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How to Write a Referral Email That Gets People to Share

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How to Write a Referral Email That Gets People to Share

The #1 key to getting more referrals is… email. I know what you’re thinking — “email marketing is dead, right?” 

The experts have been saying that…since 2007. And they’ve been wrong…since 2007.

A great email marketing campaign is how you get more customers to send you a referral or sign up for your referral program.

First of all, I’ll assume you already have a basic referral marketing program in place. By spiffing up your emails just a little bit, you can turn that program into a real referral channel. 

The best part is, it doesn’t really require that much elbow grease, and it has the potential to bring in lots of leads.

In this article, I’ll walk you through:

Why is Email Convenient for Snagging Referrals?

Before we dive too far in, let’s reiterate why email and referrals go together so well.

The most obvious reason is that people use their email every single day. For most people, multiple times a day, at that. Meaning, you are highly likely to be seen in their inbox.

This leads us to our second point.

You’re already sending emails to customers. Why not hit two birds with one stone? Include your referral campaign in some of your email correspondence. 

Email marketing is the perfect referral channel because:

  • It’s a constant source of potential referrals.
  • It allows you to customize your content for different audiences, making it relevant and more likely that they’ll open it.
  • It can be tracked with email service providers like Automizy so that you know what email campaigns are taking off in terms of generating referrals.

Existing satisfied customers wouldn’t mind referring your product to their network, friends, and families.

But you know the criteria, only a satisfied customer would be willing to talk about you to others.

NPS score formula to identify promoters and detractors

If they’re not satisfied or loyal customers, all the email in the world isn’t going to convince them.

You don’t want detractors spreading the word about you. That’s not good business.

That’s why email marketing is a great way to get your referral program started with the right customers.

By segmenting your contact list, you can send your referral emails only to loyal customers.

This way,  they’ll be more likely to share your email with their networks.

Include a super compelling offer in the email, and make it easy for them to refer you without even having to leave the message.

This will increase conversion rates tremendously!

How to create a perfect referral email for your customers? 

In the next section, I’m covering what elements you should consider including in your referral email.

What to Include in Your Referral Emails

1. Use images in your emails

The first tip in using your emails to get referrals is to make it fun.

How do you do this? 


You can create an image that does the ‘asking’ for you. Or at least promotes that you have a referral program.

Images are great because they break up the text of your email, which makes your email more visually appealing. 

By creating an interesting visual, you can promote clicking… which can lead to referrals. Plus, it’s a great way to advertise any incentive for referring.

Referral email design example

2. Include an email signature & a footer

An email signature is the email standard that will be included at the end of your email. 

Your email signature can include a link to your referral program, with instructions on how they can join it and start referring friends.

If you’re sending a designed newsletter that includes just a footer with a signature, you can use your footer section to promote your referral program as illustrated in this example.

Referral email example that includes a footer with a referral invitation

This little guy can pack a punch if you include it in every email newsletter you send.

A benefit to this is that even though you’re asking for a referral, it’s not as obvious as other ways. So customers won’t think you’re asking them too much.

This is especially helpful if you are running a referral program that uses a landing page

When a customer is ready to refer, even if it’s a month down the road, they will know exactly where to go to get to the referral program.

3. Add a compelling call-to-action

To encourage email recipients to take the next step, include a strong call-to-action (CTA) in your email. 

The CTA should be compelling and relevant to your referral program as well as attractive enough for email readers to click on it.

A good email CTA might ask email recipients to share your email with their connections and friends, so make sure your CTA’s copy ‘says it’.

Referral email CTA

4. Grab attention with generous rewards

A referral email should include a generous offer to motivate email readers and give them the incentive to refer your product.

The compensation can be:

  • A coupon code
  • A discount on a future purchase
  • A gift card
  • Cash for the referrers
  • Cash for the referees
  • This way, your referral offer is compelling for both parties.

Offering generous rewards can also have benefits in attracting more customers too.  It’s not just about referrals!

If a potential customer has a large network, they might consider becoming a customer so they get access to your referral program.

Here is a compelling and generous referral email sample that grabs attention.

Referral email example with a generous reward

5. Animate your referral message with animated GIFs

Adding an animated GIF in your email can be a fun and engaging way to grab the email recipient’s attention.

It would make your referral message more engaging and entertaining.

Including an animation can increase click rates. Don’t be shy to give it a go and see how it performs for you!

Here is a referral email template that includes an animated GIF.

An animated referral email example

See? It clearly lets people know what they’ll get when they refer you to others 🤑

How To Write A Beautiful Referral Email That Converts

Your referral email copy should be inviting and compelling so your existing customers don’t feel like they’re doing your job.

The way you write your referral email copy is critical to its success.

Here’s how you can write email copy that gets your audience clicking and sharing:

  • Address the reader by their name 
  • Include a personal story about yourself or someone else (don’t make it up!) 
  • Add an interesting statistic, question, joke, etc. as part of your email copy 
  • Use short paragraphs with white space in between each paragraph for easier reading

Keeping the excitement for the referral reward alive throughout the entire email is a must.

And by saying “entire email” doesn’t mean write long emails.

You don’t want to bore your email recipients.

  • Keep the email short and sweet
  • Get to the point
  • State clearly the reward and compensation
  • Give clear instructions
  • Excite your readers

You get the idea, right! That’s how you write a referral email.

To learn from those who’ve done it with style, here is a beautiful referral email example.

referral email template


Email marketing is a powerful tool for email marketers to get more referrals.

Probably you’re already sending emails to customers, why not ask the loyal ones to refer you?

It works because it’s personal, and loyal customers are much more likely to take the time to read an email when it comes from one of their favorite companies.

First time sending referral campaigns? 

Sign up to Automizy to send beautiful responsive referral emails.

Use the tips included in this article to increase your referrals and generate more sales.

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