How to Write and Send Effective Referral Marketing Emails in 2024

referral marketing emails

There are 2 ways of working with partners in email marketing:

  • Referral program. The reader is motivated to bring a friend to a service or store for a reward. In this case, subscribers act as partners of the company. 
  • Affiliate system. This is the advertising of other companies in the emails. For example, in the mailing about cinematography, add a block with a promo code for registration in an online cinema.

Let’s analyze each option and how to effectively announce them in the newsletter. 

Referral program – attracting new customers

Companies that use such a program attract a new audience, motivating current customers to invite acquaintances for a fee. A typical example is bringing a friend to a beauty salon and getting a discount on the service. 

Usually, there are 2 strategies for referral marketing:

  • One-sided – only the inviter gets the bonus
  • Bilateral – the bonus is received by both the inviter and the invitee

Separate emails and information blocks in regular emails are used to announce the referral program in the mailing list. Let’s look at examples of how best to design such referral marketing emails.

Introductory emails


If the company is just launching the referral program, it is worth preparing a separate mailing describing it. In one or several messages, the advantages of the referral system should be shown, with catchy text and a bright CTA button to motivate the user to go to the site and register for the program. 

We also recommend sending reminder emails about the referral program every 2-3 months, as well as including at least one informational email in the welcome chain. 

Announcement of promotions for referral program participants

Sometimes, companies make short-term promotions with increased bonuses to attract new clients. In this case, you should select among the recipients the audience segment that already participates in the referral program and send an email with a brief announcement. For other clients, it is worth writing a more detailed description of the referral program in an email newsletter and announcing the promotion with an increased bonus. 

Emails about receiving a bonus for a friend

Often, separate emails are prepared to inform the affiliate that an invited friend has performed a targeted action and received a reward. Such emails can be triggered. To do this, you need to set up automation by event in the mailing service and prepare an email template.

Referral program announcement in a separate block of the regular newsletter

The information is placed in the header, an additional block at the end of the email or on a banner in the footer. The message briefly tells about the referral program and its bonuses, adding a link to the site with details.

How to write referral marketing emails

Let’s delve deeper into each aspect of crafting effective referral marketing emails with writers from EssayTigers:

  1. Personalize the subject line. Use the recipient’s first name or other personalized details in the subject line. For example, “Sarah, Your Friends Will Love This – Refer & Earn!” You can also reference past interactions or purchases to tailor subject lines. For instance, “Since You Love Our Products, Share the Joy with Friends!”
  2. Highlight benefits. Clearly outline the benefits of referring friends, such as discounts, cash rewards, or exclusive access to products or services. Appeal to the desire for social connection or the joy of sharing great discoveries with friends.
  3. Keep it concise and compelling. Break down the content into short paragraphs and bullet points to improve readability. Keep the message centered on what the recipient stands to gain from referring friends.
  4. Include clear Call-to-Action (CTA). Use a visually striking CTA button that stands out and prompts action. You can also use persuasive verbs like “Unlock,” “Share,” or “Start Referring” to encourage clicks.
  5. Showcase social proof. Include quotes or stories from satisfied customers who have successfully referred friends. You can incorporate images or videos showcasing real people enjoying the benefits of your referral program.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can create effective referral marketing emails.

Referral program in mailing lists – advertising of other companies

The second way of working with partners is called cross-promo placement. This is when companies agree on mutual advertising in each other’s mailing lists. In rare cases, they agree on one-sided advertising for money.

Companies whose offers may interest readers are selected for placement. This increases the value of the mailing list for subscribers and helps both companies attract new customers. The choice of partner should be treated carefully to not spoil the reputation. Be sure to check reviews about the company and ask for certificates and licenses if the company is not well known. 

It is also important to choose companies whose audience suits your business. To do this, along with mailing statistics and the size of the base, request a portrait of the target audience.

To increase the effectiveness of an affiliate mailing, ask the advertiser for an additional benefit for your audience: a promo code, discount, bonus, free shipping, or trial access to the service. Partners are usually announced in additional blocks of the email. In some cases, separate emails are allocated for advertising.


So, we’ve covered 2 ways of working with partners: partner advertising and referral marketing in email newsletters. In email marketing, they are usually announced in an additional block of a regular newsletter or in a separate email. 

A few recommendations that will help make promotional messages more effective: 

  • Show the benefits visually – what you can spend bonuses on, how much you can save with a discount, etc.
  • For partner newsletters, seek unique conditions for readers – promo codes, discounts, and gifts from partners.
  • Place advertising blocks in one place – readers will always know that there is a useful advertisement at the end of the email.
  • If there are many partners, do not make individual banners—it is better to separate them from each other using text layout tools.
  • Add messages about the referral program to the chain of welcome letters—this will help more users learn about it.
  • Automate emails that an invited friend has performed a targeted action – the client will be pleased to receive a message about a bonus.
  • Test the email – ensure the emails are correctly displayed and sent to users from the right segment.

As we move forward, embracing innovation and adapting to shifting trends will be essential for staying ahead in the dynamic landscape of email marketing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *