The best referral programs are a win-win for consumers and companies! They reward consumers for sharing a brand with others, and companies acquire a new customer!
In a sea of referral programs across the web, it can be tough to navigate them all.
Which referral programs are the best? How do they work? Which ones are worth it?
We're going to answer these questions today. We'll explore some of the best referral programs across the internet, sharing with you what companies offer them, how they work, and what rewards you can get.
Let's get into it!
What Are Referral Programs?
A referral program is a marketing strategy companies can use to acquire new customers through ‘word of mouth'.
The idea is to reward an existing customer with an incentive, like a gift card or referral bonus, in exchange for sharing the brand with their network, like friends and family.
This word-of-mouth marketing can be extremely effective for brands. Not only do they gain a new customer, but they can retain existing happy customers by offering them attractive incentives so they can continue to share the brand with their network.
How Does A Referral Program Work?
Generally, it works like this:
- Existing customers get access to a referral code that they can share with others
- When someone uses that code to sign up with the company, the referring customer is rewarded
You may hear referral programs called different names like refer-a-friend programs, affiliate programs, referred friend programs, brand advocates, or referred customer programs.
They're all the same thing, usually.
A current customer is rewarded by sharing their referral link with others. Sometimes a new customer gets rewarded, too!
For example, when I referred my sister to the Rakuten cashback program a few years ago, I got a $25 reward and she got a $10 reward as a new customer!
We both got rewarded!
Sometimes the customer referral program is structured this way but, not always.
What Referral Incentive Is Offered To Existing Customers?
The incentive you get for a customer referral can vary and be anything from:
- A gift card or,
- A store discount
Now, let's get into 19+ of the best referral programs online right now!
5 Best Software Referral Programs
We're breaking down each referral marketing program by category for easy navigation. First up are the best software referral programs!
Wise: Up To £75 ($95 USD) For 3 Referrals
When people use your Wise referral link, Wise will waive up to 500 GBP in fees on their first transfer, and you can earn up to £75 referral bonus ($95 USD) when 3 friends make their first transfer of at least £200 ($250 USD).
ConvertKit: 30% Commission
ConvertKit offers an affiliate program that can earn you a recurring 30% commission for up to 24 months for every customer you send them.
GetResponse: $30 Savings Towards Your Bill
With GetResponse, you earn $30 credit towards your bill and if you refer 3 friends who join on a paid account, you'll get a Digital Marketing Certification course of your choice to take!
Hostinger: 20% On Each New Signup + The Referral Gets 20% Off Their Purchase
They pay via PayPal or wire transfer.
Rakuten: $30 Per Referral Who Spend At Least $30
At Rakuten, you get $30 for each referral you make. Qualifying purchases should be made within 90 days of signup and be at least $30. Your referral also gets $30.
5 Best Banking Referral Programs
The banking referral bonus programs are some of my favorites in this roundup!
They can be quite lucrative, and some people even do something called bank account churning, where they capitalize off multiple bank referral bonuses throughout the year, earning up to $15K+ in passive income!
Here are some of the best bank referral incentive options available right now.
Chase Bank: Up To $500 Bonus
Earn $50 for each friend you send to Chase Bank, up to $500 per calendar year. Your friends can also earn up to $300 on eligible bank accounts and with completing qualifying activities.
Regions Bank: $50 Visa Reward Card
Refer a friend to Regions Bank to open a personal checking or business checking account and get a $50 Visa Reward card.
Your friend must have at least $300 for personal checking or $500 for business checking in recurring direct deposits.
TD Bank: Up To $500 Per Year
Refer a friend to TD Bank and earn $50 for the referral. Plus, your friend also gets $50. You can earn up to $500 per year in referral bonuses. Your friend should make at least $250 in qualifying direct deposits or 15 qualifying Visa debit card purchases.
Capital One: Rewards Vary
Capital One's refer-a-friend program will reward you with a bonus for referring friends and family. The referral bonus amount varies based on your individual account.
Log in to your mobile app to see what your specific referral bonus is.
SoFi: Up To $1,000
Sofi has paid over $20 million dollars in referral bonuses so far! Their referral program is quite extensive. Let me break it down:
- Investing account: get $75 and give $25 to the referral
- Student loan refinancing: up to $1,000 for each referral
- Personal loans: get $300 and give $300 to the referral
- Private student loans: get up to $500
- Credit card: get $100
- Sofi checking and savings account: get $75, give $25 to your referral
5 Best Services Referral Programs
Service referral programs can be pretty lucrative, rewarding existing customers for sharing their service company with their friends, family, and peers. Check out some of the best referral programs in services available right now.
Fiverr: $100 Per Referral
For Fiverr's referral program, you can earn $100 per referral, and your friend gets up to $500 in Fiverr credits and 10% off their first order.
T-Mobile: Up To $500 Per Year
Earn $50 per friend who joins T-Mobile, up to $500 per year.
Dropbox: Up To 32GB In Storage
Refer your network to Dropbox and earn up to 32GB in storage space. The free storage space limits are based on your account type and number of referrals you send.
You get 500MB in storage space per referral, as a Dropbox Basic user and 1GB in storage space per referral as a Dropbox Plus user.
TurboTax: Up To $500 In Gift Cards
TurboTax paused their refer-a-friend program but, it will resume February 10, 2024.
- You get a $25 gift card for each friend you refer (up to $500 in gift cards)
- Your friend gets 20% off filing their federal taxes online with TurboTax
Thumbtack: Up To $2,000 Account Credit
You'll earn $50 to $200 per Pro referral you send to Thumbtack. Referring a customer will get you $50 off your next project with Thumbtack.
Shopping referral programs are one of the easiest referral incentive programs to bank off of! Here are some of the top referral programs to look into.
Sam’s Club: $20 Per Referral
You get a $20 referral bonus loaded to your Sam's Club account, up to a max total of $100 in bonuses for referred friends.
Tesla: Earn Referral Credits
You earn referral credits based on referring first-time Tesla customers if you have qualifying existing Tesla products on your Tesla account. There are also opportunities to earn loyalty credits for buying additional Tesla products.
Purple: $25 Gift Card
At Purple, you earn referral incentives on your customer referral of at least $599.
Instacart: Up To $40 Credit
Instacart customers can earn an incentive up to $40 referral credit on their Instacart account to use across two orders and you'll get a $10 credit once your referral completes their delivery.
Casper: $75 Amazon Gift Card
For eligible referrals, Casper advocates can receive a $75 Amazon gift card, up to $599 in rewards (gift cards) per calendar year. Their friend gets 25% off their purchase.
Why Should You Use Referral Programs?
For an existing customer, a referral program is an opportunity to earn rewards for sharing their favorite products and companies with their family, friends, and peers.
Companies get to foster a marketing flywheel with loyal customers play an integral part of their customer acquisition process. Referral programs can boost customer loyalty, create happy customers, and be incredibly effective for customer retention.
Choose companies you like and trust. Pick reputable, legitimate companies you do business with and would be happy to refer to your loved ones.
This list is a great starting point. You can also look more deeply at your lifestyle to figure out more brands you can potentially refer like:
- Stores you shop at
- Services you use
- Providers you work with
- Brands and companies that are your favorites
There are plenty of ways to promote your referral link.
Some of the most common strategies include email, social media, and text.
Grab your referral link and share it with friends, family, and peers in an email.
For businesses looking to make money from affiliate programs, utilizing email marketing to share referral links is a pretty effective marketing practice to drive conversions and earn referral commissions.
Sharing your referral link via social media is pretty easy to do and very common. It's as simple as posting your referral link on a social network, whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube.
Social media networks that offer a link in bio, like Instagram and TikTok, are the perfect places to put your referral link!
Imagine if 1,000 people clicked your link each month from your Instagram account, and then a portion of those clicks converted to referrals!
This can be an effective way to earn passive income each month, from referrals!
Lastly, sending your referral link to your network via text message is another smart way to share your links.
This is probably the most common way I personally share referral links. I'll post a referral link in a text message to my friend or send it in a group text so the entire group can view it.
Are Referral Programs Worth it?
Whether it's a brand ambassador program, affiliate program, or referred friend store credit program, referral programs are definitely worth considering.
For companies, you can offer a referral reward to your customers and set up your referral campaign using referral software like Referral Candy or Referral Factory.
The software can help you create and activate your referral program so you can start growing your business through customer referrals!
Here's a list of the best referral software tools to grow your business.
And when in doubt, be sure to check out our full breakdown of affiliate marketing vs referral marketing here!
Bottom Line on The Best Referral Programs
The ball is in your court now! You've got our roundup of the best referral programs in your back pocket. Now, it's just up to you to choose your favorite brands to refer to and start earning a little extra money or rewards for your efforts!
Which referral program will you start with?