How refer-a-friend programmes can drive revenue and build advocacy (guide with 45 examples)
Read time: 20 mins
A refer-a-friend programme can be an excellent way to build relationships with your existing customers and start a conversation with new ones. But if you’ve never run a referral programme before, or have had less than spectacular results, where do you start?
If you have an engaged customer base that’s enthusiastic about your brand, it’s perfectly possible to craft a refer-a-friend programme that not only brings in more business, but converts your loyal customers into passionate advocates for your brand.
In this post, showing you step-by-step what it takes to build, run, and maintain a referral marketing programme that will drive revenue, lower acquisition costs and strengthen your connection with your most important customers.
Plus, we’ll break down how 45 top brands have used refer-a-friend campaigns to harness the power of their brand fans.
- What is a refer-a-friend programme?
- What are the benefits of refer-a-friend programmes
- How to build a successful customer referral program
- How to use referral marketing to build a network of loyal customers
- The best refer-a-friend campaigns: 45 examples of brands who’ve launched successful programmes
What is a refer-a-friend programme?
A refer-a-friend programme is a way to reward your customers for recommending your products or services.
The customer brings extra revenue into your business and lets others know how highly they regard your brand. In return, they usually receive some form of reward or incentive (as does the customer they referred).
In this way, you can drive revenue by turning to your already existing customer base without the need for extra marketing spend.
Referral programmes work because they tap into the power of real, living relationships. Think of the last major purchase you made. Did you ask any friends or family for recommendations before investing a large amount of money? If you couldn’t find a recommendation did you wish you knew someone with personal, first-hand knowledge?
If you answered yes, it’s because you trust and believe in the people you know directly. Their opinion has far more weight than an advert or piece of marketing you happen to come across. And this isn’t just limited to major purchases, trust in friends and family consistently tops the customer trustworthiness poll.
How do refer-a-friend programmes work?
Refer-a-friend programmes have 3 basic steps:
- Invite your customer to refer —This traditionally happens after they’ve made a purchase, but many brands have successfully experimented with initiating the referral journey at different stages: You can set the invitation to pop up directly after checkout on your website or app, or you can send them an invitation through email or on social media a day later, or even invite customers to refer after they’ve left a positive review on your site.
- The new customer uses the code — The referred customer uses the referral link or code to make a purchase or sign up for a service. Both the original customer and the new one receive a reward. These rewards can be in the form of discounts, store credits, free products, or other incentives.
- The cycle repeats itself — Referred customers are 5x more likely than your standard customers to refer other people to your brand. The more you pay attention to your referred customers, giving them the bespoke treatment the extra value they bring to your business deserves, the more you are able to build a network of loyal customers who will become enthusiastic advocates for your brand.
What is Referral Marketing?
As the last step hints at, running your refer-a-friend programme to systematically focus on the customers who bring the most overall value into your business is a real driver of revenue and sustainable growth.
Referral marketing is the practice of consistently and methodically rewarding your most enthusiastic customers, maximising the value of their own spend and that of the people they recommend you to.
What are the benefits of refer-a-friend programmes
Customers acquired through referrals are typically more trusting, better fits for your brand, and more likely to continue the referral cycle. In addition:
- Customer acquisition is easier and cheaper — Not only is it easier to win new sales when they come via friends and family, it’s much cheaper as your customers are effectively doing your marketing for you. Leveraging the power of your customers’ networks means you don’t have to spend as much on marketing and paid ads to attract new customers.
- Revenue growth — Tapping into already existing networks means you can drive sustainable, profitable growth rather than adopting tactics like heavy discounting that only brings in one-off, highly transactional customers.
- Higher average order value (AOV) — Because they’re starting from a place of trust, referred customers spend more on average than other customers: 11% for first time purchases and 8% for repeat purchases.
- Higher customer lifetime value (CLTV) — This all adds up to 2x higher overall lifetime value for referred customers.
How to build a successful customer referral program
So how do you go about building a successful customer referral program? And how can you optimise it for maximum impact? Let's take a closer look at what’s needed to use referral marketing to generate real revenue for your business.
Where to start with refer-a-friend programs
Starting a successful referral program requires a strategic approach. Here's how to get the ball rolling:
- Identify Your Goals — Begin by defining clear objectives for your referral program. What do you hope to achieve? Whether it's increasing customer acquisition, boosting revenue, or strengthening customer loyalty, setting specific goals will guide your program's design. When you get further down the road and start testing and tweaking your strategy, setting objectives at the start of the programme will give you something to measure against.
- Understand Your Audience — Knowing your target audience is crucial. Understand your customers' preferences, behaviours, and what motivates them to refer your brand. Tailor your program to align with their needs and expectations.
- Choose the Right Incentives — Incentives play a significant role in motivating customers to refer others. Offer rewards that resonate with your audience, whether it's discounts, exclusive access, or gifts.
How to optimise your refer-a-friend programme
The revenue that your customers can generate by referring others is potentially far in excess of the amount they’ll spend themselves, so optimising your refer-a-friend programme to make your customers feel valued and included enough to share your brand regularly will drive long-term growth.
- View your referral programme as a way to deliver an outstanding customer experience — The customers that use your refer-a-friend scheme are the ones who are most passionate about your brand. Make them feel important and valuable with the offers, messaging and content you send their way.
- Personalise your offering — Tailor your referral offers to individual customers whenever possible. Personalised incentives, content and messaging can significantly boost engagement and conversion rates.
- Keep it simple — Your referral process needs to be straightforward and user-friendly. Don’t let unnecessary points of friction, like asking for too much customer information, get in the way of referrals. Make it easy for customers to share their referral links or codes.
- Use A/B testing — A pitch-perfect referral programme doesn’t materialise overnight. It’s a process of testing, iteration, and continuous improvement. What motivates some customers won’t work for others and what was successful in the past might not always deliver the best results. A/B testing and customer segmentation can do a great deal to fine-tune your scheme and optimise your results.
How to use referral marketing to build a network of loyal customers
Done right, referral marketing isn't just about acquiring new customers; it's about cultivating a network of enthusiastic advocates for your brand. The best referral marketing programmes are those that nurture relationships with individual customers at the same time as fostering connections with their extended network.
One of the best ways to do this is to encourage repeat referrals. Having a fully developed refer-a-friend system allows you to recognize and reward customers for multiple referrals, creating a continuous cycle of advocacy.
The best refer-a-friend campaigns: 45 examples of brands who’ve launched successful programmes
Every brand is unique, and how you run your referral programme will depend on the type of industry you’re in, what your customer base looks like and who your ICP is. But to help you envision what your programme could look like, we’ve compiled a list of brands who’ve already had significant success with referral marketing.
We’ve arranged it by vertical, so you can skip to the section that’s most relevant to you. Or, if you prefer, take a look through the whole list of referral program examples to get inspired.
- Health and Beauty
- Insurance and Financial Services
- Travel and Hospitality
- Food and Beverage
Whether it’s asking a friend’s opinion on a new winter coat or complimenting a co-worker's jeans, we talk about fashion almost every day. This makes a referral programme an unmissable growth opportunity for brands in this sector. Here are some of our favourite examples:
The leading UK lifestyle brand has partnered with Mention Me since 2018. Known for its quality, attention to detail, and quirky humour, Ted Baker and Mention Me have worked together to take advantage of customer loyalty and offline conversations, optimising customer engagement through strategic A/B testing.
The collaboration involved running split tests in Australia, the UK, and the US to understand how different elements of referral campaigns resonated with various customer segments.
Their testing revealed some valuable insights:
- Messaging through WhatsApp was particularly effective. It now drives 7% of referral orders
- Customers preferred to ‘give’ offers to their friends rather than ‘get’ for themselves
- A £25 discount was a better incentive than a 10% discount on the next purchase
Engaging copy and eye-catching design played a significant role in reinforcing Ted Baker’s off-beat brand identity and capturing customer attention. Additionally, ensuring a seamless experience for mobile users was crucial.
The referral scheme has delivered notable results since its launch: On average, referred customers spend 34% more than other customers per order, make 7% more orders and have a 16% higher purchase rate during peak months.
Since its inception in 2012, PrettyLittleThing, the popular women’s fashion retailer, has experienced rapid growth, expanding 250% annually. However, they initially had mixed results with their referral programme. After a disappointing refer-a-friend campaign, they collaborated with Mention Me to engage customers more effectively.
In just three months, PrettyLittleThings revitalised their referral program. It emerged as a valuable marketing channel, attracting thousands of new customers and doubling the rate at which referrals convert to customers.
They achieved these impressive results by conducting A/B tests to fine-tune their approach. An initial test revealed that customers favoured a 20% discount over a £10 one. Subsequent testing on copy length showed that descriptive content was more engaging than concise copy, an insight that not only informed future campaigns but also allowed the brand to reinforce their overall messaging and style through the programme.
Additionally, PrettyLittleThing integrated significant events like International Friendship Day into their referral program, further promoting brand advocacy.
Whistles is a contemporary fashion brand known for its effortlessly chic designs, blending timeless elegance with a modern edge.
Whistles typically attracts sophisticated, style-conscious customers who value high quality and value for money. To tap into this sentiment, the brand offers their customers 15% off their next purchase when they refer-a-friend. It’s an effective incentive that encourages similarly-minded friends to become Whistles customers and shares positive customer sentiment around a wide personal network.
BrandAlley runs flash sales on designer brands, so their customer base of budget-conscious fashionistas are primed to respond to referral incentives that offer discounts.
But their referred customers are not just there to find a bargain and never return. On average, BrandAlley’s referred customers spend 64% more in their first six months and introduce 4x more new customers.
Seeing the huge value in this, BrandAlley started to look at their referred customers not just in terms of individual spend, but by measuring Extended Customer Revenue (ECR) — a combination of a customer's spend and that of anyone they refer. They discovered that referrers had a 4x higher ECR than other customers.
Taking this approach and running with it, BrandAlley began valuing customers based on how much they advocate for their brand. They could further leverage this strategy using the Emarsys platform, segmenting and targeting customers based on their stage in the advocacy journey.
"We've seen incredible growth with Mention Me. Its products evolve alongside with what we're trying to achieve, and are structured in a way that makes customer advocacy data work so much harder, supplementing our activities across marketing channels."
- Michelle Hurney, Head of Marketing at BrandAlley
Leading UK-based online fashion retailer ASOS has gone beyond a simple referral programme, creating a community of enthusiastic fans. Using social media hashtags like #ASOSInsiders and harnessing the power of user generated content, the fashion brand actively fosters a sense of belonging and affinity between its customers.
ASOS’s refer-a-friend programme fits into this strategy, with its emphasis on creating customer advocates who feel a deep connection to the retailer and are highly motivated to bring other customers into the fold.
Farfetch, a leader in high-end fashion retail, has a valuation of $1B. To help sustain their rapid growth, they have found ways to leverage the high customer satisfaction the brand enjoys.
Using the Mention Me platform, they were able to quickly implement, test, and optimise a refer-a-friend programme. After 6 weeks, they went live.
Within nine months, Farfetch saw:
- A 15% increase in acquisition
- Over 20% of referrals coming through Mention Me’s unique name-sharing technology
- Higher average order value from referred customers
- Each referring customer generating over £100 in incremental value
By segmenting customers and using highly targeted messaging and offers, Fatface has been able to engage more of their customers with their referral program and boost the metrics of the programme itself.
The brand combined segmentation with A/B testing and experimented with different messages and incentives. Customers see different messages depending on factors like how much they’ve spent and whether they’ve used discount codes.
By making use of an advanced referral marketing platform that can make data-driven, personalised decisions about what to display to customers, Fatface significantly enhanced its online marketing: 20% of referrals converted into new customers of those new customers, 19% repurchased within 90 days.
Above and beyond the boost in revenue, Fatface gained a nuanced understanding of customer behaviour and how to use brand advocacy strategically, further fueling their growth and customer engagement.
GlassesUSA.com, a leading online retailer for prescription glasses and sunglasses, launched a new refer-a-friend programme with the intention of boosting new customer acquisition and enhancing the value of existing customers.
One of the most notable aspects of their programme is the amount of referrals that have come through offline conversations, with 77% of referrals coming through Name Share® rather than promo codes.
Since they launched, the results have been impressive:
- A 43% increase in new customer revenue
- A 53% rise in new customer acquisition over 12 months
- Referred customers introduced 13x more new customers than others and had a 13% higher Average Order Value (AOV)
The next step in their strategy is to segment customers based on their likelihood to refer, aiming to maximise outcomes from each customer.
"We were completely right to trust Mention Me. We’re now nurturing advocacy from new and existing customers, helping us acquire customers who spend 13% more."
- Arie Tom, CMO at GlassesUSA
Kurt Geiger exudes a chic, fashion-forward identity, known for its trendy, high-quality footwear and accessories that blend boldness with classic British style. When the brand wanted to get more from its referral programme and convert its fans and referrers into brand advocates, they turned to Mention Me.
With Mention Me’s support, they tried out different combinations of imagery and messaging to see what would nurture their customers best. In tests of descriptive copy vs concise copy, counterintuitively in the age of short attention spans, the longer, descriptive copy was the winner, with 21% more shares and 98% more new customers than the short and sweet messaging.
With images, they found those that emphasised sharing with friends to be the most successful in driving new customer acquisitions.
Running A/B tests like this means the team can base their campaigns on proven results rather than their own hunches.
The results of their efforts are impressive: Customers acquired from sharing have an 11% higher AOV than those from other channels. And these are not just one-off spends: 24% of revenue from referred customers comes from repeat purchases.
Moss Bros, having generated millions in referral revenue over five years, wanted to expand its reach and conversions even further. They used Mention Me’s Smart Experiment feature, which uses machine learning to deliver personalised content and offers based on how ready a customer is to refer.
Moss Bros saw immediate gains with various customer segments. Customers with a high propensity to refer were sharing 6x more, and those with a low propensity who claimed discounts were 23% more likely to repurchase.
This approach not only increased new customer acquisition but also boosted retention. Importantly, referred customers spent 14% more than those acquired through other channels, enhancing Moss Bros' average order value (AOV).
Integrating Mention Me with Ometria further enhanced Moss Bros’ strategy, allowing real-time referral data to feed into their CRM. This integration enabled more targeted and personalised communications, further driving referrals.
"Mention Me lets us engage with every customer. Referral brings new customers in, then targeted offers turn shoppers into repeat customers. It’s the best of both worlds. It's completely data-driven, so you can make strategic decisions with confidence. The numbers talk, and they prove it’s working."
- Natalia Kirby, Digital Marketing Manager at Moss Bros
PUMA partnered with Mention Me in 2021 to transform its loyal fanbase into a growth driver for its direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel.
The implementation was seamless, taking just 36 days to launch referral campaigns across six major European markets. It resulted in 6x ROI, with referred customers being 4x more likely to become referrers themselves.
PUMA has enhanced its customer engagement by integrating Mention Me with Emarsys, their CRM platform, facilitating seamless customer journeys. The integration allowed them to send reminders and encourage referrers to introduce more friends. It also provides real-time first-party referral data, enriching their database with valuable insights.
PUMAs refer-a-friend programme creates a sustainable growth cycle without excessive marketing costs, creating the potential for even stronger results in the future.
"We know brand advocates are highly valuable, so we speak to them differently. Mention Me adds a new level of data and insights that play a critical role in driving our entire contact strategy."
- David Witts, Senior CRM Manager Ecommerce Europe at PUMA
Schuh has managed to tap into the social nature of fashion with their referral programme. Recognising that 80% of Generation Z's purchases are influenced by social media, Schuh needed a referral solution that could capture informal conversations happening on and offline.
Mention Me's Name Share feature tracks and rewards face-to-face recommendations, perfectly fitting Schuh's needs. In the first 3 months of the campaign, impressive results include:
- Over £160K in revenue from referred customers’ first purchases
- New customers make 10% more purchases and have a 12% higher average order value (AOV) than non-referred customers
- Share rate increased by 15%, and the purchase rate by 17%, with a third of referrals coming from Name Share
Founded in 2002 by a determined mother, Seraphine sought to transform maternity fashion, attracting celebrity patrons like the Princess of Wales and Kate Hudson. By 2018, with flagship stores in Paris, London, and New York, the brand aimed to harness word-of-mouth for global expansion, focusing on pregnancy and nursing lines. Partnering with Mention Me, Seraphine initiated referral campaigns across the UK, France, Spain, the US, and Germany.
Using strategies that aligned with Seraphine’s word-of-mouth history helped Seraphine harness the power of their customer’s discussions around fashion and maternity. Name Share emerged as the dominant method of referral, constituting 50% the total, and reflecting the desire of customers to share their experiences with Seraphine with other expectant mothers.
The programme gained Seraphine a 38% conversion rate from referrals, with referred customers spending 15% more than others.
"Our referrer lookalike audiences are driving 20% more customers and 15% lower CPA than our other seed audiences.
We’re also finding that referrer lookalike customers are more likely to buy again and introduce friends themselves, driving long-term value for our business.”
- Anaïs Biyot, Ecommerce Manager at Seraphine
SPOKE is revolutionising personalised fashion with technology-driven precision, using advanced software to tailor men's apparel to individual specifications, ensuring a perfect fit.
Sustainability is a key focus for SPOKE. They minimise waste through made-to-order production, offering a high-tech, bespoke customer experience for eco-conscious trend setters.
Their high levels of customer satisfaction meant referral marketing offered huge potential for growth.
Since implementing their programme, key achievements include:
- On average 16% of referred customers make purchases, with peaks up to 24%
- Referred customers have a 6% higher purchase frequency than non-referred ones
- A huge 180% rise in the number of customers sharing the brand with friends
Health and Beauty
Once you discover the perfect red lipstick or holy grail supplement, you want to tell everyone about it. That's what makes customer advocacy such a powerful growth driver for health and beauty brands — just see for yourself.
Charlotte Tilbury's brand identity is a fusion of glamour, luxury, and empowerment. It embodies the transformative power of makeup, positioned not just as a beauty brand, but as a tool for confidence. With its signature rose gold packaging, the brand exudes elegance and sophistication. It speaks to those who appreciate both the art of makeup and the allure of high-end, aspirational beauty.
Appealing to a confident customer base who makes extensive use of social media and is willing to try new things means the beauty brand has to experiment with different tactics to see what resonates with their dynamic target audience:
"We’re constantly learning about how to engage our customers and enhance their experience through Mention Me. It’s the ideal solution for acquiring new customers while making existing ones feel special."
- Julia Deutsch, Senior Global Digital Marketing Manager at Charlotte Tilbury
Only Curls, is a London-based hair care brand that embraces, celebrates and enhances the beauty of natural curls.
With a vibrant and fresh aesthetic, the brand connects with its audience through a positive, inclusive message.The brand’s visual identity, featuring playful and bold colours, reflects its approachable and joyful spirit.
Their referral programme is run in the same vein, with lively copy and vibrant images that lend themselves well to sharing on social media.
The skincare brand Liz Earle is rooted in natural beauty and holistic wellbeing. It appeals to those seeking a gentle yet effective approach to skincare and wellness, combining ethical sourcing and sustainability with scientific innovation. Liz Earle positions itself as a trusted companion in a customer's journey towards radiant skin and a balanced lifestyle.
Their refer-a-friend programme fits this brand identity perfectly. Its simple yet appealing referral page gently encourages their customers to share their love for the brand with their network, nudging them to become advocates for the brand.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop stands as a pioneer in ethical beauty, advocating for natural ingredients and cruelty-free products long before it became a trend.
Their customers are often very engaged with the brand, identifying with its commitment to ethical beauty. The brand uses its referral programme to drive growth through its customer base, with customers who value natural products and environmental sustainability eager to share offers and incentives with others who seek out brands that align with their personal beliefs.
Molton Brown is synonymous with opulent fragrances and elegantly crafted products. Fusing exotic ingredients sourced from around the world, the brand's aesthetic is refined and distinct, often featuring rich, vibrant colours and sleek packaging. Their customers are not just looking for a product, but an elevated sensory experience that adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to their daily routines.
These customers are not just looking to get money off. They enjoy the exclusivity of having a special relationship with this luxury brand and being able to share it with their friends and family. In this way, Molton Brown’s referral programme brings other customers with a similar level of disposable income to the brand and boosts their customer experience at the same time.
In 2022, Warrior Supplements, known for enhancing athletic performance and mental focus, ventured into new territory by launching their advocacy programme with Mention Me. The initiative was designed to access the untapped potential of their loyal customer base, focusing initially on acquiring new, high-value customers. The programme quickly proved its worth, with referred customers generating 3x more revenue and introducing 4x more new customers than others.
To further leverage the power of their customer advocates, Warrior integrated this referral data with their SMS platform, Attentive. It allowed Warrior to send personalised text messages to their customers, encouraging them to utilise coupons and share referrals. This multi-channel approach not only nurtured existing customer relationships but also transformed passive promoters into active advocates.
As a result, Warrior now sees 9% of their new customers being acquired through SMS, with an 8% uplift in referral revenue through the integration. This success is just the beginning, as they plan to use Mention Me's Smart Audiences feature for targeting referrer lookalike audiences on paid social, aiming to increase their Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).
Symprove, a supplement brand, is achieving substantial growth and expanding its loyal customer base through customer advocacy. Realising that 30% of new customers were from personal recommendations, Symprove implemented Mention Me in 2021 to convert these recommendations into a high-performing acquisition channel. They also wanted to use the programme to enhance their martech stack with first-party data.
Symprove is driven by a subscription model, where brand loyalty and retention of customers is essential. Given this, a referral programme that rewards and motivates brand fans to continue spreading the word is especially valuable to them.
Their advocacy-focused strategy has yielded strong results:
- 19% of customers share the brand
- Referred customers have an 18% higher AOV than other customers
- 34% conversion of recommendations into new customers
Beauty brand Sephora have used their refer-a-friend programme to build loyalty and affinity with their brand, deepening their commitment to exceeding customer expectations.
Through the careful deployment of personalised experiences, with customers able to ‘try on’ their products through their app and engage meaningfully across touchpoints, Sephora has cultivated a strong reputation for fantastic customer experiences.
Their refer-a-friend programme builds on and reinforces this reputation, rewarding customers for telling their friends about the brand with individualised messaging and offers.
Wild, a sustainable and natural personal care company, has gone all in on their referral programme, working with Mention Me and Klaviyo to build a holistic understanding of their customers. They use this understanding to create personalised offers, incentives and experiences.
With an emphasis on sustainability and responsibility, they are constantly looking for ways to deepen connections with customers who have similar values. Integrating Klaviyo and Mention Me into their CRM allowed them to create more tailored email marketing campaigns that engage with customers on a more personal level, meeting them where they are in the customer journey.
Using first-party data to take their referrals to the next level has given Wild:
- A 19% increase in conversion rates
- A 12% increase in click-through rates
- A 25% lower cost per acquisition
Building on this initial success, the brand has broadened their referral strategy out to include social media engagement and scaled their operation with lookalike audiences.
Insurance and Financial Services
We often seek financial advice from friends and family — making it one of the highest-converting sectors for referrals.
Linxea, a leader in French personal wealth management, used their referral programme to gain customers' trust and accelerate acquisition. Facing challenges with high customer acquisition costs with a previous referral provider, Linxea switched to Mention Me in 2022. Within nine months, the program doubled the percentage of Linxea's total new customer acquisition compared to their previous efforts. Notably, the advocacy program achieved a cost per acquisition 30% lower than their target, providing a better return on investment than other channels.
Other achievements include:
- 24% of customers actively share the brand with friends.
- 62% of referrals successfully convert into new customers.
Linexa attributes their success to continuous experimentation, which allowed them to gain valuable insights. For example, they found that offering fewer sharing options increased the likelihood of customers sharing.
"Our programme’s performance is constantly improving, and its CPA is consistently cheaper than our other channels. It’s been a game-changer for us."
- Diane Larramendy, Chief Operating Officer at Linxea
Fidelity Investments positions itself as a reliable partner for individual and institutional investors. Known for its extensive range of investment options, retirement plans, and wealth management services, the brand embodies a professional, approachable, and forward-thinking persona, often using imagery and language that convey stability and confidence.
Fidelity introduce their referral programme with the words “If they matter to you, they matter to us”, extending their values of helpfulness and reliability beyond the individual customer. With their referral programme, the main selling point is offering their customers the ability to help their friends and family achieve the same financial security that they enjoy.
Golf Care specialises in insurance products for avid golfers. Their customers are often members of golf clubs and actively participate in golfing communities, indicating a deep-rooted commitment to the sport.
Along with their emphasis on reliability and peace of mind, Golf Care celebrates the sport’s ability to bring people together for a relaxing and fun time. Their refer-a-friend programme plays a key role in building this sentiment, with the brand featuring it on their homepage. In this way, Golf Care can tap into ready-made networks of people who are likely to have a need for their products.
Moneycorp is a company specialising in foreign exchange and international payments. It provides several services related to international transfers for individuals and business customers.
Their refer-a-friend page offers detailed advice about how to stay in touch with friends and family when they live far away. Moneycorp didn’t opt for a simple pop-up box to advertise their referral programme, instead they’ve devoted a whole page to it. They’re cleverly using their refer-a-friend scheme to create buy-in for their overall objective of getting people to trust them with their money and financial decisions. Moneycorp takes their referral programme seriously enough to build trust with their customers, getting them to refer their network to them.
Nutmeg, a pioneer in online digital investment management, has revolutionised wealth management with its fair, transparent, and inclusive service. Managing over £1.5bn in assets for more than 64,000 investors, it stands as Europe's largest online wealth manager and ranks among the top 10 in the UK. Nutmeg's approach, blending proprietary technology with user-friendly design and low costs, democratises investing for all, regardless of the investment size.
Within six years, Nutmeg has seen remarkable growth. Early on, they identified referral programs as key to their marketing strategy. Initially they developed them in-house, but decided to partner with Mention Me in 2018 to fuel further growth.
Their revamped referral program, offering £100 and 6 months of no management fees for referrers, dramatically increased the share rate by 240% and doubled new investor sign-ups.
Nutmeg now wants to integrate referrals into their mobile app, which they anticipate will significantly boost their advocacy-driven growth. Mention Me advises app integration for enhanced referral success, seeing it as a potential major referral source.
Pet insurance company ManyPets aims to simplify the world of insurance. Their friendly and approachable messaging makes customers feel at ease and their products help customers make sense of a complex area. One of the ways the brand demonstrates their reliability is through their refer-a-friend programme.
The brand gets customers to buy into the referral process by giving updates on the progress of their referred friends in their online account. Offering this level of visibility helps ManyPets turn referrers into brand advocates.
“A referrer might recommend you just the once, but an advocate is someone who’s in love with your brand — your job is to keep building engagement with your advocates because of how valuable they are to you.”
— Gem Passant, CX Leader
Travel and Hospitality
When we're planning a trip or a holiday, we want it to run as smoothly as possible. Luckily, customer advocates are always keen to recommend their favourite hotels, car rental services and airlines to fellow jet-setters and go-getters.
Brands in this sector see a surge of traffic in the summer — read this blog to see how you can make the most of this golden opportunity by harnessing customer advocacy.
In 2017, No1 Lounges, an award-winning airport lounge provider, launched a customer referral program. Despite its success in boosting customer acquisition and revenue, the company wasn't reaching its full potential. To address this, No1 Lounges attended a Mention Me workshop and, with insights from their Client Success Manager (CSM), decided to incorporate homepage promotion into their referral strategy.
Implemented in July 2019, the homepage featured a subtle yet effective corner-peel popup, encouraging visitors to ‘Get £5 off’ and ‘Refer now’. This approach was expected to increase referral performance by 20%. However, the results far exceeded expectations. Just one month after the launch, No1 Lounges acquired 107% more customers than its stretch target, with 44% of these new customers coming via homepage promotion.
By September 2019, No1 Lounges had achieved Mention Me’s ambitious annual target three months early, continuing to exceed monthly stretch targets even during the off-season. The homepage promotion not only tapped into a different stage of the customer journey but also doubled overall referral performance by enabling non-customers to share offers.
Zipcar, a leading car club network, has achieved significant success through their referral program, powered by Mention Me since 2016. They use the innovative technology, reporting tools, and client support available through the platform to nurture loyal brand ambassadors from their substantial membership base.
Key achievements of the program include:
- High conversion rates, with 29% of UK and 40% of Belgian referred friends becoming customers.
- Diverse sharing methods, including Name Share driving almost a third of referrals, and WhatsApp contributing significantly.
Additionally, Zipcar tailors its referral programs for different customer segments and languages, contributing to its growing success in the car-sharing market.
Airportr is a technology-driven service company that offers a door-to-door luggage delivery service for travellers, including airport check-in. Their customer base of Tech-savvy and comfort-driven professionals and families appreciate the ease and reliability of digital services.
In line with their commitment to efficiency and customer service, Airportr makes their referral programme simple. They lay out what customers have to do to take advantage of it, and then provide a brief FAQ section. The programme highlights the limitless number of people customers can refer, encouraging frequent fliers to share their name far and wide.
Airportr customers dislike the hassle of carrying luggage through crowded terminals and are willing to pay for a seamless, stress-free experience. They have an enthusiasm for this brand and are keen to share their knowledge of what is an incredibly handy service with their friends and colleagues. The brand capitalises on this by offering a simple and straightforward referral programme that they can take advantage of.
Homair, a European leader in outdoor holidays, promotes adventure, relaxation, and family-friendly experiences.
Homair’s referral programme is all about sharing the joy of those holidays. It offers customers the chance to “treat a friend to €30 off” their first booking and as an added bonus, the original customer gets €50 off their next booking too. It’s a great way to attract new customers and maximise value from existing ones. At the same time, it provides a moment of customer delight, as they get to share the warm, positive feelings they associate with their family holiday with their friends through the referral scheme.
Viator, a TripAdvisor company, is an online marketplace for travellers to discover and book tours, travel experiences and unforgettable adventures. They’ve used their referral programme to more intelligently market their brand and to drive revenue and growth in the business.
Appealing to those with an adventurous spirit, the brand has been keen to find the moments when customers are most likely to refer them to their friends. They’ve discovered that, in addition to post-purchase, one of the best times to place referral messaging is when customers are writing a positive review.
Uncovering these insights is extremely valuable to Viator: referred customers have a 56% higher lifetime value in the first 180 days of being referred!
Virgin Experience Days
Virgin Experience Days provide unique and memorable experiences, as gifts or for personal enjoyment. The experiences range from thrilling adventure sports and flying lessons to relaxing spa days and gourmet dining experiences. With their refer-a-friend scheme, they wanted to find the best way to capitalise on their customers’ exhilaration, satisfaction or excitement.
One of the A/B tests they ran compared their characteristic red background with a white background. To their surprise, they found the white background made customers more likely to refer.
They now use this white background as standard across their referral programme.
Food and Beverage
Food and drink aren’t just necessities. They’re social experiences that can lead to great memories — and lots of foodies recommending these brands to friends and family.
Huel, a plant-based food brand, has an army of devoted fans. These "Hueligans" drive sustainable growth and revenue across its 12 global markets.
Since signing up to Mention Me's brand advocacy platform in 2017, Huel has seen remarkable growth. The platform's ability to track word-of-mouth recommendations became a critical element in understanding and amplifying Huel's reach and influence.
Some of the achievements of their refer-a-friend programme are:
- High referral Impact — Up to 22% of Huel customers refer friends, with 60% of these recommendations converting into new customers
- Stronger community growth — referred customers introduce twice as many new shoppers compared to non-referred ones
- Revenue boost — Referral revenue has increased by 12% year-on-year
"We’ve seen exceptional results in the six years we’ve been working with Mention Me. It’s played an important role in turning our loyal community of Hueligans into a significant revenue stream, helping to acquire valuable customers at a lower cost to other channels.”
- Emily Hollis, Senior CRM Executive at Huel
Allplants deliver plant-based meals directly to their customers’ doors. With a service that arrives at their customers homes, and a customer base that often has strong values of environmentalism and sustainability, they need to make sure their customers feel spoken to on an individual level in order to build a relationship of trust with them.
To do this, they’ve integrated Mention Me and Klaviyo with their CRM to deliver personalised messaging to their customers, including referral offers and incentives.
It’s an approach that has seen the share of new customer acquisitions that come from referrals rise from 15% to 25%. They’ve also been able to boost the amount of leads they get from referrals by 53% YoY by strategically placing requests to send marketing information throughout the referral journey.
"The integration between Mention Me and Klaviyo allows us to utilise all our customer data to serve bespoke, personalised messaging that makes recipients feel engaged in a really powerful way.”
— James Lester, Senior CRM Executive at allplants
Abel & Cole
Abel & Cole stands out as a pioneer in organic food delivery, cultivating a reputation for sustainability, health, and ethical sourcing. Known for delivering fresh, seasonal, and organic produce directly to customers’ doors, their identity is deeply intertwined with supporting local farmers and reducing environmental impact.
For a brand driven by values of sustainability and environmentalism, it’s crucial they find people who are motivated by the same things. Abel & Cole offer a generous £50 off your next order for both the referring and referred customer. With this, they’re able to build relationships with like minded friends of their existing customers.
The brand's aesthetic is earthy, wholesome, and friendly, often featuring vibrant images of fresh produce. To make it attractive to their customers, they’ve incorporated this brand positioning into their referral programme, with warm, dark tones and slogans such as “share the organic love” a hallmark of their referral marketing.
Biscuiteers, known for their quirky and delicious biscuit gifts, are in the business of delighting their customers with unexpected treats. To build on the goodwill and enthusiasm of their customers, they designed their referral programme to capture word-of-mouth recommendations, anticipating that the moment of joy when opening a biscuit tin — a likely offline moment — was key for sharing.
Once they’d tested this approach, they expanded to other digital touchpoints and incorporated competitions to boost engagement. This strategy paid off, leading to a 60% increase in brand sharing. Seasonal changes and product line updates kept the referral campaign fresh, while streamlining the user experience by testing different sharing channels and simplifying user journeys improved conversions.
Results were impressive:
- Name Share, which allowed Biscuiteers to capture offline conversations, drove over 38% of new customer acquisitions
- An A/B test comparing “£6 off £30 spend” vs “20% off” doubled new customers with the latter offer
- ROI for new referred customers was 5x, increasing to 8x when subsequent orders and spending of rewards are considered
This referral marketing approach significantly contributed to Biscuiteers’ biggest acquisition of new customers in 10 years, with 34% YoY growth.
Chapel Down is an English wine producer that is driven by innovation, quality and a celebration of English heritage. Known for their exceptional sparkling wines, they have positioned themselves as a premium, yet accessible, choice for wine enthusiasts. The sophisticated brand appeals to customers with a refined palate and a willingness to explore beyond conventional wine regions. Their customers also enjoy the social aspect of enjoying fine wines.
Chapel Down has been able to use its refer-a-friend programme to tap into this sentiment, and by extension, the social networks of their customers. They use ‘give’ messaging to foreground the concept of referral as gifting. By offering an incentive of £15 off a first order over £100 for referred customers, they encourage other customers of a similar demographic to place significant orders.
In 2022, kencko, a plant-based smoothie company, made diversifying their sources of customer acquisition a strategic priority.
Despite running an in-house referral program for 4 years, it contributed very minimally to new customer acquisition. Seeking improvement, kencko replaced their existing program with Mention Me’s Referral Engineering®. This shift had an almost instant impact. Within 3 months, the new referral program accounted for 8% of new customer acquisition!
A key factor in this success was the emphasis on testing. kencko ran 3 tests in 3 months, experimenting with various elements such as incentives, messaging, design and copy. This focus on optimisation played a crucial role in the performance of their referral program.
kencko now enjoys high sharing rates, with 66% of customers sharing the brand with friends. In addition, 22% of referrals convert into new customers.
Here are a few other examples of brands harnessing customer advocacy data to drive profitable revenue from their customer base.
Bloom & Wild
Bloom & Wild deliver beautiful, fresh flowers in letterbox-friendly presentation boxes. Their ability to delight customers with their products meant they quickly gained momentum in the UK flower market.
Early in the company's journey, CEO Aron Gelbard recognized the potential of referral marketing as a key component in their marketing mix. However, he faced the challenge of developing a sophisticated referral solution capable of running A/B tests for different customer cohorts and offering tailored incentives for one-off and subscription customers.
To address this, Bloom & Wild partnered with Mention Me to unlock referral marketing as a channel. The initial strategy involved distinct approaches for subscription and gifting customers, with close collaboration to help run experiments. These experiments focused on aspects like offers, creative content, user flow, sharing options and time allotted for referred customers to make purchases.
The rigorous testing led to significant changes, eventually establishing the referral program as a primary acquisition channel. Notably, during peak months, over 30% of new customers were acquired through referrals, and even in the first year of testing and optimization, referrals accounted for over 15% of new customers. Impressively, 45% of referred customers became referrers themselves, demonstrating the program's success in engaging and expanding their customer base.
Gozney, makers of pizza ovens, transformed their customer base into a powerful acquisition tool through advocacy since implementing Mention Me in 2021. Initially launched to attract new customers, Gozney's referral programme has evolved into a broader customer advocacy strategy.
The strategy includes looking at the total revenue a customer who refers their friends represents to the brand — encapsulated in a metric called Extended Customer Revenue (ECR). Referred customers outspend others by 21% in their first six months and introduce 5x more new customers. With this combination of higher personal spend and increased propensity to refer, Gozney has seen a 9x ROI since partnering with Mention Me.
"The Mention Me platform equips us to identify our best customers, understand what resonates with them, and drive more referrals."
- Arthur Brunetti, Digital Marketing Executive at Gozney
The iconic pottery maker, Emma Bridgewater, embraced referral marketing to engage its deeply loyal customer base. With a lack of in-house expertise, the brand sought a provider that could offer both technical capabilities and a hands-on approach.
Mention Me helped them launch their referral program back in 2015 and within the first six months had made impressive progress. Despite the brand's established reputation, they saw an 11% uplift in new customers through referrals.
Email and Facebook were popular sharing methods, but offline conversations captured through Name Share accounted for over 35% of new customers, fitting the brand’s social product usage.
Additionally, 29% of these new customers went on to refer friends too. The referral program not only attracted high-quality customers but also served as an effective short-term promotional tool, with new customers typically making purchases within a week of being referred.
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