong referral quotes or slogans that reflect your advertising goals. It acts as a referral proposition, which should resonate with your customers and motivate them to tell others about your business. Choose words that can stick in people’s memories, pushing them to share your card and bring in more referrals. The key is to have a message that they won’t forget, one that inspires them to keep referring others to your business.
  • Brand recognition: The message shared through your referral cards is a direct communication to your customer’s network and a great tool for branding. It establishes brand recognition and trust among potential new customers.

To persuade potential referrals, your card should present an appealing offer, such as discounts, freebies, or other forms of rewards. This is the reason your customers would pass the card on. A strong and clear incentive on the card can create a cycle of motivation, prompting your customers to take action.

  • Call-to-action: Your call-to-action (CTA) must be straightforward. This is the part where you clearly state what steps your customers and their referrals should take next. A well-crafted CTA helps to drive engagement and response to your referral program.

You can refer to some CTA examples such as: “send a friend $5”, “refer a friend, and you both receive 10% off”, “refer your friends and get rewards,” etc.

Consider other requirements

When designing referral cards, you should consider the practical aspects of your referral program.

If your program requires recipients to fill out a form or sign up online, you must include the necessary URL on the referral card. This enables the person receiving the card to easily access your website and complete the required actions.

For the tracking of new referrals, you might want to use a special email address dedicated to receiving referral notifications. This makes it simpler to monitor and manage incoming referrals.

Some businesses go a step further by providing an area on the card for the referring customer to write their own details. This way makes the referral process more straightforward for the referee and adds a level of personalization to the referral experience.

Considering integrating these elements, you ensure that both your existing customers and their referrals have a clear and easy path to engage with your program. It assists in enhancing the overall effectiveness of your referral strategy.

Make it easy to share

Of course, the referral card needs to be easy to share to ensure its effectiveness.

The simpler it is for customers to pass on your card, the more likely they are to do so. This way, you can increase the potential reach of your referral program.

The card should be of a convenient size and shape. That’s to make it simple for customers to carry it in their wallets or pockets and hand it over when the moment arises. The design should be eye-catching to grab attention while conveying the key message.

You should also have clear and straightforward instructions on how to use the card. For example, if your card includes a digital component, consider a QR code that leads to your referral signup page. This removes barriers for the referee, allowing for immediate action.

Remember, the fewer steps involved, the better. Additional actions required can decrease the likelihood of a successful referral.

By making the card easy to share, you are optimizing the card for frequent use and maximizing the impact of your referral marketing efforts.

Track the effectiveness of referral cards and optimize it 

To measure how well your referral cards are doing and to make them even better, you need to track their work and optimize them.

For physical referral cards, consider incorporating a simple form. That’s a place for customers to provide their contact details along with the names of potential referrals.

If you’re using digital platforms, include a URL on your referral cards that directs people to an online form. This simplifies the process for your customers, making it quick and easy for them to submit referral info online.

Another efficient way to gather referral data and track the source of referrals is through unique codes or QR codes. These can be scanned by the recipients, allowing you to trace the referral back to the original customer and attribute rewards for successful referrals.

When tracking referral data well, you can distribute incentives accurately and optimize your referral program. It also helps you to protect your customer privacy, enhancing trust among your customers.


To conclude, referral cards are a powerful tool to boost business growth. Referral card examples can be of many types, such as business cards, employee referral forms, referral postcards, etc.

No matter what formats they have, these cards offer an effective way to widen your reach and strengthen your brand. Smart design and careful planning can improve your marketing, helping your business attract new customers and create long-term connections with them.

So, if you haven’t used referral cards yet, consider putting them into your marketing strategy!

Ellie Tran, a seasoned SEO content writer with three years of experience in the eCommerce world. Being a part of the UpPromote team, Ellie wants to assist Shopify merchants in achieving success through useful content & actionable insights. Ellie's commitment to learning never stops; she's always eager to gain more knowledge about SEO and content marketing to create valuable content for users. When she's not working on content, Ellie enjoys baking and exploring new places.