Charlene H.J. Anderson
March 2nd, 2021

How to Write a Referral Email: Templates & Tips

Your happy customers are your best marketing tool. Learn how to use email to grow your referral program.

Table Of Contents

Imagine this: you run a successful eCommerce store, you’ve got a ton of positive reviews, and your number of satisfied customers is piling up by the day. What’s the best way to increase your engagement, maintain your success, and expand your customer base?

The top brands know there are more ways than one. But the best way to grow is to make use of all the satisfied customers you’ve gained, and incentivize them to send referral emails on your behalf.

This works because it leverages what you already have — allowing your brand to set in motion a gang of happy customers ready to promote your products and sing your praises.

In this article, we’ll talk more about referral emails and how beneficial they are. Then, we’ll give you some ready-to-use templates so you can take advantage of them and start sending them out today.

What makes a good referral email campaign?

Referral marketing programs are most effective when they are personalized and relevant. Here are some elements to consider in yours.

Segment your email list

Customer engagement means targeting the right people at the right time. And that equates to segmenting your email list.

You can create different segments based on who you want to target. This ensures the right people get a tailored, customized message.

There are a number of options for which segments to create. You can form groups for everything from repeat customers to disengaged shoppers.

This is how to make your content relevant and increase your customer engagement. The more relevant your content is, the more likely your audience will engage with it.

So, narrow your focus and send targeted messages to specific groups of people.

Learn how a rewards program
can increase your referrals
Get started

Personalize your emails

Customers want personalized experiences. According to Epsilon, 80% are more likely to purchase from brands that offer a personalized experience.

As you ponder how to engage customers through referral emails, remember this: think of your customers as individuals rather than a faceless group. They don’t want to interact with content that’s irrelevant to their needs and doesn’t address their situations.

Your customers want your attention. They know they’re not the only ones on your email list, but they want to feel like they are.

And consumer engagement through email is like every other strategy: you start by putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you engaged with a brand, shared their content, and gave out your coveted email address only to receive the impersonal greeting of, “Hello customer” in your inbox? You’d probably regret you gave out your email address in the first place.

There’s more to personalization than just using your customer’s first name. Customize your content to make it resonate with your audience.

Do this after you segment your email list. Utilize any data you have to create personalized emails tailor-made for your audience.

Send thank you emails

Every customer wants to feel appreciated. And there’s no better show of appreciation than sending an email that says “Thank you.”

Thank you emails are great to send immediately after a customer purchases and can be a jumping-off point for referrals. Can you think of a better time to ask for a referral than right after a customer makes a purchase? At that point, they’re feeling giddy, overjoyed with excitement, and oozing with anticipation. This is the best time to initiate a customer engagement marketing campaign informing them of your referral program.

So, as you send out an email thanking them for their purchase, include details on how to sign up for your referral program.

Ensure your emails have context

Give customers a reason to open your emails every time you send them. Make them engaging, fun to read, and full of personality.

You must understand this when it comes to email marketing: your competition is every other piece of mail that sits in your customer’s inbox. So, it’s imperative you stand out. If your email comes across as boring or salesy, your chance of it getting opened is slim to none.

Start with an appealing subject. Inject it with an element of curiosity so customers want to open the email and learn more. Then, continue to the body copy — and make sure it resonates with the audience segment you’re targeting.

You can also use gifs and emojis as long as they’re in line with your brand message, but don’t overdo it. Make a rule of using only one gif or one emoji per email. Anything more could cause your customers to get distracted and lose focus on your message.

Be clear about the value you provide

Why should customers tell their family and friends about your offers? Be clear about how your referral program benefits customers. Demonstrate value upfront and show them what they get out of the deal.

Remember, no matter how fabulous your products are, customers want an incentive to promote you. And when you send an email inviting them to participate in your referral program, you can rest assured that this question will be on their minds: “What’s in it for me?”

So, tell customers what they’ll get from each referral. It can be anything from a $10 coupon to 15% off their next order, as long as it’s of value to them.

Find the balance

Asking for referrals at the right time is crucial. Don’t bombard your customers with referral requests and annoy them past the point of no return.

Send your emails at the right time

Timing varies depending on your industry but the important thing to note is this: catch customers at the moment they’re most engaged with your brand. This can and should be automated with your chosen email service provider.

Use the right language

If your brand were a person, what words would you use to describe it? Do you think you’re fun and upbeat or are you considered more serious and professional?

Brands are just like people — full of unique attributes and personality traits. And the way you describe your brand is the way your brand should sound.

Referral email templates

Below are two ready-to-use referral email templates. Personalize them to reflect your brand and meet the needs of your business.

The first template can be sent to anyone: new and existing customers alike.

Template 1: 

Subject Line: Thanks for joining our referral program!

Hi [Customer],

You’re officially approved to participate in [Company’s] Referral Program. You’re now eligible to earn [customized reward] simply by referring friends to our [Company].

Head over to [portal link] and use your email and the temporary password provided to get started.

Share this special link: [unique share link] to start earning rewards right now!


[Your name]

[Your Company]

The second template is made especially for loyal customers. Use this to send to “super fans” of your brand.

Template 2: 

Subject Line: Refer & Earn [reward]

Hi [Customer],

Congratulations! You’re officially a [Company] Brand Ambassador. You deserve a reward for all of the love that you show to our brand. You can spread the love by sharing this link: [unique share link] with your friends. For every new [Company] customer you refer, you’ll earn [customized reward].

Set up your personal account at [portal link] to get started (and keep track of your rewards). Your temporary password is: em@iltempl@te. You may change your password as soon as you log in.


[Your name]

[Your Company]

Make the most of your referral program

In eCommerce, your success is directly linked to your ability to implement new things. Because you never know what will work until you give something new a try.

And if you’ve never tried sending referral emails as a way to engage your customers, why not give it a whirl? By using our ready-made templates and tips, it’s easy to get started.


Interested in Yotpo?
Schedule a call with one of our eCommerce experts to learn more.
Thank you.
We'll be in touch in no time! In the meantime, take a look at what our customers are saying about Yotpo.
Yotpo customers logosYotpo customers logosYotpo customers logos
Laura Doonin, Commercial Director recommendation on yotpo

“Yotpo is a fundamental part of our recommended tech stack.”

Shopify plus logo Laura Doonin, Commercial Director
Yotpo customers logosYotpo customers logosYotpo customers logos