Inspiring Referral Marketing Examples to Land More Customers

Trusted more than any other form of advertising, referral marketing is a marketing strategy in which businesses turn their loyal customers into brand advocates who want to share their products with their family, friends, or colleagues. 

People enjoy sharing what they love with their friends, whether in person or online. That’s why businesses have been able to succeed with this strategy for many years. 

The best referral programs are the ones that make your customers feel special. When they refer a friend and their referral becomes successful, you encourage them with a reward or incentive as they spread the word about your business or products. In a nutshell, with a referral program, your business establishes a system that rewards existing clients for referring new ones. 

There are many types of referral program examples for various industries and businesses. All you have to do is find the one that suits your requirements and works best for you.

To help you create a referral program that works, we’ve listed some outstanding and inspiring referral program examples so you can use the templates for your own referral programs. 

Referral Program Examples 

Single-Sided Referral Program

SurveyMonkey Apply

SurveyMonkey Apply application management tool assists non-profit organizations, foundations, education, and private sector organizations in selecting candidates for grants, scholarships, sponsorship, and other programs. 


SurveyMonkey Apply application management tool assists non-profit organizations, foundations, education, and private sector organizations in selecting candidates for grants, scholarships, sponsorship, and other programs. 

How SurveyMonkey Apply’s Referral Program Works

If you have colleagues at organizations who can benefit from using SurveyMonkey Apply, it’s time to spread the word about it. 

You’ll receive a $500 reward for your organization every time someone signs up for a SurveyMonkey Apply subscription. 

Regarding SurveyMonkey Apply’s one-sided referral program, we figure that since happy customers are the first to move in the process, a great referral reward often generates many new prospects. 

Build a referral program like SurveyMonkey Apply by using this template.

Double-Sided Referral Program


Tesla ranks as one of the most iconic and interesting referral programs in history. 

Can you imagine a business without a 0$ marketing budget? Yes, it seems impossible. But Tesla did it. Instead of sparing dollars, Tesla prioritized referral programs as being one of the best marketing strategies. 

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Surely, it worked. Rather than investing in expensive ads to convince people to buy, Tesla was relying on current customers to do brisk sales for it. 

How Tesla’s Referral Program Works

With Tesla’s referral program both newly-referred customers and advocates would get $1000 in credit with a successful Tesla purchase. 

What’s unique about this referral program is that Tesla was making an army of loyal customers and incentivizing them to be the face of the business. Advocates would receive special rewards, which Tesla can only offer to its customers.

Build a referral program like Tesla by using this template

Education Referral Program Example


A global online learning platform, Coursera offers online courses from leading universities and organizations to anyone around the world.

How Coursera’s Referral Program Works

Coursera used the Give and Get principle. For every referral purchase, both the referrer and the referred friend would get 50% off a course or the first month of a specialization subscription. Coursera simplified the referral process by making all the essential elements easier – headlines, sharing buttons, etc. 

Build a referral program like Coursera by using this template

Finance Referral Program Example


PensionBee, a leading online pension provider helps you manage your pensions effectively online by transferring your old pensions to a new plan.

How PensionBee’s Referral Program Works

Referring users and their friends had a reward of £50 added to each of their pensions when the friend transferred a pension to the app. Offering an incentive increases the chances of a new user activation and encourages friends to set up accounts to receive the reward.

Build a referral program like PensionBee by using this template.

Crypto  Referral Program Example


Paxful is a peer-to-peer platform for the exchange of digital currencies. Its mission is to provide equal access to finance, enabling users to trade crypto and earn money in a safe and secure environment.

How Paxful’s Referral Program Works

You will make money every time friends you introduce to Paxful, and friends they invite, buy Bitcoin. When your friend buys Bitcoin on Paxful, you will receive a 50% escrow fee. Additionally, you’ll get a 10% escrow fee when the people invited by your invite buy Bitcoin on Paxful. Paxful rewards you for the chain of referrals you generated, not just the first referral – meaning people rushed to make referrals FAST.

Build a referral program like Paxful by using this template.

Refer To Win Referral Program Example


Wakelet is a digital curation platform for people to save, organize and share the online content that’s most important to them, all in one place – from videos and podcasts to news articles, Tweets, and Instagram posts.

How Wakelet’s Referral Program Works

Wakelet set out on a journey to grow its community and get more people to attend the #WakeletCommunityWeek, a jam-packed conference that takes place over five days. 

When people signed up for the Wakelet referral program, they got their unique referral links. As soon as they received their link, they were able to share it with friends and invite them to the event. The referrer with the most referrals would receive a brand-new iPad. 

Wakelet ensured a fun, quick, challenging process making it easy for users to spread the word about their event. Creating a referral loop by asking invited users to refer their friends too, offering an industry-relevant grand prize, and lastly, using Twitter to promote their campaign to like-minded people that would be interested in attending is a game changer. 

Build a referral program like Wakelet by using this template.


Given that most marketing is ineffective, most of the world’s fastest-growing brands are using referral marketing to generate high-quality leads and increase revenue. 

If you have happy and loyal customers, they are most likely to recommend you to their friends and advocate for your company. So why not reward them for their efforts by running a referral program? Let them help you tell your brand’s story.

We hope these creative and inspiring referral programs will motivate you to start building your own or taking it to the next level. 

Consider starting your own referral program if you haven’t yet. With easy-to-use referral software such as Referral Factory, you can get your referral program up and running in minutes, so what are you waiting for? Once registered, you can build and launch your own branded referral program, without writing a line of code. For more referral marketing ideas and inspiration, keep on reading the article on referral marketing trends to get more customers.

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