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5 Key Elements For Crafting Effective Referral Email Templates

Hey there! We hope you’re doing great today. We have something exciting to share with you that could take your business to the next level. Have you ever heard of a referral email template? It’s a ...

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Hey there! We hope you’re doing great today. We have something exciting to share with you that could take your business to the next level. Have you ever heard of a referral email template? It’s a fantastic way to attract potential referrals and grow your business in a professional yet friendly way.

This strategy is pretty clever if you do it right! Let us tell you some persuasive reasons why it’s so essential! Plus, the article will also share the top 5 elements to make a killer template that will blow your mind!

Keep reading, and you won’t regret it!

What Is a Referral Email?

As we said previously, referral emails are a powerful tool in your marketing strategy. They are specially crafted messages you send the customers, encouraging them to introduce your products/ services to their network. These emails are vital to building customer relationships and generating leads.

Of course! When your loyal customers act as brand ambassadors and share their love for your business, it can attract more potential customers in the future. Referral email templates can help you achieve this goal.

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So, what are the different types of referral emails? 

Effective referral emails are not a one-size-fits-all solution. They can vary significantly based on  the target audience, the nature of the business & the specific goals of the customer referral program. Here are a few common referral emails to choose from:

  • Direct referral emails: This type of referral email is the most straightforward. Customers are incentivized to refer the business to people they know.
  • Tiered referral emails: In this type of email, the more referrals a new customer makes, the bigger the reward. These emails encourage continuous referrals and are great for businesses seeking broad exposure.
  • Community referral emails: These emails provide incentives that benefit the entire community, not just the individual making the referral. They are an excellent way for businesses with a socially conscious audience to encourage referrals.
  • Partner referral emails: This type of partnership is often seen in B2B situations, where businesses recommend each other’s services to their customers. This arrangement is particularly beneficial in industries where businesses offer complementary services.

For instance, a web development agency might team up with a digital marketing firm, and both companies can recommend each other’s services to their clients.

Why Referral Email Templates are Important?

Before sending referral emails, you must understand the benefits they can provide. This article will discuss three compelling reasons that may convince merchants to incorporate referral emails into the referral marketing plan.

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Higher conversion rates

Did you know that referral emails have a higher conversion rate than an average email campaign? In fact, it has a conversion rate that is 3-5 times higher!

So surprise? This is because people are more likely to trust recommendations from their friends and family.

Measurable results

Referral emails are a great way to attract new customers to your business, and with the right software, you can easily track the success of your referral campaigns.

Tracking tools allow you to see who opens the emails, who clicks on the referral links & who ultimately makes a purchase.

This valuable data allows merchants to measure the effectiveness of your referral programs and make necessary adjustments to improve your results.

You can also use this information to identify your most successful referral sources and reward them accordingly! It can help build stronger customer relationships and increase your business over time.

Enhanced customer loyalty by personalization

The personal touch in these emails makes happy customers feel valued and recognized, strengthening their connection with the brand. Addressing customers by name & referencing their past purchases or interactions will create a sense of familiarity and trust.

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Furthermore, personalization allows tailoring the email content to align with the customer’s interests and needs. It makes the referral opportunity more relevant and appealing to them, increasing the likelihood of their participation.

Furthermore, personalized emails demonstrate an understanding and consideration of the customer’s needs, which can improve their trust in your brand. This trust is essential in fostering customer loyalty.

Even better? Personalized emails tend to have higher open & read rates. When an email is relevant to the customer, they are likelier to engage with and act upon it. This increased engagement can 100% lead to higher participation in the referral program, further enhancing current customer loyalty.

When to Use A Referral Email Template?

What a tricky question! When is a suitable time to use an email marketing template? Don’t worry! We will provide you with the answer to achieve the best possible results.

When businesses have a positive base of active customers

Check your reviews and customer feedback to ensure customers love your product and appreciate your exceptional customer service.

It’s even better if the customer base leaves positive reviews or comments and refers to their friends without you prompting them. This organic growth indicates that your customers are happy & willing to recommend you to their network.

When businesses have trustworthy software to track referrals 

The software can help you increase work production. The standard option is to use a formal referral program set up with referral software.

This software can automate the process & give merchants front-row seats to the analytics that influence success rates. Regardless of your business size, referral marketing software can benefit you greatly.

When businesses are ready for an influx of new customers

Make sure your customer support team can effectively handle a potential avalanche of new customers while maintaining exceptional customer service levels for your existing customers. It is essential if you’ve selected a campaign of mass referral emails.

When businesses have a timing plan to send referral emails

Timing is a critical point when it comes to sending customer referral email.

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Here are some timing strategies that can increase your chances of success based on customer journey:

  • Post-Purchase: Strike while the iron is hot! Immediately after a customer purchases is the best time to ask for a referral. They are likely to be satisfied with their experience & more likely to recommend your business to others.
  • Successful Customer Referrals: Remember to follow up with successful referrers. Tell them if someone they referred signed up or became a new customer. It shows that you appreciate their efforts and encourage them to continue spreading the word about your business.
  • Special Occasions: Birthdays, Holidays, Valentines, and other special occasions are perfect opportunities to prompt customers to refer your business as a gift or recommendation for their loved ones.
  • Moments of Pride: Customers who have completed a positive feedback survey will likely be loyal to your business. At this point, show your thankfulness by asking for a referral.
  • Customer Anniversary: Sending referral emails on the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase or sign-up can evoke positive memories and increase the chance of them recommending your business.

5 Key Elements of A Referral Email Template 

What are the key elements to make a complete referral email template? Let’s check the five considerations below!

An engaging headline

Did you know that exciting headlines can significantly improve your email open rates? Your headline can make or break the reader’s decision to open your email.

A good headline should be clear, concise, and relevant to the content of the email. It should also convey the value of the email to the reader and, if possible, include an incentive.

In addition to being clear and concise, a compelling headline can also create a sense of curiosity or urgency.

For instance, “Limited time offer: Refer a friend, and you both get a discount!” This type of headline creates a sense of urgency that can encourage the recipient to act quickly.

Referral incentives and rewards

Your email should include all the relevant information about the referral rewards program you’ll be offering! It should be written in a way that is easy for your customers to understand.

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First and foremost, clearly state any specific conditions the customer must meet to participate in the referral program and who is eligible to be referred.

It’s also essential to provide details about the rewards themselves, including the type of rewards, whether they are one-sided or two-sided, the reward amount, and the expiration date of the rewards.

In addition, outline the reward fulfillment mechanism, including when and how the rewards will be distributed.

It will help your customers understand how to earn the referral reward, whether the friend they’re referring can also make a reward, and when they will receive it.

When writing your email, it’s crucial to lay out the instructions and terms in simple sentences. If you don’t address essential details in the email, such as whether rewards can only be earned once a friend makes a purchase, be sure to link to your referral program page!

Referral process

All we know is that the easier it is for the customers to refer others, the more likely they are to do so. To make things easy for your customers, merchants should explain the referral process clearly in your email.

Your email should explain:

  • How to make a referral?
  • How can the referred person avail of the offer?
  • When and how will the referrer receive their reward?

Simple and clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

The call-to-action (CTA) is vital to your referral email. Its purpose is to encourage your customers to take the desired action.

Your CTA must be simple, straightforward, and direct to achieve this. It should be visually appealing, easy to spot within your email, and clearly state what you want the reader to do next.

Grab-attention visuals

Want a game-changing tip for creating referral emails that will knock your socks off? Add visuals!

Visuals are a fantastic way to make your emails more engaging and help you communicate your message more effectively. They can also highlight important parts of your email, like your rewards or call to action.

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But wait, there’s more! Using high-quality images, infographics, or videos relevant to your referral marketing program and aligning with your brand can also help make your emails more effective.

Visuals can also help break up lengthy blocks of text & make your email easier to read. However, be careful not to let your visuals steal the show! Make sure that your visuals enhance your message, not distract from it.

Best Practices for Referral Email Template

Let’s explore the best practices to make the perfect referral email template!

Focus on creating an eye-catching subline

Did you know that the subject line of an email is the deciding factor for about 64% of people choosing whether to read it or not? Yup, that’s right! Remember, the subject line is the first thing your customer sees. As a result, merchants must make it count.

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So, how do you make sure your subject line gets noticed? Here are some tips that might help you.

  • Personalize your email using the recipient’s name or other specific details, which can help draw their attention towards it.
  • Intrigue the recipient by providing a glimpse of the benefit that they could gain. For instance, you could mention the benefit in the subject line, such as “Get 50 USD for each successful referral” or “Save 40% on marketing costs with this offer.”
  • Keep your subject line simple and short. Long subject lines can be cut off, especially on mobile devices. Try to keep it under 50 characters if possible.
  • Create a sense of urgency or exclusivity in your email subject line to make the recipient feel like they’re missing out if they don’t open it immediately. It can help increase the email’s open rate.  For example, “2 days left to gain 50$ by referring your friend.”
  • Spark curiosity by starting with a question relevant to the email’s content and hints at the potential benefits the recipient could receive.
  • Build trust and legitimacy by mentioning the names of subscribers in your email who referred new users to you. For instance, “A special recommendation from Jane Smith.” This can benefit in establish credibility and increase the chances of the recipient taking action.

Last, why don’t you try A/B testing your subject lines to see which variation yields for better results? It’s not a bad idea! These are some catchy referral email sublines from big brands you can refer to:

  • Get 2,000 points for every friend you refer to Merryfield! (Merryfield)
  • For the LOVE of Ghia (Ghia)
  • Spread the Love (And Get PAID💰) (MeUndies)
  • Want 30 days of free Premium access? Refer a friend 💙(Busuu)
  • Give $50, Get $100 for yourself (Outdoorsy)
  • Share the love and save 15¢/gallon (GasBuddy)
  • Wellness grows when shared (Saje Natural Wellness)
  • Be a good friend, get $15 (Italic)

Provide a simple and clear referral process 

If you plan to use referral email marketing, merchants must have a clear step-by-step process for your referral program. It’s crucial to make the process of referring as simple as possible.

  • To do this, you can include a clear call to action (CTA) that tells the recipient exactly what they need to do to refer their friends or contacts.
  • Additionally, it’s a good idea to provide a simple click-through link that makes the referral process even more accessible.
  • When sending out your referral emails, include a unique referral link for each individual.
  • Plus, it’s also helpful to use bullet points or highlight the key steps to make it easier to read and understand.

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Keep the message simple

When crafting a referral email, it’s essential to keep the message clear and easy for the recipient to understand. Customers are likelier to read and follow through with a message that isn’t weighed down by complicated jargon or cluttered information.

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How to do that?

  • Avoid using complicated language or long sentences that can be confusing.
  • Do not have to explain everything in the email itself! It’s better to keep it simple and direct customers to your referral program page for more information.
  • Explain the value of your offer and why the recipient should care. Use examples such as customer testimonials to show how your product or service can benefit them.
  • If it’s a post-purchase referral email, thank the customer for their purchase & suggest that their friends also benefit from the product.

Personalize your email

Put yourself in the customer’s position. How would you feel receiving a bulk email? You would likely delete it immediately, right?

So, it’s important to remember that each person or business you write to is unique. Knowing who you send each email to and changing the content accordingly is a smart strategy!

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By doing that, merchants can establish a stronger connection with the recipient and make them feel valued. Keep reading to learn all the ways to personalize your email!

  • Use the recipient’s name! Of course! It makes personal referral emails
  • Use the ‘you mean a lot’ phrase in an email. This is an excellent idea because it can make customers feel really good.

You can use this email to show gratitude to your customers and thank them for their loyalty through your referral program. You can also explain the program’s advantages and how easy participation is.

  • Mention your specific interactions with the recipient and any commonalities you share! Some include a shared alma mater or common interest. This can help personalize your emails and make the recipient feel special rather than just one of many contacts you are reaching out to.
  • At the higher level of personalized email, you can create customized rewards. This can remind them of the quality of your products or services and make them feel special about participating in your referral program.

Personalizing your referral emails can help you establish a stronger connection with your customers, boost customer loyalty, and increase your chances of getting more referrals. So do it smartly!

Optimize the email for mobile users

Optimizing your emails for mobile users is crucial to ensure that 100% of your message reaches your intended audience effectively. Below are some essential steps you can take to optimize your emails for mobile:

  • Utilize responsive email design: Responsive email design enables the referral email to adapt to different screen sizes. It ensures your message is readable and visually appealing on any device. Before sending, use mobile preview features to see how the email will appear on different devices.
  • Keep your layout simple: Since mobile screens have limited space, keeping your layout clean and uncomplicated is essential. Opt for a single-column layout, and use white space effectively! You can also establish a clear hierarchy using different font sizes and formatting.
  • Focus on concise copy: Keep your email copies between 50 and 125 words to maintain your readers’ attention. Additionally, plan for the smaller phone in mind, keeping the subject line less than 35 characters.
  • Choose readable fonts: Use safe web fonts to ensure that the text in your email is easily legible on a small screen.
  • Check for visual elements: Resize images and interactive content for mobile users, ensuring all elements look great on mobile devices.

The ultimate goal is to provide a seamless, engaging experience that keeps your readers hooked, regardless of their device.

Following these steps, you can optimize your emails for mobile users and enhance your email marketing campaign’s effectiveness.

Highlight Call-to-Action

Encouraging your customers to take action can be a real game-changer for your business.

How is the good CTA? It should be persuasive, clear, and visually appealing to make your CTA more effective. It’s also vital to explain precisely what they’ll get when they take action.

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You have a few options for including a CTA in your email. It could take the form of a button or referral link highlight that directs sharing.

  • If you want to direct your customers to your referral program page, you could use social media buttons with text like “Learn more,” “Subscribe,” or “Get started.”
  • On the other hand, if your customers are already in your referral program, you could include a link they can easily copy and share with their friends.

You could include various social media platforms as share options for the existing referral program participants to post on the platforms of their choice. Placing your CTA near the top of your emails is best to ensure maximum shareability!


  • What Should I Do Before Sending Referral Emails?

When sending referral emails, there are a few things you should consider! It’s a must to identify potential referral opportunities! How? Understanding who might be willing to help you and who could benefit from your product or service.

Plus, prepare to be concise and specific about what you’re asking, getting to the point quickly. Before sending the email, you are also recommended to proofread it to avoid any spelling/ grammatical errors.

  • What Should I Do After Sending Referral Emails?

When you implement a referral program for your business, monitoring and optimizing its effectiveness is necessary. Keep track of the results to understand how well the program is working.

Based on the results, adjustments are required to improve its performance. Remember to follow up with the recipients of your referral program through emails to remind them about it.

Always thank the customers who made referrals and let them know the outcome.


That’s all about referral email templates for referral campaigns! Just make it personalized, simple, and visual! We know that the formula will not be the same in every situation, but there will be principles that cannot be changed!

And all these principles are included in the article! We hope that these knowledge will help you to improve your business!

Thank you for reading!

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.