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What is a Referral Link? A Guide to Leverage this Powerful Strategy

Are you heading to a success story in referral marketing? Research shows that word-of-mouth referrals have a far higher impact than other forms of promotion. So, this is a good time to learn about this marketing ...

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What is a Referral Link

Are you heading to a success story in referral marketing? Research shows that word-of-mouth referrals have a far higher impact than other forms of promotion. So, this is a good time to learn about this marketing method and its backbone, the referral link.

What is a referral link? What is its role in the concept of referral marketing? This article will walk you through every tactic of this element.

As you dive deeper, we’ll show you the ultimate guide to creating referral links for your campaign.

Let’s begin!

What is A Referral Link?

Many brands look to boost their sales by leveraging the referral marketing program. Here, they distribute referral links to incentivize existing users or regular customers to promote their products or services.

Here’s an example of a referral link offered by Swagbucks:

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So, a referral link contains a unique identifier or code that’s associated with the user who generates the link. It enables the program to track referrals and reward participants for their contribution to the program’s growth.

How Does A Referral Link Work?

The referral link is the mainstream of your referral program. It’s rather simple to operate this scheme, from generating a referral link to distributing rewards. Let’s break down the process into detailed steps!

Create and distribute referral links

First, create a unique referral link for each participant in your referral program. Remember that this link contains a special tracking code that identifies the successful referrer.

Right after the customers sign up, you’ll provide them with these referral links. They’ll typically appear on your website, app, or referral program dashboard.

Encourage your customers to share

This stage involves encouraging participants to share their referral links with their network of friends, family, and followers. It comes with a compelling reward, such as discounts, credits, or free samples for both the referrer and the referred user.

For instance, customers joining Fiverr’s referral program can earn up to $100 per qualifying order. Their referred friends get an incentive, too: a 10% discount on their first orders.

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Brands can integrate one-click sharing buttons directly into their referral program interface. It helps streamline the sharing process. Participants will find it easy to spread the word about your products or services to their social networks.

Besides, you may also provide users with marketing materials to help promote their referral links effectively. It could be pre-written messages or templates highlighting your referral program’s benefits. Plus, include compelling calls-to-action to encourage recipients to click on the shared links.

Track results and attribute rewards

Now, let’s see who gets the prize!

When an audience clicks on a referral link and engages with the brand, the unique link enables the brand to identify the referral source.

This tracking mechanism tells whether the referred user has any desired action. For instance, making a purchase or signing up for a service. If so, the brand’s referral program automatically attributes the referral to the referrer who shared the link.

Then, the brand will fulfill the promised rewards to the referrer and the referred user, as specified in their referral program terms.

Benefits of Using A Referral Link for Businesses

Many brands are taking advantage of referral links to boost their business. If you’re still hesitating, let the following listed benefits convince you.

Expand your brand’s reach and customer engagement

Do you know that over 90% of individuals trust their inner circle (i.e., friends and family) over other promotion methods?

Imagine reaching a new audience through each customer joining your referral campaigns. That’s the magic of the referral link. In other words, it allows you to tap into the social networks of your existing customers. This expanded reach helps businesses connect with potential customers. These people tend to be interested in their products or services.

Additionally, the referral program is a perfect way to foster stronger relationships with existing customers. You’re incentivizing them to become brand advocates.

The act of rewarding can also increase customer engagement and strengthen loyalty. Ultimately, you turn satisfied customers into active promoters of your brand.

Increase your brand’s credibility

Referral links signify the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The fact is that recommendations from friends become more trustworthy than advertising posts.

These genuine recommendations have a powerful impact on potential customers’ behaviors.  It might lead to an increase in trust and interest.

People often share the best products and services with their friends and family. So, the referral link indicates that customers have loved the brand and are willing to recommend it to others. It helps alleviate concerns, making it easier for new customers to engage with the brand.

Save your marketing budget

Referral links leverage your existing referral sources – satisfied customers. Thus, referral marketing campaigns typically require a lower budget than traditional marketing channels such as paid search.

This scheme also operates on a performance-based model. Simply put, you only pay rewards or incentives for successful referrals. Every penny you spend will bring a new customer to your business.

How to Create A Referral Link?

Referral links are powerful tools that help you grow your customer base and increase sales. This section guides you in creating a referral link for your program.

You’ll first need to join a referral program platform or set up your referral program using referral software, which comes with a referral link generator.

Once you’ve entered, navigate to the section where you can generate referral links. It could be “Invite Friends,” “Refer a Friend,” or something similar.

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Then, locate the option to create referral links for each participant in your program. Some platforms allow you to customize settings for your referral links.

You’ll define the rewards your customers will receive depending on your preferences. It often relates to qualifying actions (e.g., purchases, sign-ups). You can also add expiration dates and tracking parameters for analytics purposes.

Once you’ve generated the referral links, copy them to your clipboard and share them with participants. Based on your plan, you can copy the link manually, generate QR codes, or choose pre-designed email templates to share with your customers.

So, creating a referral link is not a daunting task at all. It can even become more manageable when you use the Customer referral feature by UpPromote. Here, we’re proud to take your word-of-mouth marketing to the next level.

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Why should you choose our feature?

First, we simplify every process of creating a referral program. Feel free to set up everything, from links and parameters to rewards and design.

Second, we provide detailed performance tracking. It allows you to access metrics like clicks, conversions, and earned rewards to measure program success.

Third, take advantage of the automated workflows, such as sending referral emails or managing rewards. It’s beneficial for both your management and customer experience.

So, explore this functional feature and upgrade your referral program.

An example of a referral program

You might be eager to create a referral program for your business. But before diving into the process, let’s explore what others are doing to elevate their word-of-mouth marketing strategies. While the references are vast, you can focus on those within the same industry.

Below is an example of the referral program of Casper, a well-known mattress company. We chose this brand because they’ve managed a simple program to help you visualize a referral program easily.

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Navigate and click the “Refer & Earn” section on the footer of Casper’s home page. You’ll then be led to the well-crafted landing page of its referral program.

Here, Casper focuses on simplicity and ease of use. It allows customers to input their names and emails right on this page. Customers can create personalized referral links with just a few clicks. Then, they can start sharing it with friends and family.

Casper understands that everyone has their preferred communication channels. That’s why they’ve included diverse sharing options within their referral program.

Customers can type different email addresses right on this page. There’s another solution if they prefer social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter or direct messaging. This feature facilitates the sharing process across multiple platforms. So, Casper can expect a broader scape to spread the word about their exceptional mattresses.

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How about the rewards?

Casper offers a referral program that adds value to loyal customers and their friends. The referrer will receive a $75 Amazon gift card when they bring a new customer to Casper. Their friend gets an enticing reward, too: 25% off on their first mattress order.

Is there any other notice from this referral program?

Well, Casper has listed some specific products that let their customers earn a reward. Consider applying this classification based on your program’s strategy.

Additionally, remember to craft detailed terms and conditions for your program. Businesses can clearly outline the program’s requirements, liabilities, and limitations to ensure clarity and transparency for both parties.

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So, your participants can clearly understand what the brand expects of them and what they can expect in return. This section also helps you gain a brownie point in building trust and fostering a positive customer experience.


  • Is a referral link and a referral code the same?

Though they are closely related in referral programs, the referral link and code are different. A referral code refers to a unique identifier, typically a short string of letters and numbers. Meanwhile, a referral link is a type of URL containing the embedded referral code.

  • How do a referral link and an affiliate link differ from each other?

A referral link is the cornerstone of referral programs. Businesses use it to incentivize their existing customers to recommend their products or services. An affiliate link in affiliate programs aims to reach a broader audience. Bloggers, influencers, and other marketers often share it to their vast networks.

  • Do I need to use a referral link in my program?

The referral link is a common and effective way to track and attribute referrals in referral programs. It’s easy for participants to spread their words across digital channels. Brands should use referral links for effective management. However, they can consider alternative options, such as referral or coupon codes, during the checkout process.

  • When should you use a referral link?

The referral link is a wise strategy when you have an engaged customer base. They’ll recommend your products to their friends, family, and network. This program is also perfect for rewarding customer loyalty and advocacy. It helps foster a stronger connection with your current base, potentially increasing their lifetime loyalty.


In short, the referral link is the mainstream of every referral marketing campaign. It tells us where the purchases come from and who deserves the rewards.

Now you know the answer to “What is a referral link?”. Make the most of it in your word-of-mouth marketing strategy.

The genuine recommendations of satisfied customers can become a strong power for your brand growth. Enter referral program software and grab the chance to leverage this lucrative approach.

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.