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Best Practices for Referral Email Marketing

Did you know that the email conversion-to-purchase rate is 94.4% with Talkable? This is one of the examples of how well email referrals can work. Sending a personal email increases the number of customer referrals, and it can be used for sharing, promoting, or even converting.

What can we compare the referral email marketing too? Let’s say your friend sends you an email, and it is about a discounted product, or you see a sponsored post on Facebook about this same product. It is more likely that you will test the product out and see it for yourself rather than getting a non-personalized ad on a social media platform.

Optimize your on-brand referral campaigns.

The best way to use customer referrals is to ensure that your buying customers want to share it with their friends and using the correct channels that produce. Whether it is a personalized subject line, the design of the email, or significant discounts, there are several tools to use. Sending a dedicated email blast regularly, but not too often, is a great way to keep your current customer base active.

How to Achieve Successful Referral Emails

Choosing the Correct Audience

Make sure that you have the current and correct list of customers that receive the email. It is essential that you have categorized and segmented your most active clients, the ones who are most loyal to you. Once you have that list of your best clients, use it regularly and keep it updated. Sending an email blast out to everyone might cause the exact opposite reaction you were hoping for.

Subject Lines Matter

Attractive subject lines get the attention they deserve and make customers open the emails you send. If you are not sure which subjects work best, you can use the Сoschedule’s subject line tester, and if you have time, try to do an A/B testing for a campaign.

Make sure that your subjects are personalized and designed with your customer in mind. We have noticed that using specific techniques; the open email rates get boosted by up to 20%. Here are some of our favorite personalized subject lines:

  • Congrats! You’ve earned 25% off at Talkable
  • A surprise gift from your friend John!
  • Important! 25% off from your friend John

Make sure your email campaigns are mobile-friendly. As a matter of fact, the number of characters can break or make your campaign. Typically, a mailbox shows about 60 characters and a mobile inbox, only up to 25 to 30 characters. We highly suggest not to go over 60 characters at any point. The shorter the subject and the punchline, the more likely it will show everyone in a way you have planned it.

Give Discounts a Deadline

No one wants to miss a significant discount, especially when it is for a product they already love or are looking for. Your email marketing discounts should not be available all the time, and by having that deadline, you ensure that the ones who want to buy will buy. The fear of missing out, FOMO, can come in handy when you wish that your clients would make that order as fast as possible.

How to grab a customer’s attention in a subject line? Try these:

  • [Urgent] One day left to get your 25%!
  • You’re missing out on an excellent deal!
  • Uh-oh! Your discount is expiring!
  • Hurry! Get 25% off from your friend John


Your customers like discounts and you can give them. Use this power and understand why referrals are so crucial to your business. A great way to tell your current customers why they should refer you to their friends is to list out all the benefits they get – just like James Allen did.

Email Body Copy Writing Tips

It matters how things are written and in which order. The Customer Success Managers at Talkable suggest that the essential information is in the first two sentences.

An excellent model to follow is the inverted pyramid model where you start with the conclusion, build up to your support details, and giving the reader general information in the end.

Make sure your sentences present one idea each, and they are concise. That way, your customer reading the email will not get lost in detail and is more likely to remember what you were trying to say. Keeping it comfortable to read pays off better than difficult texts with fancy words. In the end, you give the reader a clear CTA with general information, and you are good to go.

Using visuals, like at Blurb, which is a self-publishing service, can help you achieve the easy-to-read feel to the email.

Also, you can try the 80-20 rule, where you limit the use of the first person, the I/we to 20% and keep the second person at 80%. It puts extra focus on the first person once you use it and also reminds you not to talk about yourself only.


The key to email referral campaigns is that you make sure your current customers invite their friends to participate, and it converts to paying customers. You can motivate your customers to do so once you have a great incentive in place.

Depending on your service or product, incentives can be different. A startup company called Frambridge made a great 20-20 offer that worked well.

Smart Call-To-Action Buttons That Work

If your customer does not know where to click, you most likely lost them. What is it that you would like your customers to do? Whether you wish them to claim a discount or try out your updated online shop, having a specific CTA, your customer understands what’s going on. For example, we like the following CTAs:

  • Get my 20%
  • Shop now
  • Start shopping
  • Find my shoes
  • Invite my friend

Keep a Schedule

Sending offers randomly might not achieve the targets as timing matters. It has a massive difference if you send it at the right time, to the right person, and have a good reason for sending it. Make sure you do not miss the holidays and the times of the year when people are looking for great deals for different services and products.

Holiday stress is a familiar state of mind for many of us, but as a business owner, you can make the best of it. If you can solve a customer’s problem with getting the right gift for their mother or fathers by offering them a solution and add a discount on it, your customers are more likely to take you up on that offer. If you send it a week after Father’s or Mother’s Day, you might have missed your chance.

Remember that your customers are human, and emotions are always present. Make it a win-win and offer a useful product with them feeling like this is what they were looking for, everyone is happy. Emotions are essential and use them in your referral marketing campaigns.

Talkable Email Statistics

We are proud that our statistics speak for themselves. We have registered a higher open and click-through rates in our campaigns compared to the industry average numbers. MailChimp statistics show a 16.48% open rate while the click-through rate is only at 1.75%. At Talkable, we proudly present an open rate of 57.1% while the click-through rate is at 36.4%.

It is essential to spend time and work with the email campaigns and not just do them for the sake of doing them. Once you have paid attention to the details and ensured you have all the information you need to send that email, your referral marketing campaign can quickly increase your sales. Personalize and create great subject lines and messages, make sure your customer senses the urgency and use working CTAs. To achieve better results with your refer-a-friend campaigns, follow these Talkable’s best practices!



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