One of the simplest ways to market your products or services is to spread the word through those who have used your brand. This strategy is cost-effective and rewarding at the same time.
If you find the customer engagement trend has seen a dip over time, it is worthwhile to introduce a referral program. However, with their busy work schedule and personal life, it is not always easy for the customers to go about and market a brand they have liked. With an easy and one of the highest paying referral programs, you can make your customers the most prominent preachers of your brand.
With incentives like discounted services or free cash, it makes a win-win situation for everyone. In today’s blog, we will understand what a referral program is, how it works, and the 35 highest paying referral programs of 2020. We will also shed some light on the trending referral programs, the software to use, incentives to offer, and the customer base to target for your referral program.
Why Do We Need a Referral Program?
A well-thought-out, and planned referral program takes care of the biggest business challenges- creating a new customer base. If not entirely, but to a sizeable extent, it also reduces the cost and time required to bring in new customers and also retains the existing ones.
It is a known tendency for the current satisfied customers to transact frequently and generate more revenue than the newer ones. This is what makes the referral program the most lucrative idea aiding to grow your business. More simply put, with the highest paying referral program in place, the existing happy customers will generate a new customer base for your business; everything is taken care of digitally.
What is a Referral Program?
A referral program is a systematic strategy to get your business referred to others. The incentives from the program motivate loyal customers to refer more and more friends, family, and colleagues to buy the products. The rewards can be in the form of discounts on products, unlimited access to certain apps, or direct cash. Although the program will incur a cost upfront, however, it will turn out to be a meaningful investment in the long term.
How Does a Referral Program Work?
Before beginning a referral program, it is essential to understand what we are trying to achieve out of it and how you plan to reach out to the customers. For example, loyal existing customers would not appreciate frequent email blasts pledging them to participate in the referral program.
Even if it is the highest paying referral program, they know. A little bit of research can assist you to ascertain how you would like to create awareness about the referral program. Whether you would like to add a pop-up to the home page, post a link on the website about the plan or send email newsletters.
- Determine the kind of incentives you want to offer. You may also do a survey to fix this, as customers of different age groups prefer varied types of rewards.
- Track the referral and rewards. In order to be able to keep a tab on the referees, the references, the conversion rate, and the referees eligible for rewards, you need to have a dependable tracking system in place. This also provides accurate data and helps one to understand the success of your program.
The Industries That Use a Referral Program
1. Travel & Hospitality Industry
Apps like Hoteltonight and Airbnb offer discounted deals to customers when a new booking comes through their referrals. They may not be offering the highest-paying referral programs, but offer great rebates for room bookings, food, and leisure services.
2. Retail & eCommerce
When a new customer registers on the website with the code sent out by an existing customer, both the new and the existing customer gets gift vouchers in the form of credits. These credits are usable while purchasing items from that particular retailer or e-commerce site.
Brands like Amazon and E-bay are master players at this. This facilitates bringing in new customers as well as draws them to buy products from the website as the credits ideally come with absolute validity. Retail and E-commerce companies are responsible for some of the highest paying referral programs.
3. Fashion Industry
Some leading footwear retailers offer a 15% discount to the new purchaser on the first purchase as well as to the referee on the first two purchases. This promotion is valid for each successful referral.
Some other industries using referral programs:
- Food and beverage industry
- Software industry
- Transportation industry
- Health and Beauty industry
7 Top Companies With Referral Programs You Should Know About
Well, yes, even companies of the stature of Google use a referral program to bring in clients. Adds of the program often pop up on the home page of the browser.
PayPal started referral programs way before social media became a thing, and they did it mostly through emails and newsletters.
Tesla gave away up to $1K for both the new joiners and the referees. This technology giant once had the highest paying referral program.
This American cab hire company is known for running multiple referral programs simultaneously, targeting a varied base of clients.
5. Amazon Prime
One of the most popular and generously rewarded referral programs of recent times.
Extremely creative referral programs got them about 10 million users within a short span of time.
With rewards so lucrative, there are instances where customers referred multiple friends at a single time and won a fortune with this travel and accommodation company.
Now that we know in brief about referral programs and how they work let’s take a look at some of the highest paying referral programs.
35 Highest Paying Referral Programs 2023
A recent study showed that when a friend, relative, or colleague recommends a program, most often or not, people will trust it. The percentage of people using such recommendations is high as 86%.
Using these survey statistics, the Airbnb marketing team doubled the number of existing customers they targeted for referring other customers. With a little study on internet behavior and travel history, it helped them bring in thousands of new clients.
The referral program they run has earning potential of as much as $85. Airbnb offers up to $30 to a referred friend on their first vacation, and you get $55 when they complete their trip using the referral code. Airbnb witnessed about 30% rise in customer acquisition through their referral programs.
Hotel tonight is an app that gives great deals on hotel bookings. The users share the referral codes with their acquaintances and family members through email and social media sites. It is worthwhile mentioning that you will get the referral credit only when the friend downloads the app on their mobile with a minimum purchase amount for their booking. This is to ensure more internet traffic on the app.
Advocates get a $25 discount towards their next hotel booking through the app, with every successful referral. The referred friend also receives a $25 discount when they make their first hotel booking, provided the booking amount has a minimum value of $135.
Getaround is a cab booking application where car owners register their vehicles and rent them out for other Getaround users. Users of this app can sign up using their Google or Facebook accounts. This mapping saves the users from remembering another set of user id and password for the Getaround app and makes the process of sign up easy and time-saving.
This is literally one of the highest paying referral programs around and gives away free cash. The advocate gets $20 when any new user signs up using their referral code. The best part of this program comes when the advocate receives a massive $200 bonus when any referred friend signs up and eventually registers their own car on the app.
Soylent is a meal delivery service that provides vitamin, mineral and nutrition-rich food instead of regular meals. Their referral program has a social cause linked to it, making the program worth beyond dollars.
For each new client acquisition via the referral program, Soylent donates $1 to World Food Program USA. It is a proven fact that people trust companies more who have a record of contributing to social causes. With each referral spent of $24 and above on the first order, the referees receive customer points. The references are eligible to receive a $10 discount on their first subscription.
Quip is a subscription-based dental hygiene service that provides dental accessories like an electric toothbrush, brush heads and toothpaste. Advocates and the referrals receive $5 each on their first transaction after the reference.
Additionally, the users get $ 5 extra when dentists join the network with their invites. An interesting fact – the cost of the products available on Quip is often equivalent to $5, which simply means you get a free dental product with every successful referral.
BurnCycle conducts indoor cycling classes across the states of Oregon and Washington. Patrons can buy the services or classes from the company’s own website. Customers can get the benefits of the referral program if they fulfill the target of referring a minimum of 5 friends.
The referred friend can buy their first class at just $10 if they have a valid referral code. The advocate gets 15% off on their next month’s membership package, provided they achieve their goal of referring at least 5 customers. If the existing customers have an objective in front of them, they will engage more in referring friends. This leads to enhanced brand involvement and helps in developing a clientele.
Girlfriend Collective is a garment retailer, selling clothes made from reused materials. This method of making clothes labels Girlfriend Collective as one of the few eco-friendly clothing brands in the United States. They believe in giving away freebies(which actually costs a decent bit) instead of direct cash.
Any current customer who completes a successful referral gets a pair of free leggings after the first purchase of the referred friend. In return, the friend receives $10 discount on the first purchase above $95.The idea of offering free goods is the basis of a study from Carlson School of Management. A majority of the buyers feel free samples as a higher value than discounted products, the study reveals.
Amerisleep is a brand selling foam mattresses online. The website has a dashboard that allows users to see the number of successful referrals they participated in. More the referrals, more they earn. This instills a sense of achievement and eggs the customers to get more referrals to see their name on top of the list.
The clients get a $75 worth Visa Prepaid gift free on the first purchase of the referral through the customized link. The exciting part is, there is no capping on how many references you can make. Sharing maximum links increases the earning potential.
Moo is a print and design company and offers its services online. They sell a range of stationery products, from business cards to flyers and postcards. Moo has two types of referral programs deployed for them to develop a clientele base. One is an individual referral program, and another is a business referral program.
On referring a friend to use Moo’s services, you can get a gift card of upto $20. Similarly, if a business which has a minimum of ten headcount uses Moo’s services with your reference, you are eligible to get a whopping $150 reward.
Brooklinen is one of America’s leading bedspread sellers. They are also specialized in bath wear, loungewear and offer a number of accessories and gifts. The quality and popularity of the brand go well with their tagline- “ Internet’s Favorite Sheets”. But then, we have not come to the best part of the brand yet, their referral programs. They have a page on their website dedicated to referral programs and the rewards.
Earning rewards with Brooklinen is as simple as leaving a product review. Yes, you read it right. They reward you for activities like following Instagram or Facebook page or leave a review about their services. Customers and their newly referred friend both get $25 discount on their next purchase of $100 and above.
If you are a little tech-savvy, deals through Groupon isn’t alien to you. It is a digital platform that offers great deals and discounts on an array of products like face masks to pizza delivery. On top of it, they also have a decent referral program, making the brand a favorite amongst online buyers.
On referring a friend, a customer gets $10 off on their next purchase. The rewards stay as a credit on their website, giving the customers more reasons to come back to the site for more purchases.
12. Vera Bradley
Vera Bradley is a well-known fashion brand specializing in all kinds of bags ranging from handbags to backpacks and also travel accessories.
This international brand gives a 20% discount to both customers and referrals on their next purchase who take part in their bring a friend program.
A Voice Over Internet Protocol service provider, Vonage gifts vouchers worth $50 to customers for each referral registering for Vonage’s services.
The gift cards offered are redeemable at over 50 retail stores. This option of spending rewards makes the referral program even more lucrative.
14. Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh is a subscription-based meal delivery service.
It offers $40 off on the first meal to the referee on a successful referral and $20 account credit to the new subscriber.
15. American Giant
American Giant is a clothing retailer, with expertise in casual clothing and active wear. This brand is known for selling some of the best hoodies in the world. The customers get $20 on referring a friend, and the friend gets a 15% discount on the first purchase.
Their website has a message box describing the features of their products with a focus on longevity and simple design. This gives the customers coming in through reference programs, a positive first impression of the brand.
Justworks provides business support to companies for managing payroll, human resources and employee benefits. When a business signs up with Justworks using a referral link, the advocate gets a straight $100 per employee of that referred business.
With unlimited earning potential, Justworks has one of the highest paying referral programs.
17. American Express
Regarded as one of the top banks in the world, Amex credit cards are a symbol of status. Their referral program lives up to its reputation too. With 10,000 reward points for each referral, customers have the potential to earn up to 55 thousand points in a single calendar year. Depending on the type of credit card they avail, the referrals get a minimum of 10,000 points per card.
These points are as good as hard cash. For example, if you are booking a flight ticket worth $200 and have enough membership points in the kitty, you may end up paying just about half the ticket price after redeeming the points.
18. Citi Bike
An initiative of the Citi Group, Citi Bike is a bike-sharing service with one of the highest paying referral programs. More the number of customers they refer to, the higher the chances of getting long term benefits.
Members can get a month’s bike services free on every successful referral. If you are referring 12 or 24 friends, you can have as many months’ free service. 2 years of free biking just by referring friends! Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Tesla – Known as one of the oldest eco-friendly car makers, Tesla gives customers a chance to win one of its high model vehicles every three months. After every successful referral!
Customers get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging after successfully referring to a friend. Plus, the advocate and the referral each get $250 when the new purchaser signs up for their Solar Roof system.
Farm Fresh To You supplies organic fruits and vegetable to doorsteps. The referral program is quite decent compared to the size of the company.
Customers get $25 on successfully referring a friend, an acquaintance or family member while the referrals get 15% discount on the first buy.
21. Vista Print
Vista Print provides services to businesses in terms of making printing business cards, customized clothing, marketing materials and other stationery items. Comparatively new in the market, this company has witnessed a fair surge in the customer base since the launch of its referral program.
Customers get $10 on advocating a friend successfully to use Vista Print’s services.
A new age online investment app, RobinHood offers stock of worth $500 for each successful referral. The customer and the referral both are beneficiaries of this reward.
As a part of their marketing strategy, Robin Hood encourages customers to disclose their share of stocks while filing for tax returns. This builds up trust in the new joiners about the reliability of the company.
23. Rad Power Bikes
Rad Power Bikes is an e-bike company operating out of the state Seattle. The best part of their reward program is you can use the voucher elsewhere too.
The customer who refers gets an Amazon gift voucher worth $50, and the referred friends get $50 off on their first purchase. The latter has to sign up using the unique referral links from the referee.
Acorns is a financial service company. It specializes in micro-investments and robo- investments. If you can get a friend to invest in Acorns with your referral link, then both the parties receive a $ 5 bonus.
The referral can get the bonus account credit only after the sign up is approved, and he makes the first investment. The interesting part about Acorns’ referral program is, the investor starts the account with the bonus credit. This turns out to be a nice welcome gesture from the company.
Better known as JP Morgan Chase, this American multinational investment bank and financial services has a high yielding referral program on select credit cards.
The referral program has an earning potential from $50-$100 , translated from points(in the range of 5000 to 10000) after each successful referral. Before referring, customers need to check if they qualify to participate in the referral program.
Trello is a tool used for organizational and project management related work. It is available for businesses and individuals both. The referral program also promotes upselling to higher plans, besides enticing new customers to sign up for their services.
Trello users get an opportunity to earn one month of free Gold membership per successful referral. One can earn up to 12 months of free membership, which is equivalent to $45.
Airtable is a tool for organization and project management. It is specifically designed to keep the SMB tools organized. Airtable customers get $10 for each successful referral. The rewards stay as a credit in the user’s account.
On accumulating enough credits, the users of this tool can upgrade their plan and avail of customized services. This concept inspires more referrals as well as promotes upselling.
Blue Bottle Coffee started its journey in Oakland, California and then spread to other states across the USA. Now, it has a presence in Japan and Korea too. This coffee specialty chain sells everything related to coffee, from the normal cuppa to coffee mugs and brewing equipment. The customers and their friends get $20 discount on their future purchases. This applies to every successful referral.
The codes with which the new referrals sign up has the name of the referring customer embedded it in. This lends a personalized touch to the code and makes it memorable.
This one is for the revelers! Winc is an online platform that delivers wine to your doorstep and runs on a subscription basis. You can uncork great rewards and surprises for you and your friends with its referral program.
Two bottles of fine wine awaits you when you refer a friend to use Winc’s delivery services. Your friend gets $22 discount on their first wine purchase through Winc.
Besides having quite a decent rewarding referral program, Quickbook also encourages its subscribers to find and focus on their passion. This makes the referral program more personal.
Quickbooks has upgraded its referral program and increased the prize value by almost 33%. The referrer gets a free $100 Visa Prepaid card for every friend that signs up, while the referred friend receives a 50% discount on purchases from Quickbooks.
Docsend is an online document-storing platform. It’s a secure and trustable digital network that helps in storing, sending, and editing documents and is very popular amongst professionals. The referral program gives the advocates and the referral $15 off, towards their next plan purchase.
Since most executives have a Linkedin account, Docsend gives the referring friend an option to send the referral link through Linkedin to their colleagues or friends.
Birchbox is a monthly digital subscription box, based in New York. It sends its subscribers varied beauty products like skincare items, perfumes, cosmetics, and other organic products. The referral program can get you 100 Birchbox, which equals $10, every time you refer your close ones to use the services. So that the friend doesn’t feel left out, he or she also gets a $9 rebate on their first box purchase.
On Birchbox’s website, customers can see the total number of reward points they have in their kitty currently along with their worth in dollars.
Casper is an online mattress-selling company. It offers customers a free Amazon gift card worth $75 as a part of the referral program, for referring a friend to buy products from Casper. The new referred user receives a 20% discount on their purchase of mattresses from Casper. If the referred friend uses the unique link from the advocate, he gets the rebate.
Online retailers like Casper keep updating their products, prices, and prize value of their referral program periodically. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website to check the latest deals and offers.
34. Shoes for Crews
Expertise in selling shoes that prevent slipping, this online footwear retailer has shoes specifically for factory workers.
They give $10 to newly referred users, provided the purchase value is $50 or more.
Minted promotes budding artists and independent designers and provides them a platform to promote their art. They sell a variety of designs with the option of customization.
Minted’s referral program gives customers and referrals a $25 bonus. They need to purchase stuff worth $100 or more.
So, if you have a referral code, share it with your friend, partner, or colleague before it expires. Also, if you are planning to launch a referral program for your brand, have clarity in explaining the do’s and don’ts to get the rewards. It is also helpful for the customers and potential customers if there is a dedicated rewards page with FAQs. Keep refreshing the rewards prizes and benefits to attract more customers and upgrade the existing ones to higher packages.
The next time you shop online, don’t forget to check this blog. You could be a part of one of the highest-paying referral programs.